I'm not in the mood to write a very lengthy review at the moment but I can express my thoughts on this game succinctly. It's more Dark Souls! More fearsome enemies around every corner, more hidden secrets in every dungeon, more jolly cooperation and menacing invaders in one of the most innovative online systems in the past 5 years of gaming. I'm so glad this series has found ways to keep going in the current generation of easy modes and plot-heavy gaming. At its core Dark Souls 2 is a role-playing game. Although the starting classes put no limits on what kind of stats you can eventually have, few players end up being a jack-of-all-trades and getting very far. There are no waypoints, only paths of least resistance. The only thing you can be sure of is that the road ahead is dark, painful, mysterious, but often times rewarding. It often takes several attempts to complete an area, but at the end of it, you feel smarter, stronger, and in the mood to celebrate. The waves of emotion I've had playing this game are beyond comparison lol. Some noteable changes in this entry of the Souls series: the usually esoteric crafting system has been made much more accessible and newbie friendly than in previous games. The New Game+ (and beyond) experience has greatly improved in a series that already had one of the better replay values. The online invasion system has been changed to make for a lot less griefing (at least on the first playthrough), there is still some but it mostly occurs in optional areas. Lastly, enemies can permanently disappear from areas if killed enough times, which accomplishes two things: it eventually makes an area easier to get through but also makes item/soul farming a less effective strategy for getting through the game. Overall I score this game a 9.5/10. It is frustrating but fair. The graphics aren't the most amazing of any recent game (or even in the Souls series) but it still manages to pull off some gorgeous views and awesome moments. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves RPGs and has a good amount of patience.