Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 69 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 69
  2. Negative: 0 out of 69
  1. Apr 16, 2014
    100
    At the end of the day, Dark Souls II uses more subtle changes to find its own flavor and place in the series as a whole, rather than reinventing the wheel.
  2. 100
    The first game was close to what a gaming nirvana would be like, the second one inches even closer. [Issue #240]
  3. Apr 2, 2014
    100
    I had huge expectations and was nearly certain that the game would fail to live up to them. Fortunately I was wrong – From Software miraculously managed to improve on nearly perfect Dark Souls. [04/2014, p.56]
  4. Mar 25, 2014
    100
    In some ways, Dark Souls II is an altered formula of the original game. Not all of its retouches will be to your liking at first, but you will find out eventually there is a reason they are there, and it's all clear consecutively. Dark Souls II is a die-hard fun title holding up for tens of hours. It will let your hands vibrated by adrenaline. It will torment you, but still being righteous. It's just an extremely difficult game.
  5. Mar 20, 2014
    100
    FromSoftware has warned you again and again: "You will die". And in this game you will love even these frustrating moments.
  6. Mar 14, 2014
    100
    Dark Souls 2 still offers the emotions of a pure adventure, that sense of wonder and discovery that only videogames can provide, closing From Software's trilogy in a brilliant and perfect way.
  7. Mar 11, 2014
    100
    It's a hardcore, heart-pounding adventure that's more accessible to newcomers, without sacrificing the series' sense of mystery, awe and wonder.
  8. Mar 11, 2014
    100
    Dark Souls 2 is a refined, slicker version of what I consider to be the greatest video game ever made, and it is a title we’ll be finding more and more about post-release as its genius is fully uncovered.
  9. Mar 11, 2014
    100
    Dark Souls II is a true hardcore challenge, and the weak of will and spine have no place in its cruel and unusual world.
  10. Mar 10, 2014
    98
    Dark Souls II respects you enough to assume you can figure things out, despite having perhaps lost some of these sensibilities by playing other titles that walk you through on tether from start to finish. As a result, the rewards and achievements are that much more satisfying. It’s only March, but Dark Souls II stands tall as a potential game of the year.
  11. Apr 16, 2014
    96
    Even more amazing, and difficult, than Dark Souls.
  12. Apr 7, 2014
    96
    Astounding in its scale, Dark Souls II is a landmark slice of gaming brilliance to savour. [May 2014, p.55]
  13. Mar 27, 2014
    96
    Offering at least 35 hours of play, Dark Souls II is a challenging experience and a satisfyingly in depth game that rewards perseverance and intelligent tactics.
  14. Apr 8, 2014
    95
    Dark Souls II carries on the Souls series' trend of being one of the most unique, well made, and difficult Action RPGs on the market. Its a strong sequel that shows Dark Souls wasn't just a fluke, and that this series is here to stay.
  15. Apr 4, 2014
    95
    One of the deepest, most challenging, and most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have in this modern era of video games.
  16. Mar 21, 2014
    95
    Dark Souls II is a tough, bleak, and frightening action-RPG that is every bit as harrowing yet satisfying as its predecessors.
  17. Mar 11, 2014
    95
    Loyal to its roots and perfectly executed, Dark Souls II is not only a worthy sequel: it is the worthiest homage to the mettle and spirit of hardcore gamers.
  18. Mar 11, 2014
    95
    Dark Souls II is a great follow up to Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, maybe the best possible sequel. It's more accessible, but still hard, mysterious, always engaging and incredibly rewarding. A masterpiece.
  19. From Sofware certainly knows how to create a better sequel. Dark Souls 2 is a deep, immersive experience which sticks firmly to the roots that make Souls games so precious but it also tries new things, new things that work well with the original feeling.
  20. Mar 13, 2014
    93
    Dark Souls 2 is more and better. Enemies are smarter, and there's a wealth of bosses to find. Drangleic is an immense, beautiful world, amazing design, although it disappoints graphically. Fortunately there's so much content to discover that you'll hardly have time to occupy yourself with that.
  21. Mar 12, 2014
    93
    This is the concept of a sequel everyone should adopt. "Bigger better" means nothing if amazing players are not the top priority. With Dark Souls II, From Software managed to do one simple thing: bring back the next-gen crown on PS3 and X360.
  22. Mar 11, 2014
    93
    Dark Souls II is a challenge, it is death, it is fun. FromSoftware throws a new challenge to everyone who dares to cross all the hardships that the players will encounter in their adventure. In exchange, they will get limitless fun and a satisfaction that only a few games offer.
  23. Mar 11, 2014
    93
    Dark Souls is back, with an epic adventure that delivers what fans expect from it. Maybe it's not as shocking as the previous one, but it's more solid, and still is a great game that proves the current generation of consoles is very alive.
  24. May 11, 2014
    92
    Dark Souls 2 bears the torch of Dark Souls with honor. No mean feat! [Apr 2014]
  25. Apr 12, 2014
    90
    Given the consistent rush towards the safe option in gaming today, the possibility of Dark Souls 2 meaning something special to you makes its worth checking out, even if you might well hate every second of it.
  26. Apr 9, 2014
    90
    A well-paced, immersive RPG that is constantly challenging, but never impossible. [May 2014, p.59]
  27. Apr 7, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls II offers a fresh adventure into what is quite possibly gaming’s most punishing, macabre fantasy world.
  28. Apr 2, 2014
    90
