Could this game ever live up to the fandom's expectations?

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#1 Posted by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

So, help me out with an idea that's been bugging me. It seems to me like one of the biggest reasons stated for loving dark souls is the difficulty. For good reason- it's great. And, as it must, it has a wonderful difficulty curve- I could nitpick about the hitches in it, but for the most part it's a nice steady increase in difficulty to match the skills the game slowly teaches the player.

So, that's all well and good. But Dark Souls 2 kinda has to start from square one, doesn't it? Since I'm assuming it continues the tradition of not having difficulty levels (and a quick Google search didn't say otherwise), that basically guarantees that it has to start at least close to the beginning of the difficulty curve again, or shut out anyone who never played a souls game. After all, throwing someone new into the equivalent of late-game Dark Souls play goes past brutal, fair difficulty into poor design territory.

But that's a problem too, isn't it? After all, there's a whole frightening, frankly insane fandom who I don't think will be satisfied with that- at best, many will be understanding of the conundrum but disappointed, at worst, they won't realize why the apparent difficulty is so different (because their bringing all their previous souls experience in) and proclaim it to be dumbed down for the "casuals".

Do you think there is anyway to resolve this without difficulty settings, and if so, how? I can't really think of one.

#2 Posted by TruthTellah (9363 posts) -

@towersixteen: It could. It won't please everyone, but it certainly has a shot. A lot of people adored Demon's Souls, but many of those still loved Dark Souls. Really, the big factor will be changing it enough to make it feel fresh again. Dark Souls started out challenging and remained so throughout the game, and a big part of it was playing multiple times and really getting to know the world. If Dark Souls II sticks to a similar level of challenge throughout, perhaps with more of a curve toward difficulty toward the end, it should do fine. If the game's content is different enough, people will still be happy with "more Dark Souls" even if it isn't a dramatic evolution of the formula.

I imagine they will have ways for players to choose to make the game more difficult for them. They may not be distinct difficulty settings, but like in Dark Souls, there are options for taking on the game in easier and more difficult ways. Fans will find a way.

Online
#3 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

My expectations are that they make another Souls game. So yes.

#4 Posted by SunBroZak (1213 posts) -

I think Dark Souls is all about knowing the enemy. The game becomes much easier once you understand the enemy patterns and their placement. In that regard, Dark Souls 2 is new territory. Even veteran players will have to learn the patterns of the new enemies, which means that they will have to be just as careful as new players. Skilled Dark Souls players do have some advantage, knowing what to look out for, but that's where the devs have the opportunity to screw with us. Play on our expectations.

In any case, I'm a Dark Souls fan because of the lore. The way they present the story in Dark Souls 2 will define how much I enjoy it.

#5 Posted by geirr (2640 posts) -

I'm sure it'll be fine.

#6 Posted by Morningstar (2194 posts) -

Of course it could. Why would it be impossible for it to do so?

#7 Posted by mrfluke (5279 posts) -

yea, once they streamline the UI and the co-op and keep it fucked hard, then itill be fine.

#8 Posted by BenderUnit22 (1514 posts) -

I doubt this will be an issue as it wasn't one when Demon's Souls players transitioned into Dark Souls. A lot of the fun and difficulty comes from exploring areas and enemy attack patterns for the first time.

From Software has even shown that they are aware of what people expect and throw a wrench in their plans. Like how some players allowed themselves to be killed by the first boss, thinking it was pretty much a guaranteed death like in Demon's Souls (I know you can kill the tutorial boss in Demon's Souls.) Vinny even said some enemies in DS2 would counter back-attacks because it was so efficient before which will catch even seasoned players off-guard.

#9 Posted by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I don't think that's quite true. Early game enemies patterns and response time are simpler and easier than late game enemies, though the game is cleverly enough designed that you may not notice just how large the difference is while your skill increases.

@morningstar I'm not sure I understand the question. Do you think theres a particularly obvious way to create a similarly difficult experience for two different sets of people with wildly different experience levels? For most games, not a problem, because the difficulty isn't really a core attraction, but there is a significant chunk of the dark soul's fandom for which it is.

