Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Hands-On Preview – Death Becomes You (PS4)

February 5, 2015 Written by Louis Edwards

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Death. It is one of those inevitable things in video games that we all deal with on a regular basis. There are some games that are so unforgiving that death is not only inevitable, but actually expected. Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is one of those games. Of all the games I played at Bandai Namco’s press event, this one I saved for last. It is an upgraded version of the previous release and will also include all three DLC packs that were released for it.

While waiting for my go at it, I was able to see the visual improvements that the PlayStation 4 version received; and this is a great looking game. The lighting and shadows gave the game an almost lifelike look and feel, with the bad guys looking as deathly as ever. The gameplay itself looked very smooth with no frame-rate stutters or slowdowns. Watching one of the developers play the game made it look simple and easy, with him quickly using health potions while swapping out weapons and shields with a fluid accuracy that only comes with a lot of practice.

Then it was my turn.

Traversing around a dilapidated castle, I came across a skeleton with light armor that was just sitting there harmlessly, so I decided to smack him awake. I could hear someone behind me whispering, “He shouldn’t have done that,” and within a minute I watched my first death transpire. The “harmless” skeleton came at me with such rage that I could only wonder what I did to him in a previous life. The developer that was standing there let me go for a little while longer in this same area, but finally led me to an easier part of the level to get a better feel for the game, and I gladly thanked him.

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The next area had fewer enemies around and was in a more lush environment. The enemies I did run into were just as violent, though, and I had to learn the proper use of shields, swords, and potions just to survive for any length of time. This area was a little more forgiving but I still died more than a few times.

Overall the game seemed more than just your standard remaster, with plenty of DLC right out of the box, along with added NPC’s to enhance the story to give it an almost new game feel. We could use some great RPG’s for the PS4 and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin just might be that great RPG. April 7th is still a long ways off, but this game seems worth the wait.