After losing days to just navigating
Lordran, I understood the switch to more linear pathways in Dark Souls 2
. Still, I missed getting truly lost in the first game's open world. It was a labyrinthine mess that coiled in on itself in the most confusing ways, and it added another layer to an already oppressive game. The world itself was against you in Dark Souls
, and it magnified those feelings of dread, challenge and, eventually, satisfaction.
It's great to see Crown of the Sunken King, the first Dark Souls 2
DLC expansion, is closer to the first game's mazey madness, albeit in a more conscise form. Its rocky inclines and crumbling chambers don't so much twist and turn as gently lead you astray, and the interconnections are more foreshadowed. It makes sense for the DLC's scope; it takes five hours to find and defeat the final boss, and that's even if you lose your way a few times.
All the same, in its stone-cold heart of hearts, Sunken King is just more Dark Souls 2,
albeit inevitably tougher. There are a few new enemies - some total bastards - while others are more reworked and re-skinned, but generally the higher difficulty comes from placement and numbers.