This content requires the base game DARK SOULS™ II on Steam in order to play.

User reviews: Positive (5 reviews)
Release Date: Jul 22, 2014

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About This Content

Embark on a journey to reclaim a crown that Drangleic’s King Vendrick once owned. This perilous quest will lead you through an entirely different world within the DARK SOULS™ II universe, where stepped pyramids span a vast underground cavern. It is said that one of the ancient crowns lay buried deep within these dark caverns; but surely such a valued item cannot sit unguarded. Explore in search of a crown that holds the strength of lords from times long past.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows Vista SP2, Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8
    • Processor: AMD® Phenom II™ X2 555 3.2Ghz or Intel® Pentium Core ™ 2 Duo E8500 3.17Ghz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® 9600GT, ATI Radeon™ HD 5870
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 sound device
    • Additional Notes: Controller support: Microsoft Xbox 360® Controller for Windows® (or equivalent) recommended
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8
    • Processor: Intel® CoreTM i3 2100 3.10GHz or AMD® A8 3870K 3.0GHz
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 750 or ATI Radeon™ HD 6870 or higher
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 15 GB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9 sound device
    • Additional Notes: Controller support: Microsoft Xbox 360® Controller for Windows® (or equivalent) recommended
Helpful customer reviews
494 of 565 people (87%) found this review helpful
2.4 hrs on record
Following on from the way we travelled back in time to the lost land of Oolacile in the DLC for the first Dark Souls, Crown of the Sunken King once again sends us back into history itself, this time to the days before Vendrick had conquered the land and built the kingdom of Drangleic. We've gone back to acquire the same crowns Vendrick once used to build his kingdom although it's not really clear why we're doing it, but I'm certainly not going to complain the Emerald Herald isn't telling me to "seek lest bear" them anyhow. So mysteriously compelled to travel back in time for no properly explained reason, the first of our ventures to loot these three pieces of magical headware takes us to the Sanctum City Shulva, a sprawling labyrinth of temple ruins that have been slowly corrupted under a lingering miasma spewed forth by a venomous dragon. Because what Dark Souls 2 really needed was yet another poison themed level. Thankfully though the status effect isn't too emphasized although I'm am still very dissapointed in the wasted potential for some more diversity. At the very least repeating a theme that wasn't already repeated in four areas in the main game would've been more reasonable, but I digress.

What stands out most when you first lay eyes on the city of Shulva is that the level design is very vertical, you're going to be going down and around a lot and often find yourself stumbling back into areas you've been to previously but from different vantage points, the Sanctum City is chock full of intersecting pathways and more shortcuts than you can shake a sequence break at, which makes it incredibly be easy to actually get lost in. This is only exemplified by the number of switches you'll find throughout that will raise or lower certain platforms or open and close different passages, a large number of which will lead down different paths to the same places, only making it easier to get disoriented in the near maze like city. The second area, Dragon Sanctum, on the other hand is enclosed and claustrophobic but still scattered with doorways linked to switches built onto every surface because ancient architects apparently had far too much time on their hands (I joke as I review DLC for a video game) and the contrast between the two is certainly interesting although I personally feel the first area is honestly much more interesting as it invokes feelings of the layered level design of the first Dark Souls which is something I honestly feel is missing from the sequel, but I will say I appreciated Dragon Sanctum on account of simply feeling very unique for its emphasis on 'puzzles' as simple and uninspired as they may be, and the enclosed areas certainly made the tougher enemies of the DLC much more threatening encounters.

Speaking of which, there are about six new kinds of dastardly foes for you to pit yourself against in CotSK but the enemies that populated Shulva are effectively redesigned versions of already existing foes and honestly offer very little challenge. The individual enemies aren't really the danger in the city, but rather the enemy placement. If you don't pay good attention as you make your way down the sprawling walkways of Shulva you can very easily find yourself flanked very easily, ambushes are scattered about and there's not shortage of Sanctum Warriors around every other corner. It's not until you reach Dragon Sanctum that you'll start encountering the more interesting and surprisingly challenging foes, one particularly ghastly group stand out for being some of the fastest enemies in the entire game but for the most part there's nothing that's really new in a meaningful sense, experienced players will quickly learn how to handle enemies that ultimately still follow the same rules most other foes do, and one on one encounters will remain simplistic affairs with the game only ever being difficulty if you're facing multiple foes. Although, I will commend the AI of the Drakeblood Knights who will actually backstab you for trying to heal in front of them, and seem to have much more precise evading than any other enemy in the game. It's a shame they're relegated to the very end of the DLC, if they'd been a present threat throughout both maps CotSK could've actually been very challenging.

So what of the bigger baddies then? Well there are three bosses in CotSK one of which is optional, and they're all very different to one another, although all similar to already existing bosses. They are also all challenging and quite a lot of fun to fight, and I'd say that they're a far sight better than anything the main game has to offer. Relatively speaking you could make a comparison to the disparity in quality between the bosses in the first Dark Souls & AotA and now the bosses in Dark Souls 2 & CotSK. Although in spite of really enjoying the bosses and I do mean that, I'd consider the final boss of the DLC to be one of the best bosses in the Souls series period, it is rather dissapointing that they're all effectively redesigned versions of older bosses, although this could be considered a boon for people who happen to enjoy those fights, if you're a fan of the Kalameet boss fight in AotA you're certainly in for a treat.

