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Platform: PlayStation 3|Edition: Collector's|Change
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on March 11, 2014
The collectors edition of Dark Souls II is one of the better special editions I've collected so far. The 12 in. statue is very large for a video game collectors edition, most games come with a statue that's usually around 6-8 inches, so this one being twelve inches is a plus. Dark souls was my favorite games of the last generation and Dark Souls II has improved on some of the basic functions and combat from the original, all in a positive way. They've streamlined leaving messages and improved online capabilities which is very welcome. I was also nervous that some of the essence of dark souls lore would be lost when ever I found out Miyazaki wasn't directly working on the game, but that is not the case. The dark souls team made another amazing game and I cannot recommend it enough, its a true rpg with very little limitations on what you can build. I do wish the art book was full size but that would be my only minor complaint, other than that 5 out of 5 stars. Great job FromSoft you haven't let me down, praise the sun!
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on March 12, 2014
I made it to the town that supposedly serves as the game's primary hub and safe haven. Did a little exploring, discovered and joined a mysterious covenant even though the game warned me not to (found out later that it makes your enemies stronger, among other things), and was killed by piglets. The devilish little chubsters rushed through the grass like bloodthirsty imps from the depths of the abyss. They squealed cackled with diabolical glee as my steel swept just inches above their filthy heads, and I collapsed to the ground as skin and tendons were peeled from my bones.

A trophy popped: "This is Dark Souls."

It's like Demon's Souls and Dark Souls fell in love with every birthday and christmas ever and gave birth to one collective nightmarish hellscape of radical glory.

About 10 hours in, Dark Souls 2 is a huge success. I've cranked hundreds of hours into the first two titles, to the point of obsession. Platinum trophies, challenge runs... you name it, I've done it. I'll admit I had some concerns about Dark Souls 2, like many avid fans, but I can say they've mostly been alleviated.

The feel of the game, from the world to the controls, really hearkens to Demon's Souls quite a bit more than to Dark Souls. I felt this way during the network test several months back, and am super excited that it's remained that way for the full game. What I mean, if you haven't experienced the ecstacy of Demon's Souls, is that the controls are solid, smooth and naturalistic, both powerful and tiresome, and the game's atmosphere captures an oddly nostalgic, classic RPG vibe mixed with lonely heroism and desparation. That probably doesn't make any sense... so just go play it.

A number of things that worried me have either proved to be less trouble than I'd expected, or have been eased up altogether. I was hugely concerned with network connectivity. The single most frustrating thing in Dark Souls was how freakishly difficult it was to get an online session going. I'd camp outside a boss gate for several minutes, groaning time after time as every summon attempt failed. I'd drop my soul sign at a common summoning area and watch a full episode of Doctor Who before I was able to hop into someone else's game. In Dark Souls 2, however, I was successfully summoned mere seconds after I put down my sign for the first time. I've had to wait no longer than a few minutes to join a game! Even better, I have had little trouble calling for assistance in my own game. I've seen tons of signs around, and when I try summoning someone who's already been called, I am told so immediately, rather than waiting for two silent, infuriating minutes. Even the connection quality seems way more solid than before (also reminiscent of Demon's Souls).

Other things, like frame rate and level of difficulty, have not been cleared up for me quite so well. The frame rate hasn't been game-breaking by any means, but occasional stutters to kind of disrupt the experience a little bit. Also, the game makes fantastic attempts at cruelty (there are lots of enemies playing dead and sneaking up on inattentive wanderers), but a few elements make some things a little too convenient. I can't say I don't like the ability to fast travel to any bonfire I've visited (without a mid-game item, anyway), but neither can I say that it doesn't make traversing this otherwise perilous world more comfortable than it should be. It also is too tempting to just warp from place to place, thus cheating myself out of valuable time in which I would otherwise be pulled further and further into the world. In Dark Souls, you got to know the world pretty intimately before you were allowed the luxury of warping.

Equipment selection is pretty cool so far. You can now equip up to four rings like the jerk at Hot Topic who pretends to have played the game for longer than 2 hours before he gave up in an embarrassing emotional outburst, which adds an awesome level of personalization to your character, but I think it's also well-balanced enough that it does make you overly powerful.

