Scholar of the First Sin - Review

Posted by LAR Games on May 1, 2015, 6:22 p.m.

I was playing Scholar of the First Sin today, and for like the 10th time, I quit out of disappointment. This actually made me realize how not fun this game had become. It compelled me to write a review on Steam because of the realization of how I've reacted to finishing the games:

Dark Souls 1 : "Wow. That was one of the greatest games I've ever played"

Dark Souls 2: "Man, they kinda messed this up pretty badly"

DS - SoTFS : "Wow, they actually made it WORSE…"

So, here's what I wrote on Steam:

Before I start, I just want to say that I LOVE the orginal Dark Souls. I bought that game like 6 times already on Xbox and on PC. I actually even bought Dark Souls II for Xbox and PC as well. (I couldn't wait till the PC launch)

Dark Souls II didn't even hold a candle to the first one. Sure, it had a lot of improvements, but overall it went a lot of steps backwards. So like a dummy, I bought this version as well.

Now that that's out of the way, hear me when I say that everything that was wrong with Dark Souls II was amplified like 3 times in Scholar of the First Sin. It's just a badly designed game. Smple as that.


Rember that Bonfire in Brightcove with the spiders next to the bonfire? I had just gotten near it when I started thinking "Hmm. Maybe they finally removed those unnecissary spiders.". What did they do? They didn't remove those two spiders… They added like 6 more! WHAT? Those two spiders were a terrible design choise in Dark Souls II. Bonfires are suppsed to be something that your heart leaps at the thought of seeing, and Dark Souls 1 gets that right. Whoever was making the decisions for Dark Souls II and Scholar of the First Sin just didn't know how to make a good game.

Is Scholar of the First sin harder? Yep.

Is it fun? No.

You know what made the orignial Dark Souls so amazing? Rushing into monsters would make them mob you, so you had to plan your attacks and only try to fight them one at a time. Single combat was amazing in the fist game. What did they do in the second one? When one enemy notices you, ALL of them notice you. Fighting multiple enemies is unavoidable and not what Dark Souls was about. Especially since the mechanics focus on single combat. THATS WHY THE LOCK ON WAS PUT IN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE! Iron Keep Alone has like 3x more enemies than it did previously. And they ALL want to fight you at once.

You thought the archers were annoying? Now there's MORE! And they're facing each other as well.

Don't even get me started on the phantoms. Phantoms in Dark Souls 1 were something rare. They were there to add to the lore and a way to get a player to expereince some of the multiplayer mechanics at the same time. Dark souls took that idea and misunderstood the entire purpose. They're used pretty much like extra enemies. What does Scholar of the first sin do? THEY ADD MORE. It's like whoever was working on this game had the thought process that adding more stuff meant the game would get better, even though the stuff they were adding more of was terrible in the first place. Adding more terrible stuff to the already terrible stuff doesn't magically turn it good.

Did they fix the durability bug that happens at 60 fps? No

Did they fix enemies having terrible hitboxes that hit you even though they barely started swinging? No

Did they fix enemies having pretty much instant attacks that are impossible to predict? No

Diid they fix certain enemis having pretty much unlimited stamina so you pretty much HAVE to sacrifice health to attack? Nope

If you actually liked the things I think are wrong in Dark Souls II and thought more of that would be good, then you'll probably LOVE this game. If not, it's actually much worse.

I don NOT recommend this game and this is the game that made me vow to never buy a game before it's out again. No more preorders for me…


Castypher 9 years ago

Great. Now go play Bloodborne. Probably not as good as DS1 but it's certainly better than DS2. It's much faster though so you have to throw all of your timing training out the window. Because of this, Bloodborne is more fun to me than the Dark Souls games ever were.

LAR Games 9 years ago

I've really, really been wanting to play that. There's a problem though. I need a PS4. :(

Can I come to your house?

Astryl 9 years ago

I've been playing DS2 recently, just to try it out (Don't actually own it yet), and I have been overall disappointed.

The game is less of a whole and more like a bunch of little parts tied together by strings of enemies that are often placed in dickish groups. There are weapons that seem practically useless because you really need "crowd control" weapons (Anything with a wide-area sweeping attack, basically).

It's not a bad game though. But it has a lot to live up to. I think the entire project suffered for not having Hidetaka Miyazaki behind the design.

@Kilin: We're all invading your home to play on your PS4.

Nopykon 9 years ago

What about Demon's Souls, how would it hold up to Dark Souls? Nobody ever talks about it, I guess because it's ps3 only.

LAR Games 9 years ago

Yeah. I wish I could play that too, but I never owned a PS3.

