Dark Souls II

EDGE - - THE EDGE AWARDS -

Pub­lisher Bandai Namco De­vel­oper FromSoft­ware For­mat 360, PC, PS3

Com­par­isons to its pre­de­ces­sor may be un­flat­ter­ing, but there’s no shame in not quite liv­ing up to one of the finest games ever. Be­ing able to warp be­tween bon­fires from the get-go may have meant Dark Souls II lacked the re­mark­able sense of place of Lor­dran, but un­teth­er­ing From’s de­sign team from logic let it de­liver a world of dizzy­ing va­ri­ety, tak­ing in the shim­mer­ing Shrine Of Amana, the ma­jes­tic Iron Keep, and the gid­dy­ing Dragon Aerie.

For all that it changed, this game re­peated Dark Souls’ great­est trick: of­fer­ing enough va­ri­ety to power a dozen playthroughs, new builds and strate­gies of­fered up by a deeply en­gaged com­mu­nity. The covenant sys­tem aban­doned the crit­i­cal path and let you hunt down sin­ners, set fa­tal traps, or in­voke the spirit of So­laire with some jolly co-op­er­a­tion. Then came the best DLC of the year in the Lost Crowns tril­ogy, a pun­ish­ing, almost per­fect ex­pan­sion to another epic.

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