Dark Souls I, II and III

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ratsoalbion
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by ratsoalbion »

I reckon the chances of a definitive edition Dark Souls remaster are pretty high. I wouldn't even rule out Demon's Souls for PS4 in the current climate.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by fieldy »

Good stuff, I'll hold off for time being - Looks like I'll be picking up Bloodborne ;)

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Flabyo »

Greater than zero chance that Dark Souls on 360 will be backwardly compatible on the XBO at some point as well...

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by James »

I'd love backwards compatibility to be rolled out for Dark Souls. I could even see Namco re-releasing Dark Souls for Xbox One and PS4 if it weren't for the fact that Dark Souls III was coming so soon.

Sony re-releasing Demon's souls for PS4 seems more likely to me. Once Bloodborne is all DLC'd out and there's a wait before another From/Sony collaboration, maybe Sony will want to plug the gap. That said, I don't know whether the Atlas and Namco publishing deals would interfere with that.

I'm still surprised that From are aiming for Spring 2016 with Dark Souls III. Despite all the reports of it having been in early-stage development since a year before Dark Souls II was released, it seems like a quick turnaround.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by RobC »

I think a re-mastering of Dark Souls (or Demon for that matter) would be likely in the run up to Dark Souls III, after all they did release DSII remastered just before Bloodborne IIRC) , although the DLC cycle for Bloodborne seems to be quite elongated so that might have dibs on the time between now and DSIII. I would love to see either of them on current gen.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by James »

Yeah, DSII: Scholar Of The First Sin was released the week after Bloodborne. In that case, it was Namco Bandai choosing to piggyback on Sony's marketing for Bloodborne (a game Namco had nothing to do with). I wouldn't like to guess how much say From had in those release dates.

Looking forward to seeing what Namco do in regards to Dark Souls. I do like the idea of a trilogy set on Xbox One and PS4 once all Dark Souls III's DLC is out, but now I'm just dreaming. :D

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Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by richie_in_japan »

The Dark Souls Collection in 2017? All three games with DLC? I'd be all over it.

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fieldy
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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by fieldy »

might be an odd question but by playing Bloodborne will I ruin any of the story in dark souls?

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by ratsoalbion »

Nope!

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by Alex79uk »

To be fair, playing Dark Souls won't ruin the story in Dark Souls ^_^

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Re: Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by James »

Haha! It's funny 'cause it's true. :lol:

It's fair to say that it's fine to play the four "Souls" games in any order, particularly with regards to story concerns. Bloodborne is the most different, mechanics-wise, but it's arguably as good a starting point as any.

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls I, II and III

Post by James »

Okay, obviously we've already covered Dark Souls. It was Issue 76, way back in April 2013 for anyone that may want to look it up.

Generally we don't cover games until a year after their release, so it's a bit premature to be recording a podcast on Dark Souls III!

That can mean only one thing: it's time for us to cover Dark Souls II!

Rather than start a separate thread, or trawl back through 631 posts to try and piece together our thoughts from conversations had whilst playing the game, we're going to use your responses from this point in the thread onwards. It's always invaluable to have a wide selection of views and experiences to share with listeners, and I fancy this game has provoked a pretty wide selection indeed.

So, let's hear your thoughts and stories pertaining to Dark Souls II. We record on the evening of Sunday 2nd August (UK time), so please make sure you have your insights added below by then. Thank you! :)

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls II

Post by Chopper »

"Try luring it out"

Words to live (and die) by in Dark Souls II. Whereas Demons and Dark 1's level design showed great imagination and restraint, it's the enemy placement in Dark Souls 2 that keeps it from achieving the same heights. Too often, the designers' approach is to flood the level with enemies, often combined with an environmental hazard like water or obstacles to movement. It pushes the game too far in the direction of 'painstaking puzzler', and is detrimental enough that large portions of the game seem like a slog in comparison to the previous games.

I'm aware that Demons and Dark 1 have both been criticised for being punishing, time-wasting slogs, and that this is a subjective measure of its quality, but in this game I think it is borne out. It's still an excellent game, but this flaw is sufficiently glaring to prevent it from achieving the greatness of its predecessors.

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls II

Post by Alex79uk »

I never had the chance to contribute to the original Dark Souls podcast, having not played the game until after recording, so I'd like to start with a very brief history of my relationship with the Souls games, if I may.

