Dark Souls, despite exceeding over two million units sold worldwide, is not what you'd call a mainstream game. Its presentation and desolate world create a unique space – a distance that is near impossible for the average player to ever surpass, at least not without devoting a lot of extracurricular study of lore through various wikis.

Not so with Dark Souls II. Eurogamer recently published an interesting feature looking at Namco's new presentation of the game, as well as a few changes perhaps designed to appeal more to the larger audience. You can take the costly events and celebrity involvement with somewhat of a grain of salt – bow Namco-Bandai is treating Dark Souls II isn't atypical to a sequel with heavy production values and a big ad budget.

But for the quiet, ethereal Souls universe, it feels a bit more than a bit worrisome to read about journalists being led into a elaborately constructed dungeon by a man in full metal plate, only to be greeted by Peter Serafinowicz, the actor and Souls fanatic that's put over 1800 hours into the original game (and is lending his vocal talents to the sequel). What's troublesome, here, perhaps, is to read about how the game's tutorial is a little more heavy-handed, and that following the introduction you're given a disconcertingly lengthy bit of exposition handled by familiar voice actors. Exposition – the very definition of going against Dark Souls' toothy grain. But there it is.

Other changes abound in Dark Souls II that may sadden purists – namely an item that lets you reset your character preset if you've found you've made a mistake, or instant fast travel, which inarguably guts (in theory) at least half of what players' creeping experience, where around every blind corner, death could lurk, is supposed to be about. And then there's the PvP elements, which allow you to greatly increase the chances of working together with friends, not to mention what many fans would consider a downright odious addition in the form of voicechat enabled co-op.

In practice, it seems that none of this is mandatory – you can forego voice chat entirely and the choice is yours to use or ignore any of the amenities and tweaks above (the fans would never stand for it otherwise, anyway). There's no doubt that many true fans will scorn whatever concessions From Software has made in appealing to a wider audience and play with their own limitations imposed. If the game's beta gameplay was anything to go by, Dark Souls II is very much Dark Souls in its own right – nothing to worry about.

But given trends towards heightening the commercial value and appeal of franchises with each passing game – a trend that's perhaps left everything from Dead Space to Far Cry mangled in its wake one can't help but consider, or even worry, for a potentially hollow future.

Read the full article via the link below.

Via Eurogamer