#10 Edited by Zeik (2574 posts) -

It won't be a problem for me because it wasn't a problem when I played Dark Souls after Demon's Souls.

Although I can almost guarantee there will be people who complain the game is "easier" than Dark Souls, simply because these games are never as hard as the first time you play them. There were plenty of Demon's Souls players who complained Dark Souls was too easy when it first came out. But that obviously didn't stop Dark Souls 1 from becoming incredibly popular, so I don't see any reason to worry.

I did get a chance to play the Dark Souls 2 beta though and I feel like the game definitely is trying to mix things up so you don't know exactly how to deal with enemies. For example, there are bandit enemies that reminiscent of those in Dark Souls, but instead of hanging back and throwing knives at you they just rush you the fuck down. Or big hulking enemies that seem like those slow club wielders from Blighttown, except now they have a charge attack where they chase you down and break your guard, followed by some powerful swipes.

#11 Posted by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

@zeik: Fair enough, but I also think that Dark Souls has a bigger fandom and much much more media attention than Demon's Souls did- I think we'll hear a lot more out of those people this time around.

#12 Posted by afabs515 (1209 posts) -

Absolutely. Or should I say ab-SOUL-utely! HA HA!

In all seriousness though, I'm sure they'll be fine. They might disappoint the people who live and breathe the systems of the first Dark Souls, but anyone going in not expecting an identical experience will be fine. I'm sure their enemy design will stay really cool, and I look forward to seeing new gigantic bosses and many hours of crying. What they've shown of the game so far looks solid, and I'm sure that they're going to have consistently solid quality throughout the entire game. From has said that the PC version won't completely blow this time too. I'm sure this game will be great and can't wait till March.

#13 Edited by Zeik (2574 posts) -

@towersixteen said:

@zeik: Fair enough, but I also think that Dark Souls has a bigger fandom and much much more media attention than Demon's Souls did- I think we'll hear a lot more out of those people this time around.

Maybe, but those people were just whiners then and they'll just be whiners now. I doubt they'll ever represent the majority.

#14 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (5823 posts) -

I think it will. As long as they maintain the core sensibilities that are trademarks in the souls games, I'll be satisfied.

#15 Edited by me3639 (1801 posts) -

I watched KVO play the beta and dont worry it will be fine.It actually seemed more terrifying to me. And i love how your soul, when you die, blows away in the wind. Nice effect.

#16 Edited by JoeyRavn (4998 posts) -

@sunbrozak: I don't think that's quite true. Early game enemies patterns and response time are simpler and easier than late game enemies, though the game is cleverly enough designed that you may not notice just how large the difference is while your skill increases.

I wouldn't make such a clear cut between "early" and "late" game in Dark Souls. The basic structure of the game is: Undead Asylum > Firelink Shrine > Two Bells > Four Bosses > Gwyn. However you decide to tackle those stages is up to you. There is a certain "flow" to the game that will make most people play in a certain order (like doing the Bell Gargoyles before Quelaag), but in the end it's all up to you. The fight with Quelaag is, IMO, a lot simpler than the fight with the Gargoyles, because she's much slower, her attacks are much easier to dodge and there's only one of her, while there are two Gargoyles. And still people usually ring that bell second.

The game throws in and mixes "early" (aka easier) enemies with "late" (aka harder) enemies all the time, too. Look at the Black Knight in Undead Burg or the Undead Parish, the Hellkite Dragon or the Titanite Demon in the entrance to the Darkroot Garden. Or how fucked up Sen's Fortress is the first few times you run through it. Or, hell, even Havel near the entrance to the Darkroot Basin. For a new player, all of those encounters can be potentially harder to a newcomer than the later ones, because they are still learning the ropes. The first time you encounter a Black Knight, it probably kills you. By the time you reach the Kiln of the First Flame, you'll be parrying them to death, if not running past them because fuck those guys.

