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Dark Souls 2, Scholar of the first Sin

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Comments

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    It's also worth noting that Dark Souls is FAR more focused on melee combat than magic. Magic is an option, but that and even ranged attacks like arrows, firebombs, and dung pies almost feel like easy-mode compared to slugging it out toe to toe. My Dark Souls 1 run is a Bandit with light armor, a battle-axe and shield who has some supplemental Pyromancy, and the game is frequently challenging. My Dark Souls 2 character is a heavily focused magic user who took out two of the first 3 bosses without even taking any damage.

    FinneousPJ
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 5,867
    @the_spyder @jjstraka34 I would say that magic in DS is extremely focused.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    @jjstraka34 - I totally agree that the game is far more focused on melee combat than on magic. In fact, in some instances magic (including pyromancy) seem tacked on. Well, no. That isn't how I feel. It just feels less of a primary focus than the rest. As far as it being 'Easy mode', PvE I would 100% agree. My sorcerer can throw a crystal soul spear that can 2 hit just about any boss in the game. and Homing Crystal Soul mass is insanely powerful "Against the game".

    However..... Against PvP (which is a primary focus of the gameplay), SIGNIFICANTLY less so. My Sorcerer SUCKS in PvP. Now, I am not great using any character against another player, I'll admit. But at least with my STR based Paladin type, I can usually give almost as good as I get against another player and even win some of the time. Not so with my Sorcerer.

    What happens is that sorceries are far easier to dodge than combat hits and the initiation point of most staves is just high enough that most players can dodge under the spell and miss it entirely, and get a free hit on you into the bargain. Homing Crystal Soul mass is some nice damage, but again it is so very easy to dodge that it is almost negligible in PvP combat. Even Crystal Magic weapon has a limited duration, requires you to actually stop and cast it and has limited use meaning that a good opponent merely needs to wait you out and hit you while you are re-upping. All of it is designed so that spell casting is not anywhere near as powerful as straight melee.

    Pyromancy is nice early on in the game when you don't have anything. It can (for a price) be some very substantial early damage. But in the end it just doesn't scale, or at least it is prohibitively expensive and ultimately won't top out melee combat no matter what you do.

    @FinneousPJ - Focused? Yes. Robust? not so much.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    edited March 2016
    Ah, the eternal PvE/PvP balance issue. I may actually try PvP when I get the console versions in the near future, but I've always had a almost visceral dislike of PvP. It really stems from playing WoW for half a decade as mainly caster characters, and that game has essentially the same problem. Once a melee player has reached you, you're complete and utter toast.

    On another note on this topic, do you really feel Dark Souls (and by extension, Bloodborne) are primarily PvP focused?? It again feels much like it is in WoW, as a side activity that just so happens to develop a rabid following, but is in no way the true spirit of the game or the original design intent. For years I got the feeling that the designers of Vanilla World of Warcraft would have loved to have been able to make the game without PvP entirely, and I know I've read that Miyazaki doesn't care about it at all. A similar thing happened to Diablo 2. It was clear the game's PvP was barely an afterthought, it was only the community making it such a big deal that triggered the black market on items and bots that persists to this very day. In fact, I think the absolute BEST feature of Diablo 3 is that Blizzard finally made a game that was entirely PvE focused with no element of Player vs Player combat.

    Edit: I misread your statement, which was that it "is a" primary focus of gameplay, not "the" primary focus. But my feelings on PvP still stand :P

    Vallmyr
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 5,867
    @the_spyder Can you explain what you mean by robust? In my field it means something works as intended even under hostile conditions.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    edited March 2016
    @FinneousPJ - Websters.com lists one of the definitions as "strong and effective in all or most situations and conditions". It also lists one of the definitions as "strongly or stoutly built". My personal meaning in this context is somewhere in between. Basically, Something that stands on it's own effectively in a wide variety of situations, but also something that is diverse enough to cover many scenarios.

    @jjstraka34 - PVP is very definitely A primary focus of the game for Dark Souls. I haven't played enough Bloodborne to know if it is the same, but the Dark Souls games, absolutely. I can only say that if you play on a console, you will see what I mean.

    FinneousPJ
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    Just been getting back into my Darks Souls 1 run after a long time away. It's amazing how cocky and stupid you can get if you step away for a month. I started moving on to the back section of Anor Londo. First the white bat demons handed me my ass for about 30 minutes, then I spent an hour figuring how I was best equipped to take on these Silver Knights that are around every corner (though a decent shield makes them damn near trivial). Never ceases to amaze me that no matter how well you think you are doing or know the area you are currently working on, when you decide to venture further you almost ALWAYS get humbled by new sections of the game you haven't been to before. I've gotten Quelagg's Greatsword crafted as I made it to the Giant Blacksmith, and I'm just contemplating going back and farming soft humanity off the rats in the Depths so I can summon Solaire for what I'm sure will end up being no less than a dozen attempts on the infamous Ornstein and Smough.

