DARK SOULS II RRP: $ 89 ( Re­viewed on PlayS­ta­tion 3)

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TECH - Mike Wil­cox

FANS of the first Dark Souls – and

De­mon Souls be­fore that – will know all too well its un­for­giv­ing dif­fi­culty level and the count­less times your char­ac­ter gets killed. This earned it crit­i­cal praise with hard­core gamers.

This fol­low- up ac­tion role- play­ing game plays out much like the orig­i­nal, in that you start out by cre­at­ing and cus­tomis­ing your char­ac­ter. You choose their phys­i­cal fea­tures, gen­der and the type of class they will be, such as a war­rior, swords­man, cleric or sorcerer. Each class is skilled in dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties and uses dif­fer­ent weapons, which brings plenty of va­ri­ety to the game­play.

The light­weight sto­ry­line sees you need­ing to free yourself from a curse, but re­ally this is just the ve­hi­cle for col­lect­ing the souls of each en­emy you take down along the way.

The va­ri­ety of lo­ca­tions you travel through have a Lord of the Rings feel about them and they all look stun­ning.

The free- roam­ing en­vi­ron­ments and com­bat are­nas have been well de­signed and each new area you come across is dif­fer­ent to the last.

A no­tice­able im­prove­ment on the pre­vi­ous game is the cast of friendly char­ac­ters you meet along the way. Each has a story to tell and the voice act­ing is sur­pris­ingly good. Some will also of­fer use­ful items that can be used later in the game. The key to suc­ceed­ing in Dark

Souls II is keep­ing a cool head and pick­ing your bat­tles wisely. Most en­e­mies and bosses have a spe­cific weak­ness and at­tack pat­tern which you must fig­ure out be­fore you can de­feat them.

This is where the mul­ti­ple deaths come in, as you try dif­fer­ent tech­niques un­til one fi­nally suc­ceeds.

Nat­u­rally, the fur­ther you progress the tougher the bat­tles, so you must con­tin­u­ally im­prove your char­ac­ter. Depend­ing on the class you chose at the be­gin­ning of the game, you’ll be able to up­grade skills and spells, plus pur­chase bet­ter weapons and shields.

Dark Souls II doesn’t stray far from the hunt and gather for­mula, but for any­one that thinks video games are way too easy these days, this fran­chise is here to set you straight.

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