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Dark Souls II Gameplay Trailer Analysis

A gameplay trailer has just been released showcasing Dark Souls 2 for the first time.

The 12 minute trailer was predictably rather reserved in revealing any mention of new features or providing any commentary on the touchy subject of difficulty, but the games' director, Yui Tanimura, certainly provided enough to whet the appetites of series fans.

The first aspect of the trailer that Tanimura was keen to highlight was From Software's intention to really ramp up the visual fidelity Dark Souls' first sequel and so far they certainly seem to be on track to surpass its bestselling predecessor. The first section of the demo takes place in a familiar-looking drab, abandoned fort. The first thing players are likely to note other than the improved visual quality, is the return of bonfires; sparsely placed 'checkpoints' throughout the game world that could be used in the previous Souls title to restore supplies. It's unclear whether the bonfires will function the same way in Dark Souls 2, as the demo was seemingly more concerned with showing a batch of locations with a sprinkling of combat.

However, Tanimura did showcase, and let slip, a few morsels of information: environmental aids appear to be a new feature with the video showing the player light a torch and using it to light pitch black corridors as a means to detect enemies before they batter your skull into bone meal. The parry system too seems to have been revamped too, affording the player a small increase of survivability by being able to deflect projectiles instead of having to tank your way out of the situation.

Improved AI and the retention of the tense atmosphere are also facets that Tanimura was seemingly keen to emphasise by showing the player character antagonising an otherwise disinterested monster who promptly charged headfirst through a brick wall, giving chase. Hopefully this is a first look at a robust and unpredictable environmental system that was absent from Dark Souls on subsequent play-throughs.

The demo cuts to a rickety bridge connected to a castle surrounded by a giant chasm that quite frankly, looks beautiful with the draw distance being instantly impressive. It's unclear whether the demo is running on a PC or current gen consoles, but if previous reveals are anything to go by, it would probably be safe to assume that the short teaser was running on the former.

The reveal closes with a montage of 'YOU DIED' messages overlaying the creative ways in which the player can die. If this was any other game reveal, you would be wondering why a reveal consisted of the player falling off of bridges and being battered to death by rusty axes -- but this is the Souls series after all. The cynic inside me thinks they are trying to placate detractors of the upcoming title who believe Dark Souls 2 will be diluted for a wider audience, but if there is one thing you do take away from the tantalising trailer, it's that Dark Souls 2 so far looks to be more of the same, and that can only be a good thing, right?

JoeP | 11th April, 2013
SilentHeaven109's picture
Tanimura has since confirmed it's going to be just as difficult as the previous games. That, along with this gameplay trailer, has gotten rid of a lot of my earlier skepticism, I'm pretty excited for this now! Dark Souls is my pick for best game this gen so if it's even half as good I'll be happy
Ewok's picture
Dark Souls was WAAAY too easy...

I love the Souls games and can't wait for the next one. Hopefully the PC port will be a little better, but thats a small complaint.
JoeP's picture
As much as I love Dark Souls I'm still yet to try Demon's Souls. I should really see if I can pick it up for cheap somewhere.

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