The eternal punishment that is Dark Souls is back with Dark Souls 2. From Software confirmed the game was in development back at the Spike Video Game Awards and today they have shown Dark Souls 2 in greater detail.

While there’s nothing quite like getting your hands on Dark Souls — that’s realistically the only way to understand its very dense mechanics — hearing two of From Software’s key creative personnel explain Dark Souls 2 will have to do for now.

IGN has a full 12-minute preview of Dark Souls 2 in action, which you can check out here. While 12 minutes might seem like a lot, the preview only barely scratches the surface. To go alongside the preview, IGN brought in From Software director Yui Tanimura and Namco Bandai Global Producer Tak Miyazoe to narrate the footage.

Here are some of the things we learned:

  • Improved graphic quality for more realism
  • Bonfires have returned. (Of course)
  • The combat is well preserved from Dark Souls 1. It is very trial and error based as players attempt to find enemy weaknesses.
  • Players can light and carry a torch to reveal enemies hiding in the shadows.
  • Enemy reactions vary based on how the player approaches them. FromSoftware wants the game to be very reaction-focused.
  • One section showed off an area called the Mansion of the Dragons (tentative title) where the player isn’t instantly bombarded with enemies so they can explore.
  • Environments are highly destructible. One enemy that was thought to be trapped behind a gate broke through when provoked.
  • And it wouldn’t be a Dark Souls gameplay preview without a ton of death. So, the preview concluded with a few death animations (i.e. falling off a bridge, getting trampled by a chariot).

In addition to a narrated walkthrough of the game, which looks incredible by the way, Tanimura and Miyazoe also answered a few questions about Dark Souls 2. The big question on most people’s mind centers on two key things: accessibility and familiarity.

Dark Souls 2 Gameplay Preview

Gamers want to know whether or not the skills that took hours to intuit from the first Dark Souls will translate over to Dark Souls 2. And they want to know if there have been any changes made to the game to make it more accessible. Make sure to check out the full interview, but here are some of the more important points:

  • Many of the gameplay mechanics from Dark Souls 1 will return, but FromSoftware didn’t go into specifics.
  • Dragons will feature heavily in the story. The gameplay preview featured quite a few dragon elements.
  • FromSoftware listened to player feedback regarding playability and usability, and factored those lessons learned into the game’s new HUD. No specifics, though.
  • Dark Souls veterans should have no problem picking up Dark Souls 2 and understanding how to play. That being said, FromSoftware is playing around with natural reactions to give things a more realistic feel, which might factor into player’s pre-established strategies.

[Update: A series of screenshots from the PS3 version released online]

And finally, when probed about a possible release date for Dark Souls 2, which looks very much to be a next-gen game, From Software wouldn’t say a thing. There are still players trying to understand the ins and outs of Dark Souls right this minute, but they can still have something to look forward to.

What do you think of the extended preview of Dark Souls 2? How would you like to see From Software improve the Dark Souls franchise?

Sources: AGBIGN