Where Dark Souls 2 Went Wrong

Steam games on consolehow to steam clean a rug DARK SOULS™ II: SCHOLAR OF THE FIRST SIN review hi Im here miss black and welcome to rating on games itll probably surprise none of my regular viewers to know that I am unbelievably excited for from softwares upcoming release Dark Souls 3 hell Dark Souls wouldnt help me cope with major depression and revisiting Demon Souls after becoming enraptured with its follow up Illustrated just how fully realized these games can be their worlds are consistently beautiful even at their most McCobb their Lord is deep and respects the players intelligence enough not to shove it in the players face the action is about as visceral and perfectly tuned as action games can possibly be and whilst the players losses are hammered home time and time again their achievements and victories are made even more apparent essentially every single micro element of these games felt like they were placed with the most acute precision and judging by trailers and gameplay footage released by bandai namco it looks like Dark Souls 3 will mark a grand retardent to this truly artistic level of world building and way--they action with perhaps a slightly darker vibe potentially taken from the last from soft release blood-borne a game which sadly I have been unable to play due to my lack of a console to play on notice how one game in this venerable series has yet to be mentioned here and how I use the term grand return to describe the upcoming release that game as the more astute viewers may have already guessed probably by looking at the title of the video is 2014 s Dark Souls 2 I can say without a doubt that Dark Souls 2 is one of the most disappointing games I have ever played and I say this having played through the original release once and having only recently begun playing through scholar of the first sin whilst also having completed Dark Souls multiple times so take that all for what its worth its not bad - per se just disappointing that distinction is important because if Dark Souls 2 had been released without the baggage that comes with following perhaps the most fully realized game of all time then it could have at the very least been considered an above-average action RPG whilst none of the features present in the game retained the Polish that saw elevated the other games the combat still feels relatively weighty and largely feels more involved than many of its contemporaries that said there were many elements of Dark Souls 2 is design the left me genuinely confused as to who thought their implementation would be beneficial to the game as a whole so many deliberate design decisions seem to illustrate that without previous director hit attack a Miyazakis NP and his subsequent return to the series in both blood-borne and Dark Souls 3 the team simply did not understand what make those games tech on an absolutely fundamental level and this episode of Raytheon games then I want to attempt to break down as much as possible why this game left me longing for the older games in order to exemplify all of this its important to break the games down into their key components and examine why they saw worked in previous installments and why the system updates present in Dark Souls 2 didnt to begin lets discuss arguably the main thing that draws people to these games in the first place the action in many critiques of the game I have seen much of famer are used to describe the action in Dark Souls 2 how it just didnt feel right or the action just wasnt as immersive or fun whilst I believe that these assertions are largely correct I also believe that there is evidence to back up the idea that the way the combat encounters were designed into did not land themselves well to what many believed the core tenets of the series to be one of the key areas where I felt this to be most prevalent was in the enemy placement of all things the beauty of Dark Souls is that the player never feels fully prepared for whats to come in an area their first time through and it feels like anything could happen at any moment yeah every enemy is placed very specifically in order to test the players skills in a number of different ways in one way this precise placement of enemies is what allows the game to truly teach the player what they need to know mechanically in order to best the obstacles there next time through as the enemies all return to their original states allowing the player to better prepare for the encounter after they die for example take the first time the player sets foot in large run as a fire link train the player has many options as to where they can go yet the way the quote-unquote correct route is illustrated to the player is almost entirely through its enemy placement if the player who is down towards New Londo for example their progress is halted by an ambush of ghosts that they wont be able to attack without a certain item if they head towards the catacombs they will be ambushed by skeletons that are likely to be significantly more powerful in the player at this early stage not only this but if the player does this eight to process down this route or simply choose to run past it they will be greeted with more and more skeleton ambushes as they progress eventually leading to a cluster of skeletons as well as a couple of huge ones that will likely kill the player in one hit if ever there was a clearer indication of I might be going down the wrong way here I have yet to see it in again then when you do hit upon the correct path up the stairs towards the undead burg you are greeted immediately with what you will face in this situation there is no ambush here simply one enemy placed after another clearly visible to the