What makes Dark Souls 2 the worst game in the series?
A lot of things. Lets ignore the downgrade and everything involved in that.
Like, a lot of the shit with dark souls 2 was just people being disappointed because they were shown a better product than they actually got.
Probably the biggest thing I’d fault the game for is the return of healing items and Soul Memory. Giving a practically unlimited source of grindable healing was a terrible idea. Upgrading the flask over time made sense, but starting with only 1 flask was also terrible, meaning you’d have almost no healing in early areas where you needed it the most.
Soul memory was an attempt to prevent people from “twinking”, meaning collecting high power gear on a low level character, but it ended up making power levels even more disparate between PVPers, and it punished bad players who replayed areas a lot and lost a bunch of souls. Plus it eventually pushed everyone into the same soul memory tier on top, regardless of how powerful they actually were, and it made co-op with friends way more complicated. Invasions almost never happened (I literally did not get invaded once), it was a total mess.
The netcode was abysmal, somehow worse than the already bad netcode of its predecessors.
For some reason, if you used up all your stamina, you were not allowed to run until it all regenerated to the top, and then some, and if you used up some before it filled all the way, you still couldn’t run. In the other games this debuff only applied if you used up all your stamina by running and in games after this it only lasts to 75%. In DaS1 and DeS, you can undo the debuff by rolling or attacking.
I thought giving mini-bosses multiple lives was a good idea, but then it turned out you could kill any enemy repeatedly to despawn them, so being persistent through a tough level would slowly make the level easier, which is lame. This also acts as anti-grind, since you have a definite limit to how much you can grind, which is sort of good, but in all practical terms it sucks if you just need a few more souls to buy healing or want to get a specific rare item drop, and doesn’t realistically limit people enough to prevent grinding.
Fall Damage is calculated differently. Instead of the distance correlating to a percentage of your HP in damage, instead fall distances just scale a static amount of damage. So you always take the same amount of damage for a given fall distance, regardless of whether you have enough HP to survive it or not. I think this change was made purely to gate off the pit until you’re stronger or can afford the cat ring.
Recovery time relative to IASA frames in Dark Souls 2 is also highly skewed, so that on most attacks, you were negative on hit if you waited the entire recovery time, and positive if you canceled into a dodge or another attack. It’s just kinda weird.
Attacks for some reason have no hitstop, making them feel a lot weaker, and making it harder to tell whether they hit or identify the point of contact.
The adaptability stat was a wash, since it would invisibly add more iframes to dodges.
Then they had poison behave like toxic and drain health quickly, and they still kept toxic for some reason.
Mytha the Baneful Queen was just miserable, both that they decided to make an arena like that in the first place, and that you had to take a torch from the bonfire and set fire to the metal part of a windmill to get rid of the poison. That literally makes no sense.
Some enemies had hitboxes that made no sense, like the grab attack on the ogres, mimics, and a lot of different attacks on all the different giant enemies and bosses.
Vendrick and the ancient dragon were just poorly considered. They have like, infinity HP and will kill you in one hit. Plus the ancient dragon has a few attacks that are pretty much guaranteed to kill you if you’re not careful or if you’ve never seen them before, like him flying in the air and torching everything beneath him. Because of the massive amount of health they have, this fight goes on forever and you can’t take any damage during it.
The way dodges are implemented is really offputting. Instead of having different dodge animations of different speed and different iframes, equip burden affects the distance the dodge will move across, which isn’t actually that useful, since you usually want to have a lot of iframes, but stay reasonably close to enemies while moving around them. Instead, low equip burden in dark souls 2 doesn’t actually affect your iframes at all, it only changes the animation, and now with low equip burden, an attempt to roll around the enemy can move you really far away from them in the process, making it harder to punish enemies with dodge rolls at lower equip burden than at higher equip burden, unintuitively.
An additional weirdness of dodges is that the frames immediately after the iframes have hyper armor, so you can take damage during them. Since there’s no hitstop in this game, it doesn’t clearly register as a hit, it’s sort of like a phantom hit or something that you take damage for even though it seems like you avoided the attack. And the hyper armor makes it seem like you phased through the attack as if you were invincible, but you take damage anyway. This is especially disconcerting versus grab attacks, since you can appear to dodge them, then it catches you on the hyper armor frames and you teleport into the grab animation.
And the way you move around is just weird. You can sort of spin in place without moving, unlike the other souls games, and you won’t run if you’re up against a wall. I have no way of summing up how weird it is.
The jump is also kind of weird, but it has tradeoffs. Unlike in the other games, it’s actually a jump, but it’s a really small jump, but you can get way more distance off it. The downside is that sometimes you can get a “baby-jump” that doesn’t go anywhere. Nobody knows what causes this, people just know that it’s not random, but it happens without any known cause.
Beyond that, the game is just underwhelming in terms of its content. It didn’t really go out of its way to deliver masterful levels or enemies or bosses, they’re just average generally. It doesn’t have Dark Souls 1’s lows, but it also doesn’t have its highs. It’s more consistent, avoiding gimmick bosses, but the bosses & enemies aren’t amazing all around, just average.
Sure a lot of Souls question lately huh? Jumping on the bandwagon by bumping an old question of mine (DeS’s strong points and if it does something not completely outdone by its sequels) and asking more insight on DaS2’s animations and why people call them clunky, floaty and other buzzwords.
Sorry, I’m pending a replay of DeS to answer that one. Intuition tells me it holds up, I’m 90% certain, but I doubt my recollection.
I’d say primarily the issue with DaS2’s animations is that attack animations have a really long recovery compared to other games in the series. I just tested it and their IASA frames kick in really really late, and unlike the other games, don’t vary the IASA timing based on whether you hit an enemy or not (in Dark Souls 1, many weapons would take longer to recover on whiff than hit, in DaS2, they take the same amount of time regardless). Also it all feels kinda weird because it’s the first time From experimented with animation blending instead of just canceling the animations, so there’s an unnatural smoothness to the recovery as one animation leads into the other instead of a snappy instant response to let you know it’s totally done.
The other weird thing is that with a lot of weapons, you’re actually minus on hit. Your recovery animation is longer than the enemy’s hitstun animation, which is really weird feeling. So if you hit them, then try to walk away, you can actually get punished for that. This means you need to either spend stamina on dodge rolling out of the way, or use the weapon’s combo cancel point to do the next hit in the weapon’s combo, which will then put you back in the same situation of being minus on hit again. It’s weird, doesn’t feel right.
I think the reason they did this was to make whiff punishing more viable in PvP, just a guess, but it has weird consequences on the PvE.
That and the animations just aren’t as high quality. They’re serviceable, but not great. Not as much exaggeration as the other souls games, which is part of what helps sell the weight of the different motions. During the roll, your character moves at a constant rate and seems to glide across the ground, augmented by how the roll distance scales depending on your equip burden, so it’s playing the same animation scaled to different lengths than it was originally animated for.
Plus the way you accelerate in general is just weird. I can’t even describe it. Like, semi-rapidly rotate your stick, and instead of running around in a circle, you’ll be stuck in one place spinning around a central point. They changed something about the way walking itself works, and there’s so many possible ways they could do that, and it’s such a subtle thing, I can’t tell exactly what it is.