I’m a big fan of the Dark Souls games, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of Dark Souls 2. I’ve only put in around 15 hours so I haven’t seen too much of the game yet. Had I not gotten the game two days late and restarted my character five times I would probably be farther along. Still, there’s a lot of interesting changes worth noting, both positive and negative.
Spells Require Stamina
This is actually a pretty big deal. Your spells still have a limited number of charges but they also require stamina to use. So after you run away or roll to the side to avoid a nasty blow you have to regain enough stamina to cast your spells. This is pretty much why I decided not to try playing a caster on my first go through.
Cool New Covenants
I really like most of the new Covenants they added to the game. There is a decent mix of co-op and pvp along with some new PvE covenants. There’s a Champion one, for example, that makes the game more difficult and disables all summoning so you have to do it yourself. Another interesting one is the Blue Sentinals, a PVP covenant that summons people to defend members of the Way of the Blue co-op covenant when they get invaded by enemy players.
This a record of all the souls you have acquired. I believe the idea of it is to prevent people from making low-level characters with powerful gear to invade the worlds of new players. Some people also claim that this prevents co-op summoning if the range is above 500k or something like that. It seems that nobody is exactly sure about the mechanics of this but it sure is bothering a lot of people.
Dual Wielding, Improved Weapons, Equipment, etc.
Now you can dual wield weapons. I still prefer using a shield but it is sometimes cool to swing multiple swords around. Some weapons have also be greatly improved like the whip, which actually has a totally awesome animation and has good damge and range, and they’ve even added some new ones like the Darth Maul style double-blade. Another interesting change I noticed was the ability to wear up to four rings which really opens up some more options for you. Your encumbrance is also a lot more forgiving this time since the “fat roll” happen unless you are at 70% or more capacity.
This is a pretty frustrating change. Your equipment durability will come into play way more than it did in Dark Souls. What is really confusing is why some of the more interesting weapons have such low durability. The whip and the double-blade will break ridiculously fast to the point of almost being useless. The durability is repaired if you sit at a bonfire, providing it isn’t already broken which requires a visit to the blacksmith. Even so, if you set it with such a weapon you better bring some alternate options because these things will wear out incredibly fast.
Limited Respawns on Enemies
Once you clear enemies a certain number of times, 15 or something, they will stop spawning. Initially this didn’t bother me much since I could still farm souls by getting summoned for bosses. However when I wanted to farm a specific mob for gear I was pretty much screwed after they stopped spawning and my item hadn’t dropped. You can remedy this by burning a special item in the area’s bonfire but all it does it reset the count while making the bad guys more difficult. Not a terrible trade-off but I have yet to find any of these.
Overall Initial Impression
I am really enjoying the game but there are a lot of things that need work. So far there doesn’t seem to be anything that couldn’t be tweaked with a patch, though. After I’ve put in a few dozen more hours I might get around to writing a full on review but for now I’d say it’s totally worth picking up if you are a fan of the series or are looking for a really challenging action RPG.