player as soon as they reach the location the player takes on the first enemy to find that this enemy is unquestionably weaker than the enemies on the other path giving them a better idea of what to expect going forward on this one there is an item hanging from a corpse next to a slightly more armored enemy and as you approach you discover that the enemy above you is throwing firebombs down your way suggesting that in order to get this item you will have to either take a risk or deal with the threats first when you discover that you can I grow the armored enemy to a point where the fire bombs no longer affect you you can take them out albeit with slightly more effort than previous enemy as you progress up the stairs you find yourself confronted with a group of weaker enemies a slight escalation of challenge but the game only requires that you prioritize enemies based on their possession and risk to the player they share the same design so there is a visual indication that they will all follow the same set of rules as each other meaning that all the player has to do is manage the situation slightly differently after this they can progress to the undead burg with the indication that they are on the right track and they have also learned important dynamics in terms of combat between individual enemies and groups of enemies none of the other options are locked off to the player in terms of where they can go but everything about the enemy placement suggests that this is where the designers wanted you to focus your attention at this early stage compare this situation to early encounters in Dark Souls 2 whereas with Dark Souls 1 at least early on enemy ambushes are used as a means to deter the player from continuing down a path that will likely get them killed time again in Dark Souls 2 the areas that arent just straight-up blocked off by rocks or statues almost seem to use ambush as a primary means of assaulting the player if you decide to head towards Hades terror of flame for instance it is easy to see what lies ahead of you but these enemies are huge and take a lot of hips to beat so the game doesnt exactly encourage you to take this path however take the path towards the forest of the Fallen Giants and the circumstances change only slightly this whole area thrives on bombarding you with enemies that you have very little chance to see coming and so it is easy to become overwhelmed this is only exacerbated when you claim the ladder to the more open courtyard and sees huge amounts of corpses lying around which come to life as you get close to them meaning that as youre trying to deal with one group of enemies is highly likely that another will spring to life and begin attacking you as well this is the technique implemented in Dark Souls 1 in order to discourage newer players from heading towards the catacombs one of the most difficult areas of the game difference is this is one of the opening areas of Dark Souls 2 and is one of the few ways you can actually go at the start of the game with the emphasis placed on ambushing the player into it ends up feeling like some kind of jump scare riddled trash Fleck compared to the first games more somber horror experience that truly gets under your skin on top of this whilst the enemies are still relatively low level they dont stagger nearly as easily as the early enemies in Dark Souls 1 whilst you can be staggered and as little as a couple of heads now this is actually an interesting point as one of the key differences for me between Dark Souls 1 and 2 is the level of fairness again much ephemera is spouted about the first games harsh but fair nature which again is absolutely true but I think it goes deeper than that tagline alone the way enemies stagger compared to the player is actually one of the biggest indicators of fairness within the two games in the first game if you hit an enemy and they have their shield up you would either be staggered yourself or suffer a massive penalty in terms of stamina leaving you at least partially open to a counter-attack thing is the enemies were just as open to this rest themselves what are the most effective strategies for some early enemies is to goad them into attacking only to stagger themselves and leave themselves open a player counter the enemies follow the same rules as the player does in Dark Souls 1 this is why the game is considered to be so fair even with the Ornstein and small fate later on one of the most ethical boss battles in the history of gaming the tension and anxiety comes from the fact that you know how to manage two very different bosses as opposed to just one its a way to test the player on enemy management and prioritization between dodging and attacking rather than just two powerful enemies with longer health bars of the moves and that is also exemplified by the fact that the first half of the battle is arguably far more difficult in the second when you only have to fight one of them the enemies never cheat and as Ive stated in previous videos difficulty is not the be-all and end-all of the souls series in Dark Souls 2 however it often feels as if the enemies follow a completely different rule set to the player rarely opening themselves up to counter-attacks whilst bombarding the player with flurries of their own and thats an early stage the player can only effectively block a few of these heads before their stamina runs out and they become staggered layer on top of this the fact that it takes more souls to level up into than in one and you are at a clear statistical disadvantage between games this isnt even to mention the way enemy placement was handled in the games re-release scholar of the first sin this was supposed to fix many of the issues people