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[March 23, 2014]
The New Review: Critics: Radio & Games: GAMES: I'm looking for a soul, mate: Step into the shoes of a zombie searching for a cure in a nail-bitingly tense survival sequel: Dark Souls II PS3, Xbox 360, Namco Bandai, cert: 16, out now
(Observer (UK) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A means of self-inflicted suffering it may be, but one of such perfection that Dark Souls 2 subsumes the player in its glorious pain. In this hacking and slashing affair, gamers take the role of a cursed undead, picking across the sprawling corpse of a once great civilisation, Drangleic. Not that this is explained: narrative is not so much told as implied, hidden within landscape and atmosphere.
There's no real quest here, just the goal of exploring, growing stronger and surviving. Failure means death, death means losing progress and souls, and souls are needed to improve; consequently the game is often nail-bitingly tense. Online features provide occasional respite through jolly co-operation, but this is a game primarily about suffering alone in hope of triumph. Fortunately, when victory comes, the feeling is magnificent. Compelling, deep, and full of surprises, Dark Souls 2 is probably the last great game of the previous console generation.
(c) 2014 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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