More to come. I've got more dying to do.
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on March 11, 2014
This collector's edition means a lot to me. I've been counting down the days. That being said - I also have amazon prime for release date delivery. The package arrived on time, but I'm saddened and disgusted at how product was shipped. The product was absolutely squashed due to several other heavy items that were packaged loosely into the same box. Imagine paying 120 bucks for a collector's edition, only to see a 40 pound wine kit squashing the product flat when you open it. Who packaged this? I'm thankful the bodywash didn't bust open as well (like it has before).

Amazon will tell me they can issue refund - but the problem is: I want the collector's edition. (plus I want to play the game) but I will never be buying anything from amazon again that can ever be considered fragile.
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on March 12, 2014
I'm reviewing the content of the Collector's Edition here, not the game. If you spent $120 for this edition, you already knew you were getting an amazing game along with the collectables.

First of all, the Black Armor Edition metal case is pretty fantastic. It has a 'reverse embossing' effect that makes the character and the Dark Souls 2 text stand out really nicely. The soundtrack is really great. I'm loving all of the new sounds. They did a tremendous job on this new soundtrack.

Next the cloth map, which looks like a pretty standard print on cloth. It's actually not too sharp, but if you have it like in a frame on the wall or something looking at it from a distance, the clarity isn't an issue. Just a minor gripe that I feel like it should be much sharper. Still, it looks pretty cool.

The art book, again pretty standard stuff. The artwork within the book, as expected, is really nice.

Lastly, the amazing 12" figure... He's huge. The level of detail in the figure is pretty high, although the swords and the base are lacking a little, but they don't really affect the overall look. He still looks absolutely amazing standing on my desk. Honestly, I want more of these, one of each character class, and even different armor sets.

Now stop reading this and go play DS2!
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on March 13, 2014
I wont talk much about the game since there are countless reviews out there now. Its amazing as always, thats good enough for me. Anyway, Im really glad DS is taking their limited/collectors edition to a higher level than before. The Black Armor Edition steelbook included is gorgeous and it includes the soundtrack (I have yet to listen to it). The artwork in the case is amazing an

The hardcover artbook is quite nice but Im afraid the binding might be weak (like DS1's) but only time will tell. Either way Im sure Namco/Bandai will send an improved one if anything bad happens to it. Its about the same size of the game (similar to Demon Souls preorder artbook) but its really thick. I havent really counted the pages but there are a lot, easily more than twice of Dark Souls 1's artbook so theres plenty of artwork and conceptart to look at here. I havent opened the map but its made out of real cloth.

Im a fan of statues and figures and Im quite pleased with the one included in this CE. This thing is huge! Stands at approx. 12 inches tall and it feels pretty solid. The statue is very detailed and well painted. On the other hand, the base is quite ugly and its made out of hollow plastic. I also wish the Knight had a better pose, his stance is not the greatest. Overall I think its great but it could be better. The collectors edition box is a window type of statue box so you can choose to display your statue (no swords though) without breaking the seal if thats your thing.

Id give the CE edition a 4.5 out of 5
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on March 14, 2014
Dark Souls 2 lives up to every expectation I had for it. It's beautiful, difficult, dark, and magical. If you are a fan of the Demon's or Dark Souls, you'll appreciate everything this game has to offer. I put a LOT of time into the original Dark Souls, and I can say with confidence that Dark Souls 2 has made me incredibly excited to explore every nook and cranny of the game. I've only put 12 hours into it, and it's been nothing but an amazing experience.

The visuals are stunning, and the frame rate is fantastic, far smoother than I anticipated.

The animations of your character are fantastic. Controlling your character feels smoother. Also, the new gestures are awesome.

I've only seen a small portion of enemies in my play-through so far, but I appreciate them all.

I could go on and on, but there are already well-written reviews by fans on Amazon.

If you were interested in the collector's edition, I've included my review of that to the left. Please check it out should you desire.

Praise the sun, and treasure ahead :)
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VINE VOICEon March 11, 2014
In 2011, the original Dark Souls hit store shelves with the slogan, "Prepare to Die." It was an unapologetic challenge and a masterpiece. One that spawned an enormous cult following. Nearly three years later fans still talk about Dark Souls. Fans of Dark Souls don't just like the game. They love it. They're passionate about it. To this day I'm still thrilled, awed and challenged by Dark Souls. Needless to say a sequel to Dark Souls has very high expectations. It's especially daunting because the original is such a huge cult classic--one that didn't need too many major refinements to begin with. Dark Souls II is definitely familiar to anyone who played the original or who played Demon's Souls. But it also has some surprises.

