Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Namco Bandai
From Software
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
March 11, 2014

The world of Drangleic beckons. It doesn’t invite you to casually explore its many mysteries. It doesn’t extend a helping hand to guide you across the diverse, intertwining landscape. In fact, it doesn’t care in the slightest if you sink or swim. And yet, this unforgiving atmosphere is strangely intoxicating; you continue to take risks because indeed, every action is a risk. This constantly invigorating balancing act between life and death drives you forward, impelling you to discover and conquer. It’s an experience that demands patience and perseverance and if you meet that demand, the rewards will be great.

The opening cinematic is one of the best you’ll see on last-gen hardware. It’s meticulously detailed and designed, and it sets the stage for the epic quest laced with just a smidgen of hope. The in-game graphics aren’t quite as stellar, of course, but From Software focused on creating a highly engaging and immersive world, full of intrigue. In that, they succeeded. Glorious sunsets, dark, dank dungeons, creepy forests, gothic-style arenas; it’s all begging for your participation. The lighting isn’t all that dynamic and the textures aren’t overly impressive but again, DSII excels when one analyzes the whole, as opposed to individual pieces.

The sound is even better, because it solidifies the forbidding environment with every step you take. A haunting score accompanies your exploration, and the soundtrack kicks up a notch during periods of intense struggle. In addition to stellar music, we get capable voice performances that complement the game’s palpable aura, which permeates every nook and cranny. The NPCs have this solemn tone mixed with a subtle hopeless irony that clearly says, “Oh, you won’t get out of here alive.” Special effects are a big highlight, too, as every strike of a weapon, every roar of an enemy that puts your teeth on edge; it all just works .

Death is inevitable. How you choose to approach your situation after you succumb to the forces of evil is what matters. When you begin your harrowing new adventure, you will select your class (I chose Knight) and set off on a journey filled with uncertainty and countless dangers. One of the first immense dangers you face is a grayish-white beast that resembles a cross between a bear and a manatee. I figured I’d give him a few swipes with my sword. "Maybe I can take him,” I stupidly said to myself. Well, he picked me up and ate me and I just laughed. At the same time, I got that ol’ familiar “okay, now I gotta kill this thing” feeling.