Dark Souls II

Common Sense Media says

Despite loads of fantasy violence, this tough RPG impresses.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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."

Privacy & safety

Dark Souls II can be played online with other human players, and gamers can freely talk with one another. In other words, players might be exposed to profanity or other inappropriate or hateful comments, as there's no one monitoring these conversations.

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. 

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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, there are other role-playing games (RPGs) with considerably less violence, blood, and gore.

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Price:$49.99 to $59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Namco Bandai
Release date:March 11, 2014
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:T for Blood and Gore, Mild Language, Partial Nudity, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Dark Souls II was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 9 years old February 9, 2015
AGE
9
QUALITY
 
Good game no blood or gore no cussing there is some nudity but it's okay
Teen, 15 years old Written bySaad1Khan November 17, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Like it's previous parts

I rated Dark Souls 15 and this game also deserves that rating because it is lil bit less gory than it's previous part.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written bypitatron October 7, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

DIFFICULT RPG THAT ISNT AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL

This is the sequel to the dark souls which came out in 2011. Known for their incredible difficulty dark souls 2 does not disappoint. This is a game about an unknown person who has been cursed and has all his memories of his past lost when he went to the land of Drangleic in an attempt to possibly remove the curse. It is up to you as the player to go through endless cycles of death and fight the 4 great ones to retrieve their souls and seek the king of Drangliec. This game is quite difficult so I do not recommend it for anyone under 13, although content wise it is quite tame compared to the original. The original has dark, twisted, almost disturbing monsters with loads of teeth and demonic, grotesque shapes. However the sequel is a little more forgiving in terms of difficulty and most of its monsters consist of dragons and knights, making this a significantly less creepy experience. The violence is similar to the original except this time the blood has been toned down significantly. Small amounts of blood rarely visible, in fact its sometimes in question to me if there is actually any. The gore never extends further than cutting of a dragons tail. A boss that is half snake half woman carries her head around. Another boss is made of people melded together. There is no real nudity, however there is a boss that has a scorpions body and a womans body put together. However she is blue, her body in proportion to the scorpion part is quite small and her hair obscures any nudity (in fact I didnt even know she was topless the first time I played the game). There is a small amount of language. Including extremely small amounts of uses of b*stard, and a use of pr*ck. This game all in all is not for kids, but mainly because of its difficulty. If you are into tough action RPGs, liked the original or just want to try it out I highly encourage it
What other families should know
Too much violence

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