The Ninjabot

Dark Souls 2 Crown Of The Sunken King Review: Better Than The Full Game

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 5:00 am by Victor Chaves

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In the Dark Souls 2 Crown of the Sunken King DLC, the game opens up with a stronger statement than what its base game Dark Souls 2 communicated: the Sunken King DLC has tougher enemies, better levels to explore, and expands upon the universe much more than Dark Souls 2 did. If you’re feeling a bit down after beating the base game, Crown of the Sunken King will convince you that the best has yet to come.

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The Best Level Design

The absolute greatest facet of this inaugural DLC is the amazing level design throughout. From the beginning, you see the gigantic city Shulva that displays an amazing amount of territory to explore, with multiple elevators and neat puzzles not just in Shulva, but in all the other locations you find. Where Dark Souls 2 stuck on linear paths with little variance, the Crown of the Sunken King offers amazing verticality that changes player perspectives in arenas and buildings that can make the player easily lose direction and get lost. The highs and lows you reach are incredible, and show just how capable the Souls team at From Software still are at making memorable locations.

Although there are the usual dark areas and corridors, the maze-like features of the levels serve to underscore a large fault that was with Dark Souls 2, which were the unmemorable levels. The DLC incorporates switches, rising platforms, puzzles, mazes, and mesmerizing architecture that outclasses all that the base game ever was. Where Dark Souls 2 only wanted me to thoughtlessly attack enemies, the Sunken King has me thinking about the levels and what meaning they hold for my progress. Knowing what switches to hit in order to create the best path or recognizing structures so as to navigate the maze better just makes for better context. Although battling in the game is extremely fun, having the environments add to the fighting is so much better. I can’t stress this enough, the level design in this DLC (barring the later two DLC) is the pinnacle of Dark Souls 2.

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Where the levels have variety, the enemies not so much. While there are a few new adversaries that are interesting to fight, the Sanctum Soldiers that have huge clubs or lancers are very typical enemies that take little effort to fight one-on-one. The only special thing about them is that they almost never reel from attacks, so when you land an attack, GET OUT. The Sanctum Soldiers, as well as the other enemies, are certainly more difficult to kill than previous creatures, so make sure to level up and use the best equipment for the situation. If anything, glass cannons such as mages will have the hardest time since each enemy attack will guarantee to knockdown 75% of health.

Mostly Great Boss Fights

Matching the enemies, the bosses for the most part seem alright. Two of the three bosses are different and offer interesting strategies in order to take them out. They may resemble previous boss fights, but their moveset is completely different and does a great job of keeping the player on the move. The other boss fight, how can I put this, stinks. It’s against three incredibly powerful NPC’s that essentially creates a 3-on-1 PVP arena. As anyone who can attest, fighting two players is amazingly tough, three at once? Nigh impossible. This essentially forces the player to call in help from online players to assist and bring the odds to a more even level. This fight honestly has no imagination to it, and serves to be the only blight that is an excellent DLC.

What is incredibly nice concerning the story of Crown of the Sunken King is that the game makes strides to add in an interesting blemish that Dark Souls 2 didn’t have, and that is the concept of exploring kingdoms and seeing interesting comparisons between the land above and below. Barring VaatiVidya’s excellent Souls videos explaining story (which anyone who has played a Souls game should watch), I found a lot of interest concerning the dragon that lives in the sunken city in comparison to the proud dragons that live so high above the lands. Where the dragons above are living in a seeming luxury of an open and bright sky, Sinh the dragon sleeps around the city and breathes fire and poison on its own inhabitants, essentially destroying the only home he has. I know it’s a bit vague, but the point of a Souls story is to deduce and interpret yourself what the story is. Thankfully Crown of the Sunken King gives plenty of hints and trails to follow, allowing for very cool speculation on the environment.

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Final Thoughts

I know my Dark Souls 2 review, as well as when I referenced it in this review, paints the game in a bad light. However, when you play Crown of the Sunken King, all the problems that the full game has appear brighter than before, and also show what the true face of a great Souls game can be. Although the enemies can be a bit uninteresting and one of the bosses are yawn-inducing, the rest of the bosses, enemies, and the environments in this DLC are absolutely amazing and worth getting for yourself. I clocked in at ten hours, but because I had an under-leveled character, I needed to grind and explore every single nook and cranny before I was able to beat this expansion. This DLC is well-worth the price, and if the future DLC matches in quality, I can easily say the season pass is worth getting.

Presentation: 9

Gameplay: 10

Replay: 9

LEGACY SCORE: 9.3

Geek Legacy’s review scores are on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest possible score.

Follow Victor on Twitter @fake_brasilian to see him realize that life is just one big DLC with each day a new piece of content.

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