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E3 2013: Dark Souls II

Posted on June 11, 2013 AT 05:00pm

Publisher Namco Bandai
Developer From Software
Platform 360, PS3,  PC
Release Date 03.2014
Not sure what any of this stuff means? Head on over to our E3 hub for all the deets.

The Rundown

After crafting the breakout PlayStation 3 exclusive hit Demon’s Souls, From Software joined forced with Namco Bandai to create the cross-platform spiritual sequel, Dark Souls. Now, the team at From is back with Dark Souls II—and while little has been revealed about its plot, it is known that the game will possess a huge contrast to the events and characters of the first game.

The Verdict

…Do I even have to explain why I’m excited for this? While I loved Demon’s Souls, I adored Dark Souls so much more. Having the game’s regions exist as one interconnected world was a fantastic feeling, and being able to play a game that actually required me to become a better player was a refreshing change from what we usually get in terms of difficulty.

To be fair, there are some concerns for Dark Souls II. Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki won’t be around this time, instead giving up the reins to co-directors Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura. There’s also all of those moments of panic among the fandom, as comments from the team about the game have been interpreted as meaning that it would be easier than the previous chapter.

Getting a chance to play a portion of Dark Souls II, I’m not sure that its challenges being too easy is a concern I have just yet. I got to see some examples of the game playing around with darkness, as players can only advance by lighting a torch and using it to reveal what’s waiting in the blackness. Of course, it’s easy to be reminded of the similarly dark Tomb of Giants in Dark Souls; even so, there was still a different atmosphere and feeling of fear.

Another segment I played would be hard to explain without what I’d consider spoilers, but it involved fighting up to a fog door and then battling one of the game’s bosses. It’s hard to fully form an opinion on this section, because I was playing a small slice of the game totally out of context. Still—again—difficulty wasn’t lacking.

There are a few non-spoiler gameplay aspects I’d like to point out. In the original Dark Souls, players had two weapon slots per hand; now, you’ll have three. Also, previously the game would start by having you pick from one of twelve character classes, and then you could tweak that character’s build more to your liking. This time around, Dark Souls II will start by asking your play-style preferences, and through this will guide you to which class would fit you best.

Am I totally reassured that Dark Souls II will capture everything that made me love Dark Souls? For the sake of my heart—and it not breaking more than it has to—I’m not ready to believe anything until I play the final game. What I can say is that I have a lot of hope, and playing what I did helped me retain that hope.

Eric L. Patterson, Executive Editor
Eric L. Patterson got his start via self-publishing game-related fanzines in junior high, and now has one goal in life: making sure EGM has as much coverage of niche Japanese games as he can convince them to fit in. Eric’s also active in the gaming community on a personal level, being an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming and consumer rights. Stalk him on Twitter: @pikoeri. Meet the rest of the crew.

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