Dark Souls 2 has no tutorial.
As I waited for Dark Souls 2’s eventual release, I dreamed about that amazing tutorial I was sure to come. People of the Internet, I am disappoint.
The difference between Demons Souls and Dark Souls is most evident in their opening moments. The massive world of Dark Souls throws it’s Chosen Undead into a prison, and facilitates their escape. The player is instantly pitted against the massive Abyssal Demon with nothing but a broken sword. With a bit of exploration(and perhaps a few deaths) you’ll find a hidden doorway out of the room. You’re given a proper weapon and shield, taught how to fight through messages and a few hollows, and sent back into the Boss Room with more knowledge than you had before. Bosses in Dark Souls were powerful creatures, but with a bit of practice and ingenuity, you could face these challenges. If the challenge was too great, go get some experience somewhere else in he world.
On the other hand, Demons Souls introduces you to a bleak world of zombies and men driven crazy by the all powerful Demons who’ve taken over the land. The tutorial is simple, leaving the player to discover by walking down the path, learning the controls through experimentation or the messages upon the floor. At the end of the tutorial, the game throws you against the Demon Vanguard. A massive creature. The boss room is small and cramped, complete with pillars to hide behind. Not that hiding helps any, as the demon simply smashes through such puny obstacles, killing you instantly. If by some stroke of luck or skill you defeat the boss, you’re killed anyways. A massive Dragon will spew fire into the room.
It doesn’t end there! Demons Souls will then take away half of your health bar, a solid 50%! The tutorial stats you at full Health, and the game seems easy enough. But after the forced death, you’re trapped at 50% for the entire first level. Thrown into Boletaria, you ,must make your way through a massive level full of monsters, traps, and deadly falls. At the end, you’re pitted against your first proper boss, the Phalanx. It is only after defeating him that you obtain the ability to level up, and spend any souls you earned along the way.
It took me a long while to get past the Boletarian Palace. The level itself is easy, but it takes one mistake on your part to screw it all up, starting back at the Arcstone to redo all that hard work. Mastering Boletarian Palace is the first step in beating Demons Souls, only then are you ready for the rest of the cruel cruel game.
Dark Souls 2’s Tutorial? It’s a couple messages and obviously placed Hollows. It’s designed to teach the controls, and nothing more. Fog gates line several caves as you pass by, entering them teaches you a bit about the controls. You’re given no reward or meaning to completing the tutorial, and many players accidently skip it. The path just points you straight to the exit, with nothing in the way. No tutorial boss to introduce you to Boss fights, something Dark Souls 2 is HEAVILY invested in with their improved A.I. and amazing fight design. Each boss in Dark Souls 2 tests the player in some way, yet nothing present right at the start? No little taste at the joy ahead? Worse off, the Emerald Herald is nearly invisible. She neither stands at the Bonfire, awaiting your arrival, or looks suspiciously important like the ever popular Maiden in Black. She stands off to the side, green as the grass around her. Dark Souls and Demons Souls didn’t tell you what to do, they cleverly lead you towards the information you needed.
There are a lot of things Dark Souls 2 has done great in. Bosses, Torches, Visual Design, Combat improvements. But the Tutorial? It’s a lazy piece of crap, they could have done so much better.