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Last Saturday I stayed up until 5 AM taking part in the 4th Dark Souls 2 network test. I recorded most of the gameplay and made a short highlight video which you can check out above.
So what’s changed? Well, the biggest update I noticed concerns the humanity system.
In the original Dark Souls, one could clear the entirety of the game without ever reviving from a hollow. This would prevent the player from summoning allies and being invaded — but it was possible.
Dark Souls 2 gives much more concrete incentive to revive: each time your character falls as a hollow, their maximum HP drops. Reviving with a Human Effigy (the new consumable form of Humanity) is the only way to restore your maximum health. What a great blend of the Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls systems!
Weapon performance seemed more realistic as well.
I stumbled across a Zweihander early on in my Network Test. If you’ve never seen this weapon, it’s a sword that hits like a truck that is about the same size. In swinging my Zweihander around, I quickly became aware of a bad habit I’ve developed: I take a step back before committing to a swing. In Dark Souls this was my means of altering my distance from enemies at the last second.
In Dark Souls 2, instead of taking a slight backstep, my habit caused my character to turn around and swing in the opposite direction of my enemy! This left my squishy posterior completely defenseless. But it makes sense, I suppose. With a weapon so large and heavy, it would require a solid footing to swing with any real force. Either that or it’s a bug… Overall it seemed like heavier weapons were harder to control while quicker weapons were easier to deflect, which makes sense.
Enemies were quite varied.
Early Dark Souls 2 info promised enemies with improved AI who could identify openings in the player’s defenses and strike accordingly. Enemies did seem to do more damage and take more hits to go down, though I didn’t see much evidence of improved AI. (Again, this isn’t the retail version of the game so I’m still optimistic) What I did notice was a broad assortment of enemies, including speedy rogues who attack in groups, dual sickle wielding giants, and red phantoms equipped with different weaponry. This had me frequently adjusting my strategies and gave me a lot to learn as a new tester.
The Dark Souls 2 Network Test left me not only exhausted, but wanting to see and experience more. It’s too early to say if the game will leave the same impact on me as its predecessor, but given the few tweaks I’ve seen, I can say I’m hopeful Dark Souls 2 will be one of the last greats of this generation.
In episode 4 we take our viewer’s awful advice and face off against the Bridge Wyvern. After having our charred remains battered around enough times we dive deeper into the Undead Burg and make our way back to Darkroot Basin. Best of all we find some new armor and a sweet shield.
I’ve clocked over 50 hours into Disgaea D2, and my Item Sea team is coming together nicely. They’re an organized bunch, capable of exploiting elemental weaknesses, supporting each other, and stealing goodies. Just the other day however, I received an e-mail from NIS America outlining all DLC characters to be released up until the end of January 2014. While my team may be solidifying, I’m still open to adding others to the roster depending on what they can bring to the table.
For that reason, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper and find out what each DLC character’s Evility is. This will allow me to imagine how they may or may not be a worthwhile addition to my team. Please note that I am translating this information from a Japanese wiki so some Evility names may not match up. Also, the chart NIS made is a bit misleading — it’s not $2.99 per character, it’s $2.99 per character pack which is divided based on the NIS game that characters are from. I’ve color-coded the different DLC packs to make that fact more clear:
Dream Girl: Damage received from Special Attacks is reduced by 50%.
Last Boss Mode: For each adjacent ally unit, attack power increase 20%.
Burning Spirit: When attacking or being targeted, stats increase 5% (max 100%)
Princess Shine: Male allied units attack powere increases 20%.
Lonely Devil God: Stats increase 3% for every other unit on map.
Recovery Barrier: When Lilliel or an ally move, Lilliel recovers 3% of her max HP for each panel moved.
Demon’s Vivisection: Allies within 3 panels deal 10% more damage -and enemies take 10% more damage.
R Command: Randomly increase adjacent ally’s Attack, Jump, Movement, Attack Range, or damage received.
Strongest Overlord in the Universe: Attack power increased by 20%, and an additional 1% for each 200 levels.
Prediction: Evility randomly changes each turn between: adjacent enemy unit takes random damage, increase evasion for self and allies by 50%, all enemy units will become poisoned, ally unit’s INT increases 50%, attack power increases 100%.
God of Destruction: A random number of enemy units take damage at the end of each turn.
Miracle Ability: Increases stats of confined units by 30% (confine is a boosting special skill unique to Marona)
Witch Power: Increase magic damage by 1oo% when attacking a solo enemy.
Water Dragon’s Ability: Increase stats by 20% for each turn that passes (max 240%)
Power of Purification: Deal damage to any enemy adjacent to target and any enemies adjacent to them.
Defense Formation: When defending, ally units will automatically defend with half the effectiveness.
Converging Attack: Increase damage by 10% per open panel within attack area.
Mass Blaster: Increase damage dealt by 20% per enemy unit within attack area.
Flat Alliance: Increase stats by 5% for each “flat” unit on the map. Flat units include: Etna, Flonne, Sicily, Fuka, Desko, Rasberyl, Petta, Lanzarote, Pram, Marona, Female Warrior, Female Mage, Thief, Archer, Witch Doctor, Saber Kitty, Alraune, Sea Angel
Gig Power Injection: Increase attack power of adjacent ally units by 30% of Gig’s attack.
Battle Princess’s Bravery: Increases attack power of ally units by 10% for each unit defeated.
After looking through this list there are a few characters who I could see myself incorporating into my end-game team. I really like Nisa’s style, and her Flat Alliance evility ensures a healthy stat boost since I apparently use a lot of characters who fit into this category… Ahem. I’m also considering adding Marona since she can give any character a big boost from quite a distance — ideal for Item Sea-ing! Which DLC characters are you considering adding to your team based on their evility?
Roy Blakely started Kotowari.org in 2008 while studying abroad in Japan. There, in his lonely dorm room, the site provided a much-needed outlet for his love of games. The site grew quickly, along with his authority on niche Japanese titles. Today, in addition to posting on Kotowari, he hosts a podcast, writes guides, and dabbles in programming. What a cool guy, huh?
Game Shin Megami Tensei IV & Dragon's Crown
Hours SMT4: ~50, DC: ~40
Recent Accomplishments I've gotten the neutral ending in SMT4 which requires a whole ton of sidequesting. Most of these subquests are very vague about where to go or how to initiate them...
In Dragon's Crown I've reached the level cap with my elf for the normal difficulty (35) so I'll be trying to get her the best gear there is for this level before I kick the difficulty up to hard.