I'm going to drop some big news here, are you ready? Dark Souls 2 is really difficult. There, I said it. Of course it's also fun, if you're into the particular brand of masochistic fun that From Software provides. I spent two hours playing the beta and trying to get a handle on the changes, so let's see what I learned.
I may love Dark Souls, but I'm far from an expert, so two hours was a pretty tiny window for me to get a good idea of all the changes while also exploring the area and figuring out how to not die. I did my best, so here's some of what I found. First up is the menu interface, because that's definitely where I saw the biggest changes:
I want to say I'm not a huge fan, but at this point I haven't poked around in it enough to say for sure. Initially it seems even more cryptic than the Dark Souls interface since there are more little icons and fewer descriptions. However, there is a button that lets you go through all the icons and gives explanations about what they are. I'm looking forward to getting more time to mess with it and figure out if it's easier to navigate or not.
This new sprinting uppercut attack with the zweihander is probably my favourite discovery from my short time with the beta. Go to 19:47 in the video to take a look at it in action.
Of course, one of the biggest new features in Dark Souls 2 is the ability to properly dual-wield weapons. The dual swordsman seems like he'll be a lot of fun to play with, perhaps after I've memorized every enemy in the game. I have no idea what gave me the crazy idea to run around a new Dark Souls game for even a minute without a shield.
For the most part, the rest of the game felt pretty much like the Dark Souls experience that I'm used to. The combat feels tight, though ever so slightly different than the first game. I need to play more to get a better feel for what the differences are, but it feels more difficult to roll around and dodge attacks. That may be because I'm used to running around with no armour and fast roll, because they tweaked things, or both.
While I wait for the next beta session, tell me what you're looking forward to seeing, and what should I investigate in the meantime? Next time the beta opens up, I'll be prepared with your questions, and I'll break down the results for you the next day.