Recently, I’ve analyzed the most recent batch of Dark Souls II screenshots released by Namco Bandai and I’ve concluded that the upcoming game will have inferior graphics, effects and detail quality. To prove this statement isn’t just an opinion, I decided to create a proper comparison between Dark Souls and Dark Souls II visuals. Note that all the following images presented weren’t edited or improved in any way.

Comparison I: Environment

The first comparison mainly features two environmental scenarios and the difference between the two games is evident. While Dark Souls II presents a flat and poor detailed scene with barely any shadowing, Dark Souls exposes neat effects, refined frame details and proper lightning/shadowing. The characters presented also display huge differentiations. In Dark Souls screenshot, it’s possible to see all the little details in the character’s clothes, hair and accessories. However, in Dark Souls II the same cannot be done, the character lacks quality everywhere, for example the plate boots look like hard leather instead.

ds comp enviroment

Comparison II: Daylight Fight

For the second comparison I decided to pick two daylight combat images from both games and the contrast is abysmal. Once again, Dark Souls II presents a humble scene with blurry shadows, poor detail, no effects and a rusty quality. The ground looks more like 2D, the stones are completely smooth and uniform and the grass around has nearly no detail. The characters are no different, only the shield has a decent level of quality. Now, if you take a look at Dark Souls screenshot the characters are properly polished, every material is well refined and nothing looks flat. The advanced and dynamic lightning/shadowing system is quite noticeable too since it makes the whole scene look more realistic and natural.

DS comp daylight

Comparison III: Dungeon Fight

Dungeons and indoors locations are probably the most appealing scenes in Dark Souls II, since sunlight effects are inexistent, which means the rendering complexity is inferior. This comparison is not as harsh as the others; however there are still some differences. Dark Souls II clearly stands behind Dark Souls in terms of definition, detail and lightning effects. But in my opinion, the second game becomes graphically more equilibrated in this environment simply because the contrast is less perceptible.

ds comp dungeon fight

Comparison IV: Elite Monster Fight

Finally, the last appreciation features boss fights and sadly, Dark Souls II graphics are much inferior compared to the first game. First of all, the boss is extremely blurry, flat and undeveloped, there are absolutely no effects and the only way you get to know it’s a boss it’s due to its giant size and supposedly special weapon. In Dark Souls, the boss actually has a proper aura – it’s well shaped, finely detailed with several special and lighting effects. All these visual features crate an accurate sense of virtual reality, which intensifies immersion and engagement.

ds comp fight

What would players prefer – a humble, flat and poor detailed game or a realistic, refined and high quality one? I’m not sure why the second game is getting inferior graphics than Dark Souls but it’s quite worrisome and disappointing since it’s a clear sign of regression. Evolution is a standard rule in video games and it’s rare to see a new game with worse graphics than its own predecessor. Dark Souls II will be released on March, which means better graphics won’t be worth hoping for.


  1. LMFAO! Dude before you write an article you should probably check the images you use, for starters, both the images of dungeon fighting are both Dark Souls 2 images and the so called boss fight image for Dark Souls 2 isn’t a boss fight, we’ve seen multiple images of this huge knight with maul suggesting he is an enemy type.
    Also since you are comparing graphics you obviously were not in the Network Test which did have superior lighting and graphics compared to its predecessor. Next time check your facks before you right a biased article.

    • *facts, my bad spelled to fast to notice my mistake.
      Anways another thing I want to point out about this article is that your first point can be chucked out the window as well, you are comparing a night scene with a day scene, of course you aren’t going to be able to tell differences in clothes because it’s freaking dark. Then you try to compare details in hair design when the guy in Dark Souls 2 image is wearing a hood? Come on man, at least try to put effort into the article.

    • Thanks for your comment. I analyzed many screenshots and I gathered the ones more alike. I couldn’t find any decent day screenshots for DS2, therefore the night scene shot. As for the bosses, it’s irrelevant tot he comparison, normal monsters or bosses, the quality is still inferior.

  2. This article is nothing but biased garbage. Like the other comment left here, I too noticed that the dungeon fight images both come from Dark Souls II. Also, if you didn’t notice, Dark Souls is a 100% completed game. Meanwhile, most, if not all, of these images of Dark Souls II are from an older build of the game. Therefore, its obvious that they won’t be as good. The game wasn’t finished. Also, how can you expect Dark Souls II on the consoles to be all that much better anyway? The PC version this time -will- have better graphics. So amusingly dismissible article. You do, however, get a B for writing style. It works well. F for effort though.

  3. Oh please, there are quite a few good day shots, you just wanted to create something bias to be a troll. I agree with Jim. The more I read it the more it leads me to think this is a troll article to just get people talking. You also didn’t seem to answer why you used two shots from Dark Souls 2 images in the dungeon section of the article yet claim one is Dark Souls, shows me you don’t know what you are talking about and again a troll article.

  4. Have to agree that you should have done your research on the images used because they were pretty awful choices you chose for dark souls 2. The dungeons image you list for DkS1 is definitely from DkS2 because i played Dark Souls 1 many times and i never saw a dungeon that looked like that or that enemy type, which looks completely new nor was it from the DLC cause i played that.
    Sorry Marta while you attempted to make a decent article you choose terrible images which ruined the credibility of the article you wanted to create not to mention using images of an out of date version of DkS2, E for effort at least :P

  5. It’s quite interesting, this is the only article talking about THAT particular subject.
    I remember the very first returns from “journalists” when the game was revealed : they said the visuals look like the cinematic, almost.
    It’s clear now that they were completely wrong.
    I think you are wrong nevertheless, the graphics from what I have seen will remain at the same level as Dark Souls, slightly improved :
    The environment are still cheap in term of details, polygons and texture quality.
    The characters are as detailed as in Dark souls 1, cheap for characters, good for armors.
    The only differences will be in animations and lighting / post-process which will increase the overall visual quality, concealing the poorness of the environment details.
    And I think Dark souls 2 is just a Dark Souls 1.5, a transition to make us wait and not forget, as they probably are working on the real Dark souls 2 ( whatever they’ll call it ), which I suppose will be Demon’s souls 2. After all, there can’t be other reason why Dark Souls’s dad is not at the wheel here.

  6. I think one would know better than to write an article about which game people would prefer, when one of the games hasn’t even been released yet. And also making sure not to use two screens from the same game when comparing two games in a category. You’re bashing the game on something that, at the end, isn’t as important as the substance of the game. There are loads of games out there with amazing graphics that aren’t very good. Baldur’s Gate has terrible graphics, but it’s one of the greatest games of all time. I understand that we would like better graphics as a bonus, but true gamers know better than to take a game superficially. Also, it’s not that the dev’s *can’t* make the game better looking, it’s that the PS3 & X360 can’t handle much more. In the end, I disagree with this article, as I as well as several journalists agree that the game looks great. I say to you, Marta, let’s wait for the PC version to roll around. We know how notorious modders are for improving PC game visuals. Then this argument will be totally irrelevant.

  7. Sorry, but this article is rubbish. You’re describing something completely different than in the pictures and you don’t even mention which platform have the pictures been captured from.

    Then you say “Now, if you take a look at Dark Souls screenshot the characters are properly polished, every material is well refined and nothing looks flat.”

    You’re comparing two completely different sets of clothes and both lighting conditions are also completely different. And “nothing looks flat”? Seriously? Did you at least look at the floor?