    As a title that miraculously manages to be accessible to newcomers, challenging to veterans, rewarding to explorers, detail-rich for the lore-lovers, and able to be completed by the dedicated, Dark Souls 2 is an intriguing, well-designed title that should not be missed.
  29. Mar 21, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls 2 is not the bomb as its predecessor was, but still manages to do its heavy brand justice. With sustained difficulty, atmosphere and overall experience of desperation, hopelessness and triumph at overcome difficulties, we see evidence that there is something in the phrase "do not fix what is not broken".
  30. A worthy sequel to one of the best RPGs ever made. Noobs and casual gamers, it’s time to level up. [April 2014, p74]
  31. Mar 18, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls II is a sequel done right in every way. There is more to explore, mechanics from the first game are polished and further expanded. Fans will be happy to know that the game is still challenging and at the same time it is more accessible for newcomers.
  32. Mar 14, 2014
    90
    Few titles have the courage to leave the player's hand and give him a hostile world to explore at will. Dark Souls is still the one that does it best.
  33. Mar 14, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls 2 is a true masterpiece, and one of the best Action RPG of this generation. Extremely difficult and yet always rewarding, it shows an impressive "lore" and a finely balanced gameplay.
  34. Mar 13, 2014
    90
    You need to have at least tried Dark Souls 2, or you'll get nowhere. It pulls you into its depressing, brutal world and that feels like a homecoming to its masochistic fans. Still, everything is different. Only via trial by fire you'll discover as a player what the perfect balance is that From Software achieved with its forced changes.
  35. Mar 13, 2014
    90
    The core gameplay and basic design sensibilities have been retained, and while there are some concessions to player ease, they don't interfere with the gameplay
  36. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    A frustrating but satisfying experience.
  37. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls 2 is a huge game. It’s Defiant, mysterious, intriguing, complex and in clear tune with the expectations of its fans.
  38. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    While it may not always feel fair, you’ll be hard pressed to find a game that’s as intense and rewarding as Dark Souls II.
  39. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls II takes everything built up with the two previous games, improves upon it and results in a fantastic action adventure. Hard as nails, and equally satisfying gameplay with a good variety of bosses and enemies.
  40. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls II is a great way to expand an already awesome game. From Software did a great job working on the previous game in order to fix its problems creating a more accessible experience. The game is still as hard as hell, but this time player is able to understand it in a better way.
  41. 90
    That balance is why its predecessors were so popular, and that's why the sequel is certainly going to be a major hit.
  42. Uncompromising in its challenge, this supremely balanced slasher destroys your fingers and delights your soul with its unrivalled sense of triumph through trial.
  43. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Otherwise, Dark Souls II is outstanding, still a world better than most games and a worthy successor to a game that was, essentially, impossible to follow.
  44. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Despite so many slight changes here and there, the solid combat, janky platforming, overwhelming odds and brutal bosses all conspire to remind you that this is very much a Souls game, and yet another excellent one at that.
  45. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Though somewhat safe and predictable, Dark Souls II is more refined and somehow more challenging than its predecessor.
  46. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    A carefully considered sequel that avoids upsetting existing fans and offers an olive branch to newcomers – all the while retaining its position as one of the most challenging, and rewarding, video games of modern times.
  47. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls II is an ideal refinement, it maintains all of the original game’s qualities, but opens its doors a little to allow a whole new audience to experience it. It is the perfect sequel.
  48. Mar 11, 2014
    90
    For all its little tweaks, Dark Souls II is, foremost, a game made for Souls players. It is a game that asks everything of you and gives so much back, keeping its cards close to its chest, and revealing them only to those prepared to die and die again. It is made to be played for hundreds, if not thousands, of hours as you try new builds, explore PVP and experiment with covenants, all the while slowly peeling back the layers of its lore.
  49. Mar 10, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls 2 probably isn't quite the same masterpiece Dark Souls is, but then neither is anything else, and the fact it comes so close is remarkable.
  50. Mar 10, 2014
    90
    The Souls games have rarely been about fun, but Dark Souls 2's smart tweaks and concessions brought out positive emotions even amidst the pain and exhaustion. It's still a stressful experience, but it's easier than ever to recognize the brilliance in those moments of triumph that make it more than worth the struggle.
  51. Mar 10, 2014
    90
    Everything that made Dark Souls into a cult success carries over: complex game mechanics, punishing but fair gameplay and a richly detailed setting if you dig a little deeper. To keep things fresh, this is peppered with a mix of new elements, from improved graphics and game engine to a better designed starting sequence and new mechanics. Dark Souls II is a perfect sequel to Dark Souls.
