This week was very kind to gamers who have been eagerly waiting for more information about Dark Souls 2. After the reveal of the game during the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards, very little information has been divulged from the team at From Software. Though little is still known about the controversial claim of making the second entry more accessible to newcomers, new gameplay footage certainly proves that Dark Souls 2 looks to be as brutal and gorgeous as its predecessor.
While watching a flaming chariot trample a character or seeing them launched into a chasm by a pack of beasts is good fun, something else about the Dark Souls 2 footage particularly resonated: the environments. Let’s face it, the production values contained within those few minutes of gameplay was incredible. Not only were the graphics bordering on next gen, they allowed for some of the most vibrant environmental design in a fantasy game. Incredible lighting effects bounce off of the walls and foliage and make even the darkest corners flood with life. The small peek into the so-called “Mansion of the Dragons” had an attacking dragon skeleton but little else in the way of obvious threats. Instead the area used the skeleton as a way to instill fear into the player so that even a long hallway covered in odd paintings felt creepy and terrifying despite not having enemies lurking around. As far as stunning goes, the castle pictured above was one of the most breathtaking moments of the demo. Watching wyverns crashing into bridges and peppering the skyline put Dark Souls 2 on par with something out of The Lord of the Rings. An incredible draw distance and bleak realism made this section stand out above all others.
When Dark Souls first came out, it was praised for how the entire world was connected. One area seamlessly bled into the other to make players feel like they were playing more than just simple levels. Hopefully Dark Souls 2 will retain this same element. However, if the game is also able to implement this connectivity with the environmental design they have shown so far, then it will be one of the best experiences in gaming to date.
Along with the gameplay demo, Namco Bandai released a new trailer for Dark Souls 2 titled “Despair”. Check it out below.