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    Dark Souls 2 remaster: Scholar of the First Sin

    Debate will rage endlessly about the true quality of Dark Souls II. Is it a masterful refinement of the sickeningly well-constructed original? Is it an imperfect fake, the gaming equivalent of those suspiciously cheap bottles of ‘Chalen’ perfume? Is it, in fact, a critique of sequels in general, and meant to be a bit dull by design?

    This is the fate of the sequel to a classic it needs to prove itself not only on its own merits, but the merits of what came before. Like a professional footballer’s child, it lives in the flickering glare of replays and smiling, nostalgic praise. But unlike a footballer’s child, it doesn’t necessarily come packed with its dad’s athletically toned DNA: for all its strengths, Dark Souls II could look as rough as some of its dungeon-dwelling creeps.

    There were nice bits, but after the confined, austere beauty of the first outing, the sequel’s botched lighting engine and a larger focus on scale made for a game that couldn’t cope with its own visual ambitions. All of which is to say that a new-gen version, running on new-gen power, was exactly what the game needed. Scholar of the First Sin brings together the original and all of its DLC brilliant news, as the three expansions arguably saw DSII at its best, with challenges and settings approaching the quality of the cherished original. It’ll also add new NPCs, augmented item descriptions (this is far more important, story-wise, than it sounds, for those sneering right now) and improved online play with up to six concurrent players. And, yes, there are graphical, performance and audio tweaks throughout, fixing that single, unavoidable issue.

    Don’t expect an overhaul by any means the little we’ve seen suggests a cleaned-up edition rather than a pristine one but the game should be a tad more palatable than it was previously. We might continue to disagree on the true quality of the game as a whole, but the changes should help push a few more to the positive end of the spectrum.

    Soul Survivor
    Aside from the performance improvements evident in Scholar of the First Sin, existing owners of the Xbox 360 game will receive all of the new version’s changes as part and parcel of a free patch.

    Good Technique
    if you’re going for a second runthrough, don’t get too complacent director Yui Tanimura has explained that many of the game’s enemies will have had their attack patterns or methods altered  this time out.

    Sense of Place
    The locations and numbers of enemies across the game’s world will also have altered. npcs will have shifted positions, and items will be placed in different locations. Get ready to don your learning helmet. 

    Non-playable conifer
    The title refers to a new npc, who from what we’ve seen appears to be a sort of flaming tree man. We’re going to go out on  a branch (sorry) here  and guess that he’s really not a very happy person.

    A version of Scholar of the First Sin will also be coming to Xbox 360, although it won’t feature all of the changes that have been made for Xbox one. it’s still worth a pop for curious last-gen owners who’ve yet to face the endless deaths.

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