Around the time Dark Soul 2 was about to be released, developer from the software stated there would be no downloadable content (DLC). I was foolish enough to believe the typical troll tactics, so I was pleasantly surprised when it was announced there would be not one, but three additional DLC installments in three, consecutive months. The Crown of the Sunken King (CotSK) is the first of those three installments. Although, by itself, it does not stack up to the Artorias of the Abyss DLC from Dark Souls, CotSK is a solid piece of content well worth the $10 price tag.
Found in the Black Gulch, a new path is revealed leading to a breathtaking view of an Aztec inspired city dominated by an enormous pyramid. Players must recover the Crown of the Sunken King, but many perils lie ahead; the greatest of which is a long lost dragon named Sinh!
Difficult, this DLC is – more so than many areas in the main game. Claustrophobic and vertical, expect to be overwhelmed by multiple enemies at a time with little room to run. Boss battles in particular proved to be a challenge seemingly intended to be fought with summoned aide. The battle with Sinh is absolutely epic, and already the best boss fight in the entire game! The main game lacked boss fights on the level of Sinh, so its addition is much welcomed.
Easily my favorite aspect to CotSK is the level design. Disappointingly lacking in the main game, the level design in CotSK is brilliantly interwoven with shortcuts, very much like the first Dark Souls. Rest assured you will be traveling to just about every location seen in the distance. The compact nature of the city hides secrets in every nook and cranny that can easily be missed during your first run through. Designed around a giant pyramid, the level introduces a series of puzzles altering the environment, opening new paths, and revealing hidden treasure. The puzzles are not difficult, but it gives the level a Legend of Zelda vibe to it as an added flavor.
Naturally, new weapons, items, and gear can be expected, and they aren’t bad (I immediately equipped the Drakeblood armor set, in fact). In addition to the new gear are new farmable sources of twinkling titanite and dragon scales which are never bad.
Fans stay with Dark Souls for the lore, and this DLC is a mixed bag in those regards. CotSK introduces new material involving the sunken city, and the story behind it is very interesting, but there is not much to expand the main game. However, there is an interesting secret you can uncover in the main game which I won’t spoil. I was hoping for more NPCs to talk to, but unfortunately there are no living NPCs to be found. There’s a possibility the next two DLCs will add more to the existing lore, but only time will tell.
That beautiful first look of Sanctum City will stop you in your tracks to admire the view.
The technique of using sound to enhance the atmosphere is on par with other ‘Souls games.
The Crown of the Sunken King is a good piece of DLC worth the $10 price tag, must buy for any Dark Souls fan. Anyone disappointed with how the main game’s level design was too linear will love the brilliantly woven layout more inline with Dark Souls. While the DLC can be completed in a few hours, it doesn’t fall short for those looking for a challenge.
- Exceptional level design
- Epic boss fight
- Relatively cheap price tag
- A little short
- No NPCs
- Little on existing lore
Style – Single-player/Co-op, Action RPG
Publisher – Namco Bandai Games
Developer – From Software
Release – July 2014
4.5 – Gameplay
4.5 – Graphics
4.0 – Sound
4.5 – Entertainment
3.5 – Replay Value