I first heard of Demon's Souls when a few people on a forum I used to run started talking about this hard as nails Japanese game they'd imported. I was fascinated, listening to them speak about it almost in hushed tones - "There's this new game... It's our secret...." I read up on it, and it seemed like it would be something I'd be interested in, then I promptly forgot about it and carried on with my life. I didn't come back to the Souls series until about a year or so after Dark Souls was released. I bought it with my birthday money in 2013, and was instantly hooked. It utterly consumed me from start to finish. I spent almost every waking spare moment playing it, and any time I wasn't playing it I was thinking about it, or reading about it, or talking about it. It is hands down my favourite game ever made. So Dark Souls 2 had a lot to live up to.

So did it? Well...

Dark Souls 2 is one of a small group of games that I have purchased on day 1. And it's one of an even smaller group of games for which I have booked the day off work. Released on a Friday, I booked myself the Friday and the following Monday off work so that I could completely throw myself in to the game. My expectations were so high as I booted it up and made my way through the tutorial area. It was all here, everything seemed to be where it should, I was back in the Souls world. As I played on and made my way through to Majula I was seriously impressed. It looked - and I'm going to use a word I can't really stand - EPIC! I explored, did all the usual Dark Soulsian things, then pushed on to the Forest Of Fallen Giants. Now, I played the first Dark Souls game armed with over a years worth of knowledge to fall back on should I become stuck, people helped, I might have even glanced at a guide, but I decided I wanted to try and take this journey alone, so my use of walkthroughs was very limited through Dark Souls 2, only really gaining tips from fellows players. Fellow explorers. Everything was just classic Dark Souls - the areas, the enemies, the weapons, the lore - but it was halfway through the giants Forest that I noticed something that didn't seem quite right. I'd not been following any previews of the game, I'd gone in almost blind, so when at some point I died (several times) and respawned at a bonfire only to notice the enemies seemed to have vanished I thought something was amiss. Well, I actually thought - "WHAT THE F---! Dark Souls has activated an easy mode because I kept dying!!" It wasn't until I posted about it on this very forum that I discovered it was an intended feature. I'm not sure what the point of it is, if I'm entirely honest, but it did spoil an important element of the first game for me. I spent hours grinding the rats of the Depths for Humanity, grinding high level enemies to gain all important souls for upgrades etc, and to have that taken away from me was a big disappointment.

Still, it didn't spoil the game. Not really. eventually I made it to the first boss - The Last Giant. He was suitably impressive, although alarm bells rang when he was felled with relative ease. Maybe I'd just got better at the Souls games, but maybe they'd just got a whole lot easier. And to cut a rather lengthy story slightly shorter, that kind of summed up the game for me. It wasn't nearly as challenging as the first. I managed to first time several of the bosses in the game, as interesting as they were they just didn't pose the same threat as the old ones.

The game had several stunning areas, the pirate shanty town stylings of No Mans Wharf was a a particular highlight for me, but overall the world seemed to lack the coherence that bound Lordran together. I didn't think the immediate availability of bonfire warping was a good move, but then again the fact the world didn't really contain clear routes between areas may have meant that was necessary. In fact, Drangleic didn't even feel like one world to me, more like several completely independent areas traversed only by warping.

All this might sound like I didn't enjoy the game. Well let me tell you, I absolutely loved it. I loved every second. It was never in a million years going to stand up next to the original - it was too easy, had a less interesting story, and there were several gameplay tweaks that I'd have preferred to be left out, but it was still by far and away the best game I played last year. It's an absolutely brilliant game, it's just not as good as the first, and I am SO excited for what Dark Souls 3 might bring, and also looking forward to being able to play Bloodborne hopefully before the year is out too. Really looking forward to the podcast.

Three word review - Dark Souls Lite.

(One last note - I just typed all this out on my phone and am too tired to go through it checking it all makes sense haha, I'll fix it tomorrow if necessary!)

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls II

Post by Roy42 »

Dark Souls 2 is one of the most disappointing games I've played in recent memory, and the sheer number of places where it falls short compared to its predecessor with no good reason make me all the more annoyed that I find several purely mechanical differences more engaging as far as the gameplay is concerned.

