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Dark Souls II
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xtal
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March 10, 2014 - 5:59 pm
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I LIT THE BONFIRE

 

(Nothing wrong with starting the proceedings a little early.)

(If there was a midnight launch in my area I would actually go to it, and probably stand in a line full of people there to buy Titanfall. There is not, so I'll just be, um, going to my local shop at 10:00 sharp tomorrow morning.)

(Anyone who buys and plays Titanfall before Dark Souls 2 is dead to me.)

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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March 10, 2014 - 6:49 pm
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You beat me to it!  I'm on vacation all week so the marathon starts in the morning after I pick up my copy. 

 

Titan -what?

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

Steerpike
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March 10, 2014 - 11:13 pm
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Yay! Less than one hour until Dark Souls II Day. Springing forward yesterday shaved an hour off the wait, too. It's like the universe conspires to see us succeed...

...Last time I took the day off to celebrate a game release (Thief, Tuesday before last) I slipped a disc before I could even come downstairs and open my Steam Library. I took that as a punishment of some sort, but one from which I learned a valuable lesson about greed and taking days off to play games. Also, it really hurt. So I will not be taking Dark Souls II Day off, but I'm going to recreate the first paragraphs of the first entry of the Dark Souls Diaries at the very same GameStop come 5pm-ish. Well... 4pm-ish. I hope the same dude is behind the counter. I told him on the day I bought Dark Souls that the next time I would come into his store would be to buy the sequel to Dark Souls, which is why I did not need a GameStop Rewards Card. He looked so sad, but now that I'm proven to be right, I could lord it over him a little.

 

SAY IT WITH ME...

This is not about death.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Synonamess Botch
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March 10, 2014 - 11:18 pm
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OK, system updated, disk space cleared.  I'm ready!

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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xtal
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March 11, 2014 - 12:00 am
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Let the 10-hour-temptation-window begin, wherein I do my best not to purchase the digital version of the game before I go to pick up the physical copy I pre-ordered!

(There's nothing wrong with opening the PS store page and just looking at it though, right?)

 

EDIT: I did it! (Resisted the urge, that is!)

The Black Armor edition is the sleekest game case I've ever seen. Also: soundtrack CD! Squeeee.

Here we go.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Synonamess Botch
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March 11, 2014 - 12:09 pm
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Installing now!!!

Rule #2: Double-tap

Steerpike
Subtropical Southeastern Michigan
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March 11, 2014 - 12:43 pm
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God dammit! I'm still trapped in business casual dress, pretending to work. I'm so jealous.

I'm calculating what time I could claim "afternoon meeting offsite" and justify not coming back. I'm thinking 2:45. I gotta put it in my Outlook calendar right now. Meeting. "Velka Enterprises." Done. I'm like the fucking Riddler. They could interpret it, BUT THEY WON'T.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Helmut
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March 11, 2014 - 1:30 pm
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Installed... This looks just epic. 

 

edit: <30 mins later> Sorry Steerpike, I was just messing with you. I don't have it. 

My Dark Souls single player sensibilities are protected by a +10 GfWL Firewall of Ineptitude

Steerpike
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March 11, 2014 - 1:58 pm
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My vengeance will be prolonged, helmeted one.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Dix
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March 11, 2014 - 7:31 pm
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I forgot Dark Souls II hit today.  I'm guessing I won't see any of you for a while, huh?

"Home is not a place.  It is wherever your passion takes you."

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xtal
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March 12, 2014 - 8:43 am
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Helmut, that was truly despicable.

Dix, no, no you won't.

 

Edit 1: I like the menu music. It's like...something from Dark Souls but twisted, pretty-ified and spooky.

Edit 2: In non-Dark Souls news, I think Journey is 2 years old this week. Happy birthday, Journey!

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Pokey
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March 13, 2014 - 12:37 pm
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What's happening? We need some impressions here. I wasn't sure I wanted to play any more Dark Souls, but I am getting interested after reading about it on other sites.

Yay, Journey. Happy birthday!  hearts2

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Synonamess Botch
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March 13, 2014 - 1:53 pm
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 I have tons if impressions, but I'm still too busy playing.  That should tell you something I guess. :)

It's harder in some ways, yet easier in others.  So far enjoying it immensely.

