Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss (DLC)
Dark Souls found its success in a niche crowd of hardcore gamers; if you aren’t aware, Dark Souls is an insanely difficult game with exceptionally punishing gameplay and a minimalist plotline, making for a raw experience that not many can really get their head around and fully enjoy. But those that do pass that barrier… well, for them it’s considered one of the best gaming experiences this generation. And Artorias of the Abyss builds on that foundation by bringing new areas to explore, items to wield and enemies to kill you over and over. But can a new slab of really content recreate the magic of the original game?
What do I get and why do I want it?
Artorias of the Abyss isn’t built directly into the existing game, but rather delivers a few new areas which are accessed through a time-traversing gateway of sorts. When you enter the new area, you’re taken back in time a few hundred years to a time when the world wasn’t in such a state.
The content is filled with new enemies, and a handful of new bosses to test your might against. New combatants include maliciously designed scarecrows wielding pitchforks and shears, as well as humongous stone giants which like most foes in the game, can utterly annihilate you if you’re not careful. I really liked the look and style of the new enemies and even friendly NPCs. There are a couple of new merchants, that fans will recognize from previously seen artwork and through subtle reference in the main game, but I won’t ruin the surprises for you.
The new bosses are the main attraction though, with Artorias looking and moving superbly, with some very nice animations and move to go along with his eerie atmosphere. Manus, the Father of the Abyss also proves highly challenging and presents a very unique character design that fits right into most of the games more intimidating enemies.
There is quite a bit of new armour to find, some of which I really liked, as they mostly carry very individual looks about them. There are some new items such as talking stones which you can use to complement online friends or foes, and a few new weapons. There didn’t seem like much in the way of worthwhile weaponry for a high level character, but what’s here is decent enough and carries with it their own stories.
There is also now an arena which you can visit to take on some other players in Deathmatch modes. This is opposed to simply invading another player and attempting to ruin his day by slaying him in his own world. You can play with up to 3 others, in 1v1, 2v2 or free-for-all, with no danger of losing your souls or humanity. This is a real test of character strength, so good luck!
All up, there is anywhere between 3-10 hours gameplay here, depending on how good you and your character are. I played through with a friend in just over 3 hours, beating each boss and snatching up every piece of armour, which goes to show it may not be tailor made to high level characters.
How much is it?
The new content can be downloaded for 1200 MSP on Xbox 360, or on the PS3 for £10.20/€14.40/$15. Alternatively, the content – which was already available in the PC Prepare To Die Edition on the PC – can now be purchased along with the main game on 360 and PS3 for a neat price which easily makes it worthwhile if you don’t already own Dark Souls.
- Large, unique new areas to explore
- Awesome NPC/Boss designs
- PvP mechanics are welcome
- Another Dark Souls fix!
- Steep price for DLC
- Too easy for high levels
Conclusion – is it worth it?
If you’re a Dark Souls fan and have been looking for another reason to revisit the challenging game world, then look no further because Artorias of the Abyss is likely the only new content you’ll ever see for the game. The new material is wonderfully designed and executed, with the only real drawback being that it carries a fairly hefty price tag. If you can look past that though, you won’t be disappointed with the awesome new content that From Software have lovingly delivered us. Now, where’s that Kings Field sequel?