I loved Dark Souls II, but I'll be the first to admit that the game was, as a whole, a little...easier than the first. I'm not the only one who noticed that - developer FromSoftware did as well, and they've set out to rectify that with the Crown of the Sunken King DLC. They succeeded. If you haven't downloaded it already, then do so now. Immediately. Before reading another word.
Trust me, you won't regret it. Well...unless you have a thing against difficulty. Then you might.
Anyway, Crown of the Sunken King is the first episode in a planned trilogy of DLC offerings, which will include Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King. Taking place in a massive, beautiful cave network, the game quickly transitions between a bunch of fantastic underground locales, all of which are subtly interconnected - a callback to the previous game, for sure. Your undead is down here in an effort to reclaim a crown once owned by King Vendrick. Don't worry too much about the details. As with the primary game, there's plenty of environmental storytelling if you know precisely where to look.
Oh, and if you haven't already guessed, it won't be easy.
The game introduces a whole host of new enemies, from the run-of-the-mill Sanctum Soldiers to the utterly bizarre Imperfects to the skittering Corrosive Egg Crawlers. Each enemy requires a different approach in order to survive, and each area will require you to use pretty much all of your wits in order to make it through with your souls intact.
The bosses this time around are absolutely brutal, and pretty much all of them make the foes you faced in the main game look like complete and utter pushovers. This time around, I can say it with absolute certainty: you will die. Repeatedly. And if you're anything like me, you'll love every minute - it'll feel like you're playing the first game all over again.
Even though Crown of the Sunken King only adds a few hours of gameplay (around ten or so, depending on your level of skill), it nevertheless represents From Software at the top of its game. Even better, it's only $10 - well worth the price, when you consider the entertainment value. All I can say is that I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment in the trilogy. Dark Souls II didn't hold me in as tight a grip as the original, but Crown of the Sunken King most definitely has - and then some.