Was a great video. I think critical looks at the game do nothing but help push the game forward. Hope the DkS2 team at FROM see this, but I'm guessing they don't need to and are aware of many of the issues already.
My personal opinion is that many of these issues exist but are not drastic problems. DkS2 is a drop from previous entries, but not a big step down. It has changes for the better, and then some changes for the worse.
- The level designs are not as well crafted as the previous 2 games. There are many fine intricate levels in DkS2 like No Mans Wharf, Forest of Fallen Giants, Lost Bastille, The Gutter and possibly a few more. There are quite a few, however, that are very linear. I think that's OK and the previous games had a fair share of linear levels but the balance in DkS2 may be a little off.
- More than anything on the level design, just feel like there was nothing that reached the peak of the previous games. DeS had certain places like all of Boletaria Castle, 3-1 & 3-2, 4-1, 5-2 that were really tight and memorable. DkS had Sens, Blightown, Undead Burg, Anor Londo, Painted World as well. Each of those games had some ok levels but always had those few levels to hold up a masterful.
- Last thought on the level design. I do think the lighting changes probably had a big impact on what we have in the final game. Atmosphere is a big component to the overall experience and it seems like many of levels where designed with the new lighting in mind. This surely affected atmosphere as well as gameplay.
- Too many bonfires. Not many places in the game where I felt on edge from pushing on i.e. 5-2 in DeS or many places in DkS. Playing through the game is a series of short sprints and not many times of player endurance.
- Cheap enemies. For the first time in a Souls game I had to resort to using range attacks at times. Many times in DkS2 I just got sick of dealing with it and resorted to range, i.e. Shrine of Amana, Mace guys in Dragon Shrine.
- Hit boxes. For a game that has had such tight melee combat, this is definitely an issue. Totally mucks up the dodging and having to rely on the invincibility frames is not a good solution. This needs fixed going forward.
- Plot (not lore): Good points.
- Linear levels: as mentioned above, it has more linear levels than previous entries but to say every level is a long tunnel with a dead end is not accurate.
- The warping. Don't really have a problem with the warping. Like DeS, I think the warping gives the feeling of a bigger world. I thought the open world of DkS was clever but that it didn't make sense to have these extremely different areas all touching like that.
- Humanoid type enemies. These were usually the best kind of enemies to fight, i.e. Allant, Penetrator, O&S, Artorias, etc. Would rather have more humanoid type enemies than other kinds of gimmicky bosses.
- The lore critique. Lore is still being dissected and it's too early to really get a grasp on it yet. I think there are some really interesting things about the motivations of Aldia, Vendrick, Emerald Herald that are quite complex and haven't been explored enough. Took quite a while for DkS1 lore to really establish itself as well.