 

Rule #2: Double-tap

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Pokey
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March 13, 2014 - 2:03 pm
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SB, that is what I expected. You are having too much fun. I just checked and the game is sold out everyplace, so I'll have to wait a while.

Steerpike
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March 14, 2014 - 9:52 am
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I haven't had nearly enough time to play, but my early impressions are positive. It's a worthy sequel. So far, at least, DS2 is more melancholy than bleak, and the art direction tastes a little different. You do sense that the new game director has put his own stamp on the series, but done it in such a way that - at least to this point - all the Dark Souls stuff that belongs in there is in there.

My Knight is a good fighter out of the gate, but I don't think he'll ever get the stats necessary to wield magic, so this is going to be a different experience for me. Some of the tweaks are so subtle you feel them rather than seeing them - it takes a second to raise your shield now, for example (I think that's governed by a stat), which has a HUGE effect. The parry/riposte move I haven't quite figured out yet - I can parry but have never gotten the follow up attack to work. A couple new auto-targeting features have been added, and they give you some options on how to jump.

The biggest change is the Hollowing. It's more like Demon's Souls, but far better implemented, and it really, really brings the whole "going Hollow" thing to the forefront. Basically your max health drops by a hair - maybe 5% - when you die. And every time you die thereafter, the effect stacks, and your character looks more and more undead each time. I noticed it but it didn't trouble me... until it did... suddenly I couldn't function in fights that had been easy. It forces you to reverse your Hollowing, but that's a somewhat costly proposition so you need to weigh the decision.

I'm playing cautious. Not too cautious, but my earlier concern - that our experiences with Dark Souls had "trained" us - were sort of unfounded. It seems that effect is only in place if you know what's coming.

That it's sold out everywhere is demonstrated compellingly in-game. It's spirits, bloodstains, and messages from hell to breakfast in there.

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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March 14, 2014 - 3:33 pm
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It's a fun time to be playing, for sure. The rush of discovery and whatnot. There are a lot of things to say ... too many for now. Here are some things I will say.

  • No forced tutorial, yay! It's designed perfectly; you can run a straight line through it (for anyone whose first time it isn't) or you can weave in and out of the caves for some items if you like. It's more like Demon's Souls tutorial, in that you can bypass it (although not with a button prompt like in DeS).
  • Majula is a nice place to rest and reflect. Has more sense of place than Firelink did.
  • Once you get as far into the game as I am (and probably Botch too) the lore begins to unfold more clearly, and I think they've taken the perfect path. How do you follow up the rich lore of Dark Souls, you ask? Exactly how From have done here. I obviously have maybe 5% of the answers, but I think what is being cemented is that, in a strangely appealing way, maybe the lore doesn't really matter all that much. But I think there's still a very powerful meaning behind it all. For anyone not far in ... you'll see what I mean after you visit certain places and speak with various NPCs. I want to talk about it at great length, but I'd rather let more people discover it for themselves before I post spoilers (even if they're tagged, cause c'm'on, who doesn't peek through all the spoiler tags anyway? tongue). It amuses me how people (lazy silly game reviewers, not you fine people!) say stuff like "oh, yeah I guess Dark Souls kinda has a story, you just have to go looking for it." Well ... sorry if you have to "work" for it. Not only does Dark Souls 1/2 have a story that goes largely unseen (do people play games, or just click buttons to win All The Things?), for my money I can't think of any games in recent years whose rich stories I've enjoyed and let marinate in my mind so much. Maybe the devil-may-care historical revisionism fun times of Assassin's Creed II, but not much else. I want to give a long, thank you-type hug to Miyazaki and his successors. In a way (an in-my-head, completely not an actual thing type of way) the passing of the torch from one creative mind to another for Dark Souls II makes my face want to smile wider than it actually can. If Dark Souls 1's story says come in, sit down, listen to this tale of the poor, cursed Undead then Dark Souls II's story might say something like yes, everyone has a story, and everyone's story will one day be forgotten. When it starts to become clear what they're going for ..... man. The feels!
  • Having servers instead of P2P is immediately noticeable. Minimal lag, consistent summons (if it does not fail in the first 2 to 3 seconds, you know you will get the phantom you summoned), consistent ability to be summoned quickly - I'm not kidding when I say I wait an average of less then 5 seconds after I press the square button to put my summon sign down. People see them that fast! It's glorious.
  • On the downside, it's still a pain in the ass to play with friends. Botch and I spent hours finagling with levels, total souls gained (very confusing), and even a new ring they put in the game to help find the people you want to, but so far to no avail. It is unfortunate. Hopefully it will get better.
  • On linearity versus non-linearity: To me the first bit of the game (5 hours-ish) seemed more linear than Dark Souls when I had heard it was quite the opposite. I felt that the only area you could really progress through was the Forest of Fallen Giants. Now after clearing that area and progressing through a few others it seems very open-ended. I was looking at where I could travel last night and figured there were 4 zones in which I could probably make a run for a boss. I think it starts more strictly than DS1 (that will change on NG+ I imagine) and then opens up even more than it did after you get the Lordvessel. All in all I think the pacing has been fine. What does everyone else think about this so far?
  • Secrets: It seems like there are so many items I can't get to, so many locked doors I can't open. When you get a mysterious key there's a sense of excitement in trying to figure out which door(s) it will open. Multiple items I can't get to; multiple locked doors in early areas I still can't open; multiple sealed doors that seem like later game stuff; even things in Majula that don't seem to have revealed their true nature. The joy!

