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Dark Souls 2 journal #6: I did it! – the final verdict

Tuesday, 6 May 2014 08:31 GMT By Dave Cook

Dark Souls 2 obsessive Dave Cook has finally finished From Software’s sequel and he’s formulated a final opinion that he’s sure at least five of you have been waiting for. It’s all been leading up to this.

dark_souls_2

This entry covers Dave’s progress up to level 167 and over 59 hours into the quest. He has now completed the game, but you can catch up with his previous journals here:

Here’s his final completion status:

Dark_souls_2_journal

Well, that was… easy?! Wait, what?

Yes it’s true. I managed to defeat the final boss in Dark Souls 2 on my first attempt with no summons or co-op buddy (I’m running an offline-only debug version anyway), and the ending left me feeling quite short-changed. I absolutely was not expecting to feel this way by the time those credits rolled.

Life has lost some of its lustre as a result, but let’s back up a bit first.

Dark_Souls_2_shrine_amana

The Deadliest Sing-A-Long Ever

When we last left my human punching-bag, he was standing outside the Shrine of Amana, a water-logged shit of a place where the mages just WON’T STOP CASTING HOMING SOUL ARROW. The big bold capital letters suggest irritation, by the way, because this place really gave me a headache the first time I entered its soggy pain-hole. What struck me initially was the fact this area has music, well, sort of.

I later found out that the softly sung words echoing throughout the lake were coming from the Milfanito sisters, a pair of siblings who keep singing despite all of the death and nasty shit going on around them. If you remember from my fifth journal entry, there’s a third sister caged up in Drangleic Castle who’s being guarded by a weird creature called the Embedded, and she can only be freed by defeating the Shrines boss, a giant monstrous frog-thing called the Demon of Song.

He’s easy too. Now, I’ve been saying that Dark Souls 2 is getting easy for a while now and that’s because – and I really hate to say this – it is. There’s no other way I can say this, and it pains me to do so, but the game started to get really simple around this point, and right up until the very end, I felt that the last truly challenging boss was the Smelter Demon. That’s not a good sign.

But of course, part of this ‘easy’ progression is due to my obsession with the first Dark Souls. Going into the sequel I knew exactly what sort of class I needed to beat certain enemies, how to spec my build properly, and how to read then react to attack patterns. I know this sort of suggests that beating Dark Souls games is more like a science than a show of true skill, but anyone who’s played these games knows that’s not true.

Dark Souls_2_final_stats

Behold my final character stats. You can tell I’m a man of little faith. HAHAHAHA!

But yeah, I just felt that where I was initially intimidated by the fact that enemies could become extinct after ten deaths each, this actually makes the game easier as you progress. For example, those mages in Shrine of Amana may be annoying sure, but there’s so little space between bonfires that I was able to kill the first wave of those guys, hit the bonfire to respawn them, and repeat the process until I never had to worry about them again.

People on the social feeds and the Dark Souls 2 wiki forum have been saying that this extinction makes farming crafting items difficult, except it really doesn’t. If you speak with Stone Trader Chloanne by Harvest Valley’s ‘Poison Pool’ bonfire until her dialogue runs out, she’ll relocate to Majula and sell an infinite number of large and regular Titanite Shards, along with finite amounts of every mineral in the game. You have to pay for them sure, but trust me, you won’t find souls hard to come by.

If you do run out of enemies and souls – you seriously won’t – you can burn an item called Bonfire Ascetic that will respawn nearby enemies and make them one New Game+ harder. By the end I had levelled named armour and boosted weapons thanks to Twinkling Titanite and Petrified Dragon Bones, along with an abundance of souls thanks to my Covetous Silver Serpent Ring+1, which gave me more souls per kill.

Put it this way, while the grind of travelling back and forth between the first game’s merchants in Anor Londo and Darkroot Forest is no longer an issue, I felt that From Software’s attempts to keep everything convenient by simplifying the unique weapon and crafting systems, as well as placing every merchant you need in one place, to be a welcome move at first. By the end, I felt like it was making things too easy. I’ll repeat at this point that I still thoroughly enjoyed Dark Souls 2. Seriously.

