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4.4 out of 5 stars
Dark Souls II (Black Armor Edition) - Xbox 360 Black Armor Edition
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor EditionChange
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor Edition
It isn't often that I get the chance to review a game so close to release, let alone before release. I stumbled across a retailer that accidentally sold me a copy several days ago. I can't say I minded too much.

Dark Souls 2, for those who haven't heard of it, is the latest release by From Software the brilliant masterminds behind Demon's Souls, Dark Souls and the lesser known King's Field Series. The Souls series has become well known for being challenging, brutal and quite possibly the most unique set of games of this console generation. If you haven't played the other games yet, don't worry. There isn't much of a story needed to jump right in here.

The first thing you notice in Dark Souls 2 is a daunting selection of characters to start with and a myriad of stats to worry about. Don't worry too much here. These are just your starting basics in the game and there is nothing that will hold back a character if you chose to go another route later on. A warrior could cast spells and a cleric could live happily as an armored tank given the proper spending of stats. Think more about what kind of weapons or spells you are interested in and build around that. Experimentation is the fun part here. In a few days I have already gone through as many characters and builds. I found that the swordsman seems to start off with better weapons than most of the classes, but that is rather subjective.

Combat is smoother than the previous games. I could be wrong, but it seems like the tap dodge actually functions now at getting your character to jump back out of range. It is also possible to turn around and run away while locked on a target. Very useful to create some distance as needed. Special attention has been given to two weapon fighting in this release. While I didn't get into it beyond a few fights, it was nice to be able to string combinations of strong and weak attacks with both hands. Sadly, this means that the ability to parry has taken a hit for most builds, especially in two weapon fighting. Enemies are also a bit brighter about not turning their back to you. This combined with what seems to be a smaller hit box makes backstabs very tough to pull off.

Death and failure is a pretty constant companion in this game. From has decided to go back to Demon's Souls on how it gets treated. Death will cost you your "Body" form (more on that later) and become hollow. In this form you will look rather ugly and suffer a loss in total life. You will be stuck in this state until you use an item to restore you body. Each subsequent death in hollow form will continue to remove more of your maximum life until you end up at about 1/2 your total. Can't say I have ever seen a game that makes things harder as you continue to fail. This sounds tough, but it didn't hit me too hard in my explorations so far.

Unlike most RPG's which have separate concepts of experience and money, DS2 groups both together in the form of souls. You spend souls to buy items, to repair broken equipment, upgrade equipment and to strengthen the stats of your character. This means that you will end up making tough decisions on what you buy as you work hard to build your pile of souls.

Stats got a bit of rework in this game in comparison to the others. Armor now has requirements to wear, so no more piling up the armor and tanking through the game. Yout resistance no longer increases with each level, you now have to put points into specific stats to raise it. No more dumping all your points into spellcasting and ignoring the other stats. This again sounds tough, but it seems that enemies have been scaled to take this into account. I haven't bumped resistance much and I still haven't come across many if anything that can wipe you out in one shot.

Gameplay aside, this is a nice looking game as well. I may have been spoiled with the PC release of Dark Souls which had large numbers of mods and enhancements to graphics, but this game looks at least slightly better than Dark Souls 1. Lighting plays a larger role in this game and it shows nicely. When you carry torches, light shines and shadows move in a very realistic manner. Clothing was the largest improvement that I noticed. It hangs realistically and seems to blow with the environment.

More importantly, this game runs very smooth. I haven't bothered doing an install yet, but I still get tolerable load times (the few that you need) and I don't get the chugging frame rates which plagued the previous games. Sadly (for me at least) the rag-doll physics of fallen enemies is gone. No longer will that dead soldier stick to you and flop around like a deflated balloon when you run by.

I haven't tried out the multiplayer yet. It is still a bit early for the community and my 360 isn't setup in a spot where I actually have internet. If I try it out I'll come back and give this review an update.

I still plan to get the PC version when it comes out, but I still don't regret this impulse purchase. I plan to get many hours of enjoyment out of this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor Edition
When the first dark souls came out, many people loved it and many hated it. the main reason the people who did not like it was it was too hard. REALLY? !?!? A game that literally tells you up front you are going to get killed many times is hard. Well as one who remembers when games were a challenge, I relished it and when I heard of the sequel I reserved mine at the local GameStop. Only an hour into it and I love how the gameplay feels smoother, the graphics clearer, and the most important part - the music is eriee and haunting (i got the soundtrack, but have not started listening to it yet, will soon though). the customiszation of characters and abilites are more indepth so the replay ability will be there even after you beat it a few times. So gird yourself for battle, stride down that passageway, and do try to keep your head on your shoulders as this game will try to seperate it from the rest of you.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor EditionVerified Purchase
praise it.