The list of things I find good about Dark Souls 2 that weren't present in Dark Souls 1 is fairly short:

Power stance
60fps
Quick, consistent online play
The concept of the Pursuer

And that's about it. Everything else I see was done better in Dark Souls 1. General aesthetics, like the graphics and sound, while decent, are decent in a very obviously manufactured way; you're bombarded with sound in almost every single area of the game with no subtlety (save for Black Gulch), the music all blurs into a single, vaguely bombastic tune, and the areas are all set up to deliberately give you a look at very pretty skyboxes, to obfuscate how average the environments right in front of you look. If you look at the recently discovered and developed Limbo mod for Dark Souls 1, you can see how incredibly strong the visual design of that game is, yet I barely ever got a sense of that in Dark Souls 2. The most I would get of that is when I would enter an area (Tower of Flame, Eleum Loyce, Drangleic Castle, etc.) and immediately be presented with an imposing structure. But again, that feels so manufactured that it's hard to appreciate that at all.

The story, world, narrative and characters are all entirely bland and forgettable in Dark Souls 2. A cast of characters kept on coming back to Majula like in Dark Souls 1, only they never left the area once they turned up, and had repeating dialogue that made it very apparent that they were just characters in a videogame. The only reason they repeat dialogue and never go anywhere is because it's beneficial to you as a player, but the Souls games weren't supposed to have those kinds of concessions. The exceptions being the Herald, who teleports to a couple of key locations for no real reason, Vengarl, who I'm sure would have gone and sat at Majula for all eternity if he wasn't a disembodied head, the other NPCs whose sidequests are as boring as "summon them a few times" and Patches and Lautrec 2.0, who I did genuinely enjoy seeing throughout my travels, and did fret over when it reached the ultimate conclusion, even though I had a feeling how it would end.

In Dark Souls 1, I started the game learning about some key figures who were powerful enough to kill ostensibly immortal dragons. When it came to me, I got set free, killed the prison warden, and embarked on a quest to ring a bell. I quickly found out there was a second bell, then that I needed to go to a city, then that I needed to actually kill the legendary beings I watched in the intro cutscene. At the end of the game I was faced with a choice, and knew that whichever I would pick, that the world was going to be changed irreversibly. In Dark Souls 2, I walked until I was allowed to pick a class, then I walked through some optional tutorials with no boss, then came to an empty town. I wandered around, murdering everything in sight, eventually killing four beings that gave me souls that opened a door to let me not have to climb over a small pile of rubble blocking my way to a castle. Or maybe I just got one million souls and didn't even need to go down an entire branch of the game. Then I continued murdering everything, because some NPCs told me too, I guess. Suddenly I found the king that the Herald kept going on about, which turned out to be an undead end, so I wandered around for a little longer and killed even more creatures indiscriminately until ending up at a throne. And then when I killed a lady who had said all of ten words to me and seemed to have some issue with me that I wasn't aware of, I went and sat on the throne against my will, while the Emerald Herald literally talked about me having the choice to take it or not. The game then ended with me having exactly zero clue what was going on, why any of it was going on, who anyone was, who I was, and most of all, why I should possibly care.

And before anyone tells me that I was supposed to look up item descriptions to figure that much out, neither of the games before this one ever seemed to struggle to make me understand what was going on with my character in the moment, so this one has no excuse.

Even aside from all that, one of the biggest issues I have with Dark Souls 2 is that it doesn't feel like it takes place in any sort of real world. Remember how, in Dark Souls 1, you worked your way through the Undead Burg, killed the Taurus Demon, snuck past the Hellkite Drake to the stairs in the middle of the bridge, went down some stairs, kicked a ladder, then felt a wave of realisation as you realised that the level architecture had just wrapped around itself so intricately that you were above the very same bonfire you started from? Remember going to the parish, hitting the twin lifts, and going all the way back down to Firelink Shrine, which you likely wouldn't have seen for several hours at that point? The world was so seamlessly put together in that game and it was the very best thing about playing it, bar none.

In Dark Souls 2, you can see the Forest of Fallen Giants and the Tower of Flame from Majula. They're both so far away that they're part of the skybox. And after 90 seconds of walking you can get to either one. You go to different locations and the time of day completely changes. Locations are utterly disconnected from one another; the Lost Bastille doesn't exist anywhere, you can only get to it by warping. You go through the completely disconnected Huntsman's Copse and end up at the completely disconnected Harvest Valley. In Harvest Valley, you can see the top of Earthen Peak, with nothing above it. You go to the top of Earthen Peak, kill a boss, get in a lift, go straight up for several hundred metres and walk out to a hellscape fortress. Every location in the Shaded Woods is occupying the same physical space. The game makes absolutely no effort to have coherency in its locations, and the locations themselves are themselves incredibly boring; almost every level is a single line, with maybe one branching path or loop back on itself. The areas are all incredibly short, and even then you're still tripping over bonfires. These aspects of the game have only stuck with me because of how much the poor design irritated me.

