I can without a doubt say that the game that I’m most hyped for is From Software’s Dark Souls 2. Dark Souls is probably in my top 5 favorite games of all time or maybe even top 3. I didn’t think I would actually be able to demo the game, but when I attended Namco Bandai’s meeting room area, I saw three demo stations for Dark Souls 2 and immediately screamed internally.
I went over to play the game and was greeted with four character classes to choose from: warrior, the standard shield and sword character, sorcerer, who wielded magic, temple knight, a class who started with large two handed weapons, and dual wielder, who used two one-handed weapons. I chose warrior because it was the most vanilla and general experience I could have for the game since I wouldn’t depend on fancy magic to defeat enemies but rather my own reaction time and skill. Due to the demo being an alpha, I wasn’t allowed to change the equipment which was unfortunate because I wanted to remove all my armor so that I could fast roll instead of medium roll. The alpha consisted of one bonfire and one fog gate for the boss.
The game starts you off at a bonfire with nothing around you to familiarize you with the controls. I’m happy to say that the game controls exactly like Dark Souls, so veterans of the game will have no issues whatsoever with the controls. I went down a ladder onto a walkway, and I was greeted by two hollows who wielded two handed weapons. I dodged the blow of the first one to backstab it, but during the backstab animation I was hit by the other hollow. It didn’t throw me out of the backstab, but I did take damage from it. This is a new feature to the game that wasn’t present in previous games. I made my way into a hallway where I picked up a torch. The torch is akin to the Skull Lantern of Dark Souls where it provides light. However, torches don’t need to be held up like the Skull Lantern to provide light and they can be used to block and attack as well, although it isn’t effective as an actual shield for blocking as some damage will go through it.
I made my way into a pitch black hallway where I was ambushed from behind by a hollow and a large turtle-like warrior to my front. I killed the hollow easily, but the turtle warrior was really difficult to fight. It dealt a lot of damage and took lots of hits to bring down, but its weakness was if you were to hit it enough times within a time period, it would fall on its back so that you could finish it off. I died about 3 or 4 times to it before I could get past it. Afterwards I walked through the tunnels into an open area where I was invaded by two black phantom hollows and one black phantom turtle warrior. I’m assuming that this was to simulate either being Gravelorded or the BPs from Demon’s Souls. I’m sorry to say that this was as far as I got into the demo because I’m a filthy casual. I also ran out of time since I had an appointment to tend to. I watched the guy next to me get to the boss though. It’s a boss called the Mirror Knight, and it three shot his character.
The combat is much more polished and fluid than Dark Souls; Combos with weapons are less stiff. Dual wielding is a legitimate playstyle now rather than being only for show such as in Dark Souls. Dual wielded swords function as if you were holding two actual swords rather than one sword and one useless object. Pressing triangle enables the character to swing both swords at once which hits enemies harder but is much riskier since enemies have a larger window of opportunity to swing at you. Estus flasks make a return, but so do Demon’s Souls style of healing with farmable healing items. Estus flasks can’t be chugged en masse either like in Dark Souls, and there’s a small cooldown in between taking sippies.
I’m really happy that Dark Souls 2 is essentially Dark Souls mixed with Demon’s Souls but in a different setting. It controls and plays exactly like Dark Souls and that’s all I ever wanted from the game. I was a bit wary of how much marketing Namco Bandai put into the game since games that receive a ton of marketing generally turn out to be mediocre or awful, but after playing this demo, all my fears are gone. Honestly, if you loved Dark Souls or if you truly enjoy good games, get Dark Souls 2. Playing Dark Souls 2 made me feel like I was playing Dark Souls for the first time again and that amount joy I felt while playing the demo for that brief moment in time is indescribable. Dark Souls 2 is due for release on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC in March 2014. I seriously can’t wait for this. This one demo made me feel alive again.