You play as an undead who is seeking to break the curse upon you before you go hollow. That is the story of Dark Souls II in a nutshell, but the story of Dark Souls isn't comprised to just a basic plot alone. The world you'll enter has a lot of diverse characters, lore and a lot of storytelling through more than just dialog to get you to understand what's going on. It certainly has more dialog to help you along than the first game, but the emphasis here is still on exploring your surroundings, meeting a diverse cast of characters and the lore of the land in and of itself. That's not to say the story is somehow bad or put under the bus. It is only to say that the approach to storytelling here is not like every other game out there.

As with the first one you'll begin by choosing a class and selecting a gift. Each class comes with their own set of levels and skills at first. A sorcerer, for example, begins with a little bit of magic and a boost in intelligence while a warrior begins with a boost in strength and will be able to wield better melee weapons at the start. As with the first, however, no class is restricted in any way. A sorcerer can still use swords and a warrior can still use magic. You may, however, find your stats growing differently as they start off with higher stats in certain attributes than others. There are a couple of new classes added to the mix. The swordsman, who is able to wield two swords at a time with ease. And the explorer who has some slightly more balanced stats but the real benefit is that they start off with more items than any other class. You can customize your character to look anyway you want and you have a lot of options to choose from.

Once all this is done, Dark Souls II becomes incredibly familiar with anyone who has played either Souls game before it. You've got a life gauge and you've got a stamina gauge. Each swing of your weapon drains your stamina. When depleted you can no longer attack until it replenishes. Your stamina also effects how long you can hold your guard against an enemies attacks with a shield. Combat in Dark Souls II is just as meticulous as it's ever been. Those who enjoyed the original Dark Souls, though, may have an edge up if only because some moments take a very similar approach. What is slightly different, however, is that the AI of your enemies has increased. Enemies no longer stand around watching as their allies fall to your blade. They are more willing to jump in and attack you while you're in the midst of combat. While this happened in the original, it was often easier to lure enemies away from each others and divide them. This doesn't happen as frequently in Dark Souls II. Combat also flows faster and smoother. The strategic element is still there to a large degree. You still have to be careful with your stamina and utilize dodge rolls and backsteps.

That being said, it's quite surprising that Dark Souls II doesn't quite throw you in the same way the original does. One of the hallmarks of the first Dark Souls was that it established itself as not being a very handholding type of game from the get go. Dark Souls II's tutorial area allows for more exploration and throws some relatively weak enemies at you early on. Where as the first one plunged you into a boss fight within the first five minutes, Dark Souls II takes a bit more care to let you get acquainted first. This isn't to say that Dark Souls II holds your hand. In fact, it is better described as a false sense of security. There are markers and messages telling you the controls while also presenting you with an obstacle or objective to try and apply what it is you've just learned. But it isn't as quick to throw you into a boss battle. For the enthusiast this might suggest Dark Souls II is easier than the first one, but in truth it's not long before it actually start really punishing you.

Dark Souls is a game where dying is an integral part of the experience and where learning from your deaths is also integral. And make no mistake, you will die. You will die a lot. You'll fight bosses and perish a couple of times before learning their patterns and learning how to defend against their attacks and dodge them. But the sense of accomplishment when you finally do overcome a boss is quite exhilarating. Dark Souls II is one of the few games where the sense of accomplishment is the reward. You are, however, rewarded in more than just a sense of accomplishment. Usually either with better weapons, rare items or a multitude of souls which you can use to increase the attributes of your characters, or buy some much needed weapons, armor and items. . Also make no mistake that Dark Souls II expects you to really work for those rewards. To get to a rare item or a chest often takes a lot of work. Sometimes taking some daring risk or getting past unusually powerful enemies to do so. Dark Souls II is no hand holding experience by any means and it hammers this in several times.

Death is going to happen. When you die you will lose all your souls. When you respawn from a bonfire you have a chance to get them back by running to place where you died and retrieving those souls. Of course, what killed you is usually still lurking around as well. The penalty for death is slightly more harsh than the first game, however. Each time you die now, your maximum health will also decrease. And this stacks until you are at fifty percent health. The only way to cure it is by burning an effigy, which is a fairly rare item to come by. Considering how many times you'll perish, this is an invaluable item. The game also makes another couple of tweaks. In the first Dark Souls you could keep respawning enemies and killing them to your hearts content to grind for souls. Dark Souls II takes a different approach. Eventually the enemies in the area will stop respawning, cutting off your ability to farm for souls or grind. While this seems strange at first, you do have an item that allows you to revive every enemy in the area (including bosses) and they'll all be more powerful when you do.

