I am a fan of the souls games (and for the record, I consider Bloodborne a souls game). I cannot claim to be an expert at them, but I enjoy them. Their difficulty is harsh but most of the time fair. It is a series that wears it’s challenge on it’s sleeve, but hides it’s lore and storyline nuances behind game play and item descriptions. It is a game series unlike anything else on the market, and this is why I like it.
Dark Souls 2 has to be the weakest in the series, in my opinion, although that isn’t much of a condemnation considering how good the series is as a whole. It has many enhancements over the original game as well as a number of ways your character is now weakened. Death now lessens your maximum health by a small amount each time until it reaches half. This means that death now has a punishment, and regaining your humanity it more important, making the item used to regain it in this game, human effigys, a lot more valuable.
However, we aren’t here to talk about Dark Souls 2, however much I can talk about it (and I may just write an article about how I love the series as a whole). Recently the game was re-released on current gen consoles and PC under the subtitle “scholar of the first sin”. You may be forgiven for thinking that this is merely a game of the year edition for it, but it is so much more, and whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.
Before I go any further I wish to make clear that I have not completed the scholar of the first sin version of the game, but I am very familiar with the original, and I believe I have seen enough of the differences to make the point I wish to.
This game contains all of the downloadable content originally released for Dark Souls 2, but also acts as a remix of sorts for the rest of the game. Items are no longer where they used to be, enemies are in different places, some of them even turning up much earlier than they should and in greater numbers, drop rates are modified, and so on. The problems that arise from this is when the games difficulty seems to be dramatically increased because of these changes.
A number of the more drastic changes I noticed were the Heide Knight being moved from the forest of fallen giants into Heide’s tower of flame, where there are now multiples of them waiting. Because of this, their weapon drop rates have been significantly decreased so that their sword is no longer easy to obtain, despite their difficulty being the same.
Similarly to this, there are now more armored knights wandering the early areas of the forest of fallen giants where they shouldn’t be, and are much more complicated to deal with than the normal hollow soldiers that frequent these areas. In the first area of the forest, there is even now a large troll beast walking up and down the river, making he first bonfire (essentially a checkpoint) a dangerous affair if he is not watched carefully.
Many of these areas hold difficulty for new players anyway, and so to remix them like this seems to be adding an extra level of difficulty that may do little more than causing new players to flee from this game series before they realize what it is fully about.
Now saying this, it may sound like I am condemning it as a bad game. I believe that it IS worth playing for someone who enjoyed Dark Souls 2 and wants to play it again while keeping a new air of mystery. I must admit to feeling nervous when in an area that the original game kept as an ambush, and yet found no enemies. The feeling of the familiarity tied to the unknown is a strangely compelling feeling, almost like discovering Drangleic all over again. It’s just not a good entry point to the series.
Dark souls 2 is undeniably a good game, but I’d say leave the re-release until you’re already familiar with the game, because as a stand alone game it’s added frustrations make it a bad place to start