Despite its shortcomings, I like Dark Souls II a lot. Not everyone agrees.

In the video above, the very smart critic Matt Lees gives his comprehensive take on where he felt that Dark Souls II failed and succeeded. On a lot of points, I'm totally there with him. The texturing and lighting belies a game that had to be significantly altered to simply run on consoles, and the world does not make sense, especially when you look at how it fits together. But on other points I differ vehemently from him.

For example, I don't agree with his argument about self-critique — that the cyclical nature of the plot implicitly means that Dark Souls II is a game about games. While I think the plot is a statement about the universal pull of entropy and decay on all things, I don't think that means it's an existential statement about sequelitis. Also, I'm increasingly leery when a game critic assumes that a game is making a meta-statement about its own existence.

I have a lot of affection for Demon's Souls, and a lot of the design choices made in Dark Souls II attempted to capture what worked about it. And of course, Matt's take on it is smart. I'll probably never tire of talking and thinking about the ups and downs of the Souls series.


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