Dark Souls II

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

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 19 reviews

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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.


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.


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


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

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byColin W. November 14, 2017

An amazing brain teaser for avid gamer kids!

Dark Souls 2 may seem like a violent bloodbath to parents who are unfamiliar with video games. But, this is surely not the case. Dark Souls 2 and others in the... Continue reading
Adult Written byGalahad D. November 27, 2016

A modern fantasy masterpiece.

I got this game for my son a couple years ago, and every time I stopped by his room to watch him play it, I was amazed at the beautiful world, the rich lore, an... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 17, 2014

Unsettling game lives up to it's title, not for the inpersistant

This game is entitled Dark Souls because it is not a lighthearted game. Everything from the environment to the cut scenes to even the plot line is dark. The dif... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous September 26, 2019

An excellent game

Not as excellent as the first two (if you include DeS) games in the Souls/Borne series, but still really good. I like it more than Dark Souls, but I think Dark... 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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