had with the initial release but for me only ended up exacerbating them for example in Dark Souls 1 it would feel incredibly off if suddenly the amount of enemies in an area or where they were placed was changed in any way as I have stated previously every enemy feels as if it is placed there for a reason and it usually comes down to minutely tuning the exact challenge the player will face at any given point if you head to forest of the Fallen Giants in the second game however youll find that there are quite simply random enemies placed there in scholar of the first sin including one that especially early in the game in the initial release would be nearly impossible to beat make your way to the more open area up the ladder and there are far more enemies as well as one of the white knight guys taken away from the area head to Heidis tower of flame and suddenly there are a whole bunch of these white knight guys that wear there before why are they there what purpose do they serve narrative Lee why do they know I grow unless attacked first is not made clear to the player and saw their placement in the re-release when they went in that area at all to begin with just makes the design of the game feel inconsistent as if any enemy could just be forced then at any point for the sake of difficulty its as if the developers of the sacking game looked at the marketing push for the first game saw how well the idea of a difficult game with prepare to die as its slogan resonated with masochists complaining about too much hand-holding in modern games and thought we need to up the ante as opposed to examining why that difficulty was implemented both mechanically and thematically in the first place which brings me on to my final point the ways in which both games handle the idea of difficulty in terms of their plots and general toys if you watched my last video on Dark Souls youll know that I posit that the game actually maintains a pretty celebratory tone rather than merely wallowing in the Macau this is apparent from many reasons for example the way the game handles death is far different to the way its sequel deals with the concept the key to Dark Souls 1 is that the world ultimately is grossly indifferent to your presence and the reason you are fighting through this harsh world is to gain enough agency over your own existence to recognize trial as well as failure and appreciate the little moments in life death is trivialized it happens so much and the enemies trudge to lethargically back to their possessions after cutting you down that it almost takes on a humorous quality this means that when the player succeeds however is highlighted by the game whether that be through a moment of precious respite from combat or a new area to explore or an item these occur just rarely enough and are brought about solely by player skill remember all enemies and dark souls one follow a set of rules just like you do that when the player wins the sense of accomplishment is palpable the world is so consumed by death that when life penetrates that it becomes incredible this in turn encourages the player to keep going this is why as I have previously argued the game is such an effective allegory for depression and how to cope with it over even if it seems insignificant at first Dark Souls 2 on the other hand from the very start illustrate Stu the player a complete misunderstanding of the tone of those previous games like I say it feels like the developers thought that more difficult meant better game and this is clear from the pest per excuse for narrative at the start of the game you are told at the very start of the game with what feels like scraps I have a particularly emotional teenagers poetry journal that like a moth to a flame your wings will burn in anguish as that is the fate of the cursed it hammers home the inevitability of succumbing to your curse which if were looking at the idea of being cursed as allegorical - suffering from major depression can actually be seen as kind of dangerous the women in the house laugh at you talking to you like a child as if they understand your condition far better than you ever could it insinuates that the idea of trying to fight is absolutely futile before laughing at the idea that you could possibly survive in this world and that you will lose the very thing that makes you feel like youve conquered something your souls over and over again before descending into FETs of laughter once again it may sound like Im being somewhat pedantic are looking into this too much but this was genuinely one of the worst first impressions a game has ever left on me and arguably soured the experience as a whole most of the NPCs in the first game like the enemies felt like they were operating on a similar emotional framework to the player that is to say regardless of whether they acted hostile or friendly they were all informed by a sense of fear of losing themselves and so for the most part they encouraged you to keep going as the Pyromancer you rescue from the depth says to you as you return to fire link strain and as expertly analyzed by my fellow youtuber Fork whose video on Dark Souls you should definitely check out dont you dare go hollow the game and its characters want you to succeed if only to show them that at the very least someone in their predicament can succeed Dark Souls 2 on the other hand revels in the Grim in a way that feels completely opposite to the message Dark Souls 1 communicates as I previously stated it feels like the enemies all follow completely different rules to you and they can often overwhelm you in sheer numbers and without warning and so overcoming them unscathed often feels like sheer luck rather than skill this transition