Acid 9 years ago

@Nopy: Been looking for a reason to say I love you because of your avatar. But onto your question: It's one of those things people never agree on. Some say it's better, some say it's worse. Some swear it's twice as hard and some say that it's way easier. I, personally, think Demon's Souls was a harder game, but mostly because most modern adventure games weren't so brutal up to that point. Demon's Souls flipped adventure games on it's head. Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 are prettier games that try to capture the magic of the original - I think they do it pretty well, but some people see them as derivative… which they are haha

What I wish is that someone would make some brutal adventure games that had more colors. I am tired of hard lights and washed out pallets. The newer games try to add colors but they just switch the over all hue of areas but maintain the same small color radius and it's annoying. :(

Castypher 9 years ago

What I wish is that someone would make some brutal adventure games that had more colors. I am tired of hard lights and washed out pallets. The newer games try to add colors but they just switch the over all hue of areas but maintain the same small color radius and it's annoying. :(
This so much. Putting the "dark" in Dark Souls.

Rez 9 years ago

Bah. I think these games earn the stark aesthetic. It is fitting from a narrative perspective.

I bought Scholar of the First Sin and played it after beating Bloodborne. Absolutely hated it, and it made me retroactively hate Dsk2 a little more. It doesn't help that the new enemy placements are absolutely retarded and that they fuck up the game's flow by requiring more stupid key items (branches of yore, fun right?). Also, I don't know why I don't see more people saying this but Dsk2 really plays awful compared to DeS and Dsk1, let alone Bloodborne. They added such an extreme delay to all your actions that nothing feels responsive.

Bloodborne may be my favorite in the series, but Dsk1 is still pretty close. Time will tell which one I prefer. I may be having a love affair with BB because it is so new, but it really does have a lot going for it. Bloodborne is the technical realization of From's many refined abilities. The art direction really flourishes with some extra tech behind it, and the gameplay feels so snappy and deep that it brings a tear to my eye. Charged attacks are a great addition, and the transformations are pretty much game defining. I really appreciate how much they changed things up with the combat. It is truly an evolution, and not just more of the same like Dsk2. Lore is great as always too. The story is unique by Souls standards, and it explores many similar concepts while still feeling pretty fresh. Also goddamn, it looks good. It might be my favorite looking game ever. The marriage of those character designs with that extra visual fidelity is so so so good.

Demon's Souls is great too. Everyone has to play that game.

Skip Dsk2. I used to like it, but Dsk1, DeS, and Bloodborne beat it by a few million miles.

Nopykon 9 years ago

Aw, I love you for your avatar too, Acid! <3

I actually think there are many games that do colors well, a lot poorly too, ofc. The X-Souls aren't colorful, but at the same time, they're almost supposed to be depressing to look at. Almost all From-games are the same. A dim white or yellow light positioned right at the player, the world fades into darkness. It still manages do create a cozy atmosphere for the 10 minutes before you forget all about it and get angry at the game.

I get annoyed when games get deemed unfairly as gray or brown just because one of the levels happen to look a bit like that. Often it's a buildup to a colorful climax. You have to look at the colors of the different levels, narrative steps or phases in sequence. I love when a game makes me fell like I'm in deep shit for some time, and then changes the phase to relief. The colors with it.

The phasing in X-Souls is very different in X-Souls compared to other games where it isn't natural to get stuck for 3h at the same place and still continue.

My pet game Halo 2 is often trash-talked by dummies, despite incorporating the entire fucking color wheel (not at the same time), and in an incredibly aesthetically pleasing way too. It has great contrasts. You have the gray corridors, the green fields, the dusty, the snowy, the violet alien corridors and then green gray dark flood corridors. A bit of shocking orange to green. Dummies! Some levels go on for too long and others are too brief. It's still way better than most other games where they seem to not have had any thought put into it at all.

I think it's pretty difficult to find good and wide palette. I really like when a game or a picture manages to pick colors from opposite sides of the color circle and make it work, but the entire rainbow at once is really hard to use unless you want the scene to scream "WEEHEEE!!!", or maybe feel trippy.

Unaligned 9 years ago

Messed up: enemy fighting rules (stamina management, gyroscopic tracking, hitboxes, wonky animations, etc.); floaty movement; rolling is neigh-useless; boring NPCs; enemy mobs; damn branches of yore, keys are a resource to be managed; weapon durability; different weapon attacks don't flow into each other; heavy weapons are quick for some reason; the game map is nonsensical and clips onto itself if seen through a map viewer; the game's locations don't tell a story (go to Drangleic, kill some fallen demigods and get uncursed doesn't cut it); you play as your character before you create him, so you're the template char at the beginning; soul memory; enemy despawns…

Steps forward: attempted to make rolling gradual instead of clearly-tiered (an attempt was made); max health is reduced by consecutive deaths (char's appearance worsens too); nice lighting; less obtuse weapon upgrade system.

Verdict: I'll stay in Lordran. Haven't played Demon's or Bloodborne so I can't comment there, but both seem more appealing than DS2