The lights are on
This game is a disappointment to me. I absolutely loved the first game. But DS2 has just left me wanting more. It simply lacks the spark needed to keep me interested for more than an hour at a time. It's not a bad game, it just lacks in too many areas. It's a shame. :(I'm not a graphics whore in any sense of the term. Very colorful albeit muddy textures have been a huge distraction to me in this game. Death himself has very bland textures on his person. Their simply is no natural flow to the lip-sync/hair/body of any NPC in the game. Everything seems stiff and muddy. Other than most of Deaths transitions during combat, everything seems overly stiff.
I have had numerous problems with game flow. It's not because I can't figure out the controls. I know the combinations and from time to time have racked up some pretty awesome hit streaks. The controls seem way too soft and unresponsive in dire situations. It just takes the game-flow away when I have to wait for Death to completely stop moving and then press another button. I can't find any reason for me falling off the edge of a platform, other than the fact that Death is not standing perfectly square with it.
It may take me a while to finish it because it just isn't sucking me in the way I had hoped. It's definitely a game worthy of playing. But their are way too many little problems that on their own would be fine, all together not so much. I just find it hard rating DS2 higher than the original. And for these reasons I can't.
I have noticed that as you equip more powerful weapons with abilities like fire/ice, things start to get prettier. Also, The Kingdom of the Dead seems to have better visuals.
I have progressed a good bit over the holiday weekend. Weapons are getting more epic, puzzles are getting a bit more difficult, and the bosses/mini-bosses are a bit more fun to fight.
I did run into a few bugs however. I had a boss battle in the Kingdom of the Dead where the boss froze not allowing me to kill him. Had to restart the game and it worked fine. I also have been running into an audio bug both in dialog and combat. Combat is fine, but an in game dialog scene went completely silent (sucked) and I missed everything except what came up on the screen as a caption. I also got stuck on some rocks and had to fast travel to free myself.
I'm trying not to spoil anything so I apologize for being rather vague. But it does seem that the game has picked up a good bit since I started this review. And I'm pretty sure the end draws near.
Game froze while traversing Shadows Edge level. Too late in day to restart, try again soon. This is by far the most visually stunning of all the levels I have gone to.
I finally got the time to finish the game. The ending was not that great for me. It ended too fast with not much else to say. The storyboard type still-art did not leave me all fired up for the next installment. Maybe DLC will expand on the ending?
Even after the update I still had audio issues, combat controls are still very soft to the touch. I had noticed that even after Death had come to a complete stop he would not respond to my button presses. The spirit/trainer that sells you the upgraded weapon moves in the Kingdom of the Dead still has a glitch. Even after buying all of them and getting the achievement for it, the Axe is still listed for sale.
I have played and accomplished everything on the disc except for the Sticks & Stones, and Relics collectibles quests. I can make it to level 75 in The Crucible before the Deposed King takes me out with his freeze blast.
I am happy with the score I have given this game. In my OPINION it started out as an 8 and finished as an 8. I wish that I could think better of this game, but I cannot.
The lack of a compelling narrative is what disappoints me the most. It's like death is just randomly going to and fro through these different realms with no real sense of purpose. Normally in a game like this I'm pretty ecstatic to finish a big quest and get some insight into the events at hand but all this game has is characters who say they'll help you after you help them and then proceed to tell you to go find this other person who may be able to help you. I wish they would have continued the story as opposed to backtracking it and running parallel to the original story. So far I see nothing being gained. I love the setting, characters and overall tone of the universe vigil has created, but this game is way more boring than I had hoped it to be. It's not bad by any means, but as you said, it is quite the disappointment so far. The first one wasn't exactly a narrative powerhouse, but at least it felt like War had a purpose and the quest seemed more focused. This one feels like a really long, boring stretch of highway. You get so tired of seeing nothing that the mere sight of a tree excites you.