Dark Souls 2 - 8/10
So I finally spent enough time with the game to rate it. There are some things that are better in the new one but there is also a bunch of stuff I don't like. The new game is bigger, has more different areas and bosses. On another hand, IMO it is a lot less original and often it actually does feel like Darks Souls 1.5 instead of a new game. A huge chunk of the bosses are just different takes on Dark Souls 1 bosses and this kinda dulls the rewarding feeling of defeating a boss coz it's not that fulfilling to kill a boss that has pretty much the same move set and weaknesses as DS1 bosses.
I do like the newer take on NG+, which provides new stuff and some differences in certain boss encounters. I also like the idea of bonfire ascetics, which gives you to opportunity to raise the intensity in the area you burn them in and literally turns that area into a NG+ and above. This gives you the opportunity to actually get certain items in NG that you can get only in NG+, for instance. This difficulty also takes effect in the next playthroughs. So if you burn 2 bonfire ascetics in NG that area's difficulty won't reset in NG+ but will carry on, so in NG+ the intensity will equal NG+++. On the other hand, this brings me to the other new thing - enemies have a certain amount of respawns before they just stop spawning, which will force you to burn bornfire ascetics to reset the enemies in this area but it raises the difficulty. So if you're farming for certain materials or items or just want to grind after 10-15 runs you'll be forced to use a bonfire ascetic and whether this is a positive change is definitely questionable.
I'm also not very impressed with the new upgrade system and the possibility to respec your character, which kinda defeats the purpose of creating new builds and experimenting with stats. Upgrade resources are a lot easier to obtain in Darks Souls2. While in DS1 there were only 2 titanite slabs per playthrough, which severely limited the possibility to upgrade your gear or experiment with new one, in Dark Souls 2 you can easily upgrade a whole bunch of stuff even in NG. The items that remain really hard to upgrade are the boss soul ones but most of them aren't that good anyway. Twinkling titanite is also kinda hard to obtain in enough quantities but is possible to get through the use of bonfire ascetics. Also now most weapons can just be upgraded to +10 and at any time can be infused using a specific stone to do elemental or other damage. That does decrease the scaling of the items, so isn't something that should really be used after certain level of character progression.
Another thing that has changes is the addition of a main hub like in Demon's Souls although for me the fact that every time you need to level up you have to talk with an NPC that has the same annoying stuff to say every single time is a huge step back from DS1. Also gear now breaks A LOT faster than in the previous games and you can't fix it yourself, you'll have to go to a blacksmith for that or obtain repair powder to keep you items in better condition but it's costly and not readily available. Otherwise everything that isn't broken is fixed on its own while resting at bonfires. This change though makes a lot of weapons not viable for pvp. For instance, a washing pole will break in like 10 hits in certain areas and the new fast 2-handed weapons the twinblades are only usable in pvp as the break after like 2 heavy attacks.
A nice new addition is the possibility to actually dualwield weapons. Of course, unless one of the weapons has a parrying move you'll need to get good in dodging attacks. Also if you cover 1.5x of the stat requitements of the equipped weapons you can use powerstance, which lets you attack simultaneously with both weapons. A nice touch is the fact that such attacks will cost you double the amount of stamina, so it's not something that can be used lightly or feels OP.
PvP is kinda broken right now coz there is a lot of OP stuff. You'll literally just run mainly into magic and pyro spammers coz these are the strongest builds right now. Pyromancies are EXTREMELY OP, which now is leading to the ridiculous "git gud" trend where magic and pyro spammers are just griefers, who without much effort 1-shot even very good players and spam their massage box with the stupid gg reference. Another new thing that needs fixing asap is poise, which doesn't work like in the previous Souls games. It's pretty much useless, which is making most people just go for the fastest possible weapons like claws, caestus, bare knuckles and they can just beat you to a pulp as even a single hit with a fist will stagger and stunlock even people wearing the best armors in the game like full Havel.
Overall Dark Souls2 is still a Souls game and has its strong points and moments but IMO there is a whole bunch of stuff that needs patching and the merits of some of the new changes are questionable.
Edited by kova4a - 4/3/14 at 11:54am