Demon’s Souls and its spiritual successor Dark Souls are renowned for their punishing difficulty curve, but their classic approaches to learning core mechanics are not the only appeal. Check out the concept art for Dark Souls II in the gallery above to see what I mean.

Video games have long since mastered the “high fantasy” setting. The Elder Scrolls, Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age are a few recent examples that should bring images of their mastery at work. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and its aesthetic are still being felt to this day, which is what makes these Dark Souls games so refreshing.

Dark Fantasy is not simply slapping copious amounts of blood on your characters’ faces and calling it edgy. There is an extra level of creepy design found in these games which channels a far more disturbing look at human imagination.

Corpses, Hell, shadowy dragons, and outrageous ships trapped in the clouds. These are haunting images no other video game team has been able to come close to comparing to.

Still not quite sure what to make of that ridiculous maid outfit, though. That looks really out of place.

Dark Souls II will be appearing at E3 this year, and a banner recently spotted claims it will be available for purchase next March on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. The Director of the first two games, Hidetaka Miyazaki, will be overseeing the game as a supervisor.

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