I’ve been watching the RKG boys play through Dark Souls II, and it’s reignited the debate about whether the game is good or terrible in ‘the community’*. There are the ones who insist it’s terrible, then cite the one thing that gets oft-repeated in the community–the physical impossibility of going from the end of Earthen Peak (up an elevator) to the Iron Keep. There’s just no way the two places could coexist the way the game places it, but here’s the thing. I never noticed as I was playing. I only learned about it from watching a video on what’s wrong after said video was mentioned in a playthrough I was watching. Now, it’s repeated as gospel as why the game is so terrible. I mean, yeah, it’s not great, but I wonder how many people would have even noticed without the videos on it. There are other things that the game can be rightfully dinged for in this same category (in the original game, if you see it, you can get to it. Everything is connected in an organic way, and it’s amazing), but this one single item isn’t the trump card that other people think it is.
In the post on the RKG FB page, it became clear that a big part of the problem was the expectations for DS II. I’ve mentioned before how sequels are often in an impossible position because half the people just want the original thing, only more of it and make it better somehow! Other people want an improvement, but they still don’t want you to skew too far from the original formula. Some people who played Demon’s Souls first think it’s a much better game than Dark Souls, and they cite the lack of invention in Dark Souls as the main reason. For people who didn’t play Demon’s Souls (me), Dark Souls was so innovative and they had never played anything like it. If you played Demon’s Souls first, then Dark Souls was more about refinements and pulling it all together. There were a few changes such as the interactive worlds, but a lot of it was streamlining the ideas from the first game and making it a bit more mainstream.
Side note: reviews for Sekiro are coming out by the people who got it before the release, and I asked Ian to tell me in general what the reaction has been. I’m trying very hard to go into it spoiler-free, which is really difficult. He said that people have said it’s the most accessible of the FromSoft games while still being satisfyingly difficult. I’m all in! I mean, I would be, anyway, obviously, but I feel more at ease with the positive reviews than I would be otherwise.
Anyhoo, back to DS II and the boys. In their latest episode, they just finished Huntsman’s Copse, and I want to talk about this area because it shows both the best and the worst of the game as well as how an idea that is good in conception doesn’t always translate well into reality. There is a room in the game that you notice as you’re going to Heide’s Tower of Flame. You may or may not notice that there is a post in the middle of the room that has a hole in it. You may or may not notice that there is a path that is barred off. If you are me, you don’t think twice about it until later when you’re at a loss as to what to do. I’m a bit fuzzy on my first playthrough, but I think I looked up what I needed to do with that room. Strap in, lads and lasses, because it’s a bumpy ride.