Then there's the parts of the core game that annoy me. While power stancing and rolling through enemy attacks is nice, no movement has any sort of weight that makes it feel real in the same way that it did in Dark Souls 1, hitboxes are more of a suggestion, hollowing out upon death is a potentially interesting mechanic that is completely ruined because the item to restore you to human are ultimately limited, petrified statues are an unnecessary way of blocking off areas that make the early game incredibly boring on repeat playthroughs, having any healing items besides estus completely breaks healing, several areas have unfair instakills that nobody could possibly see coming, virtually everything in the game has some sort of tie to Dark Souls 1 and basically nothing is wholly original, there is literally zero reason to ever use torches, about 90% of enemies in the game are large humanoids with big weapons, there are about 15 bosses too many throughout the game, most of whom are large humanoids with big weapons or retreads of Dark Souls 1 bosses without any of the (pardon the pun) soul, bosses and areas in the game get additional enemies dumped into them to make them more difficult, every boss drops its soul to craft a weapon with rather than making you actually hack off its tail or what-have-you, the blood pulse animation at the start of boss fights is needless and distracting, several bonfires are carelessly placed far too close to enemies, and, most important of all, animation priority was mostly taken out. In the previous games, once you initiated an action (opening a chest or door, entering a fog door, etc.) the game would make sure that you completed that action, and made enemy attacks incapable of interfering with that action. In Dark Souls 2, you need to be several seconds into that animation for it to actually follow through. You can be knocked out of opening something or going through a fog door out of nowhere.

The problem I have with the game is that so many of these changes didn't need to be done at all. A very large portion of Dark Souls was fine the way it was; all Dark Souls 2 really needed to be was a disc full of more areas that used most of the same mechanics. The only reason it seems like anything was changed was because otherwise people would be able to go into the game at an inherent advantage from knowing the mechanics of the previous game, and then it wouldn't seem as hard. Most of the game comes off as wanting to be harder for harder's sake, which is utterly missing the point of the series.

But like I said, I can't help but find the main gameplay loop of using a small white sign soapstone, getting summoned, rolling around as a naked swordsman, never getting hit, then disappearing from the summoner's world all the richer for the experience incredibly compelling, and that frustrates me to no end. Mechanics like this should be in a game that's put together better, and I can only hope that whoever is directing Dark Souls 3 will recognise what worked and what didn't and create something that can recapture the experience I had venturing out into Darkroot Basin for the first time and feeling very much like I was exploring a new world that I was completely unfamiliar with, possibilities and death spanning in every direction.

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls II

Post by James »

Thanks for the excellent replies! I can't promise we'll be able to fit all of your post into the podcast, Roy, but (with your permission) I'd like to use as much of it as possible, whilst being careful to retain your overall feelings towards the game.

There are still a couple of days before we record. Plenty of time to leave your own thoughts if the fine efforts above have inspired you. :)

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls II

Post by Roy42 »

Yeah, I figured that'd be the case; I went on longer than even I usually do.

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Re: Our next podcast recording but one - Dark Souls II

Post by Todinho »

Dark souls 2 is one of those sequels that had alot to live up to not only was it the follow up of one of the best action RPGs ever made with a extremely dedicated fanbase it was also a game where the creative director of the previous games wasnt involved so in hindsight the game was already poised to disapoint it's player base,it has to be said though that it takes a special kinda of game to be not only one of the most disapointing games of the year while at the same time being one of the best as well,maybe this says something about the AAA industry in general but the quality of the game itself cant be denied and despite it's many shortcoming as a "souls game" it still managed to be one of the games I enjoyed the most in 2014.