    FinneousPJ
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 5,867

    Basically, Something that stands on it's own effectively in a wide variety of situations, but also something that is diverse enough to cover many scenarios.

    I agree the casting in DS does not fit this bill, except maybe for a high level build with access to all spells. I feel it was a design decision though; like I said earlier, the spells are very focused.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    Broke down and bought a PS4 (for multiple and converging reasons, some good some bad, let's just say I needed something to get my spirits up) and a copy of Bloodborne. It kicks your ass five ways from Sunday in the same way that Dark Souls does, maybe more in the first level. But holy hell, the ATMOSPHERE in this game. If you have any interest whatsoever in Gothic horror or are a fan of HP Lovecraft, there probably isn't a better distillation of those themes that has ever been put into a video game. I might add that this PS4 is one sleek piece of hardware as well, easy on the eyes and compact.

    FinneousPJSethDavis
  • YamchaYamcha Member Posts: 476
    @jjstraka34

    The PS4 is a piece of shit. Bloodborne runs in low FPS and even stutters in demanding areas, especially when multiplayer is involved.
    Also you have to pay a monthly fee to use the Bloodborne multiplayer mode.
    All the advantages that consoles had in the past are gone. You have to install games, download updates and games have to make do with the available hardware..

    Sorry to spit in your newly ordered soup :sweat_smile:


  • SethDavisSethDavis Developer Posts: 1,811

    It kicks your ass five ways from Sunday

    I'm sorry Mr Cleric Beast. I didn't know this was your bridge. Please stop turning me into paste.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    edited March 2016
    Lol, I haven't even gotten to either boss yet. I must have spent 3 hours yesterday just getting down the long alley to the bonfire in Central Yharnam. I did somehow manage to find the item that gives you 1 insight before the boss in the sewers, so I can level. Bloodborne is brutally difficult on new players, and it tells you even less than either Souls game and doesn't even let you level until the first boss is at least confronted under normal circumstances. There is no way the opening area in either Souls games thus far is as punishing as the hunt going on in Central Yharnam.

    FinneousPJ
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    Yamcha said:

    @jjstraka34

    The PS4 is a piece of shit. Bloodborne runs in low FPS and even stutters in demanding areas, especially when multiplayer is involved.
    Also you have to pay a monthly fee to use the Bloodborne multiplayer mode.
    All the advantages that consoles had in the past are gone. You have to install games, download updates and games have to make do with the available hardware..

    Sorry to spit in your newly ordered soup :sweat_smile:


    I certainly understand what you're staying here. However, my laptop is only capable up to a certain point (roughly Witcher 2, Skyrim etc). Between not wanting to get another computer, not currently having a console, not wanting to upgrade to a gaming desktop, and wanting to experience games like Witcher 3, Dark Souls 3 and Elder Scrolls Online in good graphical quality, the PS4 seemed like the best bet in comparison to the Xbox One. I don't doubt a good gaming PC would blow them both out of the water, but sometimes you just want to lay on your couch with a wireless controller on a big screen and soak it all in. I'm happy with it one day in, we'll see what happens.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    Bloodborne is a vicious game if you've only played Dark Souls with a shield and/or magic. The gun mechanic is much easier to execute than parrying, and feels much more natural and visceral. As I mentioned earlier, it throws you in the deep end as much or more as either Souls game. The aspect of "pulling" (thankful I have years of WoW under my belt) is important in either Dark Souls game, but the first area of Bloodborne will cut your heart out if you don't learn how to do it.

    If DS2 wasn't your cup of tea, I can't help but think Bloodborne would make anyone optimistic about Dark Souls 3. You can tell Miyazaki was behind the wheel, as the first area coming back on itself and even the first boss (Cleric Beast) are echoes of the Undead Burg.

    Ultimately, in each subsequent game, the UI gets better, the enemy AI gets better, the level design more creative. At this point, after playing Scholar and Bloodborne, the only thing the original game has going for it comparatively is how unbelievably tight and precise it is. If, as I suspect, Dark Souls 3 takes the looping level design of the original, the more fleshed out lore and combat of Dark Souls 2, and the technological advancements and preciseness of Bloodborne, it's hard to see how it is going to be anything but excellent.

    FinneousPJYamchaSethDavisbrus
  • YamchaYamcha Member Posts: 476
    Yeah, Bloodborne is like a bootcamp to make you a better DS player. Before that I mostly played sword+board style. With Bloodborne under my belt I tried something more ballsy - no shields ! :sunglasses: And I died less then ever.
    I still suck at PvP though

    FinneousPJthe_spyderbrus
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    Cleric Beast down....god, the boss fights in these games....I imagine people have dropped dead from heart attacks on some of these things....

