Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin Image
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critic Reviews What's this?

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7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 659 Ratings

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  • Summary: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin includes the 3 previously released DLC packs - Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the ivory King - along with additional features. All versions of the game include the following features (Existing Dark Souls II ownersDark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin includes the 3 previously released DLC packs - Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the ivory King - along with additional features. All versions of the game include the following features (Existing Dark Souls II owners will receive a patch to implement these elements): Additional NPCs added for an enhanced story experience. Parameter adjustments for improved game balance. Augmented item descriptions. Improved online matchmaking functionality. [Bandai Namco] Expand

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Dark Souls II - The Lost Crowns Trilogy DLC
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. CD-Action
    Jun 29, 2015
    95
    It’s a freaking masterpiece! Do yourself a favor and experience it if you haven’t done it yet. [06/2015, p.68]
  2. Apr 7, 2015
    90
    If you have yet to experience Dark Souls II, Scholar of the First Sin is the best way to do it.
  3. Apr 8, 2015
    90
    It's a hard-won love that Dark Souls II has you earn, a love that took a second, enhanced port to truly find. It is a demanding and seemingly interminable game that puts up its most beautiful and its most evil machinations right at the outset.
  4. Apr 6, 2015
    80
    Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin targets two audiences: newcomers and veterans. In both cases it succeeds.
  5. May 4, 2015
    80
    A pleasant combination of revised version of Dark Souls II with excellent DLCs offers a brutal difficulty and a fantastic atmosphere - even more intense than ever. Although the Scholar of the First Sin is not a purchase for everyone, if you try you will not be disappointed.
  6. Feb 20, 2017
    72
    Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin offers only minor tweaks to serious gameplay issues of the original game. Nonetheless, it still remains a wholly enjoyable online experience, just don't expect much from the singleplayer experience.
  7. Apr 14, 2015
    50
    Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is both a continuation of the series’ escalating skill thresholds and a sign that some limit has been reached. It’s a game in which the fantasy of self-improvement depends on a vast system of artificial trickery, and one that confuses simple variation for genuine discovery.

See all 8 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 128
  2. Negative: 27 out of 128
  1. Apr 3, 2015
    10
    There are a few things that need to be cleared up.

    First, this game does not cost $50 to owners of Dark Souls 2, like some poorly informed
    There are a few things that need to be cleared up.

    First, this game does not cost $50 to owners of Dark Souls 2, like some poorly informed people say. If you already own Dark Souls II, you can upgrade for $30 and then you also get the DLC included in that price. If you already have Dark Souls 2 plus all the DLC, then you can upgrade for just $20. This DOES include all the DLC. This is actually a better deal than the console gamers are getting, oddly enough, probably because FromSoft knows how PC gamers tend to complain if they don't get special treatment. (Note: I'm a PC gamer and do not own a console)

    Second, the enemy placement is not random like some people say. The enemies are placed in lore-friendly locations, and the only time they're placed in new regions is when there's a sensible reason (like a couple Royal Swordsmen outside the Pursuer Arena, because the hawk carries people back and forth from the Lost Bastille.)

    Third, the game is not just brighter. It has more contrast than before. That means the dark areas are darker and the light areas are lighter. Additionally, the graphics improvement is very noticeable, and the only people dissatisfied with it seem to be complaining for the sake of complaining. No, it's not the best looking game in the world. However, it is one of the best optimized games in the world. It won't stress your GTX 970, but it will look beautiful and run great on your GTX 650 or equivalent, and it's not often that developers put in so much work to make their game run well on a variety of PCs, while still maintaining good graphics. For reference, this game runs flawlessly on ultra settings/1080p/45+ fps on my laptop with a GTX 860M. Yes, it's so well optimized that my mid-range laptop is matching Xbone/PS4 performance.

    Graphical changes I've noticed:
    -Improved sampling quality on ambient occlusion.
    -Light now acts upon textures based on the alpha channel (more realistic shading). This also means that the worst looking textures in normal Dark Souls II (the ones where the normal and diffuse are different) now react to lighting more realistically and look much better. This is probably how they intended the game to look to begin with.
    -More water reflections, including sky reflections.
    -More contrast (light areas can be truly white instead of light gray, and dark areas can be truly black instead of dark gray).
    -Certain areas of the game now have custom "pitch black" lighting templates, making torches actually necessary like the skull lantern from DKS1.
    -The antialiasing has been updated to FXAA3, so it now looks less blurry and does an even better job of reducing jaggies.
    -Object motion blur makes quick actions look more fluid, especially things like rolling.
    -Bokeh DoF is now used to make embers and other similar things look prettier.
    -Bloom has been increased around light sources like fires or the sun, adding that great "bright" look that light sources had in DKS1.
    -Large shadows have been added to the landscape, around things like pillars, mountains, etc. This gives the landscape more depth overall.
    -All spells now have light sources.
    -All light sources now actually cast light.
    -Texture filtering has been improved.

