Beat The Summer Slog
Welcome to the middle of summer. If you have a calendar at hand, you may notice there are no big video game releases on the horizon until Metal Gear Solid V on September 1st. That leaves us with over a month of dull, dry, summer doldrums to get through.
But it doesn’t have to be a drag!
Now is the perfect time to catch up on your backlog. Surely, you stocked up on games during Steam’s summer sale, didn’t you? You should be bursting with obscure RPGs, AAA titles from five years ago, and the occasional indie game you bought to diversify your library.
Well, from now until September 1st, we’ll be taking a look at a few games that will keep you cool during this barren wasteland of summer. Unless you’re playing on a PC, in which case your GPU will probably just make you hotter.
Anyway, Week 1:
Week 1 – Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin
First of all, get over yourself. I know, Scholar of the First Sin is more like a big f*** you to fans who were expecting the game to look this good from the beginning. Also there was that retroactively hilarious statement that there was no planned DLC for Dark Souls II because they wanted us to have “the full experience.” And yes, you had to buy the game over again even if you spent the maximum amount of money you possibly could by purchasing their collector’s edition.
But you’re curious, aren’t you?
Why You Should Play it Now
Scholar of the First Sin was in the unfortunate position of being released on the same day as Bloodborne. I’m not sure if that was supposed to comfort fans on other platforms who couldn’t play the Playstation 4 exclusive, or if Namco-Bandai just doesn’t know how marketing works. Either way, you probably didn’t even know the game had been released underneath all the other hype, but you probably saw it on sale at some point this summer and picked it up anyway because “-75%” gets us every time.
Dark Souls II is also, arguably, the worst of the series. That doesn’t make it a bad game, but it’s not the first one I would recommend if you were going to spend time playing a Souls game at all. The only thing is, I am recommending it, because when else are you going to play a remaster of a game that was released a little over a year ago? The summer runs hot and dry, and if you’re a lucky someone who has the time to play through the entire game (again), you should absolutely do it.
There’s a few reasons for this. Firstly, the DLC that is included with this edition is actually really good. Dark Souls II has fairly decent level design throughout (they’re just stitched together terribly), but the Crown of the Sunken King, Iron King, and Ivory King are easily the best the game has to offer. If you already played the game, but haven’t checked out the DLC, it’s worth the dive back in to Drangleic to complete. It feels more like classic Dark Souls than anything that came before it.
Secondly, if you’ve never played Dark Souls II, it’s simply worth playing. Yeah, it’s not as good as its predecessor, or even Bloodborne, but it’s still a better game than most of the crap in your backlog. The individual level design, tight combat, and exploration overshadows the weak boss fights, wonky hitboxes, and lack of interesting lore.
Thirdly, Dark Souls III is on the horizon. Even if the game doesn’t really tie into the previous Dark Souls games, you probably need a combat refresher, especially if your last Souls game experience was the much faster-paced Bloodborne. Now is the perfect time to re-acclimate yourself to the slower, more methodical combat pace of its predecessors.
The summer is just a good time for RPG’s in general. If you’re off from school or in between semesters, you can take the time to sink your teeth into a thirty-plus hour game. Every game in the Souls series is better when you take the time to savor it. Explore every nook and cranny, and relish in the intricate level design that the DLCs have to offer.
Enjoy Scholar of the First Sin. Ignore the fact that it’s the game that should have been released, because once Dark Souls III hits your game library, there’s a good chance you may never come back to Dark Souls II at all.
Steve Dixon has a backlog that will make you second-hand embarrassed. Shame him on Twitter @Driver194