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Dark Souls II

Moby ID: 65380
Xbox 360 Specs
Buy on Windows
$39.99 new on Steam


Once upon a time, the Kingdom of Drangleic was a majestic, thriving land. However, mysterious events led to the exile of King Vendrick, and the land became desolate, with lost souls dwelling in it. Meanwhile, a lone traveler is seen near the village of Majula. He is trying to find a cure for a terrible curse that has fallen upon him, forcing him to lose his humanity and prey upon the souls of the dark beings. An enigmatic woman known as the Emerald Herald tells him that the Four Grand Souls have to be collected in order to bring redemption to the traveler and the entire land of Drangleic.

Dark Souls II is a sequel to Dark Souls, sharing its dark medieval fantasy setting, though it is set in a different land and is not directly connected to it story-wise. In terms of gameplay mechanics, the game is very similar to its predecessor, being a third-person action role-playing game with interconnected world exploration and a deliberate emphasis on challenge. Most cardinal aspects of the gameplay remain the same. Combat relies on timing, precision, as well as dodging and blocking moves that deplete stamina. Defeating enemies yields souls, which can be used at a special bonfire to level up, manually increasing the protagonist's main attributes. The game also features character creation that allows the player to customize the protagonist's class, genre, and physical appearance.

The player character is cursed, and each death deprives him of his humanity, sending him back to the last bonfire he has visited. Unlike the previous game, leveling up can only occur at one specific bonfire in the game; however, the player can freely teleport between all the bonfires he has accessed. Another difference is the limitations imposed on respawning enemies - after several tries defeated enemies will no longer re-appear after resting at a bonfire. Magic is given more prominence, enemies having more pronounced strengths and weaknesses to various elements. Joining covenants and participating in special events such as dueling against each other and cooperative fighting are featured in the game's multiplayer mode.


  • ダークソウル II - Japanese spelling
  • 黑暗之魂II - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

533 People (528 developers, 5 thanks) · View all

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Average score: 86% (based on 21 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 22 ratings with 1 reviews)

Dark RPG brutality blesses us once more

The Good
Dark Souls gave hardcore action role-players what they were asking for, and what only that one game could properly embody: real old-school challenge coupled with new technology. It brought back the romantic fear of death, the greed of power, the triumph of eventual success that permeated classic RPGs - and blended it with modern preferences for visceral 3D action.

The game became very successful despite denying the mainstream; as a result, it quietly slipped into the mainstream itself. Because of that, some people worried that the sequel would try to expand the fanbase and make more concessions to modern tastes. But even a quick and incomplete playthrough of Dark Souls II makes it clear that those worries were completely unjustified. It is certainly one of the most true, faithful, similar sequels ever made. If you loved the first game unconditionally, you'll dive into the successor headstrong and forget to eat and sleep due to deeply familiar addiction.

I don't want to repeat myself, so please refer to my review of the first game and apply pretty much everything I said about it to the sequel. Here, I will only make a few points concerning the (mostly marginal) differences. Fundamentally, Dark Souls II is quite the same experience. The interconnected world, the difficulty, the meticulous exploration, the wealth of optional content, the freedom, the lack of plot restraints, the refinement of character-building options - everything is there.

One thing needs to be said right away: the PC port of Dark Souls II is significantly more polished than the sloppy job done to its predecessor. Right off the bat there are graphic options, high resolution, and key bindings that actually tell us what key corresponds to what action. The game ran without any problems on my seven-year-old machine with Windows XP, and I didn't need to struggle against choppy cameras or unresponsive mice. So if the only thing preventing you from trying this PC version are the scars from the psychological wounds inflicted to you by the shoddy porting of the original, fret not: they have learned from their mistakes.

The game is even more gorgeous than its predecessor, though the actual graphical design is, as before, rather sparse and deliberately ascetic. There are, however, unforgettable views that take the crown away from the first game's already magnificent vistas. There are more fearsome enemies, more treacherous paths, more vertigo-inducing journeys to the depths of peril - everything is even more nerve-wrecking and at the same time serenely beautiful than before. Like the original, Dark Souls II is a masterful, artistic recreation of the most enticing aspects of European medieval fantasy. Deeply melancholic music adds more layers of atmosphere to this experience.

Is Dark Souls II less or more difficult? I'd probably go with the second. I'm a cowardly, methodical player who likes careful exploration and overleveling at the expense of risk. Well, Dark Souls II removes what was probably the last straw I could grasp for in the first game: infinitely respawning enemies. You shouldn't worry too much, since the enemies still do respawn a fair amount of times, and there is even a special item that would make them re-appear; but you can't abuse the system anymore. No more 50+ trips to bonfire following soul-milking from the same poor enemy. The upside is, of course, that you can simply fight until enemies are gone, which is still decent grinding that rewards you with a clear path to the boss after several tries.

One thing that is certainly less frustrating in the sequel is bonfire placement. There are more bonfires, which is a really good thing, since I was getting weary of those ultra-long trips with my precious souls to the only place where I could spend them. You can only level up at one sole bonfire in the entire game, but this is more than compensated by the excellent addition of teleportation: you can always instantly warp to any bonfire you have already visited.

The enemies themselves, on the other side, are even more vicious, and some situations seem nigh impossible - probably even more so than in the first game. Taken together, those small changes clearly indicate the intention of the designers to focus the challenge on the battles themselves, rather than on general inconveniences such as being unable to locate a bonfire. In return, the fights are more deadly than ever, and at some point you'll have to accept that all that remains is your skill versus the fearsome boss.

The Bad
Judging already by their King's Field series, I knew that FromSoftware took their own traditions very seriously. Not only were all those worries about Dark Souls II being less hardcore and too mainstream not justified - in fact, I'm almost ready to say that I begin to worry about a possible third game being too true to the successful template. Dark Souls II is one of those very loyal, very carefully crafted sequels, afraid of making changes that would infuriate the fans. It is not "bigger and badder" - it's pretty much the same. It is a great game because is is faithful to a great legacy, but it doesn't add nearly anything that could be truly called its own.

In an attempt to preserve the famed and dreaded difficulty level, the designers have obviously spent many hours making foes brutally dangerous. I actually felt that they were too much so. All those unfair situations from the first game become almost cheap here, and I had a slightly unpleasant feeling that there was too much cold calculation behind that. There is even more pressure here from decreasing HP and the fact enemies won't respawn indefinitely - though, to be fair, it sort of balances itself with the more generous bonfire placement. I can't quite help feeling a tiny bit underwhelmed, if only because I expected the sequel to present some real gameplay-related innovations instead of putting everything into bare-bones challenge.

The Bottom Line
What is better - Dark Souls II or its predecessor? To me, the first game remains unsurpassed; but the faithfulness of the sequel is admirable as well. Rest assured: everything you loved to hate and hated to love in that magnificent and brutal journey has been methodically - dare I say "pedantically" - preserved. If you want to have another no-nonsense role-playing battle for survival in a slightly more gorgeous dark medieval world, Dark Souls II gives you that without reservations.

Windows · by Unicorn Lynx (181775) · 2014



  • EGM
    • 2013 - Best RPG Game of E3 runner-up
  • The Game Awards
    • 2014 — Game of the Year — Nominated
    • 2014 — Best Role Playing Game — Nominated
    • 2014 — Best Online Experience — Nominated


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Unicorn Lynx.

Additional contributors: Alaka, Havoc Crow, Rik Hideto.

Game added May 2, 2014. Last modified March 9, 2024.