Woah this has been a big tangent. Sorry. So anyway, I’ll skip through Shrine of Amana because if you stick behind pillars, take the mages on slowly and in small numbers while avoiding the big ogre guy – you won’t miss him – then you’ll get through it with some patience. The Undead Crypt came after that, and that proved to be a touch more challenging, with a big chamber full of bells that, if you allow a Hollow to ring them, summon a gang of spirit warriors into the area that pile on top of you like some sort of rugby death-scrum.

Basically, you need to smash the warrior’s tombstones to stop their ghosts from spawning. Once they’re smashed those guys never come back, even if a Hollow manages to ring a bell. It’ll catch you off guard the first time I’m sure so because I love you guys, here’s a screen grab of me standing before the area in question. It’s down this hole, beyond a pair of big knights who use two shields as weapons. Prepare yourself, health-up and get ready for a fight:

Dark_souls_2_undead_crypt

The knights before this section are intimidating, but with good poise and a strong shield you can take them out. After clearing out the grave site down that hole I was able to lower a drawbridge that gave me a shortcut to the next boss, the notorious Velstadt. I’ll admit that this guy was a pain in the ass, and getting to him sees you fighting through wave after wave of big iron knights. Making them extinct isn’t really an option unless you have hours upon hours spare.

Velstadt’s weapon of choice is a bloody great hammer that can utterly smash through your stamina unless you have it levelled up to a suitable degree. As I said in previous entries, I knew from my time with Dark Souls that stamina is important, so I had it levelled higher than my health from the start of the sequel. Like many bosses, crushing this guy is a matter of memorising attack patterns and knowing when to retreat and recover.

After getting the sequence down I found the first half of this battle to be a breeze, but then he started using Hexes and dark magic around 50% health. He can absolutely destroy you with his ranged magic attacks, so the key here is to stay close. During the battle that finally saw Velstadt killed, he never used ranged shots on me once, purely because I stayed close and circled the bastard until he keeled over. It works, try it.

So with him out of the picture it was time to move on to Aldia’s Keep, but first, did someone say ‘cheating’?

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12 Comments

  1. JonFE

    How did you “overclock armour and weapons“?!? :)

    Joking aside, I’m 30 hours and less than half locations (according to the wiki list that I refuse to consult before finishing each location) in and I’m enjoying this enormously. Apparently my familiarity with the previous titles has dented the surprise element, but nevertheless it’s great!!!

    #1 11 months ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @JonFE Well, you can level unlevellable (not a word, I know) items using Twinkling Titanite and Petrified Dragon Bone :)

    Those that can’t be upgraded using regular Titanite etc.

    I agree, my familiarity with the past games was a factor that made it feel easier by comparison. I might NG+ if I find the time.

    Thanks for reading.

    #2 11 months ago
  3. a7md1990

    Good piece Dave. Keep up the good work ;) also keep an eye on “Project Beast” aka “Demon’s Souls 2″ :P

    #3 11 months ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @a7md1990 Thanks :D Oh trust me, I’ll be sniffing around that one a lot. Already excited!

    #4 11 months ago
  5. Game Hunter

    Congrats, Dave.I don’t know why but I don’t feel like continuing DS2 right now.haven’t played since being killed by The Lost Sinner a month ago.at that time I also searched for my DS 1 copy and played it again after 2 years.hell,I was playing a lot better since last time I played it 2 years ago and I even managed to kill Taurus Demon,the boss who made me give up on DS 1.and you’re right,DS2 is much more easier than DS1.From Software kept its promise of making DS2 more accessible. I couldn’t beat DS1′s second boss,but now I’m level 68 and killed 7 bosses until now.It was a wise choice shortening the distance between bonfires and bosses,cuz I rather fight a boss 10 times than fighting some stupid hollow soldiers 10 times.I remember I had to fight my way through 12 hollow soldiers in DS1 before reaching the bridge with that annoying red dragon on top of it.DS2 is hard,while being accessible to new players.anyway thanks for the journals,I enjoyed them a lot.

