Dark Souls II is a third-person role-playing game developed by Japanese developer FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Games Inc. for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 on March 11, 2014. A PC version released on April 25, 2014. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, a definitive version of the game will be released on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in April 2015.
It is the third game in the Souls franchise and the sequel to cult hit Dark Souls. However, the game is not a direct sequel to the original game and instead takes place in a new land, 'Dragleic.' Dark Souls II is also the first Souls game to not be directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki. He instead acted as a supervisor and the game was directed by Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura.
Dark Souls II was announced during the 2012 SpikeTV VGAs on December 7, 2012 with a CGI trailer. FromSoftware confirmed that the game would be released for PS3, X360, and PC, via their official Twitter page and website.
The new directors stated that the game would be 'more straightforward and more understandable.' This lead many to believe that the game would be made easier or 'dumbed down' but Miyazaki, followed up these statements and reassured fans that the 'core' of the series would be protected.
Gameplay in Dark Souls II largely follows on from that of Dark Souls, with some minor and major changes. These include:
As in Dark Souls, a player may be in human form or undead form; but, in Dark Souls II, each successive death while in undead form will incur a cumulative penalty to the player's maximum health, up to a maximum penalty of 50%. This deteriorating undead process can be reversed with certain items, and the health penalty can be mitigated with a certain ring.
While in undead form, the player's character will gradually decay in physical appearance, including skin going green, face becoming disfigured, and hair falling out. As they get closer to the 50% HP drop, the cosmetic effects become more pronounced.
Players may now be invaded in both human form and in undead form. Invasions are slightly more common in human form, though undead are no longer immune.
Summoned ally phantoms now have a limited time duration before they are automatically dismissed; a phantom's time limit will decrease faster the more enemies they kill.
Stats have been altered in many small and large ways, such as removing Resistance, adding Adaptability and Agility, transferring spell casting speed from Dexterity to Attunement, adding scaling for Bleed and Poison effects to Dexterity, seemingly adding elemental damage scaling to Intelligence and Faith, and other unconfirmed changes.
The speed of the player's rolling is no longer entirely dependent on their equipment weight, but depends instead on their Agility stat, which is described as affecting "swiftness of movement," including parrying speed, shield readying speed, and possibly more. Players will also roll faster if their encumbrance is under 70%, and faster still when under 50%.
Player inventory has been made denser, with more information on screen at once and a grid view of items instead of a list view. Like in Dark Souls, the player can carry as many items as they wish without incurring an encumbrance penalty. Encumbrance only applies to items being worn, such as weapons, armor and rings.
The Bonfire system from Dark Souls has been expanded. The player can burn certain items for beneficial effects, and is able to teleport to any bonfire in the world from the offset (in Dark Souls, the player needed a special late-game item and were limited in the number of bonfires it applied to). The only requirement is that the player must find and light the bonfire first. After meeting a certain NPC, all the bonfire locations appear on the player's menu, though will be obfuscated if the player has not found the bonfire (they can, however, use the presence of an obfuscated bonfire as a hint that one can be found in that region).
Item durability is more pronounced, but all item durability is automatically refilled whenever the player rests at a bonfire. Certain strong items have a very limited durability, making them ideal for boss fights only. If an item breaks entirely, with the durability hitting 0, they need to be repaired at a blacksmith vendor. Certain items, like rings, cost a lot of souls to repair.
There are eight classes for players to choose from. Classes determine starting stats and equipment, but cease to be meaningful once the player has progressed further into the game. This way, the player can determine their initial playstyle without being beholden to it.
"Battle-scarred warrior. High strength, dexterity. Skilled with weapons."
Starting gear: Broken Straight Sword, Iron Parma, Standard Helm, Hard Leather Armor, Hard Leather Gauntlets, Hard Leather Boots and Lifegem (x10).
"Traveling knight. High HP and resistance. Tough to take down."
"Finely skilled swordsman. Fights gracefully with strong weapons in both hands."
Starting gear: Scimitar +1, Shortsword +1, Wanderer Set and Lifegem (x20).
"Unclothed, origin unknown. Has nothing to fight with, except life affirming flesh."
Starting gear: Nothing.
There are nine covenants in Dark Souls 2 which can be joined through various NPCs or specific statues and have three ranks of devotion, which are usually increased by spending covenant items gleaned from performing tasks for the guild. Going up ranks unlocks new abilities and items, and are sometimes the only way to learn certain spells.
Bell Keepers - A PvP covenant with their own territory that allow them to invade other players' games without the use of items, but only if those players are passing through two special regions. Covenant members have a ring that lets them be summoned as a black phantom whenever the regions Belfry Luna or Belfry Sol (hidden areas accessed in Lost Bastille and Iron Keep, respectively) have players in them. The Bell Keepers can be joined by talking to the non-hostile NPC guarding both the above areas.
Blue Sentinels - A PvP covenant that targets "sinful" players, ones that often invade others or kill non-hostile NPCs. Blue Sentinels can invade the worlds of sinners with special blue versions of the usual invasion item (Cracked Blue Orbs, instead of Cracked Red Orbs). They will also appear blue in other worlds. The Blue Sentinels can be joined by defeating the optional boss in Heide's Tower of Flame and speaking to the NPC behind the fog gate.
