Gaming Roundup: Dark Souls II Tries to Tell You It Isn’t About Death, Lies


When developer From Software launched the original Demon’s Souls back in 2009, it became a surprise hit—a dark, beautiful game hailed as a throwback due to its steep difficulty and penchant for killing gamers thousands of times over but keeping them crawling back for more. The game’s sequel, Dark Souls, made death even more prevalent, downright reveling in the player’s gory demise. In an age where challenge in mainstream video games is increasingly rare, From’s Souls franchise is a prominent and noteworthy standout. So what can we expect from the next installment, Dark Souls II?

Well, if reports from the game’s beta are any sort of indication, you can expect more of the same, and this is by no means a bad thing. Dark Souls II is still an extremely difficult game, and the odds are good that you will die hundreds, if not thousands, of times as you proceed to completion. But what has changed? For one, the world isn’t quite as bleak as those of the game’s predecessors. There are more NPCs, taverns, and actual sunlight on occasion, all of which go a long way toward giving Dark Souls II an open world that feels more realistic and alive. It has become easier to summon other players into your game to take on a particularly troublesome boss, as well—although this proves a double-edged sword, as now invading players can attack you while you are in Hollow form (the state into which you fall after your human form is killed, until you can earn back your flesh and bones). Death is penalized further, as well; dying successively will decrease the capacity of your health bar, potentially reducing your health capacity by up to 50%. Gaming’s most unforgiving franchise is intent on keeping its title.

Dark Souls II hits the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 on March 11.

In other gaming news this week, the creators of BioShock Infinite disband, PC gamers could be seeing a lot more Final Fantasy in the future, and Valve continues to troll Half-Life fans everywhere. Read on!

  • A little love for the PC gamers among us: the success of Final Fantasy VII and VIII on PC, as well as FF XIII’s PC roots, has Square Enix thinking about launching future FF games on PC.
  • What would happen if all the vehicles in GTA V suddenly simultaneously became self-aware? Possibly something like this.

  • So yeah, Valve made a movie! And it’s coming out this March. It’s not like anyone really wants them to be working on Half-Life 3 inst— /sobs uncontrollably

  • If you’re a big fan of Naughty Dog and their gut-wrenching post-apocalyptic classic, The Last of Us, you may want to check out the 90 minute Making Of documentary now available for free.
  • Speaking of The Last of Us, if you haven’t played Left Behind—a single-player DLC featuring an Ellie origin story—yet, do so. The storytelling is as masterful as ever.
  • If you’ve been waiting since MechWarrior and Shogo for the Next Great Mech game… you should probably check out Titanfall.
  • Kiefer Sutherland, in what comes as zero surprise to anyone familiar with his work, stated this week that his turn as Snake in the upcoming Metal Gear game, Ground Zeroes, will portray an angrier, edgier personality.
  • Finally, in the unfortunate portion of this week’s roundup, gaming’s ugly hire-and-fire cycle reared its head once again, although the most recently victimized studio came as a bit of a surprise. Irrational Games, creators of last year’s hit game BioShock Infinite, has closed down because gaming wunderkind Ken Levine wants to head in a new direction. In addition to providing affected employees with a lengthy grace period, Levine will be holding an outplacement session enabling other gaming studios to meet and potentially hire any outgoing staff.

If there are games you’d like us to cover or other angles you want us to examine, please let us know @tdelucci or @pritpaulbains.


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