The same works in reverse: what can be considered "late game enemies" are sometimes "easier" than earlier ones. Look at the fire-breathing statues or the Chaos Eaters in Lost Izalith, a relatively advanced area of the game. Or the Pisacas and the Undead Crystal Soldiers in The Duke's Archives, which hit harder, but are essentially the same as the normal hollows you find in the Undead Burg. The vast majority of enemies in Dark Souls have two or three attacks that they repeat time and time again. Once you know how to tackle each enemy, they are all "easy".

As far as bosses go, I personally found Orstein and Smough to be the bane of my existence, much like many others players before me. No other boss gave me as hard a time as them (maybe the Four Kings in NG+, but you can full-Havel them to death easily). And they are a relatively early boss fight: just right before you get the Lordvessel and the game truly "opens" itself for exploration. The Bed of Chaos, one of the four main bosses of the game, is a total pushover in comparison. You literally kill it with three hits. And Gwyn, the end boss, has a very, VERY basic attack pattern: he either swings his sword at you a couple of times or he tries to grab you and throw you. In comparison to some other bosses, he's smaller (Ceaseless Discharge, the Hydras, the Moonlight Butterfly, Seath the Scaless, etc.), slower (Ornstein, Syf, Gargoyles), easier to dodge (Four Kings, Hellkite Dragon)... and if you ask me, overall much easier than most bosses.

So, yeah, what I'm trying to say is that Dark Souls doesn't have a set difficulty setting. It works the way it works, and you'll probably find some aspects harder than others, depending on how you play the game. IMO, the start is much, much more harder than the later half of the game, simply because you just don't know what to expect, how the game works and how you should react. Once you get the basic, it's a matter of patience and some skill.

#17 Posted by Humanity (9640 posts) -

@truthtellah: In a way I experienced this. I really liked Demons Souls - and it wasn't for the difficulty but rather the unique story and setting. There simply weren't a lot of dark fantasy RPG's floating around. I looked at screenshots and the box art, saw the awesome armor and swords - everything screamed "cool" from a mile away. In all honesty I had no idea what I was getting into.

So then Dark Souls came out and in the beginning at least I felt that same breath of fresh air that I experienced with Demons Souls. By mid game I was a little burnt out. A lot of the areas seemed to be inspired from the first game but in my opinion not as good. Blighttown for instance is quite obviously the Valley of Defilement, similar right down to the bad framerate, but it just isn't as well designed as VoD was. I knew how the game worked more or less and that sort of sucked out a bit of the magic.

In a way Dark Souls didn't live up to my expectations, and I was really excited by the launch trailers, and maybe it's because the formula wasn't as novel the second time around.

Online
#18 Posted by pyrodactyl (2204 posts) -

A lot of difficulty of the souls games is in learning the environment and enemy types. Besides, they're tweaking a lot of mechanics in dark souls 2. The return of prominent healing items might fuck up the balance though. We'll see...

#19 Posted by Fredchuckdave (5802 posts) -

It'll be good, don't know if it will be better than Dark Souls. Worst case scenario there's 20 bosses that you fight on narrow bridges with knockback attacks that summon exclusively Wrath of the Gods spamming black phantoms.

#20 Posted by JacDG (2127 posts) -

I just hope that summoning people or NPC's will be better. After a few hours of trying that dual boss fight (Ornstein and Smough) I tried to summon an NPC, but I got invaded every time and never made it to the area, so I never got further than that. Maybe I was just unlucky, but a better way to not being invaded would be cool

#21 Edited by Hunter5024 (5841 posts) -

I've heard nothing but negativity from the fandom ever since it was announced, so I can't imagine their expectations are super high.

