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About Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin

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Genre: Action | Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment | Platform: PC
Dark Souls II is the third game in the Souls series, which began with the Demon’s Souls video game. Created by Japanese developer From Software, Dark Souls II continues to refine the gameplay established in the King’s Field and Shadow Tower series on PS1 and PS2.

Like many other action RPGs, Dark Souls II puts the player in full control of a single character with the purpose of exploring a fantastical world, fighting monsters, and leveling up your character and gear. The Souls games are known for being difficult but fair, which has led them to be embraced by critics and core gamers alike.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin: Core Challenges

While the Souls games stand out in part due to their phenomenal world design and inventive multiplayer, the rewarding (and equally punishing) battle system takes center stage. Dark Souls II actually tones back the difficulty from its predecessors, but not to the point where it could be passed off as a casual game.

The challenge is apparent from the moment you begin the game. As with previous Souls games, Dark Souls II invites you to create a character and then dumps you unceremoniously into the game world. You carry armor and weapons. Life and stamina bars appear in the corner of the screen. All of the tools you need to survive Dark Souls’ brand of action-RPG combat are given to you the moment you press Start — you just don’t know it yet. You figure out how to play by playing and, of course, by dying.

In a way, Dark Souls II is almost like a rhythm game. Combat is a precise ballet in which you must understand precisely how much time and Stamina are required to perform certain kinds of strikes or dodges, whether an attack will stagger the type of enemy you’re facing, and a host of other variables that are never explained, but also never hidden. If you can understand why swinging a sword at an enemy in steel armor will do less damage than swinging a mace, Dark Souls II is the game for you. A level head will always serve you better than leveling up.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin: What We Like About It

Dark Souls II is such a massive, strange production that it defies easy categorization. Here are a few aspects of the video game that make it a must-play.

The Dark Souls II World: Every location in the world of Drangleic is connected via one gigantic map. Bonfires function as waypoints where you can rest, repair gear, and teleport to other bonfires you have visited before. A huge variety of deadly locations awaits you, rife with treasures, hidey-holes, traps and secrets to uncover.

The Dark Souls II Bosses: Surviving until you reach a new boss’s lair is an achievement, and your reward is an introductory cut scene that shows you a towering, slavering nightmare that wants to grind you into a fine paste. And, usually that little scene reveals abilities or attack patterns that will aid you in overcoming the boss. Remember, this is a game that’s meant to be beaten.

The NPCs: Dark Souls II doesn’t give up its story easily, which is one reason you should visit every NPC you can find dotted around the game world. They hold fascinating tales, items, and advice. Meeting them isn’t just a break in the ceaseless combat; it’s also a window into a rich and melancholy story. 

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin: Story / Gameplay

Dark Souls II explains the cycle of death and revival by calling your character “hollow,” or undead. You can return to life by consuming special items, but when you die in human form, you become hollow again. Combat stays the same either way. You attack, block, dodge, and perform magic and ranged attacks. Enemies drop souls when they die. Accumulate enough souls and you can level up, purchase spells, and buy or repair equipment. Your ultimate goal is to hunt down legendary creatures who are rumored to be able to reverse hollowing permanently, thus returning your character to human form.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin: Top User Questions

How does Scholar of the First Sin differ from the original Dark Souls II? 
Whether you buy Scholar of the First Sin as DLC or in the re-release bundle on last-gen consoles, the core game will be identical. The updated versions on PC, PS4, and Xbox One include all DLC, improved graphics and framerate, and dramatically different enemy placements that make the game more difficult.

Is Scholar of the First Sin a good introduction to the Souls series for new players? 
None of the Souls games share story elements, so you won’t miss anything by coming to the party late. Functionally, combat and exploration are nearly identical to previous Souls games. Given that most players seem to think Dark Souls II is easier than its predecessors, it might actually be the best place to jump in.

Do you have to participate in multiplayer? 
When online, you can interact with other players via ghosts and messages scrawled on the ground. One unique item in the game allows you to summon others or be summoned for co-op play. Another lets you invade another player’s world and fight them one-on-one. However, if you wish, you can bypass all of this by playing offline.

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