Dark Souls 2

Dark Souls 2 probably isn't quite the masterpiece Dark Souls is, but it gets close.

Spotlight

Key events

26th April 2014

Face-Off: Dark Souls 2 PC

11th March 2014

Face-Off: Dark Souls 2

11th March 2014

Dark Souls 2 review

6th February 2014

Video: Dark Souls 2 preview

Humans have gazed up at the sky and wondered about their place in the cosmos since the very beginning. Do the same in a game like, say, Breath of the Wild, and you're presented with vivid images of clouds, stars, the sun and the moon. It's an important part of this and many other games that helps to create an illusion of a continuous space that stretches beyond what we actually experience within the confines of the game. The sky implies that Hyrule, despite being a fantasy world, is a part of a cosmos very much like our own, and we accept this even though we cannot fly up and check.

Behold the most impressive Dark Souls and Bloodborne videos online

If only I could be so grossly incandescent.

From Software's Souls series is notorious for its punishing difficulty. Yet just being hard wasn't enough for some people. They needed to make things extra hard. Do things like completing the entire game without ever levelling up or using a shield. Then other people had to come along and put those already impressive tasks to shame by playing these games with cumbersome guitar or bongo controllers, completing a campaign without getting hit, or figuring out buff concoctions that can fell colossal bosses in one hit.

Bandai Namco launches a Dark Souls clothing line, but...

Dark Souls publisher Bandai Namco has launched a clothing line promoting From Software's action-RPG series. However, it looks like this:

That's the pattern on a hoodie, but the other clothing in Bandai Namco's line-up is equally ill-befitting of From's fantasy franchise. The "screamo" ska-punk aesthetic clashes wildly with the ethereal aesthetic of Dark Souls. "It's soul farming time"? Who says that? "Back stab"? That's not even part of a witty phrase. And don't even get me started on "keep dying" overlaid atop an Xbox gamepad.

There have been other Dark Souls shirts that better capture the series' feel - or are at least more fashionable. Meat Bun has featured a few unofficial Dark Souls shirts that are pretty stylish, though the only one in its current catalogue portrays Nito.

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Finding the humanity in Dark Souls 2

Jeffrey revisits Drangleic in From Software's divisive sequel.

Dark Souls 2 is a strange game, though its weirdness emanates from just how conventional it is - especially given it's part of a series known for forging new boundaries. Over a year ago I wrote about revisiting Demon's Souls and being delighted to find it the freshest, riskiest and most experimental title in From's recent action-RPG line-up. Dark Souls, despite technically being set in a different universe, superficially does the whole sequel thing - it adds more levels, more monsters, more spells, and more varied environments to an already winning template, but joined the dots in one glorious interconnected world.

Twitch completes Dark Souls

After modding it into a turn-based game.

Six weeks ago thousands of players took to playing the same game of Dark Souls, simultaneously, over Twitch. As you would expect, this poor Chosen Undead's rampant case of multiple personality disorder made them unable to even get past the starting area. At one point they destroyed their only weapon after smashing it against a wall too many times. Things were not going well, to put it mildly. So channel TwitchPlaysDark modded the game to make it a turn-based affair.

Dark Souls series sales surpass 8.5 million

The brilliant Dark Souls series has surpassed 8.5m sales, and more than 3.25m of those were on PC.

The numbers come from a Japanese presentation by From Software, reported by Famitsu and relayed/made sense of on NeoGAF.

According to the numbers:

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Dark Souls 2 patch will fix weapon degradation bug

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin introduced many new challenges to From Software's epic action-RPG, such as new enemy placements, fiercer foe AI, and... less durable weapons? It turns out this last one wasn't an intentional design choice, but was actually a glitch. And it's something From will be addressing in its next patch.

This peculiar bug made it so weapon degradation was tied to the game's framerate, somehow. This meant that the PC version on a nice kit has always been hampered by this glitch, only now it's true of the current-gen console versions as well since Scholar of the First Sin runs at 60fps on PS4 and Xbox One.

From has since addressed the issue in a statement to Kotaku where it said the next patch will resolve the issue. "The fix will be issued for PS4, Steam and Xbox One, and will be apparent for people running the game at 60fps as the durability decrease rate is linked to the frame rate," From clarified. "We are still working on the exact release date for the patch, which will also fix additional issues not just durability, and will follow up with the date as soon as possible."