Dark Souls II still has a good deal of covenants to join, items to collect and deadly traps in store. Exploring the world is both a fascinating and frightening experience. It is a game where death can (literally) lurk around the next corner. As I said, you will die a lot. Gamers easily frustrated will find this is not the game for them by any means. Dark Souls II isn't always unfair about death, but you will approach several moments where you'll have to die first before you can succeed. You might stumble upon a trap that'll kill you, or find yourself encountering an enemy you weren't prepared for who will massacre you. For the purist of Dark Souls, this is the name of the game. This is what you've come to expect. For those who ignore the warnings that you'll lose your souls over and over again (or who constantly ignore the "Prepare to Die," slogan) this game is a rude awakening. It can be frustrating. Especially when you lose everything you've worked so hard to obtain, but Dark Souls II is still a rewarding experience.

One of the most rewarding aspects of Dark Souls was always the online community. Throughout the experience you'd find people who would leave messages. Some were quite helpful like warning you of a fall or a tough enemy ahead. Others were deceitful, such as tricking you into jumping off a ledge when you shouldn't have or leading you to your doom in other ways. This returns in Dark Souls II. And like before, you can rank them. A lot of the time they're helpful. Other times they can be deceptive. That being said, the community serves as a nice guide at times. Often you'll learn when new dangers are around the corner or when great rewards await. The community works for and against you, however. Soon you'll find yourself being invaded by other players. One of the other new additions to Dark Souls II is being able to use an item to make the enemies in the area notice the person invading you. This seems small, but it adds a nice layer into the experience. Dark Souls has always had a unique online experience and it continues here. You'll be invaded and you'll be able to summon an ally to help you fight off tough bosses. You can also touch bloodstains to see the final moments of another characters death.

Whenever you need a rest or need to level up or shop for wares, Dark Souls II provides you a hub area that is a lot more similar to the Nexus in Demon's Souls. It slowly becomes populated with more people who can be both your friend or your ally. Some of the NPCs carry valuable items and you can attack them at any time, although they're no slouches. They'll come back at you. But once you kill them they're gone. While some carry rare items others are necessary for you to go through your adventure.

There are also plenty of covenants abound. You can join some that add layers to the online experience. Some covenants have an emphasis on helping other players while others put an emphasis on invading them. Most of them will be, from the outset, indistinguishable from the first game, but there's a little extra layer here. There's a lot more emphasis on the online experience here. In particular, a covenant that will summon someone to your aid any time you get invaded is rather nice.

Graphically speaking, Dark Souls II looks really good. The rag doll physics aren't present here as your enemies actually disappear when they die. There are also fewer dips in the framerate. Every now and then there is still a hiccup but the game runs smoothly. Likewise, the game sounds magnificent. The sound effects are good, but the music score is just as haunting as it can be. There is certainly a wider range of music here than in the previous game. It's a good looking and sounding game. That's not to say some issues don't get in the way. When listening to other characters speak there are some strange pauses. The dialog and voice acting itself is quite good, but sometimes the game has to load the next line of dialog.

Dark Souls II is a huge experience. The world is enormous in all sorts of ways. There is plenty to explore, lots of characters to meet and plenty of enemies to kill and be killed by. Dark Souls II is a good game and great for those who want a challenge. It can feel unfair in its approach to difficulty sometimes. Dark Souls II doesn't hold your hand in any way, shape or form. When you explore the game will throw just about anything and everything at you without ever preparing you for what is to come next. This makes the game exciting and exhilarating, but it can also be dreadful. Players who simply rush into any situation expecting to be triumphant will be knocked down a few pegs. Dark Souls II is hard, but not for the wrong reasons. A lot of the time when you die you'll feel it is through your own doing or missteps as opposed to the game itself. The game also expects you to learn from those deaths, however. Obviously this means that Dark Souls II is not going to be a game for everyone. But it's difficulty is meticulously well designed. If you accept that several deaths are inevitable going in, Dark Souls II is apt to be a fun experience.
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on June 26, 2014
Dark Souls II is one of the most imaginative games I've ever played. It's a reminder of those precious moments that stimulated our childhood with so much wonder and adventure, that incredible sense of discovery that accompanied each new experience: our first tree house, our first trip through a neighbor's backyard, our first best friend. This is a brand of creativity that is rare on consoles, but one that your inner child will instantly recognize.

