Dark Souls II (Xbox 360) game review

A return to the Dark Souls roots

Xbox Dark Souls II
  • Xbox Dark Souls II
  • Xbox Dark Souls II
  • Xbox Dark Souls II
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Retains the same challenging yet addictive gameplay
  • Hub layout helps to streamline the experience

Cons

  • Very difficult and frustrating at times
  • Solutions and directions are not always clear

Bottom Line

Dark Souls II does little to tone down the tough gameplay the earlier instalments were renowned for. Fans of the series won’t be disappointed, though newbies may also want to get in on the action.

Would you buy this?

The original Dark Souls quickly gained a reputation for being a punishing and yet a rewarding game experience. Its spiritual predecessor, Demon’s Souls, continued the tradition of combining medieval adventuring with a steep learning curve that often concludes with a crushing death.

The series now returns to its roots with Dark Souls II. Some games may become progressively approachable with each new instalment, though that rule does not apply to this gaming franchise.

Back in black

Like the earlier two titles, Dark Souls II is a third person role-playing game set in a fantasy themed world. You are cursed with the fate of losing your memories and becoming one of the many undead that populate the landscape and feed off the souls of the living.

Hope for you lies in a distant land, where there may or may not be a solution to your dilemma. It will not be an easy journey, and suffering defeat at any point means restarting your adventure over again.

Hub system

Dark Souls II makes the tough adventure more manageable with a hub area that allows you to keep track of the various zones and boss fights. Bonfires act as warp points, so you can return to completed zones and bosses for further levelling up if needed.

Past games tended to be a bit overwhelming due to enemies constantly respawning, though Dark Souls II provides you with a bit more breathing room. Defeating enemies a number of times temporarily stops them from reappearing; however, this can be circumvented by returning to the area if you intend to level up.

All alone

The game provides as little support as possible to strengthen the already prevalent feeling of isolation. The narrative itself is told through the various people you encounter throughout your journey and not through commonly used cut-scenes.

This minimalist approach lends to an atmospheric setting, though it can be a difficult at times to know what the next objective is, as well as where it is located. Some aspects of the game require you to interact with your surroundings in a certain way, which will likely push you to look at online message boards for troubleshooting.

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