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How Was Your Weekend? Hot Springs and Sins (4/6/2015)

I love the Souls series and I don't have a Playstation 4 - so that leaves a big Bloodborne-hole in my life. Luckily, Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin came out for PC last week! And that's mostly what I've been playing.

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin (PC)

Long story short: this is the first Souls I get to play on PC and it looks great. The smooth framerate was worth the purchase alone after putting up with awful framerates on the console versions.

I'm in the minority (at least, from what I've seen online) in that I enjoyed Dark Soul 2 quite a lot. DS1 is definitely a top 5 game of all time for me - it truly deserves its praise for not only refining what started in Demon's Souls, but for the cohesive world and level design that were apparently missing in the sequel. DS2 took what seems to be a step backwards by stripping away the open-ended, interconnected nature of DS1, and using the hub-world design similar to Demon's Souls.

The other common complaint of DS2 is that it was easier and that there was more quantity, than quality, of bosses. I can't disagree with these points, but I never looked at them as a detriment to the experience. Honestly, my initial run? I didn't even stop to consider how many bosses I was fighting, or that Majula was a hub like the Nexus in Demon's, or that I was breezing through the game. I was just having fun, which at the end of the day, is what I want from most games.

Part of what made the shortcuts sprinkled around DS1 so compelling was that they were legitimate shortcuts, that allowed the player to save a lot of time in traversing the world prior to acquiring the Lordvessel. Well, DS2 gets rid of the need for them by allowing fast travel to all bonfires reached, at any point. I really enjoy the lore and atmosphere of these games, but saving time is huge for me, no matter the game, so having to literally run between areas didn't add that much to the DS1 experience.

Now let's actually talk about Scholar of the First Sin. Immediately, this version is more difficult than the original release, which I agree was needed. I've played about 15 hours now and the difficulty mostly just comes from tougher enemies being introduced earlier, in abundance. Initially I thought this was lazy, but I'm finding that in a few spots, the additional enemies actually make sense in terms of the world of Drangleic.

Two quick examples: the Heide Knights, who were kind of just...around previously,now appear in Heide's Tower of Flame, and The Pursuer boss actually pursues you and shows up in other levels as a mini boss, sometimes when you least expect it. From the game, "The Pursuer, who seeks the bearer of the sign, will not rest until his target is slain. The Pursuer hunts down those branded by the curse, as if each Undead soul that he claims will atone one of his sins." I know I know, small examples, but the small stuff is what makes these games great! Especially in terms of atmosphere and world building.

There will be plenty more to discuss as I work my way through, (I didn't play the DLC at all yet), but if you're a souls fan and on the fence, this is a great edition of DS2.

Majora's Mask (3DS)

Snowhead temple took me up until the very end of Day 3 to complete, because I spent the whole first day looking for the damn hot spring in Darmani's tomb. I said before I needed a guide when I played this 15 years ago as a kid. Well, that little aspect of the Mountain sequence was still not apparent to me as an adult. Damn it.

Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (XBONE)

This game has a coop mode which is something I never realized I wanted from Geometry Wars. I had a blast playing this with a friend, even though it was pretty short. I'll be picking up the game for myself at some point, as this series is one of the few examples of me wanting to score attack and beat people on my friends list.

A pod was cast.

So how was your weekend?

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