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Dark Souls 2 - New Game Plus, preparation, differences, boss drops

From stocking up to setting out, here's everything you need to know about preparing for - and surviving - Dark Souls 2's New Game Plus mode.

New Game Plus returns in the sequel to Dark Souls, and to put things simply it's a mode that provides you with an even stiffer Drangleic challenge once you've completed the game on its default difficulty setting.

You can expect all of the enemies in this mode to pack a much meaner punch, and have a deeper health pool too. You'll have to be even nimbler during combat, and exercise extreme patience as you whittle down an even bigger health bar. The reward for your extra effort? Many more souls when the terrible tyrants tumble, and new armour and weapons to unlock as well.

We'll walk you through the process of preparing for this formidable new challenge, and getting the next part of your journey started.

[60fps] Dark Souls 2 PS4 vs Xbox One Gameplay Frame-Rate Test

New Game Plus preparation

There are a few things you can do to make your New Game Plus experience a little less arduous, but you'll need to tick all of these options off the list before you head back to Majula to restart the game. Once you're actually in the tougher game world, there's no going back.

  • Trade in all of your boss souls with Straid and Ornifex to get hold of more powerful weapons.
  • Go and take a whistle-stop tour of all the merchants in the game, so that you can stock up on any essential consumable items that compliment your character class and playstyle.
  • Have one last final farm of populated areas so that you get the most souls possible from your first playthrough.
  • Work through our Titanite guide, and make sure you've grabbed every last scrap of this precious material.
  • Perform a thorough audit of all your equipment, keeping in mind any special equipment changes you made to cope with bosses in the game. Upgrade that equipment so you're ready for the even tougher incarnation of each boss.
  • Grab every single Estus Flask Shard so that you have a little more emergency healing to hand.

New Game Plus guide

Once you've killed Nashandra in the Throne of Want, head back to the first bonfire you lit in Majula, and then select the option to begin the game again. When you restart the game, you'll keep hold of all the levels you acquired in the first playthrough - as well as all of your items and souls - but you'll lose your keys and your Fragrant Branches of Yore.

Note that as well as facing tougher enemies on your second playthrough, you'll also be able to tear different items from the corpses of some of the bosses you beat in New Game Plus. Here's what you can expect to loot the second time around.

BossNew Game Plus drop
Belfry GargoylesCovetous Gold Serpent Ring +2
Duke's Dear FrejaOld Paledrake Soul
Executioner's ChariotCloranthy Ring +2
Giant LordRing of Giants +2
Looking Glass KnightRing of Steel Protection +2
Lost SinnerOld Witch Soul
Mytha, the Baneful QueenCovetous Silver Serpent Ring +2
Old Iron KingOld King Soul
Scorpioness NajkaSouthern Ritual Band +2
The PursuerRing of Blades +2
The RottenOld Dead One Soul
The Skeleton LordClear Bluestone Ring +2
Throne Watcher/DefenderRing of the Evil Eye +2
Velstadt, the Royal AegisRoyal Soldier's Ring +2

You'll also find that a few of the boss fights have been tweaked to provide a stiffer challenge, beyond bigger health pools and more powerful damage. Here's what you can expect to see changed in the New Game Plus version of the fights.

BossNew Game Plus changes
Duke's Dear FrejaThe boss will now spawn and attack you just before the spider-decorated doors in Brightstone Cove Tseldora.
Flexile SentryFrom the very start of the fight, you'll have to deal with two very nimble but weak minions.
Lost SinnerWhen the boss is below 60% health, two Dark Phantoms will be summoned which use Pyromancy against the player.

Don't miss our guide to all of the Dark Souls 2 merchants. Head back to the first page of our game guide for more help with the game.

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John Bedford

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John is a freelance writer based in West Sussex.

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