No game has ever been as gloriously incandescent as Dark Souls 2.

Be prepared to die....again.

In all seriousness though. this game is an amazing puzzle of a game with a grand adventure and many dangers at every turn. It is a quite the RPG experience that you dont want to miss.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor EditionVerified Purchase
After struggling through the addictive and difficult first game resulting in late nights, missed days at work, and complete frustration...I jumped at the chance to pre-order this packaged misery again.
And Again I find myself hopelessly addicted, neglecting my family, health, and responsibilities in general.

Actually...this game is quite good, can’t decide if it’s better than the first one yet. If you played and like the first one, you will be happy here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor Edition
Dark Souls 2 is a fantastic game with an atmosphere like no other. The game is tough without being unfair in most situations and this chapter of the series will allow newcomers to jump right in. If you do not like to be challenged then you might want to skip this. If you are like me and miss the old days where games didn't babysit the user then you should pick this title up.

I gave it a four instead of a five for a few reasons. First the graphical presentation is lacking even for a PS3 and 360 title. Secondly I dislike the forced pvp by allowing invasions even if the players character is hollowed. There are items in place to counter this, but as a whole I do not agree with this change. Lastly player movement seems a bit off when walking around. I feel that my character is ice skating around instead of walking forward or strafing side to side.

These reasons do not make this a bad game and in fact I am loving it very much. The covenants are all fleshed out better this time which gives a wide variety of extra things players can do in the world. Character creation and customization is superb and every play style is viable this time around unlike the first two. Bosses are brutal yet again and will have you walking through their fog over and over again. I recommend this game for anyone that enjoys a healthy amount of challenge in their video game hobby.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 17, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor Edition
The game is substantially better than it's predecessor in several ways. Some people have been complaining about the graphics, mostly because it doesn't look as good as the trailer. But of course it won't look that good on 8 year old consoles. It looks substantially better than Dark Souls. Compare Heide's Ruins with Anor Londo and there is contest. There are a few rough textures in the game but overall it looks way better than Dark Souls 1. Some level designs are kind of bland but that was also the case with Dark Souls 1. Undead Burg was pretty generic if you ask me.

I don't really like how you lose life when you die but it's not a major issue. Enemies don't respawn after killing them about 10 times, in order to prevent grinding and make the path to the boss easier, but this can be circumvented with an item in the game. This maps are significantly larger on average and contain much more stuff. Combat feels smoother now than it did in Dark Souls 1. Enemy AI is substantially improved.

I'm not saying the game is perfect, but the complaints I'm seeing and 1-2 star reviews seem to be over extremely petty issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor Edition
There are a few changes to the game from the first one that, at first, gave me a little pause, but I can understand why they did it. Once I modified how I approach the game and plan my character, it's actually worked out pretty good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor Edition
A game you will spend atleast 40-50 hours playing through. While it may not be for everyone, fans of the series will be sure to enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor EditionVerified Purchase
A game made by sadists for masochists, Dark Souls 2 proves again that punishing ourselves for hours on end is a necessity. DS2 continues with excellent graphics, well designed and attractive menus, and a mysterious story you can only figure out by exploring and killing and dying repeatedly.

Yeahs: a vast new world beautifully crafted and set with rich sounds; the little bit I've seen has shown an excellent feel for capturing gloomy caves, intricate stonework, and a beach bathed in a golden setting sun, and the water effects are more realistic than DS1; the menu is tweaked to appear more colorful, and FROM adds a new character trait for leveling; there is a much more detailed character appearance creation process; combat is more fluid and there are more enemies coming at you at once, which ratchets up the frustration-reward factor notably

Nays: definitely hating the reduction in overall hit points once my character dies; this is exactly like being cursed in DS1; I'm assuming later in the game that this will be undone by some action by me or an NPC; the lock-on feature can still be a bit too eager to please by jumping back and forth among enemies without your wanting it to, which can throw off your attacks and/or cause you to fall off a high place if the enemy below is locked on

Not a game for the impatient, this is the soul you're looking for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2014
Platform for Display: Xbox 360Edition: Black Armor EditionVerified Purchase
I bought this for my boyfriend because he been talking about it for what seemed forever. Lol he was very happy and he really likes it a lot. He's actually playing it as I'm writing this now lol
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