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Face-Off: Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

The definitive edition? PC's DirectX 11 upgrade compared with console.

The PC release of Dark Souls 2's Scholar of the First Sin edition is a curious value proposition, ranging from a 12 upgrade on Steam to a 30 standalone purchase. After seeing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One push out two visually identical renditions of the game - albeit with a performance lead on Sony's platform - this refreshed DirectX 11 edition on PC brings its own unique benefits. But does it represent enough of a boost over what the original DirectX 9 version offers to justify either end of its price range?

As with its current-gen versions, Scholar of the First Sin paints the entirety of Drangleic in a brand-new light. The higher-contrast lighting of the PS4 and Xbox One releases makes it to PC by default, and surprisingly there's no toggle in its graphics menu to revert to the old DirectX 9 setting. It's an improved look overall, thankfully; a brighter, more vivid aesthetic that makes the original Dark Souls 2 appear dull by comparison. This extends to its effects too, volumetric fog and transparencies now producing light that affects the surrounding area.

Changes to the PC's graphics options are minimal, but we get a three-way toggle for screen-space ambient occlusion this time. The original PC version's AO method is positioned as the lowest setting now, and produces the same dithering effect as last-gen consoles. The next step up is medium, noticeably increasing its thickness and spread across objects - an upgrade easy to catch by eye. Moving to the high setting marks a less obvious change, but on close inspection the spread of shade behind objects expands very slightly further. This is an area that we felt was lacking in its original PC release, and it's great to see a better option made available.

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Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin's PC upgrade priced

UPDATE: 12 upgrade if you already own Dark Souls 2 and all DLC.

UPDATE 2ND APRIL: Upgrading to the remastered 64-bit, DirectX 11 version of Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will cost you 20 on Steam. If you already own all the DLC you get 40 per cent off, bringing it down to 12.

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin's release date brought forward a week

Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin's release date has been brought forward in Europe to 2nd April on PS4, Xbox One and PC, Bandai Namco has announced.

It was previously scheduled for release on 7th April.

The Scholar of the First Sin remastering is a little confusing in that half of its features are exclusive to its re-release while the other half are already available as a free update to the original game.

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Dark Souls 2's Scholar of the First Sin update adds a new ending

Dark Souls 2's free Scholar of the First Sin update, which came out earlier today, has made numerous mild changes to the game. But the most important one is this: It has a new, optional ending.

Delving into what that entails is obviously going to be SPOILER-FILLED, so turn back now, ye reader, if you don't want to know.

Okay, still with me? Read on...

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Dark Souls 2 details its Scholar of the First Sin patch

Dark Souls 2 details its Scholar of the First Sin patch

Due in early Feb, adds better matchmaking and more lore.

Dark Souls 2 will be getting an update on 5th February for PS3, Xbox 360 and PC that will add the new content coming to The Scholar of the First Sin edition of From Software's beloved fantasy adventure.

Changes are numerous and mostly quite small, but here are a few of the more notable ones: The patch will add a new character, the titular Scholar of the First Sin, entering the Covenant of Champions will cause enemies to respawn indefinitely and deal more damage, white phantoms will no longer be beholden to a time limit when squaring off against a boss in another player's game, load times will be shorter on PS3, and there will be "additional item description text," which will ostensibly expand the game's already sprawling lore.

There's also an all new item, the Agape Ring. "When players equip the new Agape Ring, souls collected from kills during online play will be absorbed by the ring rather than the player. This allows players to control their online matchmaking experience by limiting their total souls collected," the description reads. In short, it allows players to not get overpowered.

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Dark Souls 2 heading to PS4 and Xbox One

New version also on PC/PS3/360. Free patch adds some extras for existing owners.

Namco Bandai - or Bandai Namco if you're feeling saucy - has announced that From Software's Dark Souls 2 is heading to new-gen consoles next year.

There are many types of speed runs out there with the general consensus being that a short playtime is all that matters, but these usually involve liberal use of glitches to skip past sections. Dark Souls 2 speed runner Corey "Allakazzaror" Coolidge took a decidedly more noble path in his record-breaking speed run that completes From's sequel in under an hour without the use of a single glitch.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Ivory King review

So our journey through Drangleic reaches its triumphant conclusion. At least, that's what Dark Souls 2's narrator might say if the game's creators indulged in such plain speaking. As it is, this, the third and final bonus chapter to From Software's noble and opaque dark fantasy game, arrives with little fanfare and, while it concludes with arguably the series' most climactic battle, you're given only fragments of explanation for where you are, why you're here and with whom you are battling.

