#1 Edited by themangalist (1742 posts) -

With all the "I got to play Day One so I could explore the game along with the internet" and "so this was tweaked huh", not a lot of people are talking about the story and the world of DS2. I didn't dare touch DS1 but I enjoyed reading about all the lore, seeing many parts of the world on youtube. All the things I've seen of DS2 seemed dull (especially comparing the two games' castle areas), with quite a few enemies recycled from the first game, and the backstory seems very generic. Both Demon's Souls and Dark Souls seem to have much more interesting worlds than DS2. So for those who played/finished the game, would you say DS2 is on par with, better/worse than the quality story-telling and world-building as the last two Souls games?

#2 Edited by handlas (2719 posts) -

I'm probably in the minority but everything feels much less inspired here. That's one of the main reasons I loved the first two games. The enemies were cool to look at. The bosses were amazing and puzzles to figure out. The world felt diverse yet connected.

All those things I said above are not as well done in DS2. At least from my 20 hours of playing so far and I've just about filled out the warping bonfire map thing. So, needless to say, I haven't been enjoying it quite as much as the other games but I'm obviously enjoying it enough to put 20 hours into it.

Also I feel far more directionless in this game. I have no idea what I'm suppose to be doing and where I'm suppose to be going. Right now I'm just wandering around hoping to find the next area that is suitable for my current level. What's funny is the last GB vid Vinny was in the same area that I was currently in. He was like level 106 or something and I'm level 60... so I don't know what's up with that and where he has been that I can't seem to find because I level up every chance I get.

#3 Posted by Tru3_Blu3 (3239 posts) -

I've been wondering the same thing. I loved Dark Souls' world more than anything.

#4 Posted by Fredchuckdave (6002 posts) -

Lore seems solid, world is a little less cohesive but there's still plenty of interesting areas and a very heavy exploration element.

#5 Edited by Aetheldod (3682 posts) -

@handlas: Trust me there a lot more than you have seen ....

Just finished the game after 80 something hours and it still feels the same WTF ending as in Dark Souls , a lot of lore to be found and thinked upon. So it is very inspired I guess.

Edit: Also most of the lore was explored months and years after the first Dark Souls came out ... so give it time.

#6 Posted by Akeldama (4255 posts) -

The lore is a slow burn, but it was definitely more shocking to me up front. The revelation in the undead crypt was nuts.

#7 Edited by Steadying (1418 posts) -

If the Dark Souls lore wasn't as interesting as it was, I probably wouldn't have stuck with the games. Dark Souls II didn't really disappoint in the story department, but I was hoping for something a little " bigger " with the ending, and also more ties to the first. I guess they might not be done with the Dark Souls story yet.

Online
#8 Posted by Steadying (1418 posts) -

Also, I found Vendrick a much more interesting " target " than Gwyn. I couldn't wait to actually meet him in game.

Online
#9 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4867 posts) -

@akeldama said:

The lore is a slow burn, but it was definitely more shocking to me up front. The revelation in the undead crypt was nuts.

Which revelation are you referring to?

#10 Posted by Oni (2109 posts) -

@akeldama said:

The lore is a slow burn, but it was definitely more shocking to me up front. The revelation in the undead crypt was nuts.

Which revelation are you referring to?

Probably seeing Vendrick. That was an amazing moment. I stood there for like 10 minutes.

I think the world is a lot more interesting than Dark Souls', mostly because it builds on the Dark Souls lore in some really cool ways. If you were way into Dark Souls' lore, playing this game is really a treat. There are many parallels, subtle and overt, and it made me super nostalgic and excited at the same time. The final third of the game in particular is filled with amazing areas that surprised me time and again. It's a really sad story in many ways, and it's felt in a lot of aspects of the game. It's mysterious, nostalgic, wistful, tragic and beautiful in turns. You just have to play it, if you love Dark Souls' lore. I think it's categorically a better game. Dark Souls starts off very strong but really falls off after Anor Londo. It's clearly rushed. Lost Izalith feels very unfinished, Tomb of the Giants kind of sucks, New Londo is short; Duke's Archive is just about the only late-game area that feels fully fleshed out. Dark Souls 2 by comparison doesn't make quite AS strong a first impression, but really ramps it up the deeper you get into it. You have to play it.

