Now I'm going to do this a little bit differently. I'm not going to review the entire "Dark Souls II" again because that's pretty redundant. I'll be honest and say that while "Scholar Of The First Sin" does add some nice touches to the game, its pretty much the same game overall and it doesn't affect my previous rating of the game. "Dark Souls II" is still a damn amazing game and nothing can change that. Instead, what I'll do is expand upon the game beyond the vanilla "Dark Souls II" experience and give you my 2 cents on those things. Then, I'll rate the "Dark Souls II" experience as a whole.

I will say this straight up: I do think that the 3 crown DLCs should have been sold as one, single pack, not not 3 separate DLCs, that's quite a sham. I do like the fact that "Scholar Of The First Sin" was a free download though, because it would be pretty BS if I had to pay for a different ending and a few lines from a random new NPC. Still, while the DLCs were shammy, they were the absolute best things to have ever happened to "Dark Souls II". If you've ever thought that "Dark Souls II" was missing some of that "Souls" flair, then these 3 excellent pieces of DLC will most definitely give you your fill of death, torture, punishment and brilliance.

Scholar Of The First Sin

"Scholar Of The First Sin" is the free expansion for the game...and it also spawned a re-release for the 5th generation consoles. I for one, do not agree about the re-release, but fortunately, FromSoft had the brains to release it as free DLC for those who already owned the game...good move by them (at least they didn't pull a Capcom). Basically it puts Aldia into the game, giving him a few scenario where he communicates with the player, and gives the game a much needed alternate ending (which may I add, was pretty awesome). It also changes the game a LITTLE bit here and there on the technical side, like how they changed the Bonfire in Undead Crypt, or allowed for additional co-op for some bosses. But overall, not a massive change to the game.

The changes that "Scholar Of The First Sin" brought to the game...aren't too much honestly. STILL, it IS a free DLC, so nobody can complain about it. The best thing about it is the alternate ending, the extra fight with Aldia was just the icing on top of the cake. It opens up some extra insight about the lore in the game, which wasn't done as well as in the first game. This was probably the most insignificant of things to be brought to the table, but since it was meant as a re-release, I guess most of us will let it slide.

Crown Of The Sunken King

Now let's talk about the good stuff: the first of the trio of DLCs for "Dark Souls II". We're talking about none other than the "Crown Of The Sunken King". This one takes you to a brand new area behind the Primal Bonfire after you defeated The Rotten, and from there, its new grounds. Personally, this is my least favorite of the 3 DLC segments, but that doesn't mean its bad. It may be my least favorite, but its still a very well done piece of DLC. This one focuses a lot on very maze-like levels and a little bit of problem solving, something very unique to the game and is rather well done here.

For this one you'll be traversing across the ruins of the Sunken City of Shulva. The entire city is filled with buildings with complex architecture, rooms and buildings intertwine with one another. There are a lot of dead ends, a lot of falls, and a lot of ways to get stuck or trapped. There are tons of switches scattered all around, and these move the very terrain as the buildings start to move around. As you traverse these shifting terrain you are confronted by generic looking soldier enemies that try to gank you with a standard melee + bowman formation. Rather uninspired, but the terrain makes encounters against them rather challenging. There are also bugs that can destroy your equipment if you let them get too close, and these poison totems that constantly spit poison at you and cannot be destroyed.

Shulva is just straight out smart when it comes to level design, you then move to the Dragon Sanctum, which is just a straight out labyrinth/maze level with traps, narrow corridors and plenty of enemy flanks. Enemy variety is a lot more varied here, throwing in invulnerable ghost like enemies that can only be damaged once you destroy their bodies, or priestesses that shoot our projectiles to hamper your journey. There are also more switches that can change the interior of the sanctum, leading you to places you've never been to. Here, there are also Dragons, Drakeblood Knights, and a bunch of nasty invaders that prove a major challenge (F**k you Jester Thomas). At the very end you are challenged by a couple of bosses, one who's pretty epic, the other...not so much.

Then there's the cave of the dead, which is just a congested tunnel with a butt-load of enemies, I'm quite sure FromSoft just got lazy and decided to cheese the players by front loading a small area with an insane amount of enemies just to make it look hard. Running through this area to get to the boss is totally possible and highly recommended. At the end is one of my favorite bosses in the game, the 3 stooges. I won't spoil too much, but its an amazing fight that I enjoyed every second of.

Crown Of The Old Iron King

The Crown of The Old Iron King DLC is my favorite of the 3 DLCs, for simple reasons. The boss fights are absolutely epic and ridiculous to play against. I LOVE bosses which have the odds stacked against you at ALL TIMES, but don't seem too ridiculously cheap. The map itself doesn't have too much of an annoying mechanic, its mostly just an upwards tower with corridors and once again, congested areas filled with tons of enemies. Soldiers tend to ambush you a lot in this map, and the Ashen Idols make them super OP. Other than that, this map isn't very special in terms of the environment, but there's a lot more to it.

