Dark Souls II is a long game. This is a game I'm planning to have a review of once I'm finished, but it didn't take long to realize that would be a while. This isn't a review, just some quick impressions from my first twenty hours of the game. If you still have no idea if this game is for you, maybe this will help? Probably not, but maybe you'll be surprised.
The first thing I noticed about Dark Souls II is that compared to the previous Souls games it starts out a lot easier. The first hour or so of the previous Souls games feels way more brutal compared to the first hour or so of Dark Souls II. This may sound like a plus, but I didn't find the first couple hours of Dark Souls II nearly as enjoyable compared to the other two Souls games. That doesn't mean it's easy, Dark Souls II only starts out easier.
If you're somehow worried that they've made Dark Souls II easier, then let those worries go. In my first few hours I managed to beat the first boss, then stumble in the wrong direction and found my way to boss I should of been no where near yet. I did manage to eventually beat this boss. It took about five hours for me to actually take the boss down in this unprepared state.
Something I learned from doing that boss over and over is that if you kill a enemy in the world enough times they will eventually disappear forever. That may sound like it'll make things easier, but what it really does is put a limit on how much you can grind levels. Imagine this scenario; you're on your way to fight a boss and you have about ten thousand souls. You spent a couple hours getting these souls by fighting the enemies on this boss run. But because you did that there are no more enemies. You forget to go spend these souls and go fight the boss. You die on the boss and your souls drop. Die one more before you pick those souls up, and those souls are gone. It's now a lot harder to make those souls back now that those enemies are gone.
Dark Souls II is scarier than just about any horror game. Death can come so quick, so out of nowhere that every corner I turn I'm terrified. But that also makes things exciting. Taking down a new kind of enemy for the first time is very satisfying.
At about twenty hours, the thing I keep coming back to is that this game feels more like Demon's Souls than it's spiritual successor Dark Souls did. There's now a safe zone where NPCs gather. Your health will lower to 50% when you die. You level up by talking to a NPC, who also gives you an idea of what your quest actually is. This may not make much of difference, but having played a lot more Demon's Souls than Dark Souls I feel way more at home that I did with the previous game. I know this won't matter to most of you, but I really enjoy it.
If it isn't clear yet, I'm really enjoying myself. I still have a long way to go before my journey will end, but I can't help but already think very highly of this game so far. Who knows if it'll be able to keep this up, but I can't help but be extremely hopeful. I'll have a more in depth review once I actually finish the game. Until then remember that there's always hope, no matter how desperate it seems.