Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King

I don't have a full review for you today since I've been busy moving to a new apartment, but I can share some quick thoughts on the first episode of Dark Souls II's DLC.
The Crown of the Sunken King is quite strong. Just entering the DLC area is intimidating - you hear the sound of heavy breathing as you walk down the tunnel, and knowing Dark Souls I was worried I'd unknowingly walk into a giant mouth or something. Then you get a gorgeous view of a huge underground pyramid, followed by a bit of a surprise.

The level design is great, with areas that are intricate and maze-like. Enemies are fantastic, with some tricks and surprises I haven't seen before (like a spirit I thought was a player ghost at first, and almost got me killed). The drakeblood knights have crazy AI and feel almost like fighting another player with all their rolling and timed swipes. Jester Thomas is ludicrous. And there's an optional boss that fans immediately dubbed the "gang bang", which is kind of apt given how the fight is organized (ie you'd better bring friends).

The two big bosses have some interesting features. Elana adds some new lore mysteries - why does she summon a knight with this very particular appearance? Her boss weapons hint that she may be another fragment of Manus, or at least has some kind of strong tie to the Dark. And the aggression and diversity of the final boss is very reminiscent of Kalameet, an excellent DLC boss from the first Dark Souls' DLC pack. I was very lucky to have some good co-op partners for that one since I nearly flipped out when the boss appeared. I mean, I saw it coming, but it's pretty dangerous looking.
And I can't finish this without mentioning the Puzzling Stone Sword, one of the coolest weapons in the entire game (if you can find it). It's got quite the move set.

So yes, I enjoyed this DLC, and I'm looking forward to the next two crowns!

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