That is all for now.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Pokey
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March 14, 2014 - 3:33 pm
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I picked one up at Gamestop today. It has a fancy metal case and soundtrack plus a weapons pack. I'm not sure the weapons will be helpful. Probably have high stat requirements.

Steerpike
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March 14, 2014 - 5:42 pm
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Envy! I wanted the metal case one but they were all out. I wound up with the last regular PS3 copy in the store. I get the soundtrack with my Steam pre-order, at least. The music is really interesting so far, very minimalist, very... there's a word for it.

I'm not far. I haven't met a boss yet. I'm in the forest, proceeding slowly. A bird dropped a huge metal man who killed me and then went away; there's at least two and a half passages I can go through but I'm afraid of them both. Like a complete noob, I bought a set of Elite Knight, knowing there's better stuff to be found but having nothing else to do with my souls at that moment (I'm trying not to level too much). Right now I'm in Cardinal Tower looking at a bunch of summon signs and wondering if I should bring in a contractor to help out even though I haven't got a clue which way the boss is.

Majula's built to make the first part feel more open, but as xtal says it's really one path at first, which doesn't bother me much. I do hope it opens up a bit more later on, and I'm not sure I like the very... hallway-ish nature of the different paths from Majula, but whatever. Now that I'm home I'm going to mainline it for a while. This is not about death!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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Pokey
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March 14, 2014 - 6:12 pm
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Good to hear about some of the early terrain and gameplay. My internet was down, so I had to wait to install and get my weapons. The metal box is very nice. I thought it would be a flat top, but it has a raised glossy design and is very study. I think I got someone's pre-order that they didn't pick up. I was supposed to get a regular box that was opened and on display, but I got lucky. I'll be installing soon and on my way.

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xtal
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March 15, 2014 - 3:00 pm
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The Black Armor edition is very nice indeed. The only thing it doesn't have that I'd want is the cloth map from the Collector's edition; I've seen pictures of it and it looks pretty cool.

And the weapons pack is actually mostly starter stuff, Pokey. Specifically the shields that come with it are useful because I believe most of the classes start the game without a shield. There's one you can find without enemy contact in Majula but you're not likely to stumble on it before you set out.

Steerpike, you're doing the right thing. When you have souls in this game and you're not ready to level just spend them all. I haven't been afraid to drop 30,000 souls on Witching Urns from Malentia (the old lady merchant in Cardinal Tower). When I have the souls I just spend them. For perspective: I am currently level 56, my next level up will cost 5,330 souls and lifetime I've earned 771,860 souls. I've bought up all the limited items from every vendor, because why not.

Tip: spend the 4,000 souls to buy the Pharros' Lockstone. Those lockstones are precious things.

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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