Post three about Dark Souls II versus Elden Ring. Well, mostly about DS II/Scholar of the First Sin (SotFS). Here is the second post about it; it includes a link to the first. I really do think FromSoft had a thankless task in making the sequel, but I must admit, post-Elden Ring, the game suffers in comparison.
I don’t know if it’s because I had the medical trauma in between, but the negatives of the game are really popping out this time. Remember that I have played it dozens of times, though not as many as I’ve played DS III, and I prefer to play it (the sequel) over the original. Mainly because you can fast-travel from the start, tbh. Yes, the first half of the original game is objectively better than this game, but that doesn’t make this game bad. And, for as much as people want to faff about how great the first game is, we all know that the second half is, well, trash. Miyazaki didn’t have enough time to finish it because the big wigs at…Namco? I think? were pushing him to finish it. So, he half-assed areas like Lost Izalith (for which he publicly apologized) and could not do his true vision on the later-game bosses.
It’s funny because when Ian finished the game for the first time recently, he talked about the second half because he had never played it before. He had made it up to Ornstein and Smough before quitting. So listening to him talk about the second half of the game as he played it was very interesting. He didn’t have the preconceived notions about it even though he had heard the second half was shit, so he was able to see more of ethe wacky beauty of it than other people. He appreciated the different aesthetics of the different areas, which actually made sense. Those of us who have played the game dozens of times are inured to the first look at it because, well, we’ve played it dozens of times.
Seeing it through his eyes made it new again. And, yes, baby skeletons day care (Nito-land), spooky ghost town (New Londo Ruins), Seath’s whole deal (Duke’s Archives and Crystal Cave), and lava-land (Lost Izalith) are very distinct and you can instantly tell in which area you are in a glance.
And to be fair, he crushed the second half of the game, rarely getting stuck for very long. He did have trouble with the DLC, but that was to be expected. As is the FromSoft tradition, The DLC is ten times harder than the base game. It’s for the true fans, which makes me interested to see what they’ll do with Elden Ring DLC. Sekiro DLC wasn’t really DLC. I mean, it was, but it was just making the bosses harder already, like they needed that, and a few other things I didn’t care about. Then again, Sekiro is my least-favorite From game of all time. Not the worst From game, but my least-favorite.
It’s funny because everyone says you can’t beat Sekiro if you don’t get the combat system down. Incorrect! You most certainly can, but you’re not going to have fun doing it. I am living proof of that. I hear about people gushing over the game, saying it’s like a rhythm game once you get the hang of it. Yeah, well, I suck at those as well, so there you go. It’s a spatial issue and a reflex issue. I cannot get the timing right for the life of me. I spent hours practicing parrying on the Silver Knights in Anor Londo in the first game. By the end, I was able to parry them 75% of the time. Which wasn’t amazing, let me tell you.
I try every game to master the system. I honestly do. I have practiced the parrying to mostly no avail. I cannot riposte in Bloodborne for the life of me, but I found a workaround–using the Augur of Ebritas will stun an enemy, allowing me to get the visceral with a much more generous window.
Then, Sekiro, I still have nightmares about trying to master the deflect in that game. I tried so hard, but I could not do it except by accident. Of course I kept trying throughout the game because it really makes the game easier, but I just could not do it. I had to whittle away at the health of every boss, which made for grim times. Doing Demon of Hatred and Isshin, the Sword Saint through attrition was a test of my patience. Beating Isshin was the best feeling I’ve ever had in a video game, truly transcendent, but I knew that it was a once in a lifetime feeling. It’s funny because Luke from Outside Xtra made a quip about how it wasn’t fair that he could fight a boss a million times, die every time but one, and the one time you beat the boss, that’s the last time you fight. He pointed out that it wasn’t really fair because if you went back, the boss could probably kick your ass again.
I did not enjoy my trip back to Sekiro. I tried to do Father (Owl) again, and he thoroughly kicked my ass. Many times. Not only was he kicking my ass (on NG+), but I wasn’t even making a dent in his first health bar. I had some thought in the back of my mind about getting the plat, but if I was going to do that, I had to kill Father (Owl) again, which seemed impossible. Plus Isshin, which, ha, no. I gave up on it and never went back.
I really wish Bloodborne would come to PC. I don’t know if it ever will, but if it did, then I would actually consider platting it. Except for the dreaded Chalice Dungeons. I hate them. A lot. First of all, they are so samesy that it’s boring. Much like the catacombs/caves in Elden Ring, but worse because they seemed designed to be the same. At least in Elden Ring, there’s a different gimmick to each one. In Bloodborne, they’re all the fucking same. And I get hopelessly lost wandering around in them.
I didn’t even bother with the parry in DS II or III. Even though they are slightly different in each game, they’re just not for me. I much prefer the combat in Elden Ring because of the guard counter and the jump attack. You can still parry in the game, but it’s much less necessary because of the wide variety of options.
In comparison to Elden Ring, Dark Souls II loses much luster. Dark Souls III can hold its own, but Dark Souls II (SotFS) pales in comparison.