Brotherhood of Blood - A PvP covenant that is analogous to the Darkwraiths, in that they reward straightforward invasions of other players' worlds, with the goal of killing the host player's character. The Brotherhood of Blood can be joined by defeating the optional boss in Undead Purgatory (from the Huntsman's Copse) and speaking to the NPC beyond the fog gate.
Company of Champions - A covenant intended for expert players, which has the effect of increasing the difficulty of all enemies in the game as if the player is on New Game+ or has used a Bonfire Ascetic item. The means to join this covenant can be found in the hub town of Majula.
Dragon Remnants - A PvP covenant that focuses on honorable duels, rather than invasions. The player summons a Dragon Remnants covenant member from their summon sign, which resembles a grey eye, and fights them. They earn points for the covenant by defeating this summoned dueler. In order to join the Dragon Remnants, the player must find a dragon-related item in a late-game area and return it to the rare goods vendor in Iron Keep.
Heirs of the Sun - A co-operative covenant that makes a return from Dark Souls, the members of which are colloquially referred to as "Sunbros". Rather than earning rewards for defeating players in other worlds, they instead help them. If the summoned spirit, which is golden rather than white, is able to help the host defeat the next boss or otherwise spends ten minutes in the host's world assisting them, they are rewarded with an item that boosts covenant points. They are automatically kicked out with no reward if the host character should die. The Heirs of the Sun can be joined by finding a broken statue in Harvest Valley.
Pilgrims of Dark - A single-player focused covenant that allows the player to take on very difficult bonus dungeons filled with tough NPC black phantoms, many of which are cameos of NPCs from Dark Souls. Defeating all three bonus dungeons leads to a special boss named Darklurker, which can only be fought by joining this covenant. Many of the covenant's rank rewards are Hex spells. The Pilgrims can be joined by finding the gates to the three bonus dungeons, spread across Dranglaic, and speaking to the NPC that guards them.
Rat King - A PvP covenant that allows members to invade other worlds if those players come near their turf, as set by a summon sign. Invading players then help the enemies in the area defeat the interloping player. This covenant can be joined once the player has defeated the optional boss in the Grave of Saints and spoken to the NPC beyond the fog gate.
Way of Blue - Also known as the Covenant of the Meek, joining this covenant allows friendly Blue Sentinel players to automatically be summoned into the host player's world if they get invaded by another (hostile) player. It is the easiest covenant to find, sitting conspicuously in Majula, and is intended for players new to the game.
Three downloadable content packages are currently available.
Crown of the Sunken King - released July 22nd, 2014
Crown of the Old Iron King - released August 26th, 2014
Crown of the Ivory King - released September 30th, 2014
Both current content additions feature entirely new areas, enemies, bosses, items, and equipment, as well as provide a new NPC to speak with in the Undead Crypt area of the main game.
Dark Souls II: Black Armor Edition
Dark Souls II Black Armor Edition
Free upgrade for pre-orders
Standard Game Disc
Dark Souls II Original Soundtrack
Dark Souls II: Collector Edition
Dark Souls II Collector Edition
Standard Game Disc
Dark Souls II Original Sound Track
12" Knight Warrior Figurine
Authentic Cloth Game Map
Collectable Art Book
'The Black Armor/Weapons Pack' was made available to those who pre-ordered the game from Gamestop, Amazon, EB Games Canada and Steam. These items can be found later in the game and only offer early game bonuses.
The Black Armor/Weapons Pack
Black Flamestone Dagger and Black Flamestone Parma:"A dagger and shield encrusted in Black Flamestone both found in the Gutter at Black Gulch. Even though they are heavier than a normal dagger and shield, the Flamestone crystal's unique properties make the dagger extremely sharp and give the shield high resistance to damage."
Transgressor's Staff and Transgressor's Leather Shield:"A staff and leather shield entwined with an unknown and seemingly lackluster element; these items are found in the Dark Chasm of Old. They have become a catalyst for sorcery and hex and cause an effect known as Darkness."
Yellow Quartz Longsword and Yellow Quartz Shield:"A straight sword and small shield hardened with yellow quartz both uncovered at the bottom of the Iron Keep. Even though these items can break easily due to their high level of corrosion, they are exceptionally light and their power to inflict damage has not declined."
Bound Hand Axe and Bound Wooden Shield: "A brutal hand axe and shield found in the Undead Purgatory. Both items are wrapped in chains and thorns to cause additional bleeding on enemies. Both the axe and shield have diminished in overall slashing power but their ability to deliver pain has been deliberately increased."
Homunculus Mace and Homunculus Wooden Shield: "A mace and shield with spherical protrusions found in Aldia's Keep. Although heavier-than-normal maces and shields, the hard protrusions greatly increase the striking power of the mace as well as the shield's defensive capabilities."
PC System Requirements
OS: Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8
Processor: AMD® Phenom II™ X2 555 3.2Ghz or Intel® Pentium Core ™ 2 Duo E8500 3.17Ghz
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 9600GT, ATI Radeon™ HD 5870