    SethDavis
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017


    I agree the casting in DS does not fit this bill, except maybe for a high level build with access to all spells. I feel it was a design decision though; like I said earlier, the spells are very focused.

    I think we are saying essentially the same thing and so it really isn't pursuing the semantics of it. I do rather suspect that one of us likes the casting system considerably more than the other, but that is a HIGHLY subjective viewpoint and again not really worth debating here.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    edited March 2016
    Good god.....Father Gascoigne....probably took me 20 attempts over two days. I literally tried him for an hour this morning before work, got to 1% twice, and it was just utter frustration. I visualized the fight today at times at work, got home, ate supper, fired up Bloodborne, and finally slaughtered the bastard on the first try. The third phase in that fight is unrelenting savagery....Capra Demon and Pursuer level frustration, but I get to move on....

    To the game itself....I don't think I have ever seen "horror" done this well in a video game. Yes, it seems to do it's Lovecraft elements better than any game I've ever seen, but it's more than that. I've never seen a movie this unnerving. The Souls games have some ugly, disturbing animal mobs, but they are nothing to the utter disgust you feel tackling the rats and the (shudder) pig in the Yharnam sewers. They take grotesque to a new level. And as you make your way bit by bit through the city, you are completely overwhelmed that something horribly obscene and profane is going on in Yharnam, and you're not even really sure you want to find out. It's hard for me to even say at this point that it's in any way worse than Dark Souls 1 or 2. For what it's trying to convey, it might even be more fully realized.

    Post edited by jjstraka34 on
    SethDavisFinneousPJbrus
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    I'd like to see the folks that made these games take a stab at doing The Thing as a video game (particularly with this engine). They tried it back in the 90s and the game wasn't that good, but I think that today they absolutely could.

    brus
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670

    I'd like to see the folks that made these games take a stab at doing The Thing as a video game (particularly with this engine). They tried it back in the 90s and the game wasn't that good, but I think that today they absolutely could.

    At this point I think they could do any genre they set their mind to. A Sci-fi Souls game with a horror element would be amazing, but The Thing is also one of the hallmarks of Lovecraft-inspired art, and since they just went that route by combining it with gothic horror, I doubt we'll see something in that vein. Dark Souls 3 comes in less than a month. I would be shocked if they didn't do a Bloodborne sequel. From Software could conceivably make these games on a yearly basis for a decade. It just depends on if they want to continue, or if Bloodborne and Dark Souls 3 are the apex of what they think they can accomplish in this particular medium.

    brus
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    The stories that I've heard is that although Dark Souls 3 won't be 'The end', it is pretty much the penultimate game with perhaps one more after it. I do fear that they will 'go to the well' once to often if they do more than that. As it is, I think that the previews look as much Bloodborne as they do Dark Souls. In that, I am not as thrilled or excited.

    I'm a big old Lovecraftian geek at heart but I just didn't like Bloodborne as much as I wanted to.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    edited March 2016
    Why is that?? I can understand if it's the combat for sure, the game is far harder and more demanding, but aside from the overall theme and aesthetic (which is stellar) it IS a Souls game in all but name.

    As for Dark Souls 3....I have a feeling they are going to try serve all masters, and I hope they can pull it off. On one hand, you have the people who hated Dark Souls 2 because it wasn't constantly looping back on itself, and they seem to have promised that it will (Bloodborne does as well). On another hand, you are going to have people who will surely demand the much better PvP system of Dark Souls 2. I have no doubts they'll do that as well. The final issue is the way they balance the frenetic pace of Bloodborne combat and mix it with the time-honored Dark Souls caution and careful planning. It does look faster, and the Bloodborne influence is there (after all, it's been the only one designed specifically for Next-gen systems). But I think it's gonna lean somewhere in the 80/20 ratio of feeling like Dark Souls. I've heard there is even a ring that allows you to leech health like in Bloodborne, but that is a specific item for if you want it.

    Overall, you get a central hub with everything you need most of the time like Majula and the Hunter's Dream. A recent interview said it was going to be smaller than Dark Souls 2 but far more dense (again, Bloodborne). I'm hoping after it's all said and done and we see a view DLCs we'll be able to view it as the ultimate expression of what a Souls game can be, and not just a enjoyable, competent title. I'm optimistic. I better be, since I shelled out $350 bucks to be able to play this and Bloodborne.

    Edit: Another issue might be that the bosses revealed thus far feel far more like the showcase set-pieces of Bloodborne. Again, this probably stems from the criticism of saying their were far too many humanoid bosses in armor in Dark Souls 2. I think that (and indeed, most) criticisms of Dark Souls 2 are extremely overblown, but I have no doubt that's why you're seeing more massive, grotesque abominations than cursed knights.

