I watch as the opening cinematic plays out in all its splendour on my plasma and the 5.1 sound system. I dim the lights a little, enjoying the moment. I only get to see it for the first time once, after all. I’m shocked as the game begins, dumping me onto a dais and letting me walk around.
There’s a grassy field, and with the wind blowing and my feet rustling in the brush I swear I can hear other sounds, other things making noise in there with me. I need to keep moving.
There’s a glow from a hut up ahead, so I head there. Ah, there it is. The character creation screen comes up, and I make my choices. The UI looks different from Dark Souls, and it’s initially jarring. There’s a lot more customization possible this time around, and I take my time making my character look right. Well, close enough anyway.
I choose the Warrior class, because I’d like to focus on melee, and you need lots of Strength to even wield the weapons I’m thinking of. I can always build another character later. A Sorcerer, probably.
I choose the Ring of extra HP as my starting gift. The other ones look either useless, or consumable. I’d rather not take a gift that I’ll just use up right away.
When you exit the character creation hut, there’s the first bonfire. If you continue out of there, you get to an area with multiple branching paths, and fog doors on every side. In my mind, fog doors equals bad scary bosses on the other side, and even though that’s not always the case, I didn’t feel like checking it out just yet. So I ran through, and if you do that, you get to Majula.
I think I found a bug. If you go straight to Majula without opening any of the fog doors in the previous area, talk to everybody and collect all the loot, if you then go back to the previous area and go through the fog doors and clear the area, when you go back to Majula the loot will be there again, and you can collect it again. At least that’s what happened to me. I did not look that gift horse in the mouth, let me tell you. I took it all!
Majula is a sunny place. It’s bright, it’s open, it overlooks the sea. There’s a monument there, which at its base has a plaque listing the number of worldwide deaths in Dark Souls 2 so far. When I checked it around noon Eastern on launch day, it was already at 300k something deaths. I contributed a few to that number.
Majula also is home to three of the most vicious, hateful, violent little groundhogs that I’ve ever seen. Since I had run straight there without doing any of what is ostensibly the tutorial area of the game, I had only my starting gear with me. My weapon was a broken straight sword, and those groundhogs have a ton of health! I could only do 10 damage with each attack, and I really though the three of them were going to surround me and paw and kick me to death. Seriously. Judging from all the bloodstains around there I think those groundhogs did some serious damage on Day 1.
I managed to get 5 hours of play time, and I’ve reached the first boss and fought him twice without success. Along the way I picked up a few weapons, and bought an Estoc for some stabby stab action.
I spent a fair bit of time going through the ‘tutorial’ area, and after clearing all the different sections, it came down to the final area with creatures in it, down by the beach. There are two rather nasty cyclops / hippo / rhino looking dudes down there, who won’t think twice about picking you up and chewing on you. They’re very strong and I wasn’t successful in killing them. There’s a coffin / boat on the shore where they’re standing, and I managed to get inside of it and lie down and close the lid over top of me. The screen changed to a loading screen, the ones where they tell you tips about different items in the game, and then it went back to the same location, but with me exiting the coffin boat. At which point the two dudes promptly killed me. I’ll give you a little hint: if you want those guys to leave the beach, try lighting some fires. I won’t say what the coffin boat does, you’ll have to figure that out on your own. Let’s just say it’s a subtle change.
A note about the Black Armour Edition equipment: it’s cool looking, but be careful, some of it is fragile. I learned this the hard way after placing my summon sign down, getting pulled into someone’s world, and equipping the Amber sword, I believe, and then having it break while fighting the boss on the roof. Unable to switch swords while in combat with the boss, I was useless and died.
Day 1 has been, all in all, wonderful. It’s everything I have been looking forward to, and the world seems huge. I won’t be able to play for a few days, as other obligations are competing for my gaming time (you know, like family, March Break, and work). I’ll put more thoughts down as I play. Until then, Dad out.