Bandai Namco
April 1, 2014 1:10 PM EDT

I’m starting to worry about Dark Souls 2. It’s turning out to be pretty easy compared to my sojourns with both its predecessors. Too easy. And I’m definitely not a great player, so don’t read that as me boasting. I’m not. Chances are you’re better. I’m just thorough, and as I noted yesterday, playing the game on its own terms by clearing each area before moving on.

That put me into the mid-30s, level-wise, by the time I squared off with the first boss (think Ent and you’re close), one of four majors I’m supposed to tangle with over the course of the game. But man, what a drag. I went in expecting to croak at least once. Death is required reading in this game, the way you’re expected to learn how to grapple with a problem, the presumption being that each problem should be unique, as well as uniquely difficult. But it turned out to be the easiest, lamest encounter I’ve yet had in a Souls game.

That’s more than a little troublesome, as would this likely April Fools’ joke be — about From Software preparing a patch to lower the game’s difficulty by folding in a new effigy — were it true. The hypothetical effigy would reduce the amount of stamina you consume, eliminate the gradual half-health penalty that occurs when you’re undead (or “Hollowed”) and make enemies easier to dispatch. But joke-maker GameSpot attributes a quote about the effigy to Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki…who wasn’t directly involved with Dark Souls 2, and I can’t find the quote on the linked patch page, nor does the effigy appear in the patch notes.

The Souls games aren’t for casual players, of course — another reason to flag this story as suspect. Even if you sheared off more of the difficulty and made the game as hack-and-slash rote as Diablo III tends to be much of the time, it’s still too visually esoteric, stat-riddled and convoluted, interface-wise, to lure (much less hold) a casual player’s attention.

That leaves mainstreamers and enthusiasts, but are they complaining? Do any of you find the game too difficult? Would you want a difficulty reduction option? Are you playing the game on its terms, or just rushing through the areas, fast as you can?

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