Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

Rating: 4 out of 5



This game makes me want to rip my hair out.

And that’s par for the course in the typical Dark Souls formula. The game was meant to be difficult; I died many times. But that is the point of these games. It’s not about dying; it’s about not giving up at the first sign of defeat.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is similar to the first game in the series, with a storyline that will appear vague to casual players. It is not a bad story when you go in-depth, but that takes a lot of extra time reading character and item descriptions. Dark Souls II is beautifully difficult, with tight controls and difficult bosses, but it is not impossible.

The game eventually stopped screaming at me with difficulty and started teaching, in the way that every good teacher should: it took away comfort. Every moment that felt safe and familiar from the last game was infused with danger, new enemy locations and even new item locations to face what is around the corner — a constant awareness that does not go away the closer you get to the endgame. A dragon blocks the path instead of a knight. Where an enemy with the high ground might have showered arrows before, your path is peppered with firebombs. Red phantoms and The Pursuer haunt you repeatedly through the game, spawned just about anywhere you once thought was safe, and occasionally where you were already overwhelmed.

Revisiting older stages at a higher level, and with better gear, often finds enemies far more hostile and still able to punish arrogance. Remember that merchant you know is in a specific room, that bonfire you just have to kill one more knight to access, that one Ring that would go nicely with that stat-raising shield of yours, that zipline that would shortcut you into a safe room? They’re probably not there anymore. Few of the hardwired safety nets players rely on exist in this world. Even experts have no idea just how devious the game can be in doling out hard lessons in pain and frustration by not approaching every situation with the same care as you did the first time.

The DLC is also expansive and deep, adding hours of lore to sift through. They are amazing additions to the game and I could not imagine the game universe without them.

Overall, this game is big enough to waste weeks drowned in the game lore or leveling up your character. I know I will be enjoying this game for the next few years.




Improvements: Better Textures, solid 60 fps, better bonfire mechanics, weapons handle much better, Multiplayer is usable.

Differences (Bad): Harder to navigate, leveling is different, three DLC at launch.