#11 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4867 posts) -

@oni said:

@oldirtybearon said:

@akeldama said:

The lore is a slow burn, but it was definitely more shocking to me up front. The revelation in the undead crypt was nuts.

Which revelation are you referring to?

Probably seeing Vendrick. That was an amazing moment. I stood there for like 10 minutes.

I think the world is a lot more interesting than Dark Souls', mostly because it builds on the Dark Souls lore in some really cool ways. If you were way into Dark Souls' lore, playing this game is really a treat. There are many parallels, subtle and overt, and it made me super nostalgic and excited at the same time. The final third of the game in particular is filled with amazing areas that surprised me time and again. It's a really sad story in many ways, and it's felt in a lot of aspects of the game. It's mysterious, nostalgic, wistful, tragic and beautiful in turns. You just have to play it, if you love Dark Souls' lore. I think it's categorically a better game. Dark Souls starts off very strong but really falls off after Anor Londo. It's clearly rushed. Lost Izalith feels very unfinished, Tomb of the Giants kind of sucks, New Londo is short; Duke's Archive is just about the only late-game area that feels fully fleshed out. Dark Souls 2 by comparison doesn't make quite AS strong a first impression, but really ramps it up the deeper you get into it. You have to play it.

I have to agree. I'm going back and forth a lot on if I prefer this game or DS1, but then I think about my arrival at Drangleic Castle. Standing at the far end of the bridge with the Emerald Herald with no soundtrack but the pouring rain and my own footsteps. It was a hell of a moment.

As far as Lore is concerned, I'm digging what I've been able to find. A lot of items and what not are locked behind NG+ so that's unfortunate. I'm waiting for the usual suspects to really start digging into the lore and start the theorizing. I've got some of my own theories, but nobody I know likes Dark Souls. Or video games.

#12 Posted by Shirogane (3581 posts) -

@oldirtybearon:

You could start your own thread for lore theorizing, i'm pretty sure a lot of people would be totally into joining you on that, me included.

#13 Posted by militantfreudian (128 posts) -

The world is fascinating, and surprisingly, charming. As a matter of fact, it's one of the main reasons I'm enjoying the game this much. Don't take my word for it though; I'm only 6 hours in and I played neither Dark Souls nor Demon's Souls.

#14 Posted by mosespippy (4376 posts) -

So far it has been less interesting for me. I am interested to find out how people interpret the murals in The Shrine of Winter. I just got to the Undead Crypt so maybe it'll finish strong.

#15 Posted by kaos_cracker (655 posts) -

I think it is fine. To be fair I just played the game through to beat it, and for NG+ ima read everything and try to 100% it for the lore.

#16 Posted by Karkarov (3230 posts) -

Uh we have started some theorizing in another thread. Long story short, the story of this game is as good if not better than Dark Souls 1. Dark Souls 1 had nothing to build on since it couldn't really use most of Demon's Souls and to be honest I always felt the backstory of Demon's Souls was considerably stronger. Dark Souls 2 is a lot more evocative of the older From Software RPG's like King's Field, which to this day is still a series that I hold in higher regard than the souls games and gets no freaking credit even despite the fact that without King's Field there would have been no souls games. Parts of it will be more direct, other parts will be more subtle, but there is definitely some real story there to consider.