    #5 11 months ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @Game Hunter No, thank YOU for reading, seriously appreciate everyone who has stuck with this series, as it’s a franchise that’s very close to my heart :)

    #6 11 months ago
  7. Rosseu

    Grats Dave, my game time was close to that but I had tons of help and farmed souls in the memories. Beating this solo takes a lot of effort so I salute you! :p

    #7 11 months ago
  8. Dave Cook

    @Rosseu Thank you :) Yeah it was tough in parts, but I think my knowledge of previous games helped. Thanks for reading!

    #8 11 months ago
  9. Darkfield

    @Game Hunter Lost Sinner is actually quite easy you just need a shield with 100 Physical reduction and you’ll be fine.
    here’s a recording of the fight out of mi’own game: http://youtu.be/yzQCTvssTDE

    @Dave I have a confession to make, I can’t read these since I’m sure there variety of spoilers in there, but this doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate them, so I have bookmarked them for latter read. Keep it up man. :D

    #9 11 months ago
  10. Dave Cook

    @Darkfield Not a problem dude, they are spoiler heavy after all :D Hope your playthrough goes well!

    #10 11 months ago
  11. Game Hunter

    @Darkfield I didn’t say that I couldn’t beat it.I have the Drangleic shield which has 100 protection. It’s just that I’m near my finals and can’t get myself to play right now.

    @Dave no sir,if you didn’t write these journals,I wouldn’t even consider buying DS2 three days after launch.my previous plan was to pass on this game,because DS1 was too hard for me.your journals made me interested in the game.so kodus to you.I would drink an Estus Flask in your name!uhhhh…I’m in the real world godammit!why doesn’t this world has Estus Flasks?!

    #11 11 months ago
  12. VTchitcherine

    I haven’t finished it yet but it does seem to be a weaker title than Dark Souls, perhaps it is my experience from the first game but it seems so much less challenging and often redolent of a rushed production attempting to create dozens upon dozens of hours of content.

    The sublime interlocking creation of Lordran has been jettisoned for less design-intensive sprawl that feels more like a collection of instances, at times even physically contradictory, than a cohesive section of a larger world. Majula and the Doors of Pharros are beautiful… the Earthen Peak and Brightstone Cove look woeful. Other locations just feel generic like the Iron Keep.

    I remember being stunned by the Demon Ruins after ringing the second bell and marvelling at the scale of Lost Izalith only to be outdone by seeing Anor Londo… It just isn’t the same. I’m not even fanatical in my admiration unlike other fans, there was definite room for improvement in the first game, the last third of the game really lost steam severely for instance and yet playing the second has only made me like the first more in preference.

    Much like the disparate polish apportioned to areas, it just feels so much more inconsistent than Dark Souls. Only a few bosses feel as difficult as those in the original game and some don’t even really deserve to be called bosses. Certain player concessions are just stunningly obvious and necessary additions (a ‘help’ window to learn what stats do instead of searching a Wiki) and others just exacerbated ill-considered design like fast travel. Some sections are immaculately rendered and others have simplistic geometry with obviously tiling textures.

    It’s still a very engaging and enjoyable game yet it’s just not an unambiguous improvement upon Dark Souls and it should have been. Why should one expect any less? I just hope Project Beast has a PC release as well.

    #12 11 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection April update includes “more ranked playlists”

    The next content update for Halo: The Master Chief Collection will “address a variety of issues across the game,” according to 343 Industries, including specific improvements to ranking. New quit and betrayal penalties are also in the works as the development team prepares to roll out ranks to additional playlists. According to 343, the latest […]

  • Get Spec Ops: The Line for free through 2K Games sale on Humble Store

    A 2K Games sale is going on this weekend on the Humble Store with up to 83% off on select titles. Games on sale include Evolve, Bioshock, Civilization and other franchises. Plus, Spec Ops: The Line can be yours for free with the purchase of any -2K title on sale. To see the full list […]

  • Dota 2 The International 2015 tickets are sold out

    Tickets to Dota 2 The International 2015 are now sold out, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The tickets went on sale in two phases starting March 27. Phase one sold out in six minutes, and phase two sold out in four minutes. Each round of sales offered the same quantity of General Admission tickets priced at […]

