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Dark Souls - Artorias of the Abyss DLC Review

This is a discussion on Dark Souls - Artorias of the Abyss DLC Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; Dark Souls - Artorias of the Abyss DLC Review by JackAttack Basic Information: Developer: FromSoftware Publisher: Namco Bandai Games North ...

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    Dark Souls - Artorias of the Abyss DLC Review

    Dark Souls - Artorias of the Abyss DLC Review
    by JackAttack


    Basic Information:
    Developer: FromSoftware
    Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
    North American Release Date: October 23, 2012
    European Release Date: October 23, 2012
    Trophies: N/A


    Overview
    Dark Souls, the spiritual successor to 2009's phenomenal hardcore RPG Demon's Souls, was one of the best games to come out in 2011. With its deep and intuitive gameplay, fascinating lore, and immense replay value, I was certainly wowed. Now, a year after release, Dark Souls receives some additional content. It's definitely intriguing, but is it worth your time?

    Gameplay
    Dark Souls has always been a hardcore gamer's heaven. Combat is satisfying, character customization and progression is wonderfully deep, and above all the game is infamous for its insane levels of difficulty. None of this has been fundamentally changed in the DLC. The gameplay is still amazing, though long-time players will find it lacks refreshing elements.


    Everything burns! (Including new foes.)

    New weapons, spells, armor, and other items have been added in the DLC, and while they don't add anything game-changing, they're definitely a warm-welcome. Trying out new items, adding them to your arsenal, and then using them in combat is fun and adds to the experience. In addition, a specific ring - the Calamity Ring - can be used for the ultimate Dark Souls fanatic to truly change the way you play the game, effectively doubling the already difficult gameplay.

    Otherwise, few things were changed or added here. Dark Souls' gameplay was already about as polished as it gets, so it's not a surprise that very little was expanded upon for the DLC.

    Singleplayer
    The Artorias of the Abyss DLC adds a substantial amount of new content. It's by no means lengthy, but can provide players with a good excuse to return to the land of Lordran for extra hours of content.

    Taking place in the past, directly after the fall of the city of Oolicile, the world is in danger of falling to the darkness that is the Abyss. The plotline, as with the rest of Dark Souls, isn't very straightforward, but nevertheless the lore is extensive for those who care to look into item descriptions and draw their own conclusions from them. Any player that has sunk many hours into Dark Souls will definitely appreciate the attention that was given to the lore here. Characters only heard of in legend make appearance, and it's awe-spiring to see them in action and even fight them.


    Boss battles are plentiful and offer increased challenge.

    In total, there are three main areas offered in the expansion, each filled with new enemies to battle and secrets to discover. Making it to the end of each area will lead to one of the coveted boss fights. Climactic in style and incredibly difficult, the boss fights here once again pose serious challenge and are incredibly fun to fight. This is Dark Souls at its best. If you can get past the subpar length, the DLC definitely has a lot to offer.

    Multiplayer
    Dark Souls' unique multiplayer experience has been expanded upon with the DLC. Old options return, as invasions and cooperative play are still viable here. Playing with friends is still difficult due to poor matchmaking because of the game's numerous servers, but the patient-minded duo (or trio) can still get together to slay foes.

    However, the main attraction here is the arena. A place for fun and fair duels to transpire, the arena is an amazing addition that keeps duels fair and fun. A true PvP-er's heaven, most of the DLC's replay value will come from this. Leaderboards flesh out the experience, and with the new DLC items, there's definitely a freshness that hovers over the PvP and its arena mode. You can choose to play 1v1, 2v2, or free-for-all with four different players each going up against each other at once. It's true chaotic fun.

    Technical
    Dark Souls has always looked sharp, and has always boasted impressive artistic design and dark music. All of this carries over into the DLC. The new areas have a certain allure to them, drawing me to search in every nook and cranny to find what FromSoft hid there. Technically-speaking, the game is impressive as ever.


    New areas look great, and the art design is impressive.

    My main gripes here come with the recycled environments. The first area you venture to is basically a re-skinned version of the main game's Darkroot Garden and Basin areas, and the last level is very reminiscent of the Tomb of the Giants. It's frankly disappointing to see, especially when FromSoft is capable of making amazing new environments that could've added so much more to the presentation of the game. Granted, this all makes sense in the context of the expansion's plot, so the blow is easier to take.

    Still, the game's technical prowess is undeniably strong. Enemy, weapon, and armor designs are intricate and look amazing, and thankfully there aren't any game-breaking bugs or glitches here.

    Closing Thoughts
    Dark Souls' Artorias of the Abyss DLC impresses and gives an excuse for fans to come back and enjoy this astounding game once again. It's short, and not necessarily a must-buy for everyone, but what it offers to the table is exceptional. Those expecting loads of new content will find themselves disappointed, however. It's just a little something extra for those who crave it.

