Dark Souls 2 Beta Impressions — Yeah, This Game Is Still Really Hard


I’ve never been a huge fan of multiplayer in Dark Souls, mostly due to the fact that my experiences with summoning players and invading other people’s games typically involve more waiting around than actually playing with other people. Fortunately, with everyone in the beta centralized in the same area, that obviously wasn’t an issue.

For the most part, multiplayer in the Dark Souls 2 beta seemed pretty identical to Dark Souls. Messages can be left on the ground to warn others of traps, players that were in human form could summon hollowed players into their game to engage in jolly cooperation, and those with darkness in their hearts could invade other player’s games and try to kill them for souls.

The one big addition I noticed in the multiplayer came in the form of blue phantoms. Blue phantoms are basically the opposite of the invading black phantoms and are automatically summoned into a game when a player is being invaded. Once summoned, the blue phantom must help the player by protecting them from the invader. A player may opt into becoming a blue phantom thanks to a special ring that was part of the default equipment set of the Warrior class in the beta.

This was probably my favorite aspect of Dark Souls 2 that I got to experience from the beta. It’s a fantastic new addition to the series that now lets people engage in PVP multiplayer and feel like a hero, rather than a villain or a victim.

The Bosses

My biggest regret about my time with the beta is that I didn’t get to test out the boss battles as much as I would’ve wanted. I managed to do battle against the Skeleton Lord once and felt like I did pretty decently as the sorcerer class, but was eventually overwhelmed.

The Skeleton Lord seemed like a pretty basic battle against three very tough skeleton mages all at once. I had some slight success grouping two or more of them together and nailing them both with a sweeping soul greatsword spell, but it became very challenging dodging all three of their attacks at once. This battle felt difficult, but surmountable given enough time spent learning the enemies’ attacks.

Then there was the chariot boss battle, of which I unfortunately never got to see the second phase. This battle took place in a circular arena where a giant chariot would race around the track and trample anything that got in its way. By squeezing into small doorways along the wall, you could avoid getting crushed, but you then would have to deal with a constant stream of reviving skeletons that would wail away on your shield as you tried desperately to stay in the small safe zone of the doorway.

By fighting your way from doorway to doorway, killing the liches on the way that revive the skeletons, you could apparently make your way to a lever that would bring down the gate and cause the chariot to crash. I say apparently because whether by glitch or my own blindness, I never spotted that lever and ended up getting killed. I heard about the lever’s existence after the fact.

Like all limited play sessions with Dark Souls 2, the beta left me with a gaping hole in my gamer’s heart. A nagging regret that I wasn’t able to beat either of the two bosses. Fortunately, there will be another chance as another beta is planned for Oct. 27, this time opening its gates for even more players to participate. For more information, check right here.

Those who don’t make it into the beta can still have a completely unspoiled experience when Dark Souls 2 releases on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on March 11, 2014.

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5 Comments on Dark Souls 2 Beta Impressions — Yeah, This Game Is Still Really Hard


On October 14, 2013 at 2:00 pm

When you talked about how it cuts your life while Hollowed, do you mean like in Demons Souls, how you have less HP when in soul form, or do you mean, you actually lose HP as in in cannot be recovered at all and is lost even when back in human form?

Also about the Skeleton Lord battle, since it sounds like you didn’t finish it, I’ll just tell you there’s a bit more to the fight than the 3 Skeleton Mages, taking them down will only drain about half HP, the other half is a horde of skeleton enemies, including the oh so hated Skeleton Wheels.

Mitchell Saltzman

On October 14, 2013 at 2:12 pm

@Yuka It’s not like in Demon’s Souls.

Let’s say you die in human form. You’ll respawn as a hollow and have the same max life that you had while a human. But then, each time you die again as a hollow, you lose a small percentage of your max life that cannot be restored until you use a Human Effigy to become human again. At that point, your max life will return to how it should normally be and you’ll be able to restore it using an estus flask or lifegem. If you don’t turn human and keep dying as a hollow, you’ll just keep on cutting away at your max life until you’re able to turn human again.

And *shudder…* wheelie skeletons…


On October 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I’m not really a fan of the “invade anytime” change–I still have flashbacks to serial invasions in busy areas (e.g. the Forge in Dark Souls 1). PVP can be fun, don’t get me wrong–but a good PVP spec is different from a good single player spec, and single player play seems hard enough without letting invading players halt all forward progress at random intervals.

But, I haven’t played it yet so hopefully this is just a kneejerk reaction. :)


On October 14, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Oh I see, didn’t notice since the times I went hollow I usually tried ot go back to human for right away.

Also yes, it can get really crowded in the Skeleton Lord battle if you kill the 3 mages fast, (the skeletons spawns in groups, one after each mage goes down, and even more after all 3 go down.) and tho it’s not so bad with one or more summons (especially if at least someone one person has heavy armor/ weapons), but alone they can easily surround you and/ or stunlock you to a quick defeat.


On November 11, 2013 at 11:54 pm

im wish i had the enjoyment of playing and pvp i spent more time on load screen and invisable bp was ofbthree hrs