Overall Dark Souls 2 is also a better game. Yes some of the bosses suck. You can say the same about Dark Souls 1 though, even though I think Dark Souls 2 is probably the worse offender here. As far as the level design and the world go I vastly prefer 2. Dark Souls 1 had no variety, there was one forest area, a ton of forts/castles, a sewer, the requisite crappy stick houses and pits of death level, a couple generic caves, and that is about it. Dark Souls 2 had a water/swampy area, two forest levels, plenty of forts/castles, crappy stick houses/pits of death, a poison filled windmill/outdoor area, a craggy mountain/bridge level, a poison death trap cave, and a underground pirate cove basically.

Lastly I think Dark Souls 2 wins for one big reason. Other than a few boss moments I never felt the game was cheap or cheesy. There was plenty of times I felt Dark Souls 1 was going off the cheese deep end. Dark Souls 2 had some corny forced death if you basically don't "know" something is coming, but they were placed in such a way that recovering from them wasn't a terrible ordeal and many of them were one offs. They didn't happen repeatedly like a couple archers in this one place firing at you from so far away they wouldn't even load on screen. There was also a conspicuous absence of hundreds of tiny walk ways with 100% death if you move even in the slightest way wrong in Dark Souls 2. Cant say I miss those, at all.

#17 Posted by Matiaz_Tapia (291 posts) -

It's a slow burn at the front, but it get's much much better in the second half. Your first task is to get 4 big souls, which seems a bit irrelevant and disconnected to some degree( There's lore for them, but feels like 4 side stories rather than part of the whole). Once you are done with that you are met with a much more cohesive and centralized story at the castle, it's tangential areas and after the king's gates.

Some really great moments that go back and explain the world better. This time is not all in the item descriptions.The giant memories are a nice touch, for example.

#18 Posted by SunBroZak (1287 posts) -

The world is decent. Comparable to Dark Souls, in my opinion. The lore though, it's incredibly interesting. Some of the connections they make to the past games are very cool.

#19 Posted by Garr123 (14 posts) -

I feel the hub world design is a step back. The world seems very patchwork, and the areas don't feel particularly connected. In DS1, you had a general idea of where you were in relation to the rest of the game world, and could very often see other locations. Also, a lot of areas are surprisingly brief, usually like a short sprint to the next one. You don't get that sense of grandeur, foreboding, or progression that existed in DS1. Take The Depths > Blight town > Demon Ruins > Lost Izalith feeling like a natural progression as you delved deeper and deeper.

#20 Edited by Karkarov (3230 posts) -

@garr123: I will admit as a dude who studied architecture I found it really freaking weird how I went up an elevator in a windmill (that you can see the top of from outside) and somehow wound up in a lave filled volcano with a castle in the middle of it. That windmill must be hella well built to hold all that crap up.

#21 Edited by Oldirtybearon (4867 posts) -

@karkarov said:

@garr123: I will admit as a dude who studied architecture I found it really freaking weird how I went up an elevator in a windmill (that you can see the top of from outside) and somehow wound up in a lave filled volcano with a castle in the middle of it. That windmill must be hella well built to hold all that crap up.

It's not that bizarre when you think about how such a thing would exist. The basic idea as I understand it is that the Iron Keep existed on a dormant volcano, the keep sank in a bit due to the sheer weight of all dat iron.

Yeah wait a second; the vistas surrounding the Iron Keep are strange and don't support that theory.

... why the hell do we go up?

#22 Posted by kishinfoulux (2470 posts) -

@garr123 said:

I feel the hub world design is a step back. The world seems very patchwork, and the areas don't feel particularly connected. In DS1, you had a general idea of where you were in relation to the rest of the game world, and could very often see other locations. Also, a lot of areas are surprisingly brief, usually like a short sprint to the next one. You don't get that sense of grandeur, foreboding, or progression that existed in DS1. Take The Depths > Blight town > Demon Ruins > Lost Izalith feeling like a natural progression as you delved deeper and deeper.

Yup. Instead here you go from a fucking Windmill in Eastern Peak and suddenly you're in...a lava surrounded castle after taking an elevator UP? Huh?