  52. Mar 10, 2014
    90
    I may not have yet unveiled all there is to know about this beastly game, even after 80 hours of play, but I do know this: I will be adventuring through Drangleic for many months to come, sure to be haunted nightly by the disturbing gazes of the faceless titans that tenderize my flesh with their two-ton hammers.
  53. Mar 10, 2014
    90
    Dark Souls II is a smart, massive, and incredibly rewarding sequel. It’s crammed with deep systems, tense encounters, and enough clever multiplayer and New Game Plus elements to make me want to restart the second I saw the end credits.
  54. Mar 14, 2014
    88
    It is not as fascinating as its predecessor. But nonetheless the mechanics of permanent failure are as captivating as always. This is a mysterious, gripping and unforgiving adventure.
  55. Mar 20, 2014
    86
    The tweaks made to the formula perhaps hold Dark Souls II from being quite as good its precursor (and it’s for this reason I’d suggest serious newcomers to give Dark Souls a try first), but it’s still an excellent game that will keep Souls series fans hooked for months to come.
  56. Mar 11, 2014
    86
    Dark Souls II delivers on its promises. It wants to challenge you to death — literally. It’s more of the same from the last, though the scope of the world seems to be a lot bigger with more challenges to overcome. If you enjoy this sort of difficulty and seemingly impossible gameplay then it’s right up your alley.
  57. Apr 2, 2014
    85
    The most enjoyable near-death experience you're likely to get, though you'll suffer almost as much from the loading times than you'll do from dying over and over again.
  58. Mar 20, 2014
    85
    Two steps forward and one step back for this incredibly challenging and rewarding experience.
  59. Mar 19, 2014
    85
    I now no longer look at the world with simple eyes. I'm weighing up the pros and cons of venturing down that road, that path, or that slightly ropey looking foot bridge. Friends are no longer, just souls that could be harvested - if I should wish to go down a 'stabby' route - but really, for the most part, I'm just spending a hell of a lot of time playing Dark Souls 2. I hated the first two, but From Software's ever so slightly softer edge has ensnared me this time around. If you're a fan of character development, frustration, and mechanics that hark back to the 8-bit era, then you might have found your latest gaming beau.
  60. Mar 13, 2014
    85
    Dark Souls II is a fantastic achievement for those who desire a hefty challenge. To be more specific, you want to enjoy that wonderful sense of accomplishment you only feel when the challenge is steep. You want to face and overcome, and you want to become lost in an amazing, mystical virtual world.
  61. 85
    Stressful, tough but immensely challenging and rewarding, Dark Souls 2 will take you to hell and back, and then back to hell again.
  62. 85
    It is a magical recipe of pain and frustration that seeks to make you a better player by the end, simply breaking you down step by step, until you feel like you have personally leveled up more than your digital avatar, and that is something not a lot of games can do.
  63. Mar 10, 2014
    85
    While some of its features and design decisions might not sit perfectly with all fans of the franchise, Dark Souls II once again proves how enthralling and engrossing From Software’s formula of skill-focused combat, demanding challenge, and bleak ambience can be.
  64. Mar 19, 2014
    80
    The game is just as mysterious and obtuse as before and puts the onus on the player to figure it all out. Therefore, players fond of the rich and complex challenge of From Software’s games are going to get the most out of it. To those, I say that Dark Souls II gives more of what you’ve enjoyed from the last two games. With new places to explore, enemies to fight and lore to uncover, it offers a significant amount of content to keep players busy for a great while.
  65. Mar 14, 2014
    80
    Dark Souls 2 may not be what came before, but it is its own game, with its own hilarious deaths, ridiculous traps, haunting melodies, and foreboding bosses, and it still stands out with ease. That punch to the ribs may not wind as hard, but you'll still want to get up and explore this dark, devious world, over and over again.
  66. Mar 11, 2014
    80
    Modeled on its predecessor, Dark Souls II shines with the same black light, strange, disturbing and fascinating.
  67. 80
    Dark Souls II has lost none of its relentless difficulty, and the many improvements make it a great experience for veterans and newcomers. But it may not be for everybody. Still a highly recommended experience if you thirst for a new action role playing game in your collection.
  68. Mar 18, 2014
    70
    While From Software amped up the comprehensive difficulty in Dark Souls II's most critical areas, they've managed to sneak in a tiny gift or two that may keep newcomers from completely losing their composure in distressful situations.
  69. Mar 11, 2014
    70
    Dark Souls 2 won't change anything: if you liked the experience FromSoftware offered in the former episodes, then you will like it again. But if not, you won't start liking now. The great atmosphere, the feeling of loneliness, the intriguing soundtrack and the difficulty still make the quality of this game. But Dark Souls 2 begins to fall behind from the technical point of view, and it's far too demanding for such old-school gameplay.
User Score
8.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 892 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 188
  1. Aug 18, 2014
    7
    Changing my review based on the hype train that I was on before.. I beat the game many many times.
    I will say that it isn't nearly as good as
    Changing my review based on the hype train that I was on before.. I beat the game many many times.
    I will say that it isn't nearly as good as the first Dark Souls in my opinion..

