Updated: Oct 4, 2022
Dark Souls and Bloodborne are games developed by From Software known for their rich worldbuilding and also their difficulty, together these make what the community calls “SoulsBorne”. In most rankings, you see online people will often put games like Bloodborne or Dark Souls 3 at the top of their lists but what is widely considered the “Black Sheep” of the FromSoft titles is Dark Souls 2, the main reason for this really boils down to the fact that it’s different from Dark Souls 1 and Demon’s souls, yet the tarred reputation of the game remains after all these years. So here I will explain exactly why Dark Souls 2 is actually the best game in the SoulsBorne Franchise.
Majula serves as the central hub in dark souls 2, a very scenic coastal village giving you a sense of peace before the challenges ahead. Throughout the game, the village will become more and more populated by the various NPCs you meet along your adventure, from cartographers to ladder builders. Compared to other central hubs in other SoulsBorne games, there’s nothing that quite compares to Majula. In both the Scenery and the NPCs you meet along the way.
4. Weapon degradation
This particular point is definitely a more debatable one, however in my opinion weapon degradation in dark souls 2 is a fantastic feature. It adds a layer of realism to the game that the other FromSoft titles simply don’t have, It allows for more services to be offered from the blacksmith as well as having repair powder actually being useful unlike how it is in Dark Souls 3. It can be frustrating to have your weapons break on you however there is no reason that weapons should be indestructible in a game known for overcoming challenges
The introduction of powerstancing was a literal game-changer in the SoulsBorne franchise, what it did was it gave the ability to be able to wield 2 weapons effectively and gave players a new moveset along with it. This enhanced the number of builds and amount of methods of combat that was possible in Dark Souls. This was such a popular feature in the game that the newest FromSoft entry “Elden Ring” reintroduced this mechanic as well.
2. PvP Healing (or lack thereof)
At this point I won’t be talking about the PvP arenas in the game although they are amazing, The thing that I thought that I would add to this list is the fact that invaders are unable to heal when invading. Whilst this sounds simple enough, Dark Souls 1 and 3 as well as Bloodborne and Elden Ring suffer when it comes to the balance of PvP, this is because you will have players that go through the game without levelling but also getting the upgrades to their healing item. What this does however is it makes the PvP scene in all those games incredibly unbalanced.
Dark Souls 2 however makes it so if you are invading someone you are unable to heal yourself outside of using a healing spell. This makes it so the person being invaded has an edge in combat which they should have given it’s the invaded person's progress that will be hindered if they die. This particular mechanic along with the briefly mentioned arenas gives Dark Souls 2 the best PvP by far out of all the SoulsBorne games
1. Small white soapstone
Whilst Dark Souls 2 has easily the best PvP as mentioned before, It’s important to note that Dark Souls 2 also excelled in online co-op also. The way white soapstones work in all dark souls games was that you had to place down a sign using this item, and the other player summoned you from this sign. Unfortunately for Dark Souls 1 and 3 as well as Bloodborne, after the area boss was defeated that was the end of co-op for that level.
Dark Souls 2 however had the small white soapstones as well. What this did was regardless of whether you had beaten the area boss or not you could still place down a “small sign” on the ground and summon another player for up to 15 minutes. This meant that if there was still more content to complete after the boss then you could continue working through that at a steady pace. Even Elden Ring despite its much larger range of summoning didn’t allow this once all the bosses were defeated, so in this regard, Dark Souls 2 had the best Co-op options around.
And there you have it, my Top 5 reasons why dark souls 2 is the best game in the SoulsBorne franchise. Tell us what you think in the comments and if you have any thoughts of your own feel free to share them.
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