    General Gameplay Improvements that I've personally noticed.
    -A few hitboxes seem more precise, especially noticeable during dodges.
    -Enemies have been set up in places that complement their abilities (ie, turtle knights are now sometimes found in narrow spaces where their crushing attacks are most effective).
    -Skeletons like dark places.
    -Lore has been expanded in subtle ways, especially around boss fights which previously had little or no explanation.
    -Some sound effects that previously sounded muffled have been dramatically improved, making it easier to identify certain nearby objects and enemies, if you have decent ears and decent speakers/headphones.

    Overall, graphically and in terms of gameplay, this is a serious improvement over Dark Souls 2. I liked Dark Souls 2 at launch, but thought Dark Souls 1 was a little better. Scholar of the First Sin has made me decide that I like Dark Souls 2 more than Dark Souls 1.

    Many of the people criticizing it haven't even played the game, but rather are simply upset because of the rumors surrounding the launch (like the incorrect rumor that people would have to pay $50 to upgrade). It's like Dark Souls 1 all over again, where **** and random elitist forums rallied to rate this game a 0 just because they didn't play it and didn't even properly research it, but just wanted a scapegoat to hate.

    Keep in mind, however, this is a bigger upgrade for the PS4 owners and Xbone owners than PC owners. Mostly this upgrade was aimed at them, we simply get it because it'd be stupid if we didn't.
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  2. Mar 9, 2017
    10
    Waaay better than slashy Dark Borne 3. I didn't enjoy original DkS2 that much, but SotFS improves the gameplay on every level. The dlc areasWaaay better than slashy Dark Borne 3. I didn't enjoy original DkS2 that much, but SotFS improves the gameplay on every level. The dlc areas are so good... They are incredibly difficult too. Honestly can recommend this game to any Souls fan. Way better than DkS3 (in my opinion), the amount of weapons and detailed setting makes this game as good as DkS1. Expand
  3. Oct 26, 2018
    9
    TLDR: As an individual game, Dark Souls 2 is a beautiful, challenging and a worthy inclusion to the inventory of any RPG fan out there. As aTLDR: As an individual game, Dark Souls 2 is a beautiful, challenging and a worthy inclusion to the inventory of any RPG fan out there. As a sequel to Dark Souls, it stumbles a bit in some areas but eventually able to live up to the reputation as a Souls game. I would say 9/10, half point for a minute amount of poor boss designs and other half point for the hitboxes. Other than these very few setbacks, Dark Souls 2 is an awesome, must have game.

    Introduction: First of all this is not a comparison between Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. My thoughts are presented by looking at this game as more of an individual game rather than just sequel to Dark Souls. Dark Souls 2 takes things a bit slower than its predecessor. So if you have played Dark Souls 1, you may feel the combat a bit sluggish. But it comes though as a monumental journey in its own.

    Areas: One of the most notable things that Dark Souls 2 has achieved is the aesthetics. Many areas of this installment are absolutely gorgeous. After spending countless hours on grinding the great souls, when you first reach the gates of enormous Drangleic Castle in the stormy rain, it’s really a sight for sore eyes. The breathtaking view of dragons flying around in Dragon Aerie, elegant lightning of Shrine of Amana and gem of a design that is Frozen Eleum Loyce are some of the best artistically designed areas. The ability of Dark Souls 2 to gradually pull up the difficulty level of the areas as the game progresses is commendable.

    Combat: As mentioned earlier, combat is slower than the first game of the series. In spite of that, Dark Souls 2 has improved a lot in this area. There are loads of new varieties in weapons. Twinblades and lances are, in particular, fun to use. You can even finish the game with just your fists. But the most appreciable feat has been the inclusion of power-stance system. The combat always feels engaging even after few playthroughs as there are lots of things to try out. And unlike DS1, you have much more freedom to max out and try multiple weapons. Not only are the weapons but also spells are in abundance this time around. All four schools of magic keeps your interest at peak throughout your journey.

    Gameplay: Dark Souls 2 tries to tone down the techniques that made first game hard while implementing new ways to impose difficulty. The bonfires are much frequent in this game compared to DS1. To compensate this your estus charges have been made limited. But again, the inclusion of lifegems further pulls down the hard nature. There are quite a few interesting stuff that this sequel has introduced. If you want to fight the same boss again without going to next game cycle, you have bonfire ascetics; want to try out new build without creating new character, there’s a soul vessel for you; feel the game is getting easy, you have a covenant to boost up the difficulty level of the areas.

    Bosses and Enemies: Enemies in this game keep the punishing trend going from Dark Souls. Slow/Delayed attacks match perfectly with the pace of the game. Blue Smelter Demon takes delayed attacks to the next level. Most of the enemies hits very hard leaving a very small room for error. The only issue with the combat I found was that Dark Souls 2 struggles to find variety in difficulty. When it comes to non-boss fights, facing horde of enemies at once seems to be the recurring and only way to pose difficulty throughout the game. DLCs, although, tries to offset against this. Putting aside a few shaky aspects of the game, there are numerous good bosses too. Fume Knight the punisher, innovative design of Executioner’s Chariot, intense fight with the Darklurker and the fastest boss of Dark Souls 2 – Sir Alonne are some of the coolest albeit challenging boss fights in the game.