Maybe it's just watching ENB lore videos or something, but none of the characters, story, etc. are doing much for me. I'm sure once I learn more maybe that'll change, but as of now it's not grabbing me. Also the music might as well just not exist because I don't even notice it. The music in the first game was great and still sticks with me. I can't hum one tune from this game, including Majula which you visit constantly.

#23 Posted by Oni (2109 posts) -

@garr123 said:

I feel the hub world design is a step back. The world seems very patchwork, and the areas don't feel particularly connected. In DS1, you had a general idea of where you were in relation to the rest of the game world, and could very often see other locations. Also, a lot of areas are surprisingly brief, usually like a short sprint to the next one. You don't get that sense of grandeur, foreboding, or progression that existed in DS1. Take The Depths > Blight town > Demon Ruins > Lost Izalith feeling like a natural progression as you delved deeper and deeper.

Yup. Instead here you go from a fucking Windmill in Eastern Peak and suddenly you're in...a lava surrounded castle after taking an elevator UP? Huh?

Maybe it's just watching ENB lore videos or something, but none of the characters, story, etc. are doing much for me. I'm sure once I learn more maybe that'll change, but as of now it's not grabbing me. Also the music might as well just not exist because I don't even notice it. The music in the first game was great and still sticks with me. I can't hum one tune from this game, including Majula which you visit constantly.

Are you kidding me with the music? Do not click this link if you haven't reached the endgame, imo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnoZG6iCbjU.

With moments like that in the game I don't know how you can say Dark Souls 2's story/characters are inferior to DkS1. I think it's got a way better story because it builds on Dark Souls in some really cool, smart ways and is thematically much more cohesive. I'll give you Earthen Peak > Iron Keep, though. That shit don't make no sense. But everywhere else I think the world is even better designed. Following on the King's trail all the way to the end was pretty epic for me.

#24 Posted by BambamCZ (147 posts) -

I think it starts really slow and not very interesting but the more NPCs I met, locations I visited and items I have found it slowly grew on me. And then Vendrick in the Undead Crypt happened and I was in. In a way I think they made it a slowburn on purpose to make some of the moments hit home. Aside from the one moment mentioned above I also love Dragon Shrine and the area before that. The call backs to the story and characters of Dark Souls are also very fun and some of the aspects of the world of DKS2 make aspects of the predecessor hit home like the nature of hexes, hollowing process and others.

#25 Posted by Yummylee (22292 posts) -

@oni: It has some decent tracks, but overall I'd hafta agree that DkS2's soundtrack isn't as memorable as both prior Souls games. It's probably the only weak point in what is otherwise still an incredible game, one that is quite possibly the best Souls game yet.

#26 Edited by Garr123 (14 posts) -

@oni said:

Are you kidding me with the music? Do not click this link if you haven't reached the endgame, imo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnoZG6iCbjU.

With moments like that in the game I don't know how you can say Dark Souls 2's story/characters are inferior to DkS1. I think it's got a way better story because it builds on Dark Souls in some really cool, smart ways and is thematically much more cohesive. I'll give you Earthen Peak > Iron Keep, though. That shit don't make no sense. But everywhere else I think the world is even better designed. Following on the King's trail all the way to the end was pretty epic for me.

Seeing the king was a cool moment, but despite reading all the item descriptions and talking to every NPC, I never really had a clear idea of what I was doing or why I was doing it. Even towards the end of the game, the sole driving force is the Emerald Herald saying "Go kill the king." You really don't have any other reason to be doing any of it. By the midpoint of Dark Souls, you've already met Frampt and maybe Kaathe and they've straight up told you what your purpose is, and if you were reading stuff, then you have a pretty decent understanding of who the major creatures/deities your murdering are and what their relation to Gwyn is. The exposition in DS wasn't lengthy, and the item descriptions were just morsels, but they did a good job of setting up hooks so your imagination could run a bit wild. In DS2 you get things like an actual Medusa who doesn't seem to have any bearing on the plot other than being there for you to fight -- seriously, some of the boss designs in DS2 are incredibly unimaginative compared to DS and a bunch are just tallish humans holding weapons:

Pursuer, Ruin Sentinels, Dragonrider(s), Dragonslayer, Versaldt, Vindrick, The Throne Watchers, The Lost Sinner, Mirror Knight.