    The world itself is really linear and some of which does not make sense ( elevator up to a volcano)
    It lacks the creative excellence of the world design from Dark Souls 1.. Dark Souls 1s world was expertly crafted so everything interconnected with each other and actually comparing the map viewer of these two games, you can clearly see that Dark Souls 1 was well thought out while Dark Souls 2 was not.

    The bosses do not compare to the first Dark Souls either. Most bosses are boring to fight, you can circle almost every boss without consequence . All bosses pretty well have the same move-set if you pay attention.

    Hitboxes are worse in this game than the first, and a game that is centered around its combat it has to be good, and in Dark Souls. Also, enemies spin/track you without moving their feet, it looks pretty bad.

    The game was just fan-service, I am also tired of people talking about difficulty as if that was the thing that made the series good... NO!.. Veterans of the series who watched interviews from Miyazaki would know that the series was never suppose to be about its difficulty, it was about overcoming a challenge and then being rewarded for it. They were very challenging games, but Dark Souls 2 tries too hard to be difficult just for the sake of being difficult. It is not a difficult game but you can clearly see that they tried to make it hard just by adding hoards of enemies that you have to fight, and most people will not fight them with melee so they cheese the hell out of these enemies, making it boring...
    In Dark Souls 1 you could cheese everything too, but you actually wanted to fight stuff int hat game, not like Dark Souls 2 where you either cheese an enemy or you just run passed everything.