#22 Posted by Capasso (45 posts) -

You won't ever reach everybody's expectations. I'm sure there are Demon's Souls out there that hated Dark Souls for one reason or another, two of them probably being the easier learning curve and "lack" of cheap moves by the game. Dark Souls in many aspects was a better game by avoiding the abundance of "enemies waiting around the corner" and "I would never know this thing happens if I didn't die here before" situations, and due to "easier" last bosses that didn't demand cheap tactics to beat if you weren't really good at the game (I'm looking at you Flamelurker). The same will probably happen with DSII: some of it's quirks might end up "fixed" by the developers and some hardcore fans will complain about it.

Personally I think Dark Souls is shaping up to be, at the very least, a competent sequel.

#23 Edited by Zeik (2574 posts) -

@hunter5024 said:

I've heard nothing but negativity from the fandom ever since it was announced, so I can't imagine their expectations are super high.

There's plenty of positivity and excitement out there for the game. I'm not sure where you're seeing people only say negative things, but you should probably stay away from there.

#24 Edited by yinstarrunner (1220 posts) -

I'm sure it will be a great game, and nothing less. I'm also sure you'll get a rash of people coming out of the woodwork in the first few weeks after release saying how the game is too easy now that they learned all the basic mechanics from Dark Souls 1.

But the esoteric nature of the systems is not what makes Dark Souls so great.

#25 Posted by golguin (3981 posts) -

So, help me out with an idea that's been bugging me. It seems to me like one of the biggest reasons stated for loving dark souls is the difficulty. For good reason- it's great. And, as it must, it has a wonderful difficulty curve- I could nitpick about the hitches in it, but for the most part it's a nice steady increase in difficulty to match the skills the game slowly teaches the player.

So, that's all well and good. But Dark Souls 2 kinda has to start from square one, doesn't it? Since I'm assuming it continues the tradition of not having difficulty levels (and a quick Google search didn't say otherwise), that basically guarantees that it has to start at least close to the beginning of the difficulty curve again, or shut out anyone who never played a souls game. After all, throwing someone new into the equivalent of late-game Dark Souls play goes past brutal, fair difficulty into poor design territory.

But that's a problem too, isn't it? After all, there's a whole frightening, frankly insane fandom who I don't think will be satisfied with that- at best, many will be understanding of the conundrum but disappointed, at worst, they won't realize why the apparent difficulty is so different (because their bringing all their previous souls experience in) and proclaim it to be dumbed down for the "casuals".

Do you think there is anyway to resolve this without difficulty settings, and if so, how? I can't really think of one.

There wont be an issue. How do I know? The Artorias DLC had the best content in the game. The content hit after people had essentially mastered the various areas in the original Dark Souls and we still found a challenge in the DLC. The bosses and enemies were a lot more aggressive in response to the criticism that a lot of the enemies in the original Dark Souls gave the player breathing room when it wasn't really needed.

The biggest challenge came from the unknown environment. Just that fact that Dark Souls 2 is new content is already enough for a lot of people without taking into consideration the AI changes that enemies have received. It sounds like people have been really happy with the Dark Souls 2 beta so I'm confident the rest of the game will be great.

#26 Posted by Zeik (2574 posts) -

@golguin: To be fair, the DLC was late game content, so they were free to basically make it as punishing as they want. Dark Souls 2 will obviously start out easier than that, although there's nothing stopping them from ramping it up later.

#27 Edited by TowerSixteen (544 posts) -

@golguin: Like Zeik said, I don't think that counts. DLC is just too different a situation from a new base game.

#28 Posted by Hunter5024 (5841 posts) -

@zeik said:

@hunter5024 said:

I've heard nothing but negativity from the fandom ever since it was announced, so I can't imagine their expectations are super high.

There's plenty of positivity and excitement out there for the game. I'm not sure where you're seeing people only say negative things, but you should probably stay away from there.

I'm not following it very closely, but initially there was all that business about it being more accessible, Vinny said he didn't agree with a few of the changes after he saw the demo, and a couple of weeks ago on the forum there were a lot of people complaining about the way the online is going to work this time. Considering it's such a masochistic series though, maybe complaining about the changes is actually a good thing?