    Gameplay: 9/10
    Solid as ever, Dark Souls is as equally difficult as it is satisfying.

    Singleplayer: 8/10
    New areas, new bosses, and new items. It's well-done and fun while it lasts.

    Multiplayer: 10/10
    The addition of the arena is a true game-changer, and makes PvP fun again.

    Technical: 7/10
    What's here is done well, but the recycled areas leave me unimpressed.

    Overall: 8.5/10
    Last edited by JackAttack; 12-22-2012 at 12:47 AM.

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    Great review, Jacko. Sounds like something only die-hard fans should get, considering the price. Still, might be good to check it out someday.

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    I have it Im soul level 173 looking for Honorable players to join my fight DOUCHE BAG invaders need not to apply NG+++

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    Thoroughly enjoyed this game! Great review and I'll need to try this DLC out and the only qualm I had with this game was the poor matchmaking servers and the constant invading! Infuriated me to no end haha
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    Nice Review. I found out about Demons Souls when a work colleague told me about Dark Souls and I'm glad I tried Demons Souls first because when I 'platinumed' it and was ready to try Dark Souls PTD edition was announced and I would have invested the 40€ even just for Dark Souls without PTD. Both DS are amazing games and I can't name any games (just maybe FFX ) that deploy a gameplay that is more fun to me. I'm just doing some last preparations (want to go through new Londo Ruins and four Kings fight for Kaathe) and then I'll aim for the DLC content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    ... long-time players will find it lacks refreshing elements.
    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    New weapons, spells, armor, and other items have been added in the DLC, and while they don't add anything game-changing ...
    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    Otherwise, few things were changed or added here. Dark Souls' gameplay was already about as polished as it gets, so it's not a surprise that very little was expanded upon for the DLC.
    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    It's by no means lengthy, but can provide players with a good excuse to return to the land of Lordran for extra hours of content.
    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    If you can get past the subpar length, the DLC definitely has a lot to offer.
    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    Playing with friends is still difficult due to poor matchmaking ...
    Quote Originally Posted by JackAttack
    Those expecting loads of new content will find themselves disappointed ...
    So, I read your review, and I think it's decent in itself. It pretty much sums up what I thought about the DLC based on the vast amount of game footage I've seen of it. In my opinion, though, I think you rated the DLC too high. Keeping in mind some of the comments above, here are my thoughts.


    I wouldn't imagine that the game mechanics would change from the base game, so I don't have any gripes about the Gameplay score. I think the Gameplay is solid, for the most part. There are always minor issues such as locking-on to wrong enemies which cause you to fall off a cliff. Things like that aren't game-breaking, though, so I say a 9/10 is a fair score; I've never thought the game mechanics in the Souls games were bad, in fact, quite the contrary.

    The campaign is too short, especially considering the DLC costs a hefty $15. It makes the DLC seem like a CoD map pack. At least with CoD you get 5 maps and not just 3 areas. I think most of the replay value will only be of concern to PvP'ers. Once you've beaten the DLC, I see little incentive to keep replaying it over and over. Also, you mention that there aren't any new weapons, armor, or spells that really stand out other than the calamity ring, which I'm sure doesn't appeal to everyone; that's definitely disappointing. I think an 8/10 is too high for the Singleplayer score. I probably wouldn't have rated it any higher than a 7/10, if that.

    Based on your comment above about the matchmaking still being poor, that would definitely have to factor into the Multiplayer score. You scored it a 10/10, and I doubt it's "perfect". I'm sure you still have the same issues as you would in the vanilla game (e.g., griefers, poor matchmaking--as you've already pointed out, etc.). I'm sure the PvP Arena is a welcomed addition, which FROM probably should've just included as a universal feature in the game via a patch rather than bundling it with DLC. I'm sure not everyone has (or wants to spend) $15 just for the sake of "better" PvP. I would've rated the Multiplayer an 8/10 at best. Other than the PvP arena, it doesn't seem like anything else was added or improved.

    I agree with your Technical score of 7/10. We obviously don't know how long this DLC has been in development, but it was released back in August with the Prepare to Die edition on PC, so they had a few months to work on it. Non-recycled environments would've been nice. It seemed like more focus was put on the Lore aspects and the "legenary" characters ... which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I just think they could've made a more complete package.

    Overall: 7.75/10

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    I'll definitely be checking this out soon. I just order the ultimate edition of fallout new Vegas, and I've been playing the complete version of dragons age origins, but after those two are done ill probably invest in this. There is only one game that comes out this year that I'm interested in (dead space 3) so ill have plenty of time for this game. Thanks for the review.

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