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Apr 25, 2014

Dark Souls 2 Review

Dark Souls II has managed to maintain the feel of Dark Souls, while making some improvements. One of the most prominent changes is that the Estus flasks no longer serve as the go-to method of combat healing as they have been replaced by human effigies which are one-use each. Estus flasks have been relegated to the out-of-combat healing role. Changes to the combat have limited some of the more reliable strategies found in Dark Souls. Backstab fishing is less viable now as the animation no longer provides invulnerability. It is still viable in 1v1 but won't save you in a group fight. Sorcery has been improved with the speed of casts increased both at a base level and max.
The inclusion of pvp zones is an interesting change that will now provide the more PVP centric players an area for serious competition. However, the impact on the leveling or PVE minded will be minor in my opinion. Dark Souls 2 boasts a fully fledged multiplayer system that is a far cry from the days of seal spamming in Dark Souls. The covenants in Dark souls 2 are new with some familiar archetypes and some new. The AI for Dark Souls II feels smarter than that of the original. Enemies are less easily exploited thanks to some clever movesets. If you are like me and you enjoyed the approach to and depth of lore in FromSoftware's previous titles then you will be satisfied by Dark Souls 2's approach. I could keep going, but I won't.

The poor default controls and menu navigation made the initial minutes of Dark Souls II a frustrating one for me. Luckily I was able to bind everything to a more comfortable scheme once I figured out the quirks. I've written up a quick tips list below to help anyone else who is struggling.

In summation, Dark Souls II lives up to the expectations not simply of a sequel but also those of a Dark Souls sequel (an intimidating prospect indeed). It manages to promote some interesting and beneficial changes without compromising on it's heritage. Dark Souls II is a challengingly fun game that will have you cursing and laughing.

In the words of the Old Ladies, "You'll lose your souls...All of them. Over and over again."
And you'll love it.

Pros +
Challenging
True to form
Deep PVP
Rich lore

Cons +
Unintuitive default controls and menu navigation

Many people have complained about the difficulties had with the control scheme default to Dark Souls 2. As such, I have listed some important tips that will help anyone trying to navigate the murky depths of FromSoft's key binding and menu navigation.

1. right-click is your friend. When you have finished mapping the keys to how you want them, make sure to right-click (anywhere) and then press back, continue this until you are out of the menu. This is the only way to save your key binds.
2. There are two sets of controls, one for you keyboard and one for your mouse. My recommendation is to pick one input and clear the alternative as you can find yourself pulling some funky maneuvers thanks to some alt mapping. The mouse alternatives can be set to nothing, but the keyboard alternatives will need to be reassigned to another key. I'd recommend something on the numpad.
3. Roll + Jump, this combo is critical to Dark Souls. Make sure to bind both roll and jump to buttons that won't have you taking your fingers too far from your movement keys if at all.
4. If you are using a dualshock controller you will need to download driver support for it, I'd recommend xpadder or x360ce.
Verdict: 80/100
System Requirements

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