Thursday, 24 July 2014

First Impressions - Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King

Excitement. Crown of the Sunken King is the first of a trio of DLCs being released for Dark Souls 2. I’ve only been playing for about 10 minutes, but already that feeling of anticipation and trepidation have returned. That feeling that you only get on your first playthrough of any Souls game.

First of all, you needn’t fear missing out on it without help. Rather than the ridiculously complex series of events needed to trigger the Artorias of the Abyss DLC for the first Dark Souls, this DLC is laid out pretty clear after a boss that you need to kill in order to advance in the main story. Like me, you’ll probably kill the boss, move into the next room and think “Hm…that wasn’t there before.” Go take a look and poof! You’re there! Nice and simple – an improvement if you ask me.

Now, if you’re as big of a Souls fan as I am, you should get goosebumps within the first few seconds of entering the new area. A vast landscape sprawled out before you, full of crumbling structures. Undead skeletons wielding huge clubs lumbering towards you…and oh yeah, did I mention the great freaking dragon that jumps out of the rock above you as you make your way merrily down the path? It took me back to the many deaths at the fiery jaws of the Black Dragon Kalameet in Oolacile. I still grate my teeth at just the mention of his name. Bring it on Dragons. I’m ready for round two.

All of this comes at you before the first bonfire, but the DLC does go easy on you a little until you get there, so that you can unlock it as a fast travel location, saving you from making the journey from outside the DLC every time you die. That’s surprisingly considerate of a Souls game, but don’t worry! For all you fans of a challenge, it throws everything at you from there. Only a souls game can kill me in twenty different ways in less than five minutes.

But fear not! The ever helpful Souls online community is at hand. Summon signs aplenty rest around the bonfire, and I was being summoned within seconds of laying down a sign myself – y’know, because I was too scared to go on myself, so I decided to scout out the area as a phantom first.

10 minutes in and I’m hooked. I haven’t yet met one, but I have every confidence that the bosses I face will be epic, well designed, and punishing as hell, but hey, isn’t that what we love about the series? A full review will go up when I feel I’m far enough in, but until then, happy dying! Just don’t do what I did and go in for the first time at NG+4…

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