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E3 2013: Dark Souls II Hands-On Impressions
Posted on June 25, 2013 by

When Dark Souls came out, it took everyone by surprise. From the hardcore to the mainstream gamer was talking about how dark yet beautiful it looks. They loved the feeling of finally conquering a section of the world, to only later on cuss the game when they die horribly by an enemy ambush. The story was deep and fulfilling, yet vague and mysterious. I could go on and on about the game, so you can check out my review of the game if you want know how I feel about the game. As Dark Souls II was announced, everyone including myself, was worried that things would be changed to make it easier for those who complained that the game was too hard, the story too vague and so forth. During E3 I had a chance to get some hand on time with DSII. 

The first thing that I asked the rep about the game was "What is the story? How is this related to DS?" All he told me was that developer From Software were keeping tight lipped about the story, but they promised that it is just as deep as DS. To begin, there are four pre-made classes: Warrior, Sorcerer, Temple Knight and the Dual Swordsman. While the Warrior and Sorcerer are similar to the classes in DS, the Temple Knight and Dual Swordsman are brand new classes that players can create as they level up. This dispels the thought that there would be just one class to play as. To give myself a challenge, I decided to play as the Dual Swordsman as I explored the cathedral that was being demoed.

The Dual Swordsman, of course, wields two swords:  a long sword in one hand and a short sword in the other. The first thing that I noticed is that he doesn't have a parry. The rep explained that the parry for him was taken out and replaced with an attack, meaning that his fighting style is true dual wielding. L1 and L2 are his attacks for the short sword while R1 and R2 are for the long sword. Besides not having a parry, the Dual Swordsman has a third attack stance. This third stance allows him to be able to attack using both swords at the same time. I also found out that you could combo each attack into each other making combat more versatile. But that versatility comes at a price, as I soon found out while exploring the cathedral. You see, the Dual Swordsman uses a lot of speed and agility in order to make his strikes count. But he has a weak defense and constitution, i.e. low health. So when a giant armored turtle creature attacked me twice, I was already dead. You really have to move around a lot, land multiple strikes and pull back before you get hit when playing as the Dual Swordsman. After the fifth death, I decided to get serious and picked the Warrior.

The Warrior in Dark Souls II is similar to the Knight in DS, with the only difference is that the Warrior is a bit bulkier. He comes equipped with a shield, bow, long sword, short sword and a claymore. It was with the Warrior that I first noticed that the inventory selection on the D-pad was streamlined. Now instead to having to go into my inventory menu and select an item to put on the D-pad, everything shows up already. Grant it that they didn't show the proper equip screen, so this might have been a place holder of some sorts. Anyway off to go kill monsters as the fearless Warrior. As the Warrior, I had a much easier time dealing with enemies due to having a high defense, high vitality and most important of all, armor and a shield. I quickly bypassed the second area as it would have had me surrounded five to one and proceeded to the boss battle, the Mirror Warrior. 

At first glance, the Mirror Warrior just seems like a typical oversized giant. But he has a few tricks that he uses to kill. One of those is a magical lighting attack. Getting hit with that will stun for a few second while he rushes over to smash. His mirror shield is actually a magic time that creates clones of you. This clone will attack you at the same time of the Mirror Warrior smashes or when he cast his spell. He proved to be a very tough boss, so much so that even the QA from Namco has yet to beat him. After many attempts I couldn't beat him as well.

After taking everything that I experience and was told, Dark Souls II is set to be bigger, meaner and more painful than the first Dark Souls. To that I say, March 2014 can't come fast enough.

What's your most anticipated game for February?

Project X Zone 2
Fire Emblem Fates
XCOM 2
Dying Light: The Following
Mighty No. 9
Unravel
Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2
Megadimension Neptunia VII
Firewatch
Far Cry Primal
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