Last month, IGN hosted a 12 minute demo for Dark Souls 2 with a walkthrough commentary from director Yui Tanimura. The demo showed off several new areas from the game, as well as a few new gameplay mechanics. We've scrubbed back and forth through the footage more times than is healthy, and our sense is that Dark Souls 2 will be much, much harder even than the famously tough original.
Here are seven features, behaviours, traps and so forth you might want to watch out for. Prepare to be destroyed.
Several times throughout the demo, we see the player character come up against new, trickier enemy AI. In one instance, the player moved to the rear of an opponent, once the perfect spot to get in a devastating backstab. However, the hulking, heavily armoured foe was having none of it, and crushed the player by falling backwards on top of him. If this trend of AI reacting to our position and tactics carries over to boss fights too, we could be in for a very tough time indeed, with whole battles spent lingering in blind spots between their feet or behind their off-hand a thing of the past. In another instance of devious enemy behaviour, what first appeared to be a corpse proved to be a live enemy playing dead. As soon as the player passed by the "corpse" stood up and attacked. We're on to you, undead.
Even more unpredictable
A few months back, project leads provoked outcry by remarking that Dark Souls 2 would be more accessible. What we've seen suggests otherwise. The demo footage was rife with random, seemingly unpreventable deaths - a tumble from a rope bridge which was suddenly severed by a swooping wyvern, for instance, though Tanimura promises there is a solution to this particular problem. At another stage in the demo, the player was chased down and run over by a silver chariot drawn by ethereal horses, and a third death, brought about by several pig-like creatures, suggests that enemies will be able to toss players from ledges if they're caught up-close and without warning.