#29 Edited by Zeik (2574 posts) -

@hunter5024 said:

@zeik said:

@hunter5024 said:

I've heard nothing but negativity from the fandom ever since it was announced, so I can't imagine their expectations are super high.

There's plenty of positivity and excitement out there for the game. I'm not sure where you're seeing people only say negative things, but you should probably stay away from there.

I'm not following it very closely, but initially there was all that business about it being more accessible, Vinny said he didn't agree with a few of the changes after he saw the demo, and a couple of weeks ago on the forum there were a lot of people complaining about the way the online is going to work this time. Considering it's such a masochistic series though, maybe complaining about the changes is actually a good thing?

Most of that was due to misinformation or misunderstandings. The whole "accessible" thing had nothing to do with why people were complaining about it. People just assumed "accessible" meant "easier and dumber" instead of just making some the mechanics more transparent. People complained about the idea that you'd be able to be invaded even when you're not human in DS2, but we don't know all the details regarding that (whether there are other ways to avoid being invaded) or whether that's even true in the first place, considering it didn't seem to be possible in the beta. I didn't hear what Vinny complained about, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was simply due to something he didn't understand.

In other words, it's just the internet being the internet. Snap judgements and uninformed complaining is just the norm. It doesn't mean people aren't excited for the game.

#30 Edited by Clonedzero (4200 posts) -

I don't have unrealistic expectations for Dark Souls 2. While Dark Souls is easily one of my favorite games this generation, I think as long as Dark Souls 2 is more Dark Souls with some various improvements and some new mechanics I'll be happy.

#31 Edited by BoOzak (969 posts) -

Die hard fans? no, they expect too much. Rational fans, yes. The biggest difference as far as I can tell after having played it is that backstabs leave you vulnerable and there are health pickups (lifestones) It's also a lot more shiny, more akin to Demon's Souls. Which arguably looks better.

Personally I thought restorative items that you could horde kind of broke Demon's Souls. But i'm sure there's a reason they put them back in. (as long they dont put item burden back in I dont really care)

#32 Posted by The_Ruiner (1090 posts) -

Sure. Games do it all the time.

#33 Posted by Mustachio (243 posts) -

Having played the beta I can say this probably will not be an issue. The movement of your character is just different enough to make controlling it feel alien. The little details seem specifically designed to throw off any Souls series veterans in such a way that their confidence is shaken. That said, certain skills are obviously still transferable once you adapt to the new feel, but all that does is come across as a reward. It's like you've earned those skills, you have that advantage, but you still have the unknown frontier before you and those skills will only get you so far. It's a wonderful feeling, so I wouldn't worry about the difficulty curve in Dark Souls 2 one bit.

#34 Posted by JackSukeru (5922 posts) -

I think Dark Souls II will have some changes and there will be people not necessarily into all of them, just like it was from Demon's Souls to Dark Souls. I feel like I'm fairly easy to please when it comes to this series, though, and will be into whatever.

My history with the series is that I played through Demon's Souls, but I didn't properly learn how to play well until I played Dark Souls, so I definetly got as much of a challenge out of that game as I did the last one. Yet, now that I'm better, I'm still not worried about Dark Souls II not living up to my expectations, simply because the difficulty is far from everything I come to these games for in the first place.

So while I'm expecting a decent challenge out of the combat, having to keep my guard up and proceed slowly, what I'm really looking forward to is the exploration, both of the environments and of the changes made to the game's systems. Being able to discover stuff like that is pretty exciting to me.

#35 Edited by GnaTSoL (836 posts) -

For the jaded fanatic, never.

#36 Posted by CornBREDX (5646 posts) -

They're changing up the game play in some significant ways so I don't think it will be a problem.

#37 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -

All I want is another big ass Souls adventure, so I think I'll be ok. They could have just made a massive expansion for DS and I'd be cool.

#38 Posted by TobbRobb (4761 posts) -

I have realistic expectations, so they are most likely going to be met!

