I know a lot of readers are already sharpening their pitchforks just from looking at that headline, so let me be super clear: I’m not just saying this to be controversial. I love this series. In fact, I’ve been on the Souls train from the very beginning.
I reviewed 2009’s PlayStation 3 exclusive Demon’s Souls at Game Informer and was surprised to fall in love with this absurdly difficult game. When Dark Souls arrived to much bigger fanfare in 2011, I reviewed it as well and was one of the few people who found it just slightly lacking in comparison to the first Souls attempt.
Dark Souls 2, however, absolutely thrilled me. I called it “the strongest Souls game yet,” and now, three years later, it remains my favorite. This is in stark contrast to the general opinion of the wider Dark Souls community, which often considers Dark Souls 2 to be sort of a black sheep, the weakest entry in the series with tons of flaws. Notably, it’s also the only entry in the series not directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, though that famed head of the Souls franchise did have some hand in the game’s creation.
So why do I love Dark Souls 2 so much when other hardcore Souls fans are more or less indifferent to it? The above video from YouTube essayist H. Bomberguy explains in far greater detail than I ever could. Over the course of 80 minutes, Bomberguy relates an impassioned defense of Dark Souls 2, both as a stand-alone game and regarding its place in the series as a whole. He even addresses most of the common criticisms lobbied against it, explaining why he doesn’t think they’re actually that big of a deal.
It’s worth noting that, as of the creation of this video, Bomberguy has yet to play the most recent entry in the series, Dark Souls 3. He expresses some concern that this latest (and possibly final) entry in the series might pick up some bad habits by reacting against the critiques of Dark Souls 2, and, well, if you’ve read my review, you know where I land on that.