Monday, July 10, 2017

First Impressions: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin (PC)

Presently, I have 12 hours clocked in in Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin using two characters, the first being a warrior that I have two hours with and the second is a sorcerer who has about nine and-a-half.  Yeah, I know that does not add up, but something about that might come up in a bit.

First off, this game is gorgeous in a way that a game from 2014 (2015 for the Scholar of the First Sin DLC) can be, even Conklederp commented about how well done the visuals and opening cinematic were.

The eyes, faces, and even hands and fingers are expertly animated.

And you know, the game started out to be pretty fun.  I created a warrior, and after about two hours, decided that my hand-to-hand combat skills were not up to snuff, so I created a sorcerer so that I could have rechargeable ranged attacks while also learning the geographical layout of the game as well as the the patterns of the various new enemies.  Things were going well-ish, I was dying on occasion, but not so much that I was on the verge of rage quitting.  Then the game froze.  Sort of.

My Companion for Some Time.
This was one of those freezes that causes the game to stop moving, but all of the sounds and music (when there is music in a Dark Souls game) could still be heard going on in the background.  Thinking that this was just, one of those things, I Ctrl-Alt-Dlt'd my way out, and restarted the game.  That next session lasted a few minutes before the same thing happened.  I then decided to do the "Verify Integrity of Game Files" thinking that maybe that might be a quick fix.  Then I could not get the game to start.  When I clicked the Play Game button, I was greeted with the "Preparing to launch window, which would disappear for a few seconds, then reappear before doing this nonstop until I was able to catch the window and click the X.  It was also at this same time that I noticed that Steam's store page was slow to the point of 0.3fps, or at least that is what it felt like to me.

It is at this point, that I should also mention that my computer meets, at least, the minnimum requirements as stated on the Dark Souls II Steam page.  Just in case someone out there is yelling at me for even trying to play a game on my laptop with sub-par settings and specs.  Moving on though.

After restarting Steam in Offline mode, I gave the game a try and it booted up smoothly, although I was told that there was no internet connection, so any connectivity with the Dark Souls II servers could not be made so any online functionality would be, in essence be disabled, which was perfectly fine with me.  I played for a bit, but then restarted Steam in Online mode, and left to go to work.

Thinking that the problem was now fixed, how exactly I could not possibly tell you, I started the game again the next day and was able to play about 30 minutes before the game froze on me again.  This is basically where I am currently at with Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin.  I have uninstalled the game and reinstalled it to no effect.  I have managed to play an additional two hours since I first started writing this article, with one of those hours being completely uninterrupted, but then my entire computer crashed giving me the Blue Screen explanation that "nvlddmkm.sys" failed to do something so my computer shut down and restarted.  I have since looked up what I could about Nvidia's graphics drivers apparently not getting along with DSII, although my issue does not seem to be the common "crash at start" or the "white screen crash" that I have read a lot on in the last week.

Before I decide to go deleting drivers and files then reinstalling said drivers while making changes/additions using the command prompt, which at least one site had as a fix to Nvidia drivers causing games to crash, I tried the game at low graphical settings, thinking that maybe DSII was causing my computer to run hot and then shutting that whole thing down, but this morning (Sunday July 9th), my computer still froze twice after playing for no more than 10 minutes each time.  I have doubly made sure that my drivers are all up to date, and even using the Nvidia's GeForce Experience client just to make sure; which is interesting because it tells me that I can run the game at fairly high, but not the highest, graphical settings.

The last thing I tried was to go back to having Steam in Offline Mode since my issues with even starting the game seemed to have come about during Steam's Summer Sale while their store was under heavy traffic.  That game lasted five minutes, which was just enough time for me to fight my first boss and die and upon running back to the same area for a second attempt, the game froze.

I now feel like I find myself at a crossroads.  Do I give up for the time being until I acquire a more robust computer and, thankfully for cloud saves, pick up where I left off?  Do I try and "fix" my laptop and run the risk of doing something that cause irreparable harm?  As much as I do not want to admit defeat at the moment, I feel that I am leaning towards putting the game on hold until a later date, be that date be associated with a new computer, or a patch that is easily implemented with 100% success rate.

This really is not really how I wanted to spend my First Impressions with a game that I had been looking forward to playing for a while, but thems the beans, as I think no one ever says.


Much pretty, such wow was I expecting to have.

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