Price and Availability

7.99 / Season Pass: 19.99

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Demon's Souls still feels fresher than its "Dark" successors

Jeffrey revisits Boletaria and finds much has changed.

Souls. Souls have changed. As a colossal fan of From Software's Souls series, I found myself pining for more demon slaughter even after finishing the latest Dark Souls 2 downloadable content. Yet Dark Souls 2 itself was still too recent in my mind, while the first one I replayed a couple of years back when its Artorias of the Abyss DLC came out. So I decided that it was time to revisit the game that started it all: 2009's Demon's Souls.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King review

Crown of the Old Iron King, the second of three add-ons for Dark Souls 2, begins with one of the game's most memorable moments. You stand on the summit of some giantess of a mountain, in the thin and licking wind, and stare across a chasm at Brume Tower. This Babel-like construction rises into the clouds a hundred metres away, bridged to your position by nothing but a rusted, ice-glazed link chain that sags across the gap. The only way to reach the tower is to step onto the chain that tethers the stratospheric towers together. 'Try jogging,' quips one player in a message etched onto the ground in front of the chain - a suggestion that's imported into others' games around the world. It's not the worst advice. You have to keep moving lest the wind mess with your sense of balance; there's no coming back from that fall.

Price and availability

7.99 / Season pass: 19.99

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Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King review

Toward the end of Crown of the Sunken King, the first in a trilogy of downloadable episodes for From Software's brooding, melancholic sequel to Dark Souls, you find a ladder that leads up to a temple roof. Climb the ladder and exit through a crumbling doorway and you're presented with a widescreen view of Sanctum City, the underground metropolis in which much of this chapter takes place. The cave walls, slick and iridescent, echo with the sound of rushing water, while stalactites drip overhead like so many swords of Damocles.

Price and availability

7.99 / Season pass: 19.99

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The Dark Souls 2 DLC doesn't seem that tough

But it has dynamic environments and inventive enemies.

"I haven't seen anyone make it this far," the Namco rep tells me as I meticulously slice my way through hordes of undead soldiers and soon-to-be-dead insects in an E3 demo build of the upcoming Crown of the Sunken King DLC.

Face-Off: Dark Souls 2 PC

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Dark Souls 2 PC

Has From Software learned its lesson?

The original Dark Souls on PC was undoubtedly a disappointment out of the box, with a 1024x720 native resolution and a 30fps cap that stuck agonisingly close to its console counterparts. Dark Souls 2 is certainly a big improvement on that, offering a generous range of visual options, but does that make for a dramatic improvement over the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions? And are there any catches?

The original game had a toggle for anti-aliasing (a simple blur filter) and another for motion blur, leading to a flood of complaints, but the sequel nips a lot of problems in the bud immediately by adding proper support for resolutions and refresh rates, going as high as your monitor allows - right up to 4K if you're so inclined. For the purposes of our testing, we run the game on patch 1.01 at 1920x1080, which immediately gives the game a marked leap in visual quality compared with the 720p image on consoles.

There's no sign of From Software reverting the PC version's lighting model and textures back to its alluring alpha build, but we do get a hefty graphics menu. Among the choices we have are quality options for textures, shadows, effects, anisotropic filtering, water shaders and character model detail. On top of that, we get toggles for motion blur, screen-space ambient occlusion (SSAO) and depth of field. The anti-aliasing method of choice is FXAA, with no official means of enabling more taxing post-process techniques like SMAA in-game.

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Dark Souls 2 PC mod adds downsampling and texture modding

Durante returns with a bag of new tricks.

The industrious modder who fixed the PC version of Dark Souls has returned to give the new PC version of Dark Souls 2, released today in Europe, a kick up the technical backside. (Edit: that should say that it's out on Steam today and in shops on 2nd May.)

Titanfall boosts Xbox One sales by 96 per cent in the UK

Titanfall boosts Xbox One sales by 96 per cent in the UK

Is, predictably, the UK's number one game.

The release of Titanfall boosted Xbox One sales by a whopping 96 per cent in the UK compared to the console's sales the previous week.