  • Here’s what’s expected in Battlefield 4′s Weapon Crate DLC – video

    A new Battlefield 4 drop is on the horizon, and to give you an idea of what to expect, we have a video for you below featuring information on the Weapon Crate DLC. According to Battlefield expert Westie, players can expect five new weapons along with the return of the Gun Master game mode. The […]

  • Pillars of Eternity issues to be addressed in patch 1.03, expected next week

    Obsidian Entertainment plans to release a Pillars of Eternity patch next week to combat issues users have reported. Until the patch is released, the developers have posted workarounds for some of the most common issues. The issues reported span framerate drops, inability to launch the game unless in administrator mode, crashes on 32-bit machines, animal […]

  • Mortal Kombat X videos show Erron Black gameplay, Ermac fatalities, more

    Erron Black, the gunslinger which was outed for Mortal Kombat X in the achievements listing last week, was featured in the latest livestream from NetherRelam Studios yesterday evening. Along with gameplay, fatalities and variations for Black, the developer also provided a look at gameplay for: Ermac vs Mileena; Ermac’s brutality and fatality moves; Lui Kang […]

  • The Legend of Zelda Wii U: 2015 release not a “priority”, skipping E3

    The Legend of Zelda franchise producer Eiji Aonuma is featured in the latest video update on the status of The Legend of Zelda for Wii U, stating a 2015 release is no longer a “number one priority” for the team. While Aonuma never specifically says the game has been delayed into 2016, the announcement confirms […]

  • Destiny gameplay designer exits for Bethesda

    Destiny’s senior gameplay designer Josh Hamrick announced on Twitter overnight he would be leaving the company in a week’s time for Bethesda. Hamrick joined Bungie in 2009 after working two years at Midway Austin, where he created multiplayer maps, modified single-player levels, and other designer functions. He was in charge of fixing bug in code […]

  • What to expect from the Call of Duty Championship this weekend

    Just settling down to the Call of Duty Championship this weekend? Here’s a rundown of today’s matches and what else to expect over the next three days. The Call of Duty Championship is taking place in LA this weekend until Sunday, with 32 four-player teams battling it out for a prize pot of $1 million. […]

  • MLB 15 The Show video highlights improved graphics, updated grass patterns

    Sony has released a video for MLB 15 The Show which provides a look at graphical improvements made to the game. Along with the visual upgrade over MLB 14 The Show, the game contains new minor league stadiums, dynamic sun generated in real-time, and upgraded grass patterns which reflect each stadium’s unique look. MLB 15 […]

  • Valve to offer HTC Vive Developer Edition free to qualified developers

    Valve has said it will offer the HTC Vive Developer Edition for free to qualified developers in an effort to buoy projects before the tech launches commercially. Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios and The Room studio Fireproof Games are just some of the developers which already have a free Vive in-hand. According to Valve’s Doug […]

  • DriveClub gameplay video features MotorStorm’s off-road buggies

    Some gameplay footage of MotorStorm’s off-road buggies in DriveClub has surfaced. Pictures of the buggies were shown on the Japanese PlayStation Blog earlier this month, which considering the game was developed by Evolution Studios – which developed MotorStorm – this isn’t too much of a surprise. The buggies were first spotted by Videogamer, which pulled […]

  • Mortal Kombat X live-action TV spot features the track Chop Suey

    The TV sport for Mortal Kombat X has been released, and not only does it contain a “spontaneous fight circle” taking over an entire city, but it features the System of a Down track Chop Suey. Mortal Kombat X will be released on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One April 14. The […]

  • Bloodborne Forbidden Woods progression bug caused by multiplayer summon

    A progression bug in Bloodborne is in the works, according to Sony and From Software. The issue occurs when players activate a multiplayer session in the Forbidden Woods using the Sinister Resonant Bell or Small Resonant Bell. It also appears the Lunarium Key won’t appear because of the multiplayer bug, and without the key you […]

  • Yo-Kai Watch game franchise has sold over 7 million copies

    The Yo-Kai Watch IP has sold over 7 million copies, according to developer Level-5. The figure included both physical and digital download sales. Yo-Kai Watch 3 will be unveiled during Level-5 Vision 2015 next month. The first title is in the works for the west but is still without a release window. Thanks, Gematsu.