#39 Posted by Sinusoidal (1677 posts) -

I'm enjoying Dark Souls right now as much if not more than I enjoyed Demon's Souls a year ago. I suspect by the time I get around to Dark Souls 2 sometime early 2015, I'll enjoy it as much. The Souls games are probably my favorite thing to come out of this generation. I wish more developers had been as innovative.

#40 Posted by Hayt (302 posts) -

I fully expect it to be a Souls game in all the good ways and all the bad ways. Already heard people saying gravity is once again the deadliest foe in the beta.

#41 Edited by Humanity (9640 posts) -

I'm enjoying Dark Souls right now as much if not more than I enjoyed Demon's Souls a year ago. I suspect by the time I get around to Dark Souls 2 sometime early 2015, I'll enjoy it as much. The Souls games are probably my favorite thing to come out of this generation. I wish more developers had been as innovative.

More innovative gameplay? Well I've got great news for you! Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is available now for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Online
#42 Posted by Sinusoidal (1677 posts) -

@humanity said:

@sinusoidal said:

I'm enjoying Dark Souls right now as much if not more than I enjoyed Demon's Souls a year ago. I suspect by the time I get around to Dark Souls 2 sometime early 2015, I'll enjoy it as much. The Souls games are probably my favorite thing to come out of this generation. I wish more developers had been as innovative.

More innovative gameplay? Well I've got great news for you! Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen is available now for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

I bought Dragon's Dogma (not Dark Arisen) a year ago and haven't gotten around to it yet...

#43 Edited by Humanity (9640 posts) -

@sinusoidal: It is probably one of the most innovative RPG's of this generation. In comparison to DD mechanics, Skyrim plays like a phone game.

Online
#44 Edited by DrGreatJob (129 posts) -

I think Dark Souls 2 will be a superior game to Dark Souls 1 on one condition:

They have enough time to finish the second half of the game.

In Dark Souls 1, you can see a very clear line between the polished, finished parts of the game, and the parts that were incomplete, entirely rushed, or almost entirely cut out of the game. That being said, Dark Souls 1 still managed to be one of the best RPGs of this generation, if not any generation. If they can manage to ship a complete game this time, I'm willing to bet that it'll be much better than the first game.

#45 Posted by Dixego (386 posts) -

It can. It's From.

#46 Edited by Splodge (1770 posts) -

Dark souls is the spelunking of video games (sorry spelunky). You might have all the gear and skills to be a pro, but a new cave is a new cave and all the same precautions must be taken. Anyone, no matter how seasoned, can slip up and fall to their doom, or in this case, be decapitated by a twelve armed faeces monster.

#47 Edited by jakob187 (21691 posts) -

Here are my expectations:

  1. Die a lot.
  2. Kill stuff.
  3. Level up.
  4. Get gear.
  5. Kill more stuff in less swings.

Even if they just rehashed the old game with new areas, I would be perfectly fine with it. It's goddamn Dark Souls, and as long as it is still a challenge due to player mistakes more than anything else, then I'm game for it.

#48 Posted by MormonWarrior (2617 posts) -

I played Demon's Souls long after Dark Souls, but I imagine if I was a Demon's Souls fan my mind would have been completely freaking blown by Dark Souls. It was such a good (pseudo?) sequel.

I've no doubt there's some really neat things in store for Dark Souls II. I'm just a little concerned with some design choices I saw in the network beta...but then, using prefabricated characters and equipment instead of organically leveling up to what I want is a bad way to play. There's some really neat environmental stuff and much better animations, etc.

#49 Edited by MEATBALL (3345 posts) -

It's essentially the third game in the series, so the odds are against it going by most internet reactions to videogames. (Sorry for illogical post, guess I'm feeling dumb and cynical :P )

#50 Posted by Tobako (75 posts) -

I'm a bit skeptic regarding non re-spawning enemies and how magic is going to be in pvp, it felt already overpowered in DkS when people almost one shot me to death with dark bead, now magic seems quite faster and ranged in comparison, just add some lag and prepare to die (unfairly), I really hope I'm wrong.

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