Respawn's PC and Xbox One shooter is the UK's best-selling game, as expected, and is the biggest release of 2014 so far with more than double the sales of what had been 2014's current leader, FIFA 14, Chart-Track revealed. The Xbox 360 version releases in a couple of weeks.

The eye-catching 399 Xbox One Titanfall bundle, which includes a download token of the game, accounted for over 70 per cent of all Xbox One hardware sold last week.

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VideoWatch us play Dark Souls 2 from 2pm GMT

Prepare to die again. And again.

Dark Souls. DARK SOULS! Dark Souls TWO! It's finally happened (or, more truthfully, it's about to happen very soon, with the EU release still a handful of days off), and From Software's sequel is at last upon us.

Face-Off: Dark Souls 2

Out with the old and in with the new, Dark Souls 2 offers up the biggest technical overhaul to the series so far. With a new directorial team at the helm and a purpose-built engine bringing the eerie world of Drangleic to life, developer From Software uses the opportunity to trial new rendering techniques on PS3 and 360 in advance of their appearance on next-gen platforms. But while we're left with a string of upgrades in physics, lighting and effects, there are also some cutbacks we hadn't expected to see.

Straight away we can pinpoint a clear technical advance in Dark Souls 2's resolution of choice, where it's now a full native 1280x720 on both PS3 and 360. On paper this should count as a massive boon to its presentation, but in practice the boosted pixel count only faintly improves image clarity over the original Dark Souls' 1024x720 frame-buffer. A reliance on a post-process edge filter is to blame: it's an effective aliasing-killer, but many highlights in texture-work and alpha effects are dulled, and on both Sony and Microsoft platforms alike the game produces a softer image than we'd hoped. Nevertheless, it's an improvement - and a positive start as we venture deeper into a game world that promises to be the team's largest yet.

On reining in our lossless captures for close analysis, we find visual differences between the two versions are few and far between. In a nutshell, the greatest advantage on the PS3 side is its superior texture filtering, where the cut-off distance on 360 is much closer - causing a blur to appear on floors at a nearer proximity for that platform. Perhaps more noticeable is the 360's own advantage, where higher resolution alpha effects are in place for bonfire flames, exploding projectiles and waterfalls. These effects appear to run with cut-down levels of detail on Sony's platform, which creates more pronounced aliasing artefacts when overlapping with nearby geometry.

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Dark Souls 2 review

From Software's Dark Souls was a masterpiece with a deceptively hope-filled heart - celebrated for its bitterness and hostility and still played today because of its extraordinary world design, sublime combat and enigmatic systems. But while it was more successful than its predecessor Demon's Souls, many people still found it too intimidating. Working under new directors, the developers of Dark Souls 2 have tried to bridge that gap while remaining faithful to the series' strange heart. Can it be done?

True to the brief, this is still a tough, often brutal role-playing game that requires intense concentration and persistence, but it sets about its business with more equanimity. Dark Souls dropped boulders and bosses on your head before you could get your bearings, but Dark Souls 2 has a gentler starting area, where threats are obvious and instructions are spelled out on tombstones. It then sets you down in the hub town of Majula, where you can rest at a bonfire and speak to a small band of locals.

There are bonfires throughout the world of Drangleic, where Dark Souls 2 is set, and like Dark Souls they let you rest and recover your health and estus flask healing potions, but you return to the one in Majula very often because it's the only place you can level up. You do this by speaking to a mysterious woman, who then tells you to seek the king and hunt down great souls. That's about as much direction as you ever receive in a Souls game, but these inscrutable comments are delivered warmly, and amidst the long shadows cast by a sun that never quite sets, Majula is bright and strangely welcoming.

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Dark Souls 2 PC release date confirmed

Dark Souls 2 PC release date confirmed

Out over a month after console versions.

The PC version of Dark Souls 2 launches on 25th April 2014, Namco Bandai has announced over on the official Dark Souls Facebook page.

That's over a month after the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions, due out next Friday, 14th March. The Dark Souls 2 Steam product page is live now.

The PC version benefits from increased texture resolution and an enhanced frame-rate option, Namco Bandai said. The developer FromSoftware has been working to "perfectly adapt" the game for a mouse and keyboard.

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Video: Dark Souls 2 preview

VideoVideo: Dark Souls 2 preview

What's changed in From Software's sequel, and what's stayed the same?