Dark Souls II is a massive whirlwind of bone-rattling terror and excitement, and it is riddled with moments of adrenaline-pumping ecstasy of the most epic caliber. Truly, no other game has got my heart pumping this fast, nor has any other filled me with such a deep sense of accomplishment. It is patterned with a surfeit of jaw-dropping moments, one after another; sometimes I could hardly play the game because I felt so wonderstruck, consumed with the purest and most debilitating sense of awe.

This is also one of the most intimidating games I've ever played, but that is just merely another part of its allure. Yes, it is hard, and you will fail repeatedly, sometimes on a terrifyingly grand scale. You will lose everything. But—and this is an astronomically huge but—you will most assuredly succeed, and you will rarely feel frustrated. This game is meant to be experienced online: you will battle with other players, sometimes for their benefit, other times for your own, and you will also fight against them.

The multiplayer dynamics are deeply nuanced, and the game's universe will begin to take on a startlingly organic feel because of this. Nothing is set, nothing is certain: help other players, or invade them if you wish. Think you're right at the cusp of victory? Think again, because this game will throw you curve balls out of pockets of space you never thought existed.

The Dark Souls experience (and Demon Souls for that matter) is definitely an acquired taste, one that will not suit your palate after just a couple hours of play. You need to get comfortable with its RPG elements, and this, for me at least, was initially difficult. This aspect of the game just felt dull at first. Once I began to understand how it worked—that is, the specific use of items and myriad upgrades—I then fell comfortably into its cradle of chaos, and was en route to becoming the biggest badass in the universe.

The Dark Souls games aren't inaccessible just for the sake of being difficult though. The developers weren't merely interested in pissing off players. Instead, what we have here is some first-class gaming; and games, like anything else, acquire a stratified presence when they're imbued with this much possibility, complexity, and freedom. Wine, cigars, movies, albums, games—the best of these all take a little time to get used to before the participant can fully enjoy their treasures, and Dark Souls is an exemplary case of this phenomenon.

You will be filled with wonder. You will be more freaked out and intimidated than you've ever been playing a game. Ultimately though, you will prevail, and you will experience the greatest sense of reward a game could ever provide.
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on March 17, 2014
This game has completely exceeded all of my expectations!!!!!! I have never had this much fun and exhilaration in a game since I was in high school!

Dark Souls 2 takes me back to a time when video games were an intrinsic experience that did not have to hold your hand and tell you everything to teach one how to play. The reason why the Dark Souls franchise is so satisfying is because everything you do is.....YOU. You learn from your mistakes, you plan your character build, you pick what weapons are effective for you, and when you defeat a boss, that is YOUR skill. Yes, you die, you die A LOT in this game. But that is the point of the Dark Souls series, to make mistakes, learn from them, and come back stronger!

Now for the Collector's package: Unfortunately my package HAS BEEN OPENED!!!! (just to clarify, I do not mean the Amazon box, although the condition of the box was not very good) I do not know why, or for what reason, but my Collector's edition display box has been opened and handled. The seal sticker was not placed back correctly and I could clearly see and feel the residue where the seal sticker was originally placed. The outside casing of the Black Armor Edition game case had smushed corners. I was concerned to say the least.
However, the actual product was fine, the metal game case was in perfect condition, the discs were in mint condition, the game code for the additional items was not used, the art book and map were fine, and finally, the 12" statue was in excellent condition......except for the pouch on the statue that seems to fall off easily......not sure if it is supposed to be glued on or not but the pouch stays on if no one touches it.

Now for the actual game!:
Despite being a Dark Souls veteran, there is a small learning curve to the new mechanics. Mostly what I needed to pay attention to was the Adaptability stat, which governs your resistances but also your AGL/movement speed. That stat controls how immediately you can roll, parry, and block. The higher the stats, the more immediately you can do these things.
Parrying is very different now, a bit harder to pull off but definitely doable. I suggest trying to learn to parry either much later in the game and coming back to easier areas so you don't die as easily, or to try it on New Game + where you don't have too much to lose since much the leveling up has been done.
It's much harder to back stab enemies this time around and jumping across spaces is easier now.
Honestly there is so much info to write about, but you can read many of the 10/10, 9/10, 5 star and 4.5/5 star reviews out there to get the full scoop.

What you want to know is, is it worth it? HECK YES IT IS!!!