  • Bloodborne trademark returned to Sony after accidentally losing it

    In case you were worried or anything, Sony has once again obtained the Bloodborne trademark. Earlier this week it was revealed that Sony mistakenly abandoned the Bloodborne trademark along with four others registered with US Patent and Trademark Office: Guns Up!, Kill Strain; How Games Were Made to Sound, and No Heroes Allows: No Puzzles […]

  • GTA 5 PC official trailer coming next week, 15 new screenshots released

    New PC screenshots of GTA 5 have been released along with word of a new trailer coming on Monday. The screens below are from the PC version and you can view them in 4K glory over on Rockstar Newswire. The PC version of GTA 5 releases on April 14.

  • PSN real-time server status page launching in Europe soon

    PlayStation users in Europe will soon have its own a PSN Service Status Indicator. It was released earlier this month in North America. The indicator makes it easier to check whether PlayStation services are down or running as planned. This includes account management, PlayStation Now, the store, social services, etc. Sony told Eurogamer the service […]

  • Exclusivity contract prevents Bioware from revealing Dragon Age: Inquisition DLC release on PS4

    Bioware is unable to discuss when the Jaws of Hakkon DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition will arrive on platforms other than PC and Xbox One. According to various tweets from executive producer Mark Darrah, due to the exclusivity contract between EA and Microsoft, the studio is unable to announce a release date for PlayStation 3 […]

  • LEGO Batman 3 demo, Namco Museum, more added to North American eShop

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo for LEGO Batman 3, Namco Museum on Wii U Virtual Console, and various sales. Below is the full update. Nintendo eShop Dot Arcade – Wii U LEGO Ninjago – 3Ds LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Demo – Wii U Harvest Moon: The […]

  • Square Enix’s Easter Surprise bundle contains five mystery PC games

    Square Enix offering another mystery bundle to customers in the UK, which comes with five mystery PC games for £3.99. As before, customers will be unaware of the games they are purchasing in the mystery bundle, but the bundle contains triple-A titles worth £40 combined. One of Square’s previous mystery bundles contained Tomb Raider, Just […]

  • From Software’s PSone game Shadow Tower coming to PSN

    Shadow Tower, the first-person action-RPG developed for the original PlayStation by From Software, will be released on PlayStation Network. In the 1998 title, players took on the role of a mercenary who has returned home to the Holy Land of Zeptar to find the place has been sucked into the Underworld. He must use the […]

  • PlayStation TV gets price cut in the UK, now £44.99

    PlayStation TV has received a price cut in the UK. After several retailers started offering the console for less than the RRP of £84.99, users on DealSpwn began to wonder whether this is an official price cut, and not just regular deals or stock clearance. Sony later confirmed the new price of £44.99. “Starting from […]

  • Fast & Furious expansion for Forza Horizon 2 is now available, for free

    You can download Forza Horizon 2 expansion Fast & Furious starting right now. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious is available to download now through Xbox Live for Xbox One and Xbox 360. The expansion is standalone, so you don’t need to own Forza Horizon 2 to play it. It’s also free from now […]

  • Fire-based weapons come to PayDay 2 with the Butcher’s BBQ Pack

    The 20th DLC for PayDay 2, the Butcher’s BBQ Pack, is now available on Steam. The DLC will run you $4.99/€4.99 and features: Piglet Grenade Launcher, 12G Steakout Shotgun and Mk1 Flamethrower Molotov cocktails and incendiary ammo Four new masks, patterns, materials and achievements The Butcher’s BBQ Pack is another co-development between Overkill and Croatian […]

  • Lords of the Fallen developer offers Hideo Kojima a job

    Amid the current turmoil between Hideo Kojima and publisher Konami, one studio has offered the legendary designer a position. Lords of the Fallen developer Deck 13 took to Twitter to extend a job offer to Hideo Kojima. Dear Mr. @HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN In case you are currently searching, we have an open position as Head of Game […]

  • Destiny Xur update: should you buy MIDA Multi Tool?