After what feels like a lifetime spent wandering the strange depths of Lordran, it's hard to believe that Dark Souls 2 is only a matter of weeks away from launch. From Software's sequel is a prospect as terrifying as it is exciting: how can you possibly go about topping one of the greatest games of all time? No matter what happens, opinions and passion for the original are so strong that there's likely to be delight and disappointment in equal measure.

I'm still not quite sure where I stand on it, but having played the first hour I'm at least reassured that this is a worthy successor to the two previous Souls games. Will it reach the same heights? That's something that won't become clear until months after Dark Souls 2 comes out, if ever. Ian's put together a little video that lets you peer into Dark Souls 2's Drangleic, and it's worth a look if you're curious about what's in store. Needless to say we'll be bombarding you with livestreams and Let's Plays as soon as we get our hands on the final thing.

If you've come unstuck playing the game for yourself, have a look through our complete Dark Souls 2 walkthrough.

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Is this Dark Souls?

From Software's sequel adds to the original's formula, but questions remain about how much it takes away.

On the steps outside an east London church there's a smiling PR checking names off a list. Next to her, in the early twilight shadow of a late January evening, is a hired hand dressed head to toe in clunking steel armour. He guides us down the steps and through the courtyard, flaming torch held out ahead of us, as we all exchange an awkward smile with the PR on our way into the catacombs. Inside, Peter Serafinowicz - the gravelled voice of Darth Maul, and Spaced's Duane Benzie - tells us how he's played the original Dark Souls for some 1800 hours, how excited he is to be playing the part of mild-mannered Pate in its sequel, and how proud he is to be providing the grunts and groans of the suffering player in From Software's game.

Eurogamer readers' most anticipated games of 2014

Your top 10 choices for the year ahead.

We've had our say already, and typically we were probably well wide of the mark, so it's now your turn to let us know what games you're looking forward to over the next 12 months. Thanks to all who voted (but no thanks to whoever suggested Pong, and to the handful of people who put forward Half-Life 3, well... I'm sorry). The top 10 are presented in reverse order below - and it was incredibly tight out at the front, with the top result beating out the runner-up by only a couple of votes. We've also included some of your comments, although since the submission form was anonymous we can't say exactly who made which point. Sorry about that - if you feel particularly proprietorial about one of your insights that we've highlighted, tell the world in the comments. Onward!

Most Anticipated: Dark Souls 2

If only I could be so grossly incandescent!

Generally speaking, I don't get excited for games that end in numbers. Sequels, prequels and spin-offs can be good - great even (hi, Uncharted 2!) - but the sense of awe is often dulled the second time around. Dark Souls is the exception. I recall playing through the first one and thinking, "This might be my new favourite game of all time. I could play these forever." Two years later my sentiment hasn't changed.

Developers' Most Anticipated Games of 2014

Titanfall! Destiny! The Witcher 3! The Last Guardian (hopefully)!

2014 is upon us, and it promises riches and glory unlike any year before it. With their launches under their belts, the next generation of consoles will, hopefully, show us what they're made of. Virtual reality headsets may make their mark on the mainstream. And with a raft of crowdfunded games due out over the next 12 months, 2014 should tell us whether all that money we pumped into promising projects on Kickstarter was worth it.

Dark Souls 2 UK pre-order bonuses announced

Dark Souls 2 UK pre-order bonuses announced

Collectible cards, posters, a comic, T-shirt, and iPhone cover.

Dark Souls 2 publisher Namco Bandai has announced a slew of pre-order bonuses for those who reserve the sadistic dark fantasy adventure prior to its 14th March release on PS3 and Xbox 360 - with a PC version to follow at an unannounced later date.

Pre-ordering the Black Armour, Collector's, or Standard editions of Dark Souls 2 at the following retailers comes with these incentives:

GAME: A T-shirt.

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Dark Souls 2 beta open to PlayStation Plus subscribers this Sunday morning

Missed out on the Dark Souls 2 beta earlier this month? Well you may be in luck, if you're a PlayStation Plus subscriber anyway, as all subscribers will be granted access to a worldwide server test this Sunday morning from 7a.m. - 10a.m.

The Dark Souls 2 beta can actually be downloaded ahead of the server test in the Exclusives section of the PlayStation Plus store. Sony advised on the PlayStation Blog that players download it in advance, so it'll be all queued up and ready to go when the server test goes live Sunday morning. It won't be up for long after all.