    Memorable Moments: There are a few unforgettable moments from dark souls 2 that got stuck in my mind – Final and a very emotional encounter with Lucatiel, reaching Drangleic castle for the first time, surprise encounter with Freja in NG+, grand battle with the Ivory king and his knights, are a few among those.

    Conclusion: Dark souls 2 tries to carry forward the souls beacon, exposing a few weaknesses in doing so but eventually stands out as a remarkably engaging game. Dark Souls 2 has brilliant design, beautiful soundtracks and some good fights. It’s a very good game just not as good as the first one.
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  4. Jan 27, 2017
    8
    Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is a difficult game and I appreciate the new challenges that FromSoftware presented before me but theDark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is a difficult game and I appreciate the new challenges that FromSoftware presented before me but the overall experience from someone who played the previous title can only be described as lacking. Don't get me wrong, this game is good but bearing the Souls name and its status as a follow-up to a very phenomenal video game probably didn't help with the overall reception. There's just too many retreads which may make the game a bit too familiar with longtime players and a change in design philosophy believing that "more is harder" instead of "less is more" like in the first game. The changes that they've introduced gave me a polarizing reaction especially on how they handled poise and some RPG elements. If you've adored the first game's consistency and how FromSoftware made Lordran's crumbling and desolated locales look lived in, prepare to be disappointed because the kingdom of Drangleic is a hodgepodge of geography and terrain locations. I know that suspension of disbelief is a necessity when playing video games but you've got to admit that placing an iron castle surrounded by a sea of lava above a windmill is kind of silly. Simply put, Dark Souls II is a game made to punish its players and will do anything to achieve that goal instead of inviting them to a land of strafe that's inhabited by seasoned warriors and brutal monsters.

    The situation's a lot different for newcomers though. If you're looking to get into the Souls series, this is a good entry point because it's more accessible than its two older brothers. A cleaner and better UI than the previous game, a more straightforward progression system, and an easier time to connect and cooperate with stronger people should get the going a lot more tolerable.

    Overall, I recommend this game because I enjoyed it and the difficulty is as good as ever. A lot of things didn't bode well with me but the prospect of finding new discoveries kept me playing for hours. Veterans of the Souls series might not get the same satisying experience as with the last two games, but it's still worth a try if you're meaning to test your wits once more against a cast of larger and more powerful enemies.

    And there you have it.
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  5. Apr 14, 2015
    6
    As a huge Souls fan, I'm genuinely sad to see much the game has changed through this expansion. That doesn't make Scholar bad, as such. It'sAs a huge Souls fan, I'm genuinely sad to see much the game has changed through this expansion. That doesn't make Scholar bad, as such. It's still Dark Souls. But the most obvious changes in this version are almost entirely compounding mistakes and misunderstandings from Dark Souls 2.

    For most players the really obvious changes are to enemy placement and to their AI. In theory that should be good. The game certainly feels very different when you start playing. But quickly that stops being a good thing. DS2 already suffered from areas over-populated with enemies, and that's become even worse. And you'll handle them the exact same way, by pulling one or two guys at a time and dealing with them in manageable chunks. But now there's more of it and it's just busy work.

    Fighting multiple enemies has never been a strength of the series, but the new AI now makes almost every enemy substantially more aggressive, again, amplifying the existing problem. It's simply not practical to fight against three guys at once, that's just not how the game is really designed to work, but From seem to think that because these kind of fights are very hard they should throw them at you fairly frequently. Longer aggro ranges as well as a good number of additional ranged enemies placed so that they can be hard to spot or hard to reach before you get dog piled makes for a frustrating experience.

    The heritage of the Souls series has always been 'tough but fair'. That spirit feels like it's leaked out of SotFS, like it was designed by people who don't understand that the game needs to be more than just hard. Handling large numbers of enemies is certainly very hard, but it's not especially fun or interesting. It's still Dark Souls. But it's Dark Souls designed to capitalize on it's super-hard image instead of any of the aspects that made the original games so fun and unique.

    Honestly, I'm disappointed. I'll play it, I mean, it's still Dark Souls, but it's very disappointing to see all the worst parts of the game amplified, with all the best parts (like boss fights) being mostly forgotten. Especially if you are a veteran of DS2, the hardest parts of this release will by far by the mobs of enemies, not the spectacular boss fights.
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  6. Jun 13, 2018
    5
    This is a game about learning your environment and the enemies (patterns) within. Having a horrible hit detection is unacceptable, period.This is a game about learning your environment and the enemies (patterns) within. Having a horrible hit detection is unacceptable, period. Also due to the change to the enemies spawn the maps feel much more crowded and in a bad way. Expand
  7. Feb 18, 2022
    0
    feels like it came out like 10 years before dark souls 1 its uninspired and clunky as ****

See all 128 User Reviews