    For people who like to manage their soul level ( which was a big part of Dark Souls and Demon Souls) are forced to level up or try and run from all enemies in the game because they do not want to increase their soul memory. For these people there is little to no reason to fight any of the enemies, or even help people with bosses.
    They broke their own mechanic of hollowing, you can now have a ring that if you die, you will not lose anything, Dark SOuls had this too but once it broke it was gone forever, Dark Souls 2 you could just keep repairing the ring which most people do and thus ruining the effigy system.

    There is no fear of losing your souls once you get that ring and as I said before, most people will use it , as you can tell because every time I invade someone you hear their ring break when they die.

    The duel wielding/ power stance weapons are very cool and I'm glad they finally implemented it.

    Now, don;t get me wrong it is still a good game but Dark Souls 2 lost its "soul" and I can go on and on about the faults of this game, but I will leave it there. I still like the game but it just feels like it has hit casual status( not talking a but difficulty)

    --- I will note that this has nothing to do with "Rose tinted glasses" I played Demon Souls 1st and I enjoyed the first Dark Souls slightly better. I fail to see how anyone can think Dark Souls 2 is better. Dark Souls 2 has more content but half the quality, and I take quality over quantity any day..
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 11, 2014
    10
    Easily one of the greatest RPGs of this generation. If you are a gamer that wants to explore and figure things out by yourself you will loveEasily one of the greatest RPGs of this generation. If you are a gamer that wants to explore and figure things out by yourself you will love it, if you aren't then you won't like it. Like Dark Souls, this game does not hold you hand. It encourages to seek answers for yourself. But it has a more advanced tutorial section than Dark Souls. So it will be helpful to newcomers of the game.The difficulty level is even higher, and the penalty of death is even severe than its predecessor. But if you have the will, you will overcome it. The combat is excellent. It is more fluid and smooth than DaS. I have played almost 20 hours and haven't felt so excited and terrified at the same time playing a game ever before. The enemy design is quite intimidating. You won't just rush into enemies, like other games, before planning what are you going to do. I think this is the most unique game I have played in a LONG time. If you don't have the patience or just play games casually I won't recommend this game. This game needs your time. But if you overcome the challenges of it you will experience a sense of accomplishment like never before. I yelled when I beat the second boss, because he was tough and I died like 15 time trying to beat. But when I did I was overjoyed. So be prepared to die, again and again. Full Review »
  3. Mar 11, 2014
    10
    I would give this game a 9.8.....Well what can I say really...... This is Dark Souls with Demon Souls sprinkled on top....Controls take a bitI would give this game a 9.8.....Well what can I say really...... This is Dark Souls with Demon Souls sprinkled on top....Controls take a bit of getting used to as they are not exactly the same as the other games..... It loses a couple points because to be honest I feel that the movements of the player do not feel quite right, hard to explain, best I can describe it would be ..light.....There is still no hand holding in this game (good thing) however the tutorial section is more in-depth than the other souls games...There are a lot of surprises in this game that I will not spoil but I'll just say that fans of the series will like it very much.....However the game is not for you if you enjoy hand holding, and arrows pointing you to your next objective.... If you are a gamer that likes challenge and learning from your mistakes, this is for you.......... Graphics are updated in this game as well.... There are even more bosses this time around, and there are more variety of enemies as well...... This is Dark Souls at it's finest....... I will say that the lore in this game is there.......but it is lacking compared to the original in my opinion...... I liked how in the first game you had to put the pieces together to figure out the lore behind the game....... In this game as you progress through new areas you find out more about the areas while you play it..... I liked Dark Souls 1 way of doing it better......The boss music in this game is well done as well......
    So if you are a fan of the other souls games, you will not be disappointed, if you are a newcomer, I will just tell you that, you will die a lot, and if you do not like games like that or if you like hand holding, this isn't for you....I think this game is the best so far in the soul series and hope that Dark Souls 3 keeps it up.......
    Full Review »