With the announcement of Dark Souls 2 during the VGAs last year, a bit more info has trickled out about the game. For starters, while From Software is still making the game, a new director has been announced to lead the game’s direction. Many fans have met this news with some trepidation, as such a drastic change could very well alter the core of what makes Dark Souls such a good game. On the other hand, a new director might help to expand the lore of Dark Souls and add new quality elements too. So it’s too early too call this a failure. With that in mind however, this article will try to list 5 things Dark Souls 2 should have in order to improve on its predecessor.
5) More Boss Variety
The Souls series has a tremendous number of bosses, all with a good degree of individuality. However, looking at Dark Souls a bit closer, you see a few resemblances to Demon’s Souls in terms of boss attributes. For instance, the Bell Gargoyles boss fight in Dark Souls is similar to the Maneaters boss fight in Demon’s Souls. A few other comparisons can be made too, with Pinwheel similar to Fool’s Idol, Iron Golem similar to Tower Knight and Gwyn similar to Flamelurker. Perhaps there are others too. It’s not really a major fault with Dark Souls, but the implication of these similar fights is that players tend to already know what to do in the newer boss fights. Part of Dark Souls’ charm is learning a boss fight and overcoming it through perseverance. In similar boss fights however, that becomes a moot point, as the bosses generally share the same weaknesses. Of course, it may be overly critical if say a future boss in Dark Souls 2 has the ability to turn invisible, that one should automatically compare that boss to Priscilla in Dark Souls 1. There’s more to it than that, but it would be great if all bosses in future games had significant individuality over previous bosses.
4) Dedicated Servers
An easy point to make, dedicated servers did wonders for Demon’s Souls’ online compared to Dark Souls P2P structure. There were still issues with dedicated servers in Demon’s Souls, for instance lag was still a problem, but the overall quality of the online was much better. This is most painfully obvious whenever you see a message left by fellow players on the ground in any part of the game. In Demon’s Souls, you had hundreds of ratings on a number of different messages. That coupled with the bonuses you got by having a message rated positive, meant it felt rewarding to help others. In Dark Souls 2, you’d be lucky to find a message with more than 10 votes. Rarely did you feel rewarded for leaving messages in Dark Souls, and it was due to the online structure. Dark Souls 2 needs to desperately improve on this, as the online portions of the game are a huge positive aspect for it.
3) Environment Hitboxes
Let me explain what I mean by environmental hitboxes. I essentially mean the ability of enemies (mostly bosses), to swing their weapons through walls or pillars without detriment. You yourself can’t do this most of the time, instead your weapon swing is interrupted/negated and you’re left in a vulnerable state. Bosses however don’t have the same problem. It is, in all honesty, a bit cheap that enemies can get away with striking you through walls and pillars. Not only does it interrupt what generally are logical gameplay mechanics, it looks hideous too. An improvement in this aspect is very much welcomed.
2) Better Covenant Setup
The covenant system introduced in Dark Souls is a very neat idea. Unfortunately, it felt underwhelming in practice. Never was there a true conflict between covenants that should technically be in opposition to each other. It also felt whimsical, as you could change covenants without much issue, leading to no real reason to join certain covenants early on because the rewards only came much later. There never was a true reason to remain loyal to one covenant throughout a playthrough either, in fact it could be argued that it was a waste. Certain covenants, like the Gravelord covenant, also had major issues with the way its online interactivity worked. I would like to see the covenant system return in Dark Souls 2, but its relevance to the game and to the online could be drastically improved. The covenant system in Dark Souls 1 felt like merely a drop of water in an ocean of possibilities.
1) Mobile Enemies
Finally, the biggest improvement I’d like to see in Dark Souls 2 is to have mobile enemies in the game. Static enemies have been the norm in both Dark Souls 1 and Demon’s Souls, and it is rather stale. It’s too easy when you know exactly where every enemy is positioned and how to run around them. Mobile enemies would provide a slightly tougher opposition as the randomness will catch people out. There can still be a place for static enemies that only engage you when you’re close, but by and large, I’d like to see mobile enemies. Seeing zombies or snakemen standing around like statues, just waiting for you, makes things slightly boring and easy. Admittedly, a sight like 6 Taurus Demons in the Demon’s Ruins just waiting to pounce on you is a spectacular sight whether they are mobile or static, but in most other cases, I’d much prefer mobile enemies.