    The question on every Destiny player’s lips today. And the answer, supplied by resident Destiny expert Paul Davies, is… Yes! We asked Paul whether or not he thought Xur’s Exotic weapon this week was worth the 23 Strange Coins. Here’s what he said: “It was already a great gun to own for PVP owing to […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 has an all-male cast to make it “more approachable”

    According to Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata, the main cast of the game is all-male because it makes the game “more approachable.” Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata spoke to Gamespot about the reason for his choice of making the core cast an all-male affair. “Speaking honestly, an all-male party feels almost more approachable […]

  • Hearthstone Blackrock Mountain is coming April 2

    Blizzard has given Hearthstone expansion Blackrock Mountain a solid release date. Hearthstone’s Blackrock Mountain adventure pack will be released April 2 in the Americas region, and April 3 in Europe, Korea, Taiwan, and China. Blackrock Depths is the first wing to be released, others will follow one week apart. Other than the 31 new cards, […]

  • Bloodborne: if you can’t load your save after installing firmware 2.50, this will help

    If you’re having issues loading your Bloodborne save after applying firmware update 2.50 to your PS4, this should help you out. Reddit user KBALLZZ encountered an issue after installing update 2.50 on his PlayStation 4. Bloodborne started reinstalling the day one patch again and when it was done he couldn’t continue his game or load […]

  • Use this code to get 10% off on PSN purchases

    Sony is offering a 10% discount coupon to anyone looking to buy games on PlayStation Store this weekend. Sony’s latest discount coupon code is here. You’ll receive 10% off your cart total when buying from the PSN Store. The offer is not valid on purchases made on PS Vita, PlayStation TV, PSP, or in-game stores. […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin upgrade path announced, system specs revealed

    Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin will offer returning customers a chance to upgrade at a discounted price. Those who already own Dark Souls 2 on Steam and are interested in picking up the Scholar of the First Sin edition will be happy to know that publisher Bandai Namco is offering them an […]

  • Bloodborne: this is what happens when you have 40 Insight

    Insight is one of the currencies in Bloodborne, but it’s also a mechanic that affects the gameplay. There are MASSIVE SPOILERS below, so turn back now or one of Bloodborne’s gameplay mechanics will be SPOILED for you. Just like Blood Echoes in Bloodborne, Insight is used to purchase certain items from vendors in the game. […]

  • Phase two of Xbox One April update brings voice messages, dedicated servers for party chat, more

    The second phase of the April update for Xbox One is now open to members of the Preview programme and and it looks like there are even more features in store. Phase one of Xbox One’s April firmware update started a few days ago with improvements to party chat and achievements notifications. Today, phase two […]

  • GTA 5′s graphical “downgrade” is a bug, will be fixed in upcoming patch

    As of patch 1.8 for GTA 5 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, a few graphical issues have cropped up leading some to believe there has been a stealth downgrade to the game’s overall graphics. Over the past couple of days, Reddit went nuts over a video showing what appears to be a downgrade to […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for March 27, 28 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    Xur: Agent of the Nine has arrived at The Tower in Destiny to rid you of your Strange Coins. Xur: Agent of the Nine has once again made it to Destiny’s Tower to sell you Exotic weapons and gear in exchange for Strange Coins and Motes of Light. For this weekend, Xur can be found […]

  • Destiny vault space upgrade will have enough room for every Exotic

    Destiny is finally getting the vault space upgrade players have been begging for almost since launch week. Destiny players can currently use vault space to store 20 pieces of amour, 20 weapons and 20 general item stacks. In the latest Bungle Weekly Update, the developer revealed that as of patch 1.1.2, due before House of […]

  • Half-Life 2: Update mod applies some sparkle to the original title

    Half-Life 2: Update will be available tomorrow, and thanks to the modding community, those who own the vanilla version of the game can apply a visual update to the 2004 title. The comparison video shows you the differences between the original version, and the version with Half-Life 2: Update applied. Here’s what the mod includes: […]

  • Neverwinter MMO can now be pre-downloaded on Xbox One

    You can now pre-download the free-to-play Neverwinter MMO on Xbox One. The game launches on March 31, but you will still need an Xbox Live Gold account to play it. Based on the Dungeons & Dragons franchise, the game can be downloaded from the Xbox Store.