Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

With perfect timing to fall into the average summer draught, Dark Souls 2 is back, and this time it's angry. The first of 3 planned DLC, Crown of the Sunken King takes us deep, deep below the earth, even deeper than the lair of the Rotten, to the Shulva, the Sanctum City. Does the city hold untold fortune, or just more murderous intent than a bear with a toothache? Hopefully both.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

The Exploration

Shulva is made up of 3 large zones, and each zone is an absolute labyrinth of twists, turns, switches, and secrets. I often found myself internally arguing on which turn to take,or if I should backtrack and go the other way, just to see what goodies I'd find. Mostly it was death, tasty tasty death.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

It's Challenging

As anyone who has ever recommended a Souls game to someone has said, prepare to die. Poison spewing soldier crowd you and choke you to death. Witches blast you with hexes and hatred. Ghosts laugh at your feeble attacks as they slice you to ribbons. I found myself utilizing the environment to protect myself and dispatch enemies as quickly and cleanly as possible. The bosses especially almost demand help, as you'll be outnumbered and outgunned against a majority of them. Even friends (or helpful AI phantoms) won't cinch victory though, as you'll see.

New and Interesting loot

New weapons, armor, and spells abound, and they're obviously trying new things. Won't spoil them all, but you can expect things like a miracle that will save your life once, or a shield that works as a wand OR a chime, for those that can't commit.

A meeting with the King

After obtaining the Ashen Mist Heart and finishing the DLC, you can go to Vendrick's resting place and visit his memory. A small thing, but one I really loved nonetheless.

You can actually find the entrance

Unlike Dark Souls' DLC, where you're practically required to look up the way into the DLC area, From decided their extra paid content should be reasonably found. As such, all you have to do is defeat the Rotten, and you'll find the way to the DLC by his Primal Bonfire.

You can get a free taste

If you haven't purchased the DLC but would like to get a little action, FROM's got ya covered. The DLC was added in a patch, and all you have to do is go down to the entrance, and anywhere in the room before the locked door you can drop your summon sign. This will let people summon you for a side area in the DLC that seems to be a test for co-op required content, including a 3 person boss who will happily wreck anyone who comes alone.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

Backended bosses

Most of the bosses are kind of backloaded, which will leave you with most of the DLC to exploring. I'd have preferred an extra boss or 2, or at least have them spread a little better. Not a big deal though, and probably won't bother anyone but me.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

Petrification Statues

Seriously these things are obnoxious.

Patch 1.08

The Patch that brought the DLC also brought a rather large set of balancing changes. I understand it was necessary, but I hate getting nerfed to hell in a game I play mostly single player. Hope you have some Soul Vessels.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

All in all, I gotta give a pretty resounding YES to anyone who enjoyed Dark Souls 2, or even people who didn't care for it compared to the original. FROM took great strides in bringing the level design from Dark Souls to it's sequel, who is often cited as having areas being a little too linear.

Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Sunken King: The TAY Review

Bonus tips:

1. Bring a ranged weapon. You'll need it for certain puzzles, or easy access to switches.

2. Search the environment when you have ghost problems, there is a trick to em.

3. The white pillars are switches that move the towers. Seems obvious, wasn't to me.

4. While going down is the focus of the dlc, looking up can help too.