EG-contributor Simon Parkin called the Dark Souls 2 beta "endlessly reassuring" when he had a go of it earlier this month. "From Software's approach has always been to focus on the foundations of play, ensuring that the basic effect of pressing a button is meaningful and specific. Then they build flamboyance and embellishment upon that core. For that reason this series has the best combat system of any video game. That is an accolade that, on this demo's evidence, appears yet further unassailable," he concluded.

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Is Dark Souls 2 going soft?

A few hours with From Software's beta shows that, despite some additions and subtractions, the savage heart remains.

I couldn't kill the shopkeeper. I tried everything, from quick knives to slow broadswords, from dull clubs to a bright, ethereal shower of lightning bolts fired from a splayed palm but, regardless of the weapon of choice, she merely laughed her witchy laugh and asked me once again if there was anything in particular I was after. It's this sort of observation that marks video game players out to non-video game players as closet psychopaths and weirdoes. But you can tell an awful lot about a video game from the characters you are forbidden to kill.

Dark Souls 2: The difficult second game

A fireside chat with director Yui Tanimura.

Yui Tanimura has a degree in psychology, which, in the context of his childhood dream to become a professional baseball player, could be considered a failure and, in the context of his subsequent career as a video game designer, could be considered irrelevant. And yet, it's training that has served him well in his current task: crafting the sequel to From Software's unlikely 2011 hit, Dark Souls. For one, his background has provided him a few theories on why that curious game, which so forcefully eschewed mainstream fashions with unrelenting challenge, unfashionable style and a mere whisper of a storyline, has sold more than 2.3 million copies to date.

Loads of Dark Souls 2's beta footage released

Dark Souls 2's beta has been released in Japan and you know what that means: Let's Play videos!

Roughly an hour of in-game footage has been captured, showing off loads of new environments, enemies, bosses and items. (Thanks, NeoGAF.) It's all in Japanese, of course, but that's okay. I sort of prefer not knowing what all the text prompts mean, so there'll be something new to look forward to when we brave these areas ourselves next spring.

All four videos show roughly the same dreary forest, so take your pick. The first video shows off a boss fight with a handful of skeleton leaders at 12 minutes in, while the third one displays the sequel's cleaner inventory layout after a couple of minutes.

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Dark Souls 2 out on March 14, PC version to follow

From Software explains the delay and the likelihood of next-gen versions.

Dark Souls 2 will be released on 14th March in Europe and 11th March 2014 in North America on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, From Software announced at the Tokyo Game Show.

Dark Souls 2 PS3 beta begins on 12th October

The first wave of Dark Souls 2 beta testing begins on 12th October, publisher Namco Bandai has announced.

A second round will begin on 27th October, meanwhile.

PlayStation 3 owners in Europe, North America and Australasia can sign up to the beta now by downloading a Dark Souls 2 closed beta ticket from the Sony Entertainment Network store.

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Dark Souls 2's closed beta begins this October on PS3

Dark Souls 2's closed beta begins this October on PS3

UPDATE: Meet the Dark Souls knight at the EG Expo. Peter Serafinowicz introduces you.

UPDATE: Namco's bringing the Dark Souls knight himself to the Eurogamer Expo next month, and they sent us this little video to mark the occasion. Recognise that voice? It's the soothing and cultured tone of comedian and Dark Souls nut Peter Serafinowicz, introducing you to the knight (well, his armour).

If you're coming to the Expo, take a selfie with the knight and tweet it with #EurogamerKnight for a chance to win a prize that's hopefully not a date with the Taurus demon. (I just don't think of him that way.)

Original story: From Software's highly anticipated sadistic dark fantasy RPG, Dark Souls 2, will be receiving a closed beta on PS3 come 5th October.

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Undead again: Dark Souls 2 preview

Undead again: Dark Souls 2 preview

Jeffrey goes hands-on with the much anticipated sequel and (sort of) lives to tell the tale.

"This is the third time I've been able to beat him," says the Namco rep after defeating a boss at the tail end of a 15-minute E3 demonstration of the forthcoming action-RPG epic Dark Souls 2.

"Uh huh," I think as the presentation concludes. He didn't look that hard. "There were plenty of times you could've hit him," I think, suspecting the demo rep of holding back to make the fight look more intense than it is.