The flaws of Dark souls 2 are very tricky to identify at first,I mean it looks like a "souls game",plays like a "souls game" but by the end it doesnt feel quite like the others,it's not one or two big problems that "ruin" the game rather it's alot of tiny things that weight the game down and make it less enjoyable,by now people already pinpointed all the problems with the game but at the time I played it I was struggling to understand why I had issues with the game,but now that I had some time to think about it I realized that my greatest problem with Dark souls 2 is that it's just a very safe game.
In many ways there's nothing wrong with that but the demon&dark souls always felt special and unique despite their similarities,they werent perfect and were full of highs and lows but they were willing to take risks by having really hidden areas,cutting player's life's in half,etc. Meanwhile Dark souls 2 while doesnt suffer from any of the lowest points of the previous games like blighttown or bed of chaos it also doesnt reach the heights those games did,there's no Ash Lake moment or a Maiden Astrea in DK2,the closest the game gets to this it's in the Dragon's Eire but even then once you get past the pretty visuals it's quite dull to be honest. If you want a better example just look at the torch system that was hyped to be game-changing and ended up pointless to the Tomb of the Giants,in one the system was neutered to the point of being irrelevant and in the other the devs had no fear in throwing you in a pitch black area with no torches at all and let you figured things out by yourself,and I hate the Tomb of the Giants! but I apreciate it's existence in DK1 alot more now because,pardon the pun,it had a soul to it while Dark souls 2 doesnt feel like it has one.

3 word review: "By the numbers"

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Re: Our next podcast recording - Dark Souls II

Post by Nekemancer »

Dark Souls 2 is a game that falls short of greatness by mere inches. It had significant improvements in some areas, PvP being the strongest and most notable upgrade over Dark Souls 1. But I had a constant feeling of it being almost great, and it suffered a lot in my mind for it. The combat still feels great, it's a strong mechanical improvement overall. But the "wheel-and-spokes" world design instead of shortcuts for connections led to a tremendous number of bonfires and a feeling of disconnectedness of the world. I don't really feel like the warp ability off the bat was a major problem, but it didn't help that feeling either.

For reference, my perspective is as a Strength based character that completed the full original game and DLC, but not Scholar of the First Sin.

I'm sure you all covered during the cast, but one of the biggest problems gameplay-wise was moving to estus + gems for healing. I think that it really messed with how they would balance zones and bosses.

The bosses were ok. Some were potentially cool but mishandled, like Pursuer, Darklurker, Smelter Demon and Skeleton Lords. Some were just bad or boring, Covetous Demon, Demon of Song, Ancient Dragon, and Dragonrider(s) for example. There were some great ones too, such as Looking Glass Knight, Defender/Watcher, Sinh, Fume, Robber/Soldier/Explorer, Alonne and Ivory King. Sadly, I found that the overall boss experience was mostly forgettable. As a side note, I was incredibly disappointed by how easy Vendrick and Nashandra were. Vendrick had a spot on his leg where none of his moves could even hit you, while Nashandra just never was the slightest bit of a threat.

Probably the thing I felt the most let down by was how the NPCs were handled. There was so much potential for really interesting story development with them all, but they all had just a brief moment of doing stuff, then never reacted to the world around again. Most notable of this is the blacksmith and daughter storyline, and that of Lucatiel. For the smith and daughter, it really felt like there had been something there to end the story but it got cut, even if that wasn't the case. Lucatiel's handling was even more depressing for me. I played through the first part of DS2 a bit backwards, so I encountered Lucatiel out of order, and then missed one other meeting with her, so I was left with a really unfortunately vague perspective of her story.

The best description for the story that I have seen was that it feels like Dark Souls 1 was written in full, then chunks removed to create the general feeling of a whole world that you had to fill in the gaps, while Dark Souls 2 seems to be a story with holes written into it in the first place.

Good game, worth playing as a fan of the Souls series, but absolutely my least favorite of the Souls/Borne games by a significant margin. I think I dislike it more as time goes on and I replay DS1/Bloodborne and keep thinking about all the potential that DS2 had.

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Re: Dark Souls I, II & III

Post by James »

Thanks all for the responses. I had to edit a little for time on some of your comments, but hopefully retained the tone of what was said. I can only apologise and plead for your understanding; cramming a full discussion of Dark Souls II, the DLC and Scholar Of the First Sin into 2 hours wasn't an easy task.

I can't wait for this podcast to come out (not until 23rd of August, in case you too are waiting patiently - we recorded early to accommodate the tougher edit with 5 of us on), it was a really fascinating discussion!

Thanks again for all your feedback on Dark Souls II, it always adds so much! :D

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