Dark Souls II continues a long tradition of games that will challenge even the most veteran of gamers. You’ll explore, experiment, and die many times throughout your quest. While it would be against From Software’s design philosophy to give you a detailed map of the world and a full explanation of the game’s story, we did want to give you a few pointers before you go beyond death come March 11th on PS3.
A few basic changes exist within Dark Souls II that even the Souls veterans might want to know before venturing into the land of Drangleic:
- Fast Travel: Bonfire’s serve as the “checkpoints” in Dark Souls II. As soon as you light a new Bonfire, you’re able to travel between that fire and any other Bonfire that you’ve lit.
- Leveling: Spending hard-earned souls to level up can only happen with the Emerald Herald, a specific NPC you’ll need to return to each time you wish to seek more power.
- Welcome to Majula: Soaked in eerie sunlight, you’ll be roaming around the hub town of Majula early on in your quest. Majula houses the Emerald Herald, vendors, merchants, and other persons of interest that will help you piece together the many stories of Drangleic.
- Death Hurts: Every time you die, you’ll lose a tiny piece of your maximum health as your body decays. You can restore your humanity and stave off the Curse by consuming a Human Effigy. Use these wisely.
Know Your Stats
Dark Souls II continues to put an emphasis on player choice. Whether you want a tattooed spellcaster, a 7′ tall pyromancer who also fancies a greatbow, or a stocky crusader who wields a hammer and uses holy magic to smite his foes, the choice is yours.
Many character statistics and their properties have carried over from Dark Souls, but there are some new additions. On the Player Status screen you can press Select and navigate the menu for more a more detailed explanation. One new addition to Dark Souls II is Adaptability. Adaptability affects your character’s Movement Speed, Resistances, and more. Another addendum to the Dark Souls II mechanics is Attunement, granting increased casting speed for Spells, Miracles, and Hexes.
Any character build in Dark Souls II can be “good,” but an understanding of the different statistics and their effects will help you decide where that next point goes.
Two Swords Are Better Than One?
Dual-wielding is now possible with your Dark Souls II characters. You can wield a weapon in either hand, or in both. This provides you with even more options to choose from while cutting through the Undead. Will you give up that sturdy shield for even more offense? Be sure to experiment with different weapon combinations to learn the new attack patterns and animations.
Durability and You
Your equipment will wear over time, slowly losing durability as you take hits and inflict wounds. One thing to be careful of is scraping your blade against hard surfaces. If you’re continually banging on the walls with your Falchion, the durability will drain much faster. Resting at a Bonfire will restore your equipment’s durability, but if an item has broken completely, you’ll need to visit a Blacksmith for a solution.
Left or Right?
Dark Souls II was built with player freedom in mind. This game is not linear. If you find yourself struggling with a certain enemy or area, explore other paths. There is no “right way” to progress through the game. Each player will find his or her own path. If you truly get stuck, try exploring past areas — you may find that things have changed since you left.
Dark Souls II has been designed to integrate a single and multiplayer experience. Covenants exist to allow players to role-play within Drangleic. Many NPCs throughout the game will offer membership with their respective Covenant. Whether you prefer a hardcore single-player experience, challenging other players to PvP battle, helping fellow comrades through tough areas, or defending against other players, there’s a Covenant for you. Special rewards wait for those who choose to champion their Covenants dutifully.
Weapons, Armor, Spells, Covenants, and Character Stats will let you play Dark Souls II however you choose. Countless character builds, boss strategies, and PvP tactics will blossom once the game launches next week. We look forward to seeing how you go beyond death.