Granted this is a bit of a niche game and it may not be for everyone, but they have made it easier for everyone to get into, note I did not say the game is easier, I just said it's easier to get into. This is a difficult game that requires lots of patience, but is not frustrating or unfair, the game punishes you for recklessness and for mistakes, but rewards you for learning from them.

Definitely a MUST BUY!!!
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VINE VOICEon March 12, 2014
Dark Souls, with its dark, brooding back story and massive explorable world raised the bar far and above that of Demon's Souls. From the outset, you know to go around every corner with a shield raised, that every jump might be your last, that every blow has to count, and that you have to husband your resources like diamonds. Dark Souls 2 is a natural expansion on this. Almost all of the formula is the same, with a nice extra layer of polish.

You take the role of a "cursed one," marked with the brand of the Undead, who is compelled to seek out the city of Drangleic, though you have no understanding as to why. The overall story is much more vague past this point in comparison, apart from you being advised to seek out the "4 Grand Souls."

Graphics have a slight upgrade. Certain environments feel more natural. Sunlight is more prevalent and flows more evenly across the landscape. The ground rolls more naturally to my eye and distant vistas seem more crisp. Also, they've toned down the number of blind drops, so you don't hear "Ha Ha, sucker!" in your head as often when exploring. Level designs continue to be gorgeous, and this area does feel more alive, and theres more variety than just a few flavors of woods and crumbling ruins.

Audio is improved. Theres significantly more dialogue, which feels more organic. Voices are as good as always, with bitterness and hopefulness in roughly equal measure. Footsteps are definitely important, as that is sometimes your only chance of avoiding a sneak attack.

Gameplay does have some improvements. Larger enemies can't pirouette like dancers anymore, but you also can't circle around them like you could in DS1. Your base camp is a explorable town, which is nice as you peel back layers and unlock more resources, rather than having everything lain out in a row from the outset. Aspects of leveling are slightly clearer as well, and you have a double check chance on leveling up.

Improvements are prevalent. Theres a whole area for tutorial thats revisitable. There aren't any real gotcha moments at the outset, though you still have to sit up and pay attention. Bonfires at the beginning are more heavily sprinkled, so the beginning areas don't feel as death-marchy. The flavor of the areas is extremely varied, and going back and talking with people definitely has more value as they have more than a handful of rote conversations.

There are only a handful of nits. Some crucial equipment pieces are not easily found, and while thats part of the game, getting your message stone and your shade stone should not be things you have to actively search for. Enemies still have infinite ammo for bomb pots, and because something is brutal shouldn't automatically mean its unfair. Enemy hearing is so improved that backstabbing anything other than a zombie is near impossible unless you're unarmored.

The Crowns Trilogy: As of this writing, the final incarnation of the Crowns, the Crown of the Ivory King, has just been released. Each of the crowns levels is a self contained snippet that you can explore after reaching certain points in the regular game. Each new world has a self contained story area that ties-in with but doesn't directly interact qith the main story similarly to DS1, though granted that was a tiny adjustment.

Sunken King: This is the more frustrating one of these. The world is gorgeous, with a Lovercraftian necropolis feel with shifting underground labyrinths. The second to final boss is sprinkled with summonable NPC's so you'll have plenty of help. The enemies are a bit dry with just new variations on the Undead Knights.

Old Iron King: This is the much funner one so far, although I haven't played much in the ice world to compare. This is a giant clockwork machine foundry, full of brutally hard enemies and a handful of nifty play features. Rather than a final final boss, the major soul of this game are a collection of pillars that provide enemy buffs that you have to stake like vampires, a very nifty trick, though one or two of them are pointless death traps and serve to pad play time if you're a purist who has to get through every challenge wihout a single death. A couple of the enemies are frustrating but others are suprisingly helpful if you use them tactically. The only true screw up is the massive knights. The tried and true method is swing towards the dominant arm on massive baddies, poke and repeat. But these guys shoot jets of flame from under their arms at that point, meaning you are forced to either farm them away or slwoly be ground down. Thankfully a majority of these enemies are buried and so you can skirt their locations.

At $10 a pop, are these worth it? yes and no. As side bars, they each offer a good solid 10 extra hours unless you're a grandmaster Undead. They have some nifty trinkets and some rather enjoyable encounters. The Stygian Queens singing is creepy and add atmosphere and the enviroments have a much higher level of polish than you normally get from DLC. I just wish they'd tied together better with the core Dark Souls storyline and universe.
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