From Software’s action/RPGs are celebrated for their high degree of difficulty and meticulous style of play. Those that purchase a From Software Souls title know full well that they are getting themselves into when starting the game. If you are not suffering at the hands of Bloodborne, then, perhaps, it is time for you to revisit one of 2014’s best games: Dark Souls II. There is more to Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin than just a visual upgrade. This re-release has all the previously released DLC. Meanwhile, enemies and items have been rearranged, so those who played the original version will experience the game anew.
On the technical front, Scholar of the First Sin looks and runs better than ever before on the home console front. The frame-rate is smooth running at 60 frames-per-second, and the graphics are much cleaner and crisper than Dark Souls II running on last-gen hardware. When you first visit the town of Majula, the enhanced lighting will impress. If you want to experience the definitive console version of Dark Souls II, this is the way to do it.
For some, the visual and performance upgrade may have been enough of a reason to consider buying the game a second time. Thankfully, there are additional reasons as to why one should buy Dark Souls II for their PS4 or Xbox One. Those with a previous relationship with Dark Souls II must first forget everything they think they know about the game and its enemies. Enemy placement is different, with stronger threats being introduced earlier in the game. This change forces experienced players to slow down their style of play and to carefully survey a situation – just as they would the first time they experienced Dark Souls II.
Swapping enemy and item locations may seem like a minor alteration, but it significantly impacts how you approach the game. You may initially enter the game thinking you can quickly find an item or breeze through an area, but you’d be wrong and quickly humbled. It gives the game a fresh feel for past players and allows them to be surprised by what awaits. Even if you completed Dark Souls II on a previous console, you’ll feel driven to see Scholar of the First Sin to completion. For obvious reasons, newcomers won’t be aware of the changes, but they still get to partake in a challenging and well-crafted adventure.
Retailing for $59.99 on PS4 and Xbox One, the asking price may feel a tad bit higher than one would expect, but there is great value to be had with the title. The visual and performance enhancements along with the gameplay differences between this new version and the old game are certainly enough to warrant a purchase, but the inclusion of all of Dark Souls II’s downloadable content makes the pack more complete.
Is Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin worthy of a second purchase? If you loved the original release and want to experience the game with no major technical issues, a smooth frame-rate, enhanced graphics, and repositioned enemies, then it is well worth the price of admission. Those new to Dark Souls II will want Scholar of the First Sin to be their welcoming as it is the best way to play this glorious game.
- Improved technical performance
- Rearranged enemies create challenging scenarios
- Inclusion of DLC
- Merciless Gameplay
- Still not a game for everyone
(Editor’s Note: A copy of the PS4 version of Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin was provided by the publisher for review purpose.)