Dark Souls 2 Network Test 4 Impressions

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.

Asobee: Dark Souls – Episode 04

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.

Asobee: Dark Souls – Episode 03

This week we push forward into the Undead Burg… that is until we come up between a rock and a hard place — a rock named Havel! Hah. He smashes us. A lot. WHAM. Just like that.

We also have a new dilemma for you guys to help us with! Should we: A.) Proceed beneath the Bridge Wyvern. B.) Face it head on or C.) Seek the key to the lower portion of Undead Burg? Let us know!

Here is a comic all about Havel the Rock trying to make it in this economy.

Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness DLC Schedule & Evility Info

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:

Character
 Date
Price
Evility
Fuka
2013-10-01
$2.99
Dream Girl: Damage received from Special Attacks is reduced by 50%.
Desco
2013-10-01
$2.99
Last Boss Mode: For each adjacent ally unit, attack power increase 20%.
Adell
2013-11-05
$2.99
Burning Spirit: When attacking or being targeted, stats increase 5% (max 100%)
Rozalin
2013-11-05
$2.99
Princess Shine: Male allied units attack powere increases 20%.
OR
Lonely Devil God: Stats increase 3% for every other unit on map.
Lilliel*
2013-11-05
$2.99
Recovery Barrier: When Lilliel or an ally move, Lilliel recovers 3% of her max HP for each panel moved.
Mao
2013-11-12
$2.99
Demon’s Vivisection: Allies within 3 panels deal 10% more damage -and enemies take 10% more damage.
Salvatore
2013-11-12
$2.99
R Command: Randomly increase adjacent ally’s Attack, Jump, Movement, Attack Range, or damage received.
Zetta
2013-11-26
$2.99
Strongest Overlord in the Universe: Attack power increased by 20%, and an additional 1% for each 200 levels.
Pram
2013-11-26
$2.99
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%.
Alex
2013-11-26
$2.99
God of Destruction: A random number of enemy units take damage at the end of each turn.
Marona
2013-12-10
$2.99
Miracle Ability: Increases stats of confined units by 30% (confine is a boosting special skill unique to Marona)
Metallia
2013-12-10
$2.99
Witch Power: Increase magic damage by 1oo% when attacking a solo enemy.
Ash
2013-12-10
$2.99
Water Dragon’s Ability: Increase stats by 20% for each turn that passes (max 240%)
Human Priere
2014-01-14
$2.99
Power of Purification: Deal damage to any enemy adjacent to target and any enemies adjacent to them.
Eclair
2014-01-14
$2.99
Defense Formation: When defending, ally units will automatically defend with half the effectiveness.
Overlord Priere
2014-01-14
$2.99
Converging Attack: Increase damage by 10% per open panel within attack area.
OR
Mass Blaster: Increase damage dealt by 20% per enemy unit within attack area.
Nisa
2014-01-28
$2.99
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
2014-01-28
$2.99
Gig Power Injection: Increase attack power of adjacent ally units by 30% of Gig’s attack.
Plume**
2014-01-28
$2.99
Battle Princess’s Bravery: Increases attack power of ally units by 10% for each unit defeated.

*If you don’t know who Lilliel is, here is what she looks like.
**If you don’t know who Plume is, here is what she looks like.

If you want to stay on top of these release dates, I’ve made a public Google Calendar you can use.  Since these DLC go so far into the future, I figure this will help me remember!

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?

Asobee: Dark Souls – Episode 02

In the second episode of our Dark Souls Let’s Play, we explore New Londo Ruins — but not before checking out Valley of Drakes and a bit of Blightown. After a solid attempt to communicate with ghosts, we decide to turn our sights back to Undead Burg. Wouldn’t ya know it, we even use those “worthless” binoculars!

We don’t have any dilemma for you guys to weigh in on this week, so just kick back and enjoy!