The Brume Tower is filled to the brim with generic soldier enemies that do a ton of damage and gank the living shit out of you. When it comes to enemy variety, this DLC suffers the most. Its just knights after knights after knights, big knights, small knights, ghost knights with long bows that can peck at you from a name it, this DLC has it. Nothing much really, there's also this big ass golem dude with fire spitting out of its shoulder, that's probably the most interesting enemy in the area. The tower starts off unpowered, with all the elevators and lights being non-functional, but when you start the big fire and everything starts moving, the fun begins.

Dealing with the Ashen Idols probably makes the map a lot easier as it makes all enemies around it really strong. By that aspect, From flooded most areas with Ashen Idols with enemies, making them really hard to destroy. They also added these little barrel dudes that explode when they come into contact with fire. You can play these guys to your favor and kill enemies without actually doing anything: its optional, but it makes for some fun puzzle solving. Also, when the entire tower actually opens up to you, you can explore a lot more areas, where more invader NPCs and enemies await you (F**k you too. Baldren). However, the map itself is very easy to traverse, and you can very easily make it to the boss of the map, The Fume Knight, which is one of the most ridiculous, challenging, and satisfying bosses I've fought in a video game. A TRUE test of your skill for sure, whether you play from afar or up close, this is one boss you need to look out for.

After that the map opens up even more. You get to experience the PAINFUL, PAINFUL area that's known as the Iron Passage, which is basically another Cave Of The Dead. Tight, congested areas with tons and tons of annoying enemies, as well as these f**king retarded caster dudes that ALWAYS cast that 1 hex that slows you to a crawl if you try to run past them....this area leads you to the Blue Smelter Demon, which is, you guessed it, a palette swap boss of the original Smelter Demon. about lazy, granted that this guy does magic damage instead of fire. moves slower, and has additional traits to his attacks, its still the same boss you've fought before. You also get to experience the memory of the old iron king...where another epic boss awaits. This one isn't as hard as Fume Knight, but is every bit as satisfying.

Crown Of The Ivory King

Now this is easily the sleeper DLC of the trio. "Crown Of The Ivory King", while my 2nd choice for the 3 DLCs, is an excellent journey nonetheless. Out of the 3 DLCs, Eleum Loyce is easily my favorite area in the ENTIRE game, better than any map in the original "Dark Souls II", and better than any DLC map. The layout, atmosphere and design of the entire area is INCREDIBLE, making it one of the most fun maps to traverse. However, like in previous DLCs, there are flaws in this one. While the enemy variety is a lot better in this one, there are still a lot of those vanilla soldier enemies that have been present in previous DLCs. PLUS, more importantly, Frigid Outskirts. This is the LAZIEST MAP every made in a "Souls" game, period. F**k Frigid Outskirts.

Eleum Loyce is a beautiful frozen city, and it shows us 2 sides of it. It starts off peaceful and barren, with the entire map blurred by a blizzard. While the map is littered with a variety of different monsters, you'll see the Maidens in white praying on the ground, completely ignoring you. They may be passive now, but later on, they'll become aggressive towards you. The city is massive, with twists, turns and large, open areas everywhere. You'll be hit up by a lot of ganks as enemies tend to hide behind the obstacles. The whole map feels dead and lifeless...until you light up the fire, get the eye and clear up the Blizzard.

When the blizzard clears up you can go to challenge the first boss of this map, which is a freaking huge ass invisible tiger. While that was a great fight, expect the next ones to be quite poorly done. After that, you speak with the queen, then the entire map opens up to you. The maidens in white will backstab you now, frost golems will materialize to kick your ass. You'll need to go around to look for frozen Loyce Knights in areas that used to be closed off to you. After you gather enough knights, you get to battle against a...rather annoying boss in the very end. Not the best way to conclude this amazing piece of DLC.

However, the most insulting thing about "Crown of The Ivory King", is the Frigid Outskirts, a lazy, LAZY map (shame on you From) that's probably one of the most frustrating things to ever happen to a "Souls" game. Its just a blank map with small buildings scattered all around, with a raging blizzard that blinds you for 99%, as you walk around aimlessly getting lost. Then you get attacked by OP as f**k unicorns that will come at you RELENTLESSLY. This MASSIVE area has NO BONFIRES and you'll be guaranteed to get lost unless you look for a guide. To add insult to injury, the boss of Frigid Outskirts is a recycled tiger boss from before...just that instead of one, you fight 2. Yeah....lazy, lazy, lazy....

Final Verdict

With "Scholar Of The First Sin" and all the 3 crown DLCs, the game does expand to become a more fulfilled experience. Overall I think the score doesn't matter: if you enjoy "Dark Souls II", do yourself a favor and get the 3 DLCs, they are fantastic and add to an already fantastic game. Overall, the complete experience of "Dark Souls II" is just like it was before: a great adventure game worthy of "Souls" fans.