One of the toughest – yet most rewarding – games we've played in this generation is Dark Souls, the sequel to the brutally tough Demon's Souls, which came out under Atlus' flag a couple of years ago. The sequel, released by Namco Bandai, followed a similar suit, with a lone knight facing off against a league of incredibly tough enemies, dying multiple times in the process but lumbering on to pick up additional items and quests that will challenge even the savviest of gamer taste.
The game was a huge hit when it came out last year, despite the fact that some didn't bother returning to it after beating it, merely for the sake of keeping their sanity intact. But if you think last year's game was an immense test on the nerves, you haven't seen anything yet. The follow-up, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, recently came out for Steam, adding some new content to the game guaranteed to grit a few teeth and raise the market in stress balls. And now Namco Bandai is preparing to bring it to consoles next month, both as a stand-alone released product and additional downloadable content through PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, whichever you prefer.
The story is still the same before – a lone knight sets out to take on incredibly tough enemies across a beautiful fantasy world – but there's additional content that will definitely keep you busy. Perhaps the biggest highlight is the release of the Artorias of the Abyss pack, which provides up to 10 hours worth of additional areas, equipment and monsters, along with PvP matchmaking options and, most importantly, a few extra checkpoints. Because every one counts when it comes to being beaten down by something and not having to backtrack 20 miles to get back to where you were.
Breaking down the Artorias of the Abyss content a bit further, you'll find two essential parts you have to go through. The first is the single player content, spread across a new part of the world that'll take you a good deal of time to get to, while the other is a multiplayer arena, where you can team with others and (hopefully) survive to cherish your victories. Yeah, good luck with that.
The world you'll be exploring in the single player campaign is known as Oolacile. (We like to say it as ooh-la-sile, but we could be wrong.) As we stated, you won't be able to really access it until you get through a good portion of the game, like the Duke's Archives, and dealing with dozens upon dozens of demons, dragons, rock monsters and whatever else feels like ripping you apart for the sake of you simply existing. These guys can't be taken for granted, so it's best you equip yourself with the proper tools so you can actually survive just a little bit longer.
Oolacile deals with a forest, an underworld beneath a city (just lurking with demon types and such) and, as luck would have it, a run in with Knight Artorias, a central figure in the Dark Souls lore. But just be prepared for a monster fight, as Namco has stated that he's one of the toughest ones yet. There's a reason he's got a huge legacy behind him.
Once you manage to topple Artorias (which will take many, many tries, we're guessing), you'll open up the arena, where you'll have access to three different PvP modes for you to mess around in, spread across six different pedestals. These include duels, where you go one on one to see who can survive; two versus two team battles, and four-player free-for-all matches, where the best killer wins. Though Namco hasn't detailed the maps that we're bound to be fighting in through this mode, it sounds quite promising, and gives us a way to blow off some steam, especially since we're not dealing with a hulking creature that takes up nearly the entire screen.
Like the previous game, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition is loaded with beautiful yet haunting graphic detail, especially the enemies crushing your lifeless body after they've defeated you. It ain't a pretty sight. The controls are a little tricky, as your attacks are much more limited than your adversaries, but persevere with the right tool and attack method and you'll finally bring them down, continuing on your way.
If you didn't have the patience to endure the original game, there's nothing in the Prepare To Die Edition that'll really change your mind. However, if you loved the first and really want to see what else lies within From Software's demented design, this is one upgrade you won't want to miss out on. Just make sure you're prepared to die. Because, you know, you will.
Look for the Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition on October 26th.