If you’re like me, you were sadly let down by Dark Souls II. To me and people like me, the level design and combat mechanics just weren’t up to Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. Unlike Dark Souls I, I wasn’t compelled to make character after character, making all kinds of different builds and gimmicky bullshit. You can see why I chose to ignore the DLC when it released, opting not to buy DLC for a game I rarely played.
Then along came Scholar of the First Sin back in April. Scholar of the First Sin is a remastered version of Dark Souls II that sports mechanical and graphical fixes and, if you buy it on PC, bundled with the existing DLCs, Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King, and of the Ivory King. Since a friend was getting into Dark Souls at the time, he offered to buy the upgraded version for me, and since turning down free stuff is stupid, I opted to try out the upgraded version and see if it was worth playing a full playthrough again.
The main draw of Scholar of the First Sin is the repositioned enemies. Enemy position lends itself to a vastly different playthrough, with some areas becoming a bit more manageable and some becoming ridiculously harder, making for a new experience. Another benefit to Scholar of the First Sin is graphical and background refinements. The game receives a small lighting and texture overhaul as well as an upgrade to make the game run a tad smoother.
The thing is, this remastered isn’t free. If you bought Dark Souls II and all of the DLC, you’ll still need to upgrade for a price, which was $30 for me on Steam but $60 if you don’t already own the previous version of Dark Souls II. There is no discount if you already have all of the DLC, which is mind-boggling stupid to me.
So, what’s the final verdict? Well, it depends on you as a consumer.
Have you never owned Dark Souls II but like Souls games? This is a good deal and worth a playthrough or two as the relocated enemies and reworked mechanics make it superior to the base version of Dark Souls II in every way.
Have you owned Dark Souls II but are looking to try Scholar of the First Sin? If you already have the three Crown DLCs then I would suggest no. You’re not missing out on much by not upgrading, although if you just really love Dark Soul II then you can upgrade without feeling like you’re wasting money.
If you didn’t have the DLCs like I did, it’s worth upgrading if you want to drop the 30 bucks. The three DLC areas are rather interesting and fun to play, each one sporting numerous bosses and new loot. If you weren’t impressed with Dark Souls II, however, you can safely skip Scholar of the First Sin.
As a final note, for those who enjoy cooperative runs, Scholar of the First Sin introduces the Name-engraved Ring. Equipping it gives you a list of gods to choose from, which causes you to easily connect with people who chose the same god. Dark Souls and Dark Souls II use an IP pooling method, causing random summon signs to appear after a length of time. The new ring helps tremendously when finding a certain person online, so for those looking to spice up your second playthrough with a friend, Scholar of the First Sin has you covered.
Let’s just hope that Dark Souls 3 doesn’t have this much DLC and crap to fix so From Software can somehow justify another remaster