Thoughts About Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin

Or, It Only Took Me Five Years to Beat This One

Escape while ye still can...

This article will be the Dark Souls of Stoic Club articles.

In his video about DS2, Hbomberguy pointed out that Scholar of the First Sin has more in common with a title like the original Japanese Super Mario Bros. 2 (released in North America years after its initial Japanese release as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels). In other words, SotFS probably shouldn’t be someone’s first exposure to DS2; it’s substantially more difficult than the original release of DS2. There are more enemies in areas, magic has been debuffed to an extreme degree, and the whole experience is meant to be for hardcore fans of the game already.

I wish I had known all that before I bought the game. I also wish that I had figured out that it’s necessary to put points into the Adaptability stat in order to get the same sort of invincibility frames that players have in Bloodborne and DS1.

The world of DS2 is captivating. It’s difficult to describe the melancholy that pervades the game world. NPCs are mostly down-trodden. Some of them still maintain a twisted sense of humour. It’s the sort of setting that makes you think that an apocalypse wouldn’t be so bad. After all, there’d still be skeletons and weird harpy creatures to chat with.

Miyazaki Hidetaka, the series’ director, cited Steve Jackson’s Sorcery! as a source of inspiration. It’s immediately apparent if you flip through any of the books in that series. The artwork, done by John Blanche, perfectly captures a dark and twisted fantasy world. The creatures are creative and unique (something the Souls games are frequently praised for). There’s a sense of mystery throughout. Sometimes it’s not necessary to have an obvious story or easy answers — the mystery itself is more satisfying. Even though Miyazaki was busy working on another game during the production of DS2, his sensibilities are still present.

Playing through DS2 is one of the best ways to experience someone’s fully-realized tabletop RPG session in videogame format. Miyazaki would make for an interesting game master.

Some truths are hard to take

All that remains to be settled is the definitive ranking of the Souls games. There can be no denying that below is the perfect ranking, from best to less best.

  1. Bloodborne
  2. Dark Souls III
  3. Dark Souls II
  4. Dark Souls

Glad that we could clear that up.

2020 May 16

I warned ye...