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Dark Souls 2: The Black Sheep of the Dark Souls Trilogy

Dark Souls 2, developed by FromSoftware and released in 2014, was the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed first title. However, despite being part of a revered series, Dark Souls 2 has often been regarded as the black sheep among the trilogy.


The troubled middle child

Unlike many within the community I might be one of the few that holds a soft spot for Dark Souls 2 as it was my first souls title that I played. While Dark Souls still possesses the trademark difficulty, atmospheric world-building and a combat system that can only be defined as a brutal dance that defines the franchise, several factors had contributed to its polarizing reception among fans and critics alike. In this article, I will explore the aspects that have led to Dark Souls 2 being treated as it is within the community.

Development Troubles

One of the primary reasons behind Dark Souls 2’s mixed reputation can be attributed to its tumultuous development. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creator of the series and director of the first Dark Souls, was not directly involved in the development of Dark Souls 2. Instead, he took on a supervisory role while the bulk of the development was handled by Tomohiro Shibuya and Yui Tanimura. Miyazaki’s absence during the creative process led to a departure from some of the core design philosophies that fans had grown to love, resulting in a slightly different tone and atmosphere for the game.

Lore and World-building

The game is set in the same universe as its predecessors, but it introduces a new protagonist in a different part of the world called Drangleic. This change in setting led to a divergence in lore and world-building from the first Dark Souls. While some players appreciated the fresh perspective, others found it difficult to accept the lack of direct connections to the original game’s narrative. This disconnect led to a sense of detachment and confusion among fans, who expected a more coherent continuation of the story.

Adaptability Stat

Dark Souls 2 introduced the Adaptability stat, which affected a player’s agility and roll iframes (invincibility frames). Rolling is a fundamental part of the soulsborne genre tied solely to player skill and timing, tieing it to a stat was largely seen as unnecessary and confusing. Additionally, the game introduced changes in movement and combat mechanics that felt less responsive and more sluggish than the previous titles, further adding to the frustration of longtime fans.

Visual Downgrade


Another aspect that garnered criticism was the visual downgrade. The initial promotional materials showcased stunning graphics, highly detailed textures and striking lighting effects. The gameplay reveal showed the devs using torches to light up dark hallways and much darker environments that would require such a feature to be present. All that failed to materialize in the final product. This led to disappointment and the perception that Dark Souls 2 did not live up to the graphical standards set by the promotional material.

Dark Souls 2, while still a solid game with its unique strengths, has struggled to escape the shadow of its more acclaimed siblings. The absence of Hidetaka Miyazaki has certainly contributed to its black sheep status. However, it is essential to acknowledge that even as the perceived “black sheep,” Dark Souls 2 has a dedicated fan base and still stands as a testament to the ambitious nature of the series, pushing the boundaries of challenging and rewarding gameplay experiences.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out more content on Poggers Memes. If you enjoy the souls series take a look at Dark Souls: Archthrones an overhaul mod for Dark Souls 3 or take a look at our build guide for Elden Ring.

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