Review: Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King

Prepare To Die….Again

FromSoftware’s most recent release, Dark Souls 2, got its first episode of DLC. The first episode which is titled Crown of the Sunken King, was released on July 22nd on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. It adds 3 new areas, and 3 new challenging bosses and tons of new dangerous enemies.

The DLC area is accessed by killing one of the 4 major bosses in the base game, so new players cannot jump into the DLC right off the bat. However when the player is able to enter the area, they are met by incredibly difficult enemies who wield weapons imbued with poison. Players will soon realize that these new areas added to the game are in my opinion far more difficult than the base game. Poison and its effects on players, to those unaware of how potent it is in the game, builds up over time on a meter on your HUD. Once it fills up the player will be “poisoned” and will begin to drastically lose portions of health which can only be stopped by caring a specific consumable item.

Besides all of the poison in this challenging DLC, players also have to worry about an infestation of bugs that are slowly taking over the ancient subterranean city. In order to combat this, players will have to learn to get used to being outnumbered heavily by hordes of these bugs. In addition I suggest using a spear or halberd (Any weapon with reach) to take out these bugs since upon their death, they explode into yellow gas that can damage and even destroy your equipment!

If bugs and poison sword wielding foes weren’t enough to intimidate players, 2 of the 3 bosses certainly will.

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD

The two bosses I am talking about are Elana, the Squalid Queen, and Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon. Elana, who uses dark magic and pyromancy to combat the player, however seems to be a reskin of the base games final boss, Nashandra who to be honest wasn’t that hard to beat at all. Yet I personally believe the developers from FromSoftware realized this when creating Elana, she is far more aggressive than Nashandra and can even summon another boss from earlier in the game (Velstadt, The Royal Aegis) to fight for her. I myself died countless times before finally defeating her. What makes this fight so difficult yet fun is the fact that her pyro attacks can easily one shot a player if they don’t anticipate the attack. That and the fact that the boss she summons can club you too death with ease using his massive hammer/chime doesn’t exactly make this any easier.

Now onto the final boss, which happens basically right after you beat Elana. Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon was in my opinion the most difficult boss in the game, that or second to the Ancient Dragon. Unlike a game such as Skyrim, the dragons in the Souls games don’t just burn you a little bit, they incinerate your character. Both Sinh and the Ancient Dragon alike have fire breathing attacks that one shot any player, even if they are blocking. The only way to counter this is to dodge the attack. But what made Sinh a far more dangerous boss was the fact that unlike the Ancient Dragon who for the most part was a passive defender kind of boss fight, Sinh is incredibly aggressive. For example the Ancient Dragon in the base game may try to stomp on you, Sinh on the other hand will fly up in the air and then land directly on top of you. If that isn’t enough, he will try and whip you with his tale if you try to attack his hind legs, which just so happen to be his only weak point. Oh, and remember how poison is a thing in this DLC? Well Sinh, the Slumbering Dragon’s fire is tainted with it, players will notice this immediately when engaging him since his fire has a green tint to it. I personally turned off my own Stream of the DLC because I was so frustrated with this boss. Once I did defeat him however I had died 22 times, which was unparalleled by any number of deaths I had against a boss in the base game.

END OF SPOILERS

To summarize the first part of this 3 part DLC that is being released monthly, be prepared for far more challenging environments and enemies and be ready to die and die over and over again. Each episode of the DLC costs $9.99 and addition to adding new areas and enemies, they also add new story content and items, some of which I find useful. If you already own Dark Souls II, and haven’t already bought the first episode of DLC I suggest purchasing it. If you are looking for a challenging game that requires patience, skill and in some cases pure luck, I encourage you to by this game, because this game is easily the most difficult game on the market.

Finally, I am glad to say that FromSoftware is allowing some people who are in the media to play the next two episodes of DLC a couple days early, so expect a review from myself on the two follow up DLCs over the next two months.

My Score: 8/10

  • Adds more lore and story to the already impressive game
  • More enemy types and surprises that I didn’t mention above
  • 3 new bosses, 2 of which are extremely difficult
  • A beautiful setting beneath the surface in an underground, long forgotten city

– Hunter “Dallas” Gilbert

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