As far as the world being better designed, people already mentioned the nonsensical windmill that leads to a volcano, but I'd also like to mention the Dragon Aerie's vista, with its miles of stone pillars towering above the clouds, which also somehow happen to be a short jog from Majula. In DS1 you could pretty much see where you were when you were above ground, and the neat part about that game was being able to go to places you saw at some point in the distance, or realizing you can see The Demon Ruins from The Tomb of Giants, or first bell tower from Sen's Fortress, it lent the game a real tangible sense of progression and everything had to fit together in a coherent fashion due to how it was designed. The DS2 world feels scatter shot and disconnected, as if they had a bunch of ideas and just threw them in wherever.

I actually really like the game, I just think the idea that the world is better designed is bonkers. DS1 was brilliant in that regard.

Also, DS2 plays really loose with its hit boxes, which isn't a lore thing, but is kind of annoying for a souls game and I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned more.

#27 Edited by tourgen (4542 posts) -

@garr123 said:

I feel the hub world design is a step back. The world seems very patchwork, and the areas don't feel particularly connected. In DS1, you had a general idea of where you were in relation to the rest of the game world, and could very often see other locations. Also, a lot of areas are surprisingly brief, usually like a short sprint to the next one. You don't get that sense of grandeur, foreboding, or progression that existed in DS1. Take The Depths > Blight town > Demon Ruins > Lost Izalith feeling like a natural progression as you delved deeper and deeper.

I agree. The world isn't as well designed as DS1. There are some pretty poor areas in DS2 that are kind of haphazard low-poly outdoor corridors. Not a lot of thought or energy went into them. Maybe they were rushed? Every area in DS1 felt carefully thought out and connected to the rest of the world. It all felt cohesive as a whole. DS2's world doesn't feel that way at all. It's still very good compared to just about every other action-RPG out there.

I think adding bonfire travel is part of the problem. It allows for sloppier and lazier world design if you don't have to consider how the player moves through the world from area to area as they progress. From the player's side it means they don't have to think about how areas are connected and they don't get concrete experience moving through an area more than once. Fast travel is a design mistake almost every time.

The story and lore are better. There were a few really high points for me in DS1, but everything in DS2 is more interesting to me.

#28 Edited by Sterling (2604 posts) -

I was disappointed to find out Patches was not in the game. But Cromwell was. And a few others who are more hidden so I wont mention them by name. But no Patches was disappointing.

#29 Posted by sub_o (912 posts) -

@sterling: Well there is Pate. Crafty and shifty as Patches. He even wields the same shield.

#30 Posted by kishinfoulux (2470 posts) -

@oni said:

@kishinfoulux said:

@garr123 said:

I feel the hub world design is a step back. The world seems very patchwork, and the areas don't feel particularly connected. In DS1, you had a general idea of where you were in relation to the rest of the game world, and could very often see other locations. Also, a lot of areas are surprisingly brief, usually like a short sprint to the next one. You don't get that sense of grandeur, foreboding, or progression that existed in DS1. Take The Depths > Blight town > Demon Ruins > Lost Izalith feeling like a natural progression as you delved deeper and deeper.

Yup. Instead here you go from a fucking Windmill in Eastern Peak and suddenly you're in...a lava surrounded castle after taking an elevator UP? Huh?

Maybe it's just watching ENB lore videos or something, but none of the characters, story, etc. are doing much for me. I'm sure once I learn more maybe that'll change, but as of now it's not grabbing me. Also the music might as well just not exist because I don't even notice it. The music in the first game was great and still sticks with me. I can't hum one tune from this game, including Majula which you visit constantly.