Then I play the same demo. And holy-mother-of-god is it punishing.

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Namco Bandai confirms March 2014 Dark Souls 2 release date

Namco Bandai Europe has confirmed to Eurogamer this morning that Dark Souls 2 will be released in March 2014. No more specific day-and-date detail was available.

The publisher's comment comes after a Dark Souls 2 banner advert (All Games Beta), citing the March 2014 date, was seen and photographed outside the LA Convention Centre. The LACC hosts the annual E3 bonanza next week.

Dark Souls 2 was announced at Christmas last year and got off to a wobbly PR-start because the game's new director said awful hurtful things about making the game more "straightforward" and "approachable".

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Dark Souls worldwide sales total 2.3 million

Dark Souls worldwide sales total 2.3 million

Sequel to be released on Xbox 360 in Japan for first time.

Dark Souls has now sold more than 2.3 million copies worldwide, developer From Software has announced.

Company boss Eiichi Nakajima announced the figure on stage this week at an event for Japanese press, attended by Gpara (thanks, NeoGAF).

A Japanese release of sequel Dark Souls 2 on Xbox 360 was also confirmed. It's the first time the series has appeared for Microsoft's console in the region.

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10 minutes of Dark Souls 2 gameplay revealed

10 minutes of Dark Souls 2 gameplay revealed

Spoiler: It looks like Dark Souls. (And that's alright with me.)

Dark Souls 2 co-director Yui Tanimura and Namco Bandai global producer Tak Miyazoe showed off nearly 10 minutes of Dark Souls 2 gameplay in a video interview with IGN.

It looks... like Dark Souls, which is no way a bad thing. Allegedly the graphics have been improved, but by and large it looks familiar to what we saw last time out. Dark Souls 2's mechanics and systems seemed to be very similar to its predecessor as well, but there are a few new wrinkles.

For one, you can now light torches to illuminate dark areas. As with the skull lantern in Dark Souls, you wield torches in your left hand and thus can't equip it and a protective shield at the same time.

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Miyazaki won't be directly involved in Dark Souls 2, doesn't want too many sequels

Miyazaki won't be directly involved in Dark Souls 2, doesn't want too many sequels

"The concept of time and the existence of time is something that will be key to Dark Souls 2.”

Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki revealed that he won't be directly involved in the production of Dark Souls 2.

We knew he'd handed of the directing reins to Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura, and that Miyazaki would be hanging around in a supervisor position, but it was unclear what exactly that entailed. In a recent interview with Edge, Miyazaki clarified that he would hardly be involved in the game's development at all.

"I will not be involved in the actual development of Dark Souls 2," he said. "I want to clarify that I will be a supervisor, not the actual director or producer."

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A Dark Souls 2 inkling: first flakes of artwork flutter out

A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a two-headed horse and chariot.

Dark Souls had the best art. The bosses were imaginative, scary and bloody massive, not to mention tough. Gravelord Nito was a giant Grim Reaper, built from skeletons, shrouded in a cape of darkness and wielding a great scythe. Totally boss.

Dark Souls 2 director aims to make sequel more "straightforward" and "understandable"

Dark Souls 2's new director Tomohiro Shibuya has said he would like to make From Software's sequel "more straightforward and more understandable" than its predecessors.

The statement came out of an interview with Edge where Shibuya noted his and co-director Yui Tanimura's approach to the sequel would be shaped by their specific characters. "I personally am the sort of person who likes to be more direct than subtle," said Shibuya.

This raised concern among many fans as Dark Souls and its predecessor Demon's Souls are contingent upon their vagueness that adds a sense of mystery to the world. "You'll never discover everything about Dark Souls, because it is impossible," said Rich Stanton in his essay Becoming the Dark Soul, where he documented his exploits in attaining the game's hardest trophy; to acquire all trophies.

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Dark Souls 2 officially announced

Dark Souls 2 officially announced

UPDATE: Coming to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

Update: According to publisher Namco Bandai's Czech announcement (translated into English via Google), Dark Souls 2 is coming to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. (Thanks, Eurogamer.cz!)

From Software will be developing again with series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki overseeing production alongside director Tomohiro Shibuya, who worked on the Monster Hunter series.

"Dark Souls 2 will offer loyal fans exactly the kind of demanding challenges and never-ending struggle that became the hallmark of this whole series," said the publisher.

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