Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Ivory King – Review

Crown of the Ivory King marks the final DLC installment of the Lost Crown Trilogy for Dark Souls 2. Although the level design is excellent and looks beautiful, I finished a bit disappointed. Certainly not a bad purchase by any means, some sections of the game felt tedious and unpleasant compared to the other two DLC installments.

Crown of the Ivory King takes place in the wintery temple of Eleum Loyce. Hindered by frozen doorways and a constant blizzard, somebody doesn’t want you to enter this once marvelous domain. Questing through the temple (more like a city like Anor Lando,) the player is given the impression that something is not right, and something must be done to progress further. Ivory King reminded me of a Metroid game in the sense that items must be acquired to open new areas. During the initial trek through the level, noticeable doors, treasures, and pathways are blocked by ice and snow. Once a special item is acquired brand new areas can be accessed. This requires backtracking to be done, but slightly altered to change how you view the area.

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Unfortunately, it can be a pain pushing through the numerous enemies particularly as a spell caster. Most of the enemies have a fair amount of magic resistance, and if you play primarily as a sorcery user like I did, you’re in for a tedious process. One optional area called the, Frigid Outskirts, forced me to respec my character into a strength build because it was way too laborious fighting enemies with sorcery.

The areas explored in Ivory King are by far the largest in the DLC trilogy. There is plenty to explore and plenty of scenery to admire, but in some instances it is a detriment to the player. As mentioned before the Frigid Outskirts is one of those cases. It is a massive area, which is fine, but it is extremely unpleasant to explore, especially due to the fact there is a very difficult boss fight at the end that will force you travel the entire path again with every death. The part that really throws it over the edge is a perpetual blizzard that reduces visibility by about 90 percent, which will easily make you lost. It is an optional area, but completionists like me will become very frustrated.

IvoryKingFrigidOutskirts
Co-op is heavily encouraged this time around made apparent by the final boss and the Frigid Outskirts. Once all frozen pathways are open, the player is encouraged to free four knights to aid in the final fight. It is strongly suggested to seek these knights because the final fight is the most “chaotic” boss encounter in the game. It’s great From Software decided to try a different approach to a boss fight because this felt very refreshing. Technically freeing the knights is optional, so anyone looking for an extra challenge can ignore it entirely.

GRAPHICS

Crown-of-the-Ivory-King-Eleum-Loyce

The setting looks gorgeous, enticing the player to explore every area.

SOUND

Much of the same one can expect from a Dark Souls installment. There are a couple great uses of music to enhance the setting.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Crown of the Ivory King is worth the money even though there are parts that are frustratingly not fun. The level design is, again, outstanding, and there is plenty to uncover. Anyone looking for more of a challenge will definitely get that here. In an era where DLCs are usually unfulfilling, Ivory King is a complete experience, and still as strong as anything from the core game.

 

Pros

  • Great level design
  • Visually beautiful
  • Different boss fight approach

Cons

  • Frustratingly tedious areas
  • Spell users at a disadvantage

 

Style – Single-player/Co-op, Action RPG

Publisher – Namco Bandai Games

Developer – From Software

Release – September 2014


JUNKIE SCORES

  • 4.5 – Gameplay
  • 4.5 – Graphics
  • 4.0 – Sound
  • 4.0 – Entertainment
  • 3.0 – Replay Value

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