I just finished Dark Souls 2 and it was good and bad.
I resisted not looking up any sort of help or playguides etc. and wanted to run the vanilla game knowing nothing about it. I was worried I was essentially playing Dark Souls 1 without ever getting the Drake Sword by not looking things up but that was my goal. I wore the Ring of Whispers for probably half the game assuming it would show me hidden areas until I found a hidden area while wearing it without any help. It sort of tells you when enemies are near? It's Dark Souls, there are enemies around every corner! I don't need help with that.
I was Deprived with the Petrified Something (which I never used) and I pumped all my points into attunement for the first 40 or so levels. Little did I realise this made the game feel like I was playing on hard mode. The plan was to use Pyromancy and when I saw attunement speeds up casting time I thought it was a no brainer. I put a few points into STR and DEX just enough to wield the flame longsword (which I used the entire game) and a 90 defence shield.
I didn't really understand how weight worked so I ran around naked because I seemed to die more with armour on and rolling felt weird. I was naked, other than rings and weapons, essentially the whole game. I finished the game at about level 130 so I feel like maybe they throw too many souls at you? That level seems ridiculously high and I didn't farm souls other than to buy weapons/spells.
After playing what felt like half the game with just the fireball spell and a longsword I put points into INT and boy they casted fast! If only Pyromancy felt that quick. I ended up with a heaps of Sorcery spells when I hit a wall without any Pyromancy. After dying about twenty times to the Rat Vanguard I thought I might need more than just a longsword and one fireball spell.
Bosses were mixed. Most were difficult as to be expected. A couple made me want to kill myself (I'm looking at you Smelter Demon and Lost Sinner!) and a couple I killed first try (Covetous Demon and Guardian Dragon) which is weird for a Dark Souls game. I fought Mytha while running around in the poisoned muck just assuming this is part of Dark Souls difficulty. I liked that a lot of them could be poisoned/toxic because most games say "Yeah nah I'm a boss I'm immune to everything."
The Executioner's Chariot was an awesome fight! That boss alone makes the game worth a try.
My struggles? The main one was move buffering. I think that is what it's called anyway when you choose your action during another action so it immediately begins when the first action ends e.g roll and then heal. I died repeatedly throughout the entire game from this not happening. My character would roll and then stand still while I waited to heal or I'd roll then hit cast spell and my character would roll and then stand still…good Lord I yelled at the screen a lot.
The other struggle was not knowing that torches affected 'lock on' distance. This made me want to cry fighting the Lost Sinner and it not locking on or lock on stopping at the wrong time so I face away and get stabbed in the back. Little did I realise that you can light up the arena with your torch before you fought…
A HUGE "F YOU" to Erana's Peace or Shrine of Erana or whatever it's called where the wizard spells have unlimited range. I was dying there for hours.
"Haha enemy, I'm at the mist gate you can't hurt me…WTF?! How'd he kill me?!" That change in the rules was not a pleasant nor welcome surprise. That and me saving all my Lockstones for down where the rats are then wondering why nothing much was happening. A very multiplayer online heavy game had a lot of features I didn't/couldn't use offline.
Things they got right? Enemies stop spawning. I liked this feature because it was my source of frustration upon entering the Souls franchise. "Oh great the Capra Demon killed me in five seconds. Well I sure look forward to spending five minutes fighting my way there so I can die again in five seconds." You want to farm souls? Bonfire Ascetic.
I loved that you trade boss souls for weapons. Especially because I was playing it blind I didn't want to level up a weapon to 10+ to find out if and what boss weapon it could be.
Optional jumping when running too. I died a lot in Dark Souls 1 jumping instead of rolling so this change was great.
Something was definitely missing and I don't know if I'll play it again but overall I spent 17 NZD for at least 60 hours of entertainment so I shouldn't complain too much. The game felt a bit nicer on new players than Dark Souls 1 and again I loved the Executioner's Chariot boss.
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