Dark Souls 2 was first released for the PlayStation 3 on March 11 in 2014, months after the launch of the PlayStation 4 system (which was made available in North America on the 15th of November in 2013). During this transitional period, a lot of gamers decided not to buy the videogame in hopes of an eventual PS4 port.
Souls fans will be getting their wish a little over a year later as Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin is going to come out for Sony’s current-gen console on April 7. However, the spiritual successor to the series, Bloodborne, is also come out for the same system a few weeks earlier on the 24th of March. So, if you only have enough to purchase one game, which RPG is the better purchase? Let’s examine a few factors.
From Software is making several graphical improvements for Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin thanks to the power of the PlayStation 4. The game will look much better when compared to the PS3 version with the higher 1080p resolution in addition to adding a new cinematic filter and lighting effects. Most importantly, the frame rate has been increased to 60 frames per second, making the action on screen appear smoother and more responsive. With that said, Dark Souls 2 was still built with the last-generation console in mind. So don’t expect it to blow you away visually.
On the other hand, Bloodborne was built from the ground up for the PlayStation 4. As a result, it is a big step up when compared to Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin in lighting, textures, animations and other visual elements. It also helps that the new I.P. has its own unique Victorian setting. The only real drawback is that the PS4 exclusive is going to run at 30 frames per second. If you are looking for a game that can only be done on the PS4, then Bloodborne will be the better choice in this case.
Instead of making any major changes, From Software decided to go with smaller refinements in Dark Souls 2. In terms of combat, the enemies are more aggressive (and will chase you further in the PlayStation 4 version) while other adjustments made dodging and back stabbing more difficult compared to the first Dark Souls. With that said, the sequel should feel quite familiar to fans of the series who already played the previous two installments.
The jump in combat to Bloodborne is a lot more significant. From Software opted to speed up the combat, forcing players to act much faster. Shields are also much less effective than before. In its place, you can use a shotgun as a way to stun enemies and for crowd control. Moreover, the new I.P. will reward the player who defeats enemies by healing a portion of his or her health bar.
The multiplayer modes should be quite similar between the two games as both share many of the same features. The PS4 version of Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin increases the maximum amount of online players to six while Bloodborne will reportedly support up five at a time.
One of the things you may want to consider is the community of both games. You will most likely run into more experience players in Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin as the videogame has already been out for a year. With Bloodborne, you should be on an even playing field, especially if you are planning to buy the game at launch.
Next, let’s take a look at the gameplay length of both games. From Software previously stated that Bloodborne is going to be longer than Demon’s Souls, which took most players an average of 35 hours to complete. One wild card is the Chalice Dungeon, which is randomly generated and should add plenty of value.
Dark Souls 2 is also longer than Demon’s Souls, as it usually takes around 50 hours to beat for most gamers. Scholar of the First Sin also includes the three excellent expansions that came out after the release of the original version. The DLC packs are called Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King and Crown of the Ivory King. So there is more than enough content for you to dig into with the remastered version.
Regardless of which game you decide to buy, you should get plenty of value in the two RPGs. This is especially true if you are planning to replay the games using the new game plus mode.
One last tidbit you may want to consider is Hidetaki Miyazaki. One of the rising stars of the game development community, he was responsible for directing Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. For Dark Souls 2, he took a supervisor role while spending the rest of his time directing Bloodborne.
A lot of the hardcore fans of the series felt that Dark Souls 2 was not as good as Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls even though it was still an excellent game in its own right. To them, the new PS4 exclusive IP seems more like a true sequel because it will be directed by Hidetaki Miyazaki.
Naturally, if you have the cash, both Bloodborne and Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin are worth the price of admission. If you can only buy one, however, we suggest going with Bloodborne as it will provide a big jump for the series in both graphics and gameplay. Not to mention that, being a remastered release, the price tag for Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will most likely fall a lot faster as opposed to a completely new game.
As we mentioned above, Bloodborne is coming out first with a release date set for March 24. Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin is releasing on April 7. You can preorder the two RPGs by From Software with the following Amazon links: Bloodborne and Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin.