Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe to Empire!
Save up to 63%
Halo 5 Guardians
The Master Chief returns
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Dark Souls II

05 March 2014
PC, Xbox 360, PS3
From Software

LEGO Dimensions
4 Star Empire Rating
Skylanders SuperChargers
4 Star Empire Rating
Forza Motorsport 6
5 Star Empire Rating
Destiny: The Taken King
4 Star Empire Rating
Rocket League
5 Star Empire Rating

Forza Motorsport 6
5 Star Empire Rating
Rocket League
5 Star Empire Rating
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
5 Star Empire Rating
Rare Replay
5 Star Empire Rating
Batman: Arkham Knight
5 Star Empire Rating

Dark Souls II

submit to reddit

Dark Souls II (2014)
If you’re going to forge a follow-up to one of the most notoriously difficult games of all time, then there’s really only one way to go about it: make it harder. Much harder. Anyone brave enough to delve into Dark Souls II’s labyrinth of punishment will be rewarded with a dense and incomparably gratifying reminder that From Software’s take on the Western RPG is unlike anything else you’ll find in gaming.

However, don’t lose all hope yet. While there’s no denying that the sequel ups the ante in terms of challenge (the glut of hideously contorted bosses alone exceeds the original’s crop by quite some margin) the developer has done much to make its underlying mechanics more accessible. You begin perched atop the sun-soaked clifftops of Majula, Dark Souls II’s central hub, and from there the route is clearly defined, making the anxious creep between bonfires (ostensibly checkpoints that you can now fast travel between) that much less painful.

Still, every inch gained in Dark Souls II is a victory in itself. The sequel continues the series’ tradition of delivering an unparalleled sense of reward to those who persevere through its most teeth-gnawingly, expletive-provoking encounters, and once again mastering its deep combat system is key to survival. Here From Software makes a few design tweaks: frustratingly diminishing the impact of parrying; generously adjusting equipment loads so you can carry more weaponry.

But the fundamentals remain skilfully balanced, empowering players with the necessary tools to tackle whatever discouraging impasse they might encounter.
You are at war with the world of Dark Souls, and, make no mistake, it is a war of attrition. As the scale of the world peels back before your feet, it’s not unusual to find several directions with which to proceed, some, if not most, of which will be beyond your current abilitiy. And you can’t rely on old tricks either; in its predecessor players could gain a cheap advantage by repeatedly reaping souls from the same location to boost stats, but Dark Souls II assures you that no such easy escape avenue is available by making it possible to permanently eradicate an area of enemies.

FromSoftware has crafted a staggeringly vast world as original and unrelenting as the denizens it houses. Simple pathways unfurl into undiscovered locations, each concealing their own prized trinkets and concealed areas. There’s far too much to see over the course of one playthrough, encouraging players to tackle the more fiendish New Game Plus mode, which resets everything in the world and ups the difficulty substantially.

Joyously bleak and tough as adamantium nails, Dark Souls II will see you die more times than ever before. Yet, even with a litany of brutal challenges sprawled across a world more imposing that its predecessor, those courageous enough to enter will find themselves enraptured by one of the most complex and exhilarating gaming experiences currently on offer.

Reviewed by Bryan Murray

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Denis Villeneuve Talks Sicario
On his cartel thriller and the upcoming Blade Runner sequel

Tomorrowland: The Viewing Guide
Brad Bird talks through his sci-fi adventure, scene by scene

Empire Meets Ridley Scott
The great director on The Martian, Blade Runner 2 and the Prometheus sequels

My Movie Life: Justin Kurzel
The Macbeth director on how Rocky changed his life and the worst ever date movie

Life On Mars: Trips To The Red Planet
A dozen of cinema's Martian misadventures

All Hail Macbeth! The Scottish Play On Film
By the pricking of our thumbs, ten adaptations this way come(s)

10 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Toys You’ll Want To Own
Falcon quad copter? BB-8 Sphero? We’re already asking for pay raises…

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)