  • YamchaYamcha Member Posts: 476
    I died far less in Bloodborne as in Dark Souls 1&2, even now where I should know those games very well.
    Bloodborne may be faster, but not more difficult. Especially the bosses seems to be easier.

  • VallmyrVallmyr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,322
    Interesting, this video actually brings up the lack of magic variety in the Souls series.

    FinneousPJYamcha
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    edited March 2016
    I caught this earlier....I'd maintain that magic is limited (such as it is) because it is, at it's heart, a game about melee combat. There are great and fun ways to play with magic and ranged weapons, but it's not the core of the design element.
    Yamcha said:

    I died far less in Bloodborne as in Dark Souls 1&2, even now where I should know those games very well.
    Bloodborne may be faster, but not more difficult. Especially the bosses seems to be easier.

    This may be dependent on the bosses. Cleric Beast, in retrospect, is nothing to fear after about 3 rounds. As I posted earlier, Father Gascoigne was very difficult, but I have read he is considered among the harder encounters in the game, so maybe it's all downhill....

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 5,867
    @Vallmyr Looks like the level design is more like DS1 than 2, which is great.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    I'm not entirely sure where the negativity towards Dark Souls 2 level design comes in, especially when you throw in the DLCs and the Scholar of the First Sin re-tuning. Yes, it is mostly a series of vignettes as opposed to essentially moving vertically up and down one very large city, but you are actually exploring the entire kingdom Drangelic. If the geography doesn't make sense and loop back on itself, it both because (in most cases) it's not supposed to and for gameplay reasons. It's huge, but it isn't an open world game where they want you to trek miles of nothingness to get to the next area. And it's like most sequels to recognized classics. It sprawls, it goes for broke, and it features metric tons of content.

    If you're a music fan, think of Dark Souls as Let it Bleed and Revolver....Darks Souls 2 is Exile on Main Street and The White Album. That being said, there is alot to like about how Darks Souls 1 and Bloodborne handled their world. But that does necessitate a smaller (if denser) world. Hopefully, Dark Souls 3 can provide a ton of places to go (that are all interesting and complete, unlike the original) and still have certain areas interconnect with each other. The fact that you can still warp from the beginning tells me this may be possible.

  • brusbrus Member Posts: 944
    edited March 2016
    I think I got why people have some problems with DS2 level design generally . Compared to DS it's too much ordered, almost as an abstract tree structure. So, people get familiar with the levels more quickly when map is ordered. Also, DS2 doesn't have that much vertical level depth. There is Majula hole but it serves only as a bridge to another series of straightforward levels.
    As much levels have chaotical non-linear orientation but connected within the map, players like it more.
    Player wants to be be mentally engaged when figuring out the environment.
    image

    Post edited by brus on
  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 5,670
    You're not wrong about it being ordered, it IS more ordered it's certainly less obtuse and doesn't offer those "oh man, this ladder leads right to my bonfire" moments, which are awesome for sure.

    That being said....having just fired up Scholar on the PS4 and experiencing co-op and PvP mechanics for the first time, it's clear that (at least now, before 3 comes out) that Dark Souls 2 is where all multiplayer action in the Souls games congregates (even above Bloodborne). I think it's a better game in almost every respect OTHER the the singular excellence of the design and unfolding mystery or Lordran. The controls, UI, AI, and online aspects all put the first game to shame, and it's story and individual levels are nothing to sneeze at.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017

    Why is that?? I can understand if it's the combat for sure, the game is far harder and more demanding, but aside from the overall theme and aesthetic (which is stellar) it IS a Souls game in all but name.

    Two reasons. The first is that there is a much bigger emphasis on dodging in Bloodborne even than the already heavy focus that exists in the Dark Souls games. Don't get me wrong, I understand the need for dodging and I've learned to do it fairly well in my 5-600 hours of game play across both games. But Bloodborne just felt a LOT more frenetic and twitchy in that department and far surpassed my tolerance for that style of game. From the preview videos that I've seen so far, Dark Souls 3 looks to be going that way.

    The second reason that I was significantly less enchanted by Bloodborne was quite simply I wanted it to be in the same genre as Dark Souls. Please do not mistake me. I love the Lovecraftian elements and thoroughly wanted to enjoy Bloodborne. I was all prepared for it to be "Not swords and knights" and all creepy and gothic, which it was. It just began to feel like I should be looking for a big shield and armor and swords and dragons. Maybe I spent more time at Dark souls than I should have (maybe? Probably) and so the game mechanics put me in a mind set that was difficult to break. But It dragged to such a degree that it was distracting and I finally quit.

    To be clear, neither of the above comments are qualitative. I found nothing mechanically 'Wrong' with Bloodborne. I'm sure it is a fantastic game. It just wasn't my taste (subjective).

    and if Dark Souls 3 "Plays" like Bloodborne, I am not sure how I am going to like that.


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