Dark Souls II

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dark Souls II Game Poster Image
Despite loads of fantasy violence, this tough RPG impresses.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Much of the gameplay involves traveling across dungeons and war-torn lands to fight against fantasy-like enemies, such as skeletons, demons, ghosts, and giant creatures. Even though the enemies are supposedly evil, you're doing a lot of violent killing in this game (and absorbing the souls of the fallen), so it doesn't offer a very positive message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

In the fictional realm of Drangleic, you play as an undead fighter who battles a wide variety of enemies. Although you're supposed to be fighting against evil forces -- zombies, skeletons, ghouls, giant rats, and other creatures -- you're a killing machine in this bloody game and out to devour their souls. Therefore, the Dark Souls II protagonist is not a good role model. 

Ease of Play

As with its predecessor, Dark Souls II is a notoriously difficult game to play. Gamers should expect to perish multiple times throughout the adventure. The controls aren't too complicated, but the gameplay is challenging due to smart enemy creatures.

Violence

Although not quite as bloody and gory as the Mature-rated Dark Souls, this Teen-rated sequel is still quite violent. Using a number of weapons -- swords, knives, and bows and arrows -- your undead hero kills thousands of creatures who cry out in pain, splash some blood, and fall to their deaths. Some cut-scene sequences also are violent and include, for example, a giant beheaded snake, a giant pool of blood, and a boss creature made up of hundreds of dead bodies.

Sex

One of the female creatures in the game partially shows her breasts, although hair somewhat covers her chest.

Language

The game has some moderate profanity including words such as "bastard," "damn," "hell," and "p---k."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dark Souls II isn't quite as gory as its predecessor, but it still focuses heavily on fantasy combat against a variety of creatures using all manner of deadly weapons. Set in the treacherous kingdom of Drangleic, the game has some blood and a little gore, plus a few potentially disturbing scenes, including a giant serpent holding its own severed head and an enemy comprising hundreds of human corpses. Dark Souls II also features some partial nudity, moderate profanity, and unmonitored online communication with other players. Older teens should appreciate the dark story line and fresh challenges, whereas younger kids may be overwhelmed by the unsettling imagery. 

User Reviews

Adult Written byPvt. Sokolva May 22, 2014

Overcoming Difficulty through strategy, practice, and perserverance

This game has the ability to change the way you think and play about games in general. It challenges its players on a strategic and thoughtful level. Though i... Continue reading
Adult Written bykyle s. May 1, 2014

A challenging fun experience

As the first in the dark souls series it is very challenging but all in all it doesnt have alot of blood less than the last one, it has no talking apart from cu... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byWAR567 March 20, 2014
Teen, 15 years old Written bykniroid April 5, 2014

Violence does not affect the quality of games!

Firstly, I just wanna say that violence of video games almost never affects their quality, and I really wish that common sense would understand this. Movies lik... Continue reading

What's it about?

DARK SOULS II is the highly anticipated sequel to one of the most notoriously difficult role-playing games (RPGs) in recent memory. This Japanese-made adventure definitely includes some of the series' hallmarks: third-person action, unrelenting enemies, eerie labyrinths to explore, and epic boss battles. But there's lots of fresh content too: a new undead hero, an updated story line, advanced graphics, and both cooperative and competitive multiplayer support. Along with many weapons to master, Dark Souls II includes lots of customization options, unlockable moves, and various soul-sucking skills to use against enemy ghouls, zombies, giant rats, and the like.

Is it any good?

With its dark atmosphere, thrilling combat, and memorable enemies, Dark Souls II ends up being just as gratifying as its predecessor. Rather than being kept on a short leash, this time you're rewarded for exploring all the spooky environments found throughout the land of Drangleic (picking up secrets and collectibles along the way), while the intense combat rewards you with weapon and armor upgrades, new skills, and other assorted goodies. Also, if you found the first game a bit too hard, you'll be pleased that Dark Souls II goes easier on you than its infamous forerunner, making for a less frustrating experience overall. (Note: Although it's rated Teen by the ESRB, there's still a lot of stuff here that may be too disturbing for younger players.) However, if you enjoy fantasy combat with great pacing, an enjoyably dark plot, and ultra-creepy boss fighters, Dark Souls II is worth your time and money.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Is fantasy violence such as this tame by today's standards -- enough to net a Teen rather than a Mature rating? As Common Sense Media lists here, other role-playing games (RPGs) have considerably less violence, blood, and gore.

Game details

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