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[DLC Review] Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss

I’m a great fan of Dark Souls for so many reasons I can’t even quote them without making a huge paragraph about it, so if you’re actually interested in my opinion, you can read my review of it HERE. When Dark Souls was announced for PC, it also brought another piece of news that kindled my heart: the extra content would be available for PS3 users as DLC. Of course that was the only excuse I needed to get back into the game, and while preparing a new character (or in my case four) for the new challenges to come, I spent about another 100 hours playing this game, and that’s pre-DLC. Obviously, I was super excited about it, but what did I actually think? Read on and find out!

Dark Souls is an excellent game, and one of the many things that make it stand out is the superb environment design. I can say this is even more true in AotA. There are at least four main areas in which you can wander about. They’re all seamlessly connected and filled with shortcuts so you can go back and forth once you make some progress. All these new locations are full of secrets to be found and feel different and unique from most other locations available on the original game. It’s important to mention you can still use bonfires to fast travel, and besides, the new ones in the DLC have a few other areas that were previously not accessible that can be warped to now.

One of the aspects that may also interest fans of the game is the fact that this DLC provides some very interesting lighting to the back story that moved you forward originally. Don’t get me wrong, this is still a very cryptic and mysterious game, but at least you can understand a little bit more about what happened to the world and why it’s such a hostile place. Set many years prior to the events in Lordran, you’re sent to the land of Oolacile to witness some historical characters and events related to the ever sinister Abyss.

One of the new bosses, Artorias himself.

Of course, the most important thing about Dark Souls is its near perfect combat system and it obviously hasn’t changed, but you’ll have access to some cool new spells, weapons, and armor, and that’s never a bad thing. Some of them have new move sets that make for interesting new mechanics, but they’re mostly for show. I believe this is a design decision in order not to unbalance the game and its multiplayer. Even though Dark Souls has some awesome multiplayer features, the main focus of the game still is a PvE setting, and to quench that thirst, the game offers several new types of enemies for you to slay (or be slain by). One of the strongest features of this DLC are its bosse; all of them are a lot more difficult and interesting than the original ones and will certainly make you feel incredible when defeated, that is until you’re killed over and over by the next one.

Another great addition to Dark Souls are the new PvP arenas, a more direct way to find others to play against, and most importantly, a new free-for-all deathmatch that is really fun. I had some issues connecting to players here, but I’m not sure if its due the fact that not that many people are playing it overall, or because of the lack of available players in my region. Still, it is a significant new aspect of the game. The only bad thing is you still can’t directly connect to a friend; one thing I was really hoping they’d come around.

There are no major flaws, but unfortunately, the sum of them slightly decreased my initial excitement about AotA. First and foremost, I wasn’t too keen on the updates made with the new patch, mostly because they really messed up some builds I had, but hey, at least they fixed some exploits that were really annoying when playing low level PvP. The biggest problem I had with this DLC is the fact that it was too short and it all came to an end kind of abruptly. Please note that I’m the kind of player that leaves no stone unturned. Obviously this wouldn’t be an issue, if it wasn’t for the fact it costed $15. For this price, I really expected more meaty content, comparing to what some other games offer for that price. I was also disappointed that one particular frame-rate issue present in the original game wasn’t fixed and it also made its appearance here, which is a shame.

Apparently, forests need gardeners, too. Evil ones.

Overall Artorias of the Abyss is a great addition to Dark Souls, and if you’re a fan, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t delve right back into the game to experience it. However, if you’re just looking for something new to play or maybe to get some closure on the story, you might want to hold on a bit and wait for a price drop. Regardless of your choice, it is certainly good to be back playing one of the best games available out there.

[review pros=”New reasons to play Dark Souls
New content all around
Epic boss fights
Enhanced PvP options” cons=”Short new journey
Expensive for the content offered
Framerate drops here and there” score=75]