Admittedly, we did have doubts about Dark Souls II after hearing it was going to be made more accessible. Our collective minds started to run wild with thoughts of handholding, forced tutorials and even an optional â€˜easy modeâ€™ but the slew of reviews which arrived today have put those qualms to rest.
Word has it that, yes, it is a little easier but itâ€™ll have you cursing at the TV just like before. This isnâ€™t necessary a bad thing either. To quote GameSpot: â€œDeath is so very beautiful in this game, for it comes at the hands of amazing beasts and warmongers: hulking armored knights, shimmering otherworldly invaders, and tendrils that rise out of black pools of poison. Sure, each death punctures your heart, but one of Dark Souls II’s many gruesome pleasures is discovering new ways to die.â€
At the time of typing, the Metacritic for the Xbox 360 version stands at 92% from 19 critics and not one of those reviews is below 8/10. The PlayStation 3 version meanwhile stands at 90%, a fact which we can attribute to French site JeuxActu giving it 7/10 – the lowest score weâ€™ve seen so far.
Feast your eyes on the bounty of 9/10s below – we havenâ€™t seen such universal praise for a new release since GTA V.
5/5 – The Guardian: â€œDark Souls II is an extraordinary game. If it stops short of fulfilling something precious within the soul, it certainly has the heart, mind and fingers coveredâ€
5/5 – The Telegraph: “It’s more accessible without compromising itself, the sheer wealth of content and variety of boss fights more than makes up for the slightly easier time you’ll have of it, and the rich world of Drangleic is comfortably the best in the series yet”
5/5 – US Gamer: â€œDark Souls II provides the best of both worlds: an admirable sequel for series veterans, and a perfect jumping-on point for gamers who’ve shied away from From Software’s RPG brand until nowâ€
9.75 – GameInformer: â€œItâ€™s only March, but Dark Souls II stands tall as a potential game of the yearâ€
9/10 – X-One Magazine: â€œOnly for the bold, Dark Souls II delivers a fearsome challenge, while dispensing with the complexity that bogged down its predecessor. A true triumph of game designâ€
9/10 – Official Xbox Magazine (UK): â€œIt changes the formula of its predecessor just enough to keep things interesting, yet retains the sense of spoon-fed accomplishment that keeps the dedicated coming back for moreâ€
9/10 – Official PlayStation Magazine (UK): â€œUncompromising in its challenge, this supremely balanced slasher destroys your fingers and delights your soul with its unrivalled sense of triumph through trialâ€
9/10 – NowGamer: â€œDon’t let its reputation put you off – buy the game, take your time and earn your bragging rights when the credits rollâ€
9/10 – Destructoid: â€œAlthough the loss of Miyazaki stings a bit (particularly in the boss design department), I think this new team did an excellent job without him, and I’d love to see yet another Souls entry as soon as possibleâ€
9/10 – GameSpot: â€œDark Souls II is loaded with secrets and surprises, and even though I have finished the game once, there are so many elements I am still uncoveringâ€
9/10 – gamesTM: â€œDespite so many slight changes here and there, the solid combat, janky platforming, overwhelming odds and brutal bosses all conspire to remind you that this is very much a Souls game, and yet another excellent one at thatâ€
9/10 – EDGE: â€œSome of its ideas work better than others, and Drangleic is no match for Lordranâ€™s intricate design, but Dark Souls II is, like its predecessors, brilliant, beautiful, and absolutely essentialâ€
9/10 – Eurogamer: â€œOverall, Dark Souls 2 probably isn’t quite the same masterpiece Dark Souls is, but then neither is anything else, and the fact it comes so close is remarkableâ€
9.0 – IGN: â€œDark Souls II is a smart, massive, and incredibly rewarding sequel to the challenging originalâ€
8.0 – Official Xbox Magazine (US): â€œFor players new to the series, itâ€™s a much better entry point than the first game, but Dark Souls grognards who proudly bear their scars will find it a touch too familiar and/or streamlined. That said, any title that manages to come even close to Dark Soulsâ€™ greatness is a successâ€
Dark Souls II launches in the UK this Friday. With Titanfall also out this week, it’s going to be a bloody battle for the top spot in next week’s UK chart.