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Jump right in and you'll be just as lost as anyone else. And, you'll love every minute.

PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin’

91f3S5K+QnL._SL1500_I have spent a whole lot of time in the past few weeks with Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin. Like a ridiculous amount of time.

That fact, combined with my having played Dark Souls II previously ought to give you a rough idea of where this review is headed – the game is good. It was good in its original flavor, and it’s still good now in its souped-up form. It is, in fact, actually even better than it was before.

Now, the what exactly is this “souped-up form?”

Scholar of the First Sin is an updated Dark Souls II, one you can purchase several different ways. It comes with better graphics as well as all the DLC content from Dark Souls II, slightly rejiggered multiplayer, new enemy placement, and some new balancing as well as more info about weapons and armor. That is to all to say that it’s the same game, it’s just… different. Plus, and this is crucial, you can now get it for PS4 and Xbox One, consoles which Dark Souls II isn’t on.

Well, to be truly fair, all those above changes are what’s available to you on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. If you’re buying it for PS3, Xbox 360, or with DirectX.9 (as opposed to 11), you don’t get the new enemy placement or updated graphics. If that still doesn’t make any sense (and it really may not), check out the official explanation of the functionality on various platforms, the visual makes it all clear.

Looking back over my original review of the game’s vanilla version, I have to say that the camera angles here could have used a tweaking as well. Somehow, the camera is regularly pointing the wrong way or offers a bad angle.

The controls, too, feel like they could have used a slight modification. Perhaps it is that Dark Souls II wants you to go about things in a very specific way, but it regularly feels as though there’s a lag switching weapons, jumping, and doing various other movies. In a game which often requires specificity of movement, the lag can be deadly.

The important thing, I think, to note with the update is that I’m exploring more in Dark Souls II now than I did when I first played the original version.  I’m learning more, my skills are better, and I’m having more fun. I wish I could tell you whether that was a result of tweaked mechanics, better graphics, new enemy placements, or me being a slightly different person in mid-2015 than I was in early 2014, but I am just not sure.

Whatever the cause, and even not being able to port my original save over to Scholar of the First Sin, I love the update. I love the depth of the game and the feeling that I can go anywhere I want and do whatever I want (not that that’s new here). The world is massive, there is a whole lot going on, and exploring every corner of the world is a great experience.

Do not fret if you haven’t played any of the Dark games previously, the games are entirely about not holding your hand for anything more than teaching you basic moves and consequently no prior experience is necessary. Jump right in and you’ll be just as lost as anyone else. And, you’ll love every minute.

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Violence. This game can also be found on: PS3, PC, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.



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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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