Long review cut short, I had a lot of fun with Crown of the Sunken King, the new areas were a blast to explore, the bosses ranged from fun to fantastic, and I actually really like the art direction of Shulva, the only real let downs for me were the more interesting enemies not getting anywhere near enough exposure in favour of the totally new Hollow variants, and to some extent the 'recycled' undertone the bosses had to them, even if if the fights are absolutely improvements over the originals. I'm more dissapointed in the missed oppurtunity of what could've been rather than what we got, but what we got was still pretty damn good and absolutely worth ever penny.
Posted: July 22
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280 of 316 people (89%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
(TLDR? This review is also available in video format below for your convenience.)

In typical Dark Souls fashion, its latest DLC, Crown of the Sunken King cannot be accessed until roughly half way through the game. The first of three planned DLC packs has you venturing to recover an ancient crown that was lost deep underground.

It's accessed from Black Gulch and you're greeted with three more sinister areas which add another 4 or 5 hours of challenging content.

The areas are large, sprawling and interconnected which do well to mask the linearity, allowing you to explore in a multitude of directions. There's tons of clever shortcuts that lead back to previous areas as well as plenty of hidden items and secrets. The areas also feature a ton of verticality, making it feel a lot more like the first Dark Souls game.

Special switches have been added to the areas which can be attacked to raise or lower platforms as well as open secret areas. Activating these are a bit of a puzzle and can have a pretty major effect on the environment which is a great addition.

Unfortunately the art direction for these zones is a bit uninspired, borrowing heavily from a lot of previous areas. I was immediately reminded of areas like The Lost Bastille as well as the Oolacile Township from the Artorias of the Abyss DLC from the first Dark Souls. It's all kind of dark, gritty, and indoors. Some added variety between the areas would have been welcomed opposed to more of the same.

The enemies that inhabit the DLC are as dangerous as you'd expect. From ghost like knights that are extremely difficult to kill until you destroy their bodies, to annoying archers, casters, insects and more horrifying monstrosities, there's no shortage of formidable enemies in Crown of the Sunken King. Swarming enemies are a larger threat than ever and status ailments like poison and corrosive damage are rampant.

The boss fights are very difficult as well as each of them are on-par with some of the hardest bosses out of any Souls game. They require planning and quick reflexes to overcome and will surely test even the most hardened Souls veterans.


Ultimately, Crown of the Sunken King is worth playing if you're a fan of the series and looking for new content. It doesn't add quite as much variety and content as Artorias of the Abyss added to Dark Souls 1 but with two more DLC packs planned, I can't wait to see what other challenges From Software adds next.

This review is also available in video format for your convenience:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4rA8zKE_WU


Pros:

+ Challenging enemies & bosses
+ Great value
+ Puzzles
+ Cleverly interconnected areas

Cons:

-Uninspired art direction
-Corrosive damage is annoying
-Lack of variety
Posted: July 24
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1,088 of 1,427 people (76%) found this review helpful
0.1 hrs on record
CAUTION! Contains mild spoilers!

First 3 hours in the DLC as a SL 200 Faith build:

"Oooh, that is gorgeous."
"Looks quiet. Too quiet."
...
"Ah the old 'Hollow plays dead' trick. Ha!"
"Oh f**k, that hurts! Kill it with lightning!"
"Where the f**k are they coming from?!" *dies*
"Why the f**k is my gear broken?!" *dies*
"Finally, a shortcut!"
...
"Oh f**k, ghosts!"
"Oh f**k, I can barely damage them"*dies*
"Ooooh, so that's how you kill them."
"Bonfire! Neat!"
...
"Many bloodstains here ..."
"Dark Phantom has invaded"
"Hey ... I remember you ... OH F**K!" *gets ra*ed by multiple Forbidden Suns* *dies*
*dies*
*dies*
"Jesus, how much HP does this smug c**t have?!"
"Dark Phantom banished"
"Praise the ... oh f**k, T-Rex!" *dies*
"Why the f**k am I doing so little damage with Sun Spear?!"
"Holy f**k, so many of them!" *dies*
"Why is there a bonfire in the middle of them!?"
"Sweet mother of Sunny-D, another shortcut! Hurrah!"
...
"Lone hollow, smells fishy."
"Oh, f**k, what is with that moveset?"
"Oh, f**k, PvP is easier!" *backstabbed* *dies*

And then it hit me ... this is the same feeling I got from Dark Souls 1. Explore, die, rinse and repeat until success. Clever area design, smart shortcuts to a previous bonfire, traps just waiting to make your life a living hell. Ahh, I love the smell of frustration in the evening.

I love it. 10/10 gonna go die again.
Posted: July 22
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