from lock to skill means that opposed to the first game winning feels trivialized as opposed to losing the developers like the women at the start of the game laugh at the idea of you succeeding and by pummeling you with hordes of stronger enemies limiting your abilities through stats renovating the healing system so that healing items are limited and you only start off with one Estus flask modifying weapon durability so weapons can break well before the enemy numbers are depleted and various other confusing mechanical and design decisions the developers stay in no uncertain terms the difficulty Trumps all regardless of what its used for as opposed to all the characters that tell you that they dont want to see you go hollow in the first game everything about the second game suggests that that is all the game wants for you the only way you can overcome any of this is if luck happens to favor you and that is exactly the opposite of what I look for in a souls game so yeah thats a very abridged version of the basic ways Dark Souls 2 got it wrong in my opinion its a slightly longer episode today but only because I feel there is so much to be said on this game and its placed within the series like I say I dont think its a bad game necessarily and there are certainly some mechanical elements that still place above many contemporary RPGs in my mind but within the Canon of the souls series it just doesnt hold up his attack on Miyazakis absence as director for two and has returned to the widely revered blood-borne suggest that without that singular vision as helm the developers completely missed the point of why these games are supposed to be difficult its important from a mechanical design and narrative point of view it permeates every element of the games design into however as opposed to merely informing the design it felt like the primary objective there is so much I didnt get to talk about here regarding world design and how you navigate the world and such and I was only able to analyze a couple of early encounters in both games I feel they are both indicative of the larger issues here I mean I dont know have I got this all wrong I know of some defenders of the game but I also know that the general consensus is that the game is disappointing and as an aside Id highly recommend checking out Matthew mitosis and map these videos on the subject for even more reasons as to why this game just didnt work Id be genuinely interested to know what you guys think so leave a comment down below regarding your thoughts on the game whether they be positive or negative anyway thank you all very much for watching and as another aside thank you all so much for supporting the channel new subscribers are coming in every day and I genuinely appreciate everyone if you like the videos then if you considered sharing them with other people that you think might be able to take something from them then Id be eternally grateful you guys gave me the energy to keep doing this on at the very least a semi-regular basis so thank you all so much I know the channel is still relatively tiny compared to others but that doesnt mean that your support means any less to me quite the opposite actually in short you guys are the  __  best and with that said Im Hamish black and that concludes yet another episode of writing on games Ill see you next steam game notifications I can barely contain my excitement for Dark Souls 3s impending release. Dark Souls is maybe my favourite game of all time - it helped me cope with major depression, it was that fully realised an allegory for the illness. Demons Souls still holds up incredibly well. Bloodborne, whilst I havent been able to play it due to lack of a console, is widely considered to be one of the few essential games on the PS4. One game is missing from this list. That game is 2014s Dark Souls 2 - one of the most disappointing games I have ever played. Its not a bad game per se, and were it not burdened by the canon of the Souls series it probably would be considered an above-average action RPG. The general reaction, however, suggests that it just doesnt hold up under comparison to the other games in the series. Patreon: --- In this episode of Writing On Games then, I attempt to break down why I think (and remember, this is just my opinion) that in terms of its design, its mechanics and its general tone and approach to the message the previous games arguably convey, several confusing decisions were made along the way that illustrate the teams fundamental misunderstanding of what the series was actually about during Dark Souls 2s development. Its a slightly longer episode today, but thats only because I believe there is a whole lot to talk about here. Also, I talk about this at the end of the video, but seriously - thank you all so much for supporting the channel. New subscribers are coming in every day and I genuinely appreciate every single one. You guys give me the energy to keep doing this. Some other videos I mention here that are well worth checking out: Dont You Dare Go Hollow by Fork - Dark Souls 2 Critique by Matthewmatosis - Everything Dark Souls 2 Gets Wrong by Matt Lees - Also, apologies if some of the footage is a bit choppy here - I think a combination of an aging processor and clashes between DSFix and Bandicam contributed to that. Other footage used: Bloodborne footage from penguinz0 - O&S battle footage from Punisteri - Dark Souls 3 trailer from Bandai Namco - Ogre footage from Codemanster - Thanks again for watching! If you feel like sharing it with someone you think might get a kick out of it, Id greatly appreciate it! steam workshop skyrim steam how to verify game cache steam link uplay games video game steam compare steam keys