Need Humanity: Dark Souls 2 is the incestuous child of Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls
When it comes to Dark Souls II, I am fiercely masochistic. It doesn’t matter the form. It could be the gameplay, lore, mechanics, desire, or even self-loathing. Whatever the case, I need to know more. So when Souls community superstar VaatiVidya uploaded a video called “Dark Souls 2 – First Impressions of the Full Game,” you better believe I was drawn to it. Not only is he a monstrous Souls fan, he knows his s@#$ and is wicked on top of his lore.
While I’ve only played the Network Tests and the area around the Mirror Knight at E3 2013, VaatiVidya has played hours of the actual game. Due to this fact and that I completely respect him as a gamer, Souls fan, and video maker, I tend to take his opinions and experiences as gospel. With that said, the information posted in this article is all from him, I’m simply reporting on it.
Before I delve into it, I want to share two of VaatiVidya’s quotes from his newest video:
The game isn’t just good, it’s incredible.
I know what I want to see in a sequel and every design decision they’ve made so far impresses me in some level.
When you combine those words of praise with ENB’s (whom I also highly respect), all my fear of Dark Souls II NOT living up to my expectations fade.
Alright, let’s talk Dark Souls II. There are minor spoilers here so take heed if this bothers you.
From a general lore standpoint, the world has fallen under a horrific undead curse. Slowly, the undead become increasingly hollow until they reach the point of insanity. Through souls, one can slow this grueling process. This has been the case in all Souls games thus far. In DS2, your character is drawn to Drangleic, where there are many souls to gather.
In the Cursed Trailer, we see your character walk towards the end of a cliff and fall into a vortex. This trailer is actually the shorter version of the intro movie in DS2. The undead is the character you’ll be playing as. You awaken in strange ruins in the middle of an open spaced forest. The only direction you have is a giant blue crack in the sky and the fear (see image above). You have no weapons, little health, and shadowy dogs are nipping at your legs. Instantly you are reminded just how vulnerable you really are. If you stop you die. If you trudge on, you might just make it. So yes, you can die even before you make your character. Classic Dark Souls.
If you survive, you’ll stumble upon a hut filled with old women that just belittle you. One will ask you your name; this is where you name your character. Soon after she’ll hand you a human effigy and ask you if you can see yourself inside of it – this is where you create your character. The starting classes are as follows:
Since we’re on the topic of character creation, let’s talk starting gifts. In Dark Souls, the only starting gift worth a damn was the Pendant. I kid, I kid. It’s hard to argue not taking the Master Key unless you really want to talk to the Fair Lady or are still convinced that the Pendant does something. In Dark Souls II, the choice won’t be so easy. There's a ring that gives you a little bit of more health as well as some ominous options:
- Seed of Tree of Giants: “It was inedible.”
- Petrified Something: “Unpetrify it later on.”
- Bonfire Ascetic: “Makes enemies more difficult around bonfire.”
I’m going to go ahead and assume with the Seed or Petrified doohickey is another troll item. What if that’s what Miyazaki wants me to think? What if they are both REALLY important!? He’s ALREADY IN MY HEAD! Sigh. We’ll I’ll definitely be starting with one of those. The Bonfire Ascetic can wait until a second playthrough.
After you leave the old hags, they promise you that your journey is destined to fail. Now that you have a name and class, the game walks you through along corridor with optional fog gates for the tutorial. Apparently, there is a familiar female NPC somewhere in these gates, so go give her a friendly hello. If tutorials aren’t your thing (because Dark Souls is so easy) you can speed run through this whole area in less than two minutes. At the end of this area, go ahead and explore, as there are lots of goodies hanging around.
Then you’ll be at Majula. Think of this region as the Fire Link Shrine or Nexus of Dark Souls II. It’s a big open hub area that you’ll keep returning to throughout the game. It’s littered with NPCs to chat with, a bonfire, and most importantly, a lady by the name of the Emerald Herald. You know that hooded chick in one of the first trailers that people were speculating was Velka due to the feather? That's her. The Emerald Herald will ask you if you’re the next monarch or a pawn of fate. She is Dark Souls II's version of Demon’s Souls' Maiden in Black. While you leveled at bonfires in the Network Test, the Emerald Herald is where you’ll level now. So yeah, you’ll be returning to Majula often.
In case the Emerald Herald didn’t do enough for you already, she also gives you the first Estus flask. That is singular; she gives you literally one flask. There is a new mechanic where you collect Estus shards that you have to bring to her to make it so you can carry more at a time. Kindling a bonfire now makes it so your flasks heal more instead of allowing you carry more. It’s blowing my mind, but I think I love it.
The last things VaatiVidya reveals are two very interesting changes. First of all, there will be voice chat. This will be great for PvE assistance and strategy, terrifying in PvP scenarios, and hilarious for upcoming YouTube videos. The last tidbit is the fact that you can now wear four rings. In Dark Souls, choosing which ring to wear at what time was practically like a harsh mini game. Maybe rings will be generally weaker? For now, it's still unknown. Just think of what Giant Dads could do with two additional ring slots.
So there you have it. Thanks to VaatiVidya’s gameplay and analysis we know a WHOLE lot more about Dark Souls II with a month before release. I’m both excited and fear the fact that floodgates may be open as far as information is concerned. Will we have to choose between which videos to watch and which not to? Sure, there are some spoilers in his video, but they're tiny and it’s still completely worth it to watch. The video is linked below, do yourself a favor and watch it. If you haven’t watched ALL of his lore videos, you might want to check them now (I heart this one).
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