With the release of Dark Souls III imminent worldwide, despite being live in Japan since March 24th, many fans are gearing up to tackle what is sure to be another difficult, rewarding journey constructed by legendary developer FromSoftware. With series director Hidetaka Miyazaki back at the helm (the man responsible for overseeing the development of …
Following in the footsteps of its divisive forebears, Dark Souls II is an incredibly challenging and endlessly atmospheric action-RPG. Now, with three expansions under its already sizable belt, Dark Souls II is about the most bang a player can expect for their buck for this gaming year, and even though it lacks the power and punch of the original Dark Souls, it has enough new elements and content to easily justify itself. A brutal and beautiful ride, Dark Souls II is an easy pick for my favorite game of the year.
Due to its propensity for conflict, war has long been a popular backdrop for video games but never has it been seen like this. Filled with humanity, sorrow, and honesty, Valiant Hearts: The Great War uses the true history of World War I to weave together the stories of its protagonists (ranging from a German soldier, to a French POW, to a Belgian combat nurse). The gorgeous graphics, evolving gameplay, and original design only serve to make the experience offered here more enticing. Thoroughly moving and steeped with loss, Valiant Hearts is not a game you will soon forget.
It’s time to check your backs for the Darksign because with the release of Crown of the Ivory King, From Software has essentially closed the book on Dark Souls II. This final episode in the Lost Crowns DLC takes place amid the snowy vistas of a frozen kingdom, and levies some of the heaviest challenges yet.
It’s pretty well known by now that the mantra of the Souls series is “Prepare to die.” Yet, one finds one’s self continuously shocked at the near-trolling levels of effort that From puts into killing the player via tactics of shock, awe, and fear. It would seem that the most appropriate citation is that of the opening cutscene of Things Betwixt, where the three former Firekeepers just laugh at you before you even begin your journey…almost as if they know what kind of horrific traumas are to come.
From the very first trepidatious steps of the new Dark Souls II DLC, the notoriously tough series once again reminds players where they are, and what they can expect from such a terrible place. Crown of the Sunken King, the first of three planned expansions to be released this summer, begins in an area filled with gaping chasms, a dozen different paths, and a waiting cavalry of brutally clustered enemies (many of which are playing dead). Talk about a welcome mat!
Few games in this era have had the cojones to challenge gamers in the manner that the Souls series has dared to, and fewer still have allowed players to have so much freedom to build and define a narrative. Who is your character? You decide. What are his/her goals? That’s up to you. Who will live, and who will die among the supporting characters? The choice is yours.