Dark Souls II Design Works Review (Book)on February 1, 2016 by Oscar TK
As we mentioned when Dark Souls II Design Works was announced, we loved the first one. It looked like Dark Souls II Design Works would be bigger and better than the first one. And that was correct!
While in some aspects the Dark Souls II game felt a little bit like a retread of the first game, the game’s design does build and improve on the original in some ways, and its own uniqueness really does shine through with the artwork included in this book.
The Dark Souls II Design Works takes you through World Design, Boss Design, Enemy Design, NPC Design, and Misc. Designs; before then going through designs for each of Dark Souls II‘s DLC in turn. It caps it off with an extensive Designer Interview, and a look at some real-life objects created for the game.
Gothic, menacing, alien, colossal — terrifyingly beautiful. The usual Dark Souls hallmarks are present with the designs for Dark Souls II. But Dark Souls II feels a little bigger, a little more spectacular and sweeping. Dark Souls is full of iconic areas, monuments, and vistas — but so too is Dark Souls II. Dark Souls II often has a touch of the ethereal to it, showcased wonderfully in the concept art and images. From the Lakeside starting area, to the solemn and imposing Cathedral of Blue, an area which, according to the designer notes that scatter the book, was originally “meant to be nothing more than a sea-based route connecting different areas of the map” before it became what it is now.
The Dark Souls II Design Works is scattered with fantastic nuggets of information like the above. The end of the book, a chunky interview with some of the designers of the games, provides an awful lot of exciting insight into the design process of the game, and how they built upon Miyazaki’s legacy, who was working on Bloodborne during Dark Souls II‘s development.
Dark Souls II Design Works is a wonderful celebration of the game. Lovingly put together and assembled, it provides a concrete and extensive look at the design process behind one of the most visually striking and design intensive game series of our generation. Every Dark Souls fan should want this on their shelf, as a reminder of the strange adventure they once set out on, and to revisit their memories a page at a time.