Dark Souls 2 – A Game Without Soul?
Like many of you I was so overjoyed at the release of Dark Souls 2, it was hyped up to be an amazing game, and while I played it I certainly thought so, but I’ve recently gone back to the first Dark Souls and it’s really made me think harder about its successor. While Dark Souls 2 is a very fun and interesting game, as far as the souls universe is concerned I don’t think it was on par with Dark Souls or Demon Souls for that matter.
The things that made me truly love the original Dark Souls were things like the unique boss design, the varied little mini-bosses you’d fight throughout any given area and the fact that the world itself seemed void of life and hope. Dark Souls is a game with a rich atmosphere which instilled a feeling of dread, weather you were in the deep, dark catacombs below or the bright, luminous beauty of Anor Londo above, you always had a feeling of a creeping darkness and decay.
Dark Souls 2 is a game with a lot more content, and yet in some ways lacking it. It’s areas are huge and expand far beyond its predecessors, but lack atmosphere and depth. Even a place like Drangleic Castle, which was talked about throughout the game as this magnificent structure of unparalleled magnificence left me somewhat disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I love Dark Souls 2 and have put in well over 200+ hours on that game, but it just didn’t entice me or my senses as its predecessor did.
I mentioned unique boss design, which I feel Dark Souls 2 lacks very much. Most of its bosses are just giant humanoids, such as The Last giant, The Dragonriders, The Old Dragonslayer, The Looking Glass Knight, etc. When compared to the Original Dark Souls which had bosses like The Gaping Dragon, The Bed of Chaos and Seath the Scaleless. The boss design and how the bosses fight in the first Dark Souls game far exceed those of its successor in terms of atmosphere, scale and overall uniqueness.
Finally I’ll talk about something that bugged me even as I was still in the midst of the hype and playing Dark Souls 2, the NPCs. There are many new summons in Darks Souls 2, and about 80% of them have no backstory or are ever mentioned by name or even have a mention in item descriptions. This really disappointed me as the first Dark Souls had many summons too, but each of them had their own backstory and many of them could be spoken to in game and made you feel a certain connection to them, such as the unforgettable Solaire of Astora. Meanwhile Dark souls 2, while it does have a few NPCs you can talk to and summon, their stories aren’t really very interesting or as noteworthy as those of the first game.
A good example that comes to mind is that during the first game there is a key moment during the game where Solaire, the most beloved NPC in the game can die if you do not save him, meaning he can no longer be summoned throughout the game. That is how you make the player care about an NPC.
This article may seem like I don’t like Dark Souls 2, except the opposite is true, I love Dark Souls 2, and thoroughly enjoyed playing it from beginning to end, and it’s through that love that I’m forced to compare the two games that I hold very dear. This is just my opinion and I would love some feedback on what you wonderful people think. Praise the sun!