Are you kidding me with the music? Do not click this link if you haven't reached the endgame, imo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnoZG6iCbjU.

With moments like that in the game I don't know how you can say Dark Souls 2's story/characters are inferior to DkS1. I think it's got a way better story because it builds on Dark Souls in some really cool, smart ways and is thematically much more cohesive. I'll give you Earthen Peak > Iron Keep, though. That shit don't make no sense. But everywhere else I think the world is even better designed. Following on the King's trail all the way to the end was pretty epic for me.

Like I said I never notice the music at all. That's not good. And none of the NPC's or lore stuff sticks with me. Also the half Demon's and half Dark compromise they tried to make with the world ended up hurting them. It should have all be connected like in Dark, instead they went for this weird mish mosh and it suffers because of it. Hell the whole game suffers because they try to fuse together, which just exposes the weak points in Demon's Souls.

#31 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

If this has any impactful influence on your enjoyment of a Souls game I'm sorry to say but you must be insane.

#32 Posted by SingingMenstrual (327 posts) -

From these forums alone I got the impression that the lore is silly because there are literally endless random names for everything.

"How do I kill the Migel Creeper who lives underneath the Shmaug Tower without using any Flerk Flasks, since that would clearly make my confrontation with the Nanarok Devourer harder later on? Should I take the Sfilgek path, maybe find some Hemhem Dildos there?"

^ that sounds like your run-of-the-mill Dark Souls question. IMO it reflects writers who try too hard to distinguish themselves from the balanced and coherent lore of The Elder Scrolls.

Keyword is impression, this is my impression.

#33 Posted by Oni (2109 posts) -

If this has any impactful influence on your enjoyment of a Souls game I'm sorry to say but you must be insane.

Oh I don't agree with that, the world and lore are huge parts of the Souls appeal. I just don't agree that those aspects are worse than in the previous games, in fact by and large I think they're better, though I agree that some of the area transitions are... odd. But it kind of fits with the dreamlike nature of Drangleic, it all feels very purgatorial. It makes the world feel otherworldly, I guess. I like it a lot, it fits with the tone and themes, and there's no doubt in my mind that individually, DS2 has the best areas of any of the Souls games for sure. Also it's huge, and all the variety and the scope of some of the areas makes the world feel huge, even if they fudge some of the distance, like looking from Heide's to Majula, it's clear you didn't actually walk that far, but Dark Souls fudges it similarly in spots. It's clearly not all as contiguous as it looks and feels, and that's fine. But Dark Souls feels teensy compared to the sequel. I don't mind the warping at all.

#34 Edited by Grelik (158 posts) -

@karkarov said:

@garr123: I will admit as a dude who studied architecture I found it really freaking weird how I went up an elevator in a windmill (that you can see the top of from outside) and somehow wound up in a lave filled volcano with a castle in the middle of it. That windmill must be hella well built to hold all that crap up.

It's not that bizarre when you think about how such a thing would exist. The basic idea as I understand it is that the Iron Keep existed on a dormant volcano, the keep sank in a bit due to the sheer weight of all dat iron.

Yeah wait a second; the vistas surrounding the Iron Keep are strange and don't support that theory.

... why the hell do we go up?

While I do love the game, this has been a pretty big disappointment for me. I loved the cohesive, seemingly natural progression of the world and area's through DS1 and how they all seemed to fit well together and make sense. DS2 just feels like they're going through a checklist of area themes with no rhyme or reason and when looked at as a whole, make no sense.

Another glaring example would be travelling from Heide's Tower to the Wharf.... So. you start at sea level in Heide's. You go down the tower after dragon rider or whatever and go below sea level. You then take an elevator REALLY far below sea level. Then a flat sewer section later, you come out into the wharf and.... you're at sea level. Huh?

The game part is absolutely better in DS2, no doubt about that. But so much of the immersion I loved in DS1 is gone in exchange for MMO style zone creation.