mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli
mordicai

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Dark Souls II.



I wrote my playthough of Dark Souls II as a four-part game review for Tor.com. If you've talked to me at all this year, you know that I can't shut up about Dark Souls. It is my favorite PS3-XBox-era game by about a mile, & you remember how much I liked Skyrim, too. I describe it as ICO only instead of a little kid with a stick & someone who helps you that you need to protect, you are a dangerous killing machine & you still need someone to help & protect you. Rumors of it's difficulty are over-rated; it is hard, yes, but it is hard like an old NES game. If you die, you typically deserved it. Hard & fair. Oh, not fair in the sense that the whole thing isn't designed to cheap-shot you with a one hit kill trap that is hidden around a corner & oh, why not say, guarded by a ton of minions, no, scratch that, let's just use a miniboss from earlier in the game & make a mob of them. Just that when you figure that out, & go back later, & snipe them from across the room with poison arrows? You are totally justified. Two other things stand out, besides that it is gorgeous & fun-- that alone is enough to put it on par with something like Skyrim. One is the very clever conceit of the game; you are Undead, & when you die in the game, you don't just use video game logic to respawn at a save point. No, the game is autosaving all the time; when you die, you die, & are weakened, & are sent back to the last mystic bonfire you rested at, where your body reforms. & then? All your unspent Souls-- the experience/gold mechanic-- are left on the bloodstain where you died. You have to fight your way back there to reclaim them...& only your most recent stain stays, so you can lose them all pretty easily. Danger! Second, the co-op mechanic is amazing. Listen, I hate playing games against savant-like twelve year olds & couch-bound gamer addicts who just want to shout slurs while camping out & head-shotting you ever time you re-spawn. This isn't like that. So, in Dark Souls I & II, the world is flickering out, the Fire is guttering. Time & space have started to decay, to slip over each other, so that the last remaining parallel realities are clumped & crashing together. You are the Chosen Undead; but there are others, in other worlds. You can Summon-- & be Summoned by-- those other messiahs, to help fight in their world, & learn from them how to defeat the traps & bosses in yours. Or...you can be Invaded by them-- or Invade-- & see to kill the other to steal their Souls & Humanity. So listen, the whole thing is very fun. Go read about it if you like.

Tags: dark souls, dark souls ii, tor.com
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