Dark Souls is a kind of game series that lets me fuck around the world without the game telling me to go to the next objective or I have to play it faster because my score is based on my time it took to traverse an area or kill the boss. This is one of the reasons why I always pick up a Souls game to unwind and relax and close it when I’m done.
And out of the 3 Souls game, I love Dark Souls 2 more than DaS3, especially more than DaS1.
The common problem in games with multiple sequels is you’ll get used to the combat mechanics so most encounters are tedious rather than engaging. That’s my problem with Dark Souls 3. The combat is faster, the mechanics are refined (or streamlined), and familiar because the combat is basically an improved version of Dark Souls 1’s combat. While not a bad thing, it’s too familiar and made DaS3 a bit less difficult to beat. Though I do admit some of the bosses were very challenging.
In Dark Souls 2, the combat is very different with attacks that don’t automatically track when the enemy moves to the side, attacks cost more stamina, you get movement and attack speed penalties when recovering from a depleted stamina bar, and so on. The mechanics were so different, I had to relearn the game since the typical tactics to dispatch enemies in Dark Souls 1 do not work in Dark Souls 2. This what made the second game so fun to play — Everything is new and different, and sadly this is one of the reasons why people resent this game (apart from sub-par graphics and level design).
Multiplayer was very active when the game came out and I get to help out my friends or my friends help me traversing areas with voice chat enabled. My friends and I are definitely experienced players, however the uniqueness of DaS2’s mechanics forced us to adapt and when it got too annoying, we summoned each other. I think one of my memorable coop session was with 2 friends traversing Dragon Sanctuary, and man, things were intense and for the first time in my experience, we planned out on how to take down the boss and shared resources. It couldn’t be done in DaS1 because it has no fluent way to communicate with other players.
The level designs, for the most part, are great. Not as great as DaS1’s inter-connectivity, but it’s certainly way better than DaS3’s. In DaS1 and DaS2, you are unconsciously led to a predetermined path, but the beauty of this is once you reached a certain point in the game, you are free to choose which area to traverse next. In DaS2, you are funneled to the Forest of the Fallen Giants and then to Lost Bastille, but after you cleared the game and have knowledge on where to find gear or items, you can start the new game by jumping down the pit and into the Gutter. The level design in DaS3 is wider, has lots of nooks and crannies, but ultimately you’re just going in one direction.
When I’m playing DaS3, you’ll end up playing mostly solo and coop isn’t really fun because majority of the players are already veterans of the series. There’s less incentive and it’s more of a nuisance having someone tailing you. DaS2 was smart to change its combat mechanics and encouraged people to put on their training wheels back on… And watch assholes like DSP make a fool of himself because he keeps complaining it’s the games fault why he’s dying all the time.
Ultimately I love Dark Souls 2 because it felt different and new, and I had great memories during coop. It’s an inferior game overall compared to DaS1 and DaS3, but it was DaS2 that kept me coming back and love the Souls trilogy.
— SHiN @ Lazy Lily Fansubs