Top Critic Average
When approaching the final boss in "Ivory King," I discovered a bonfire so lit up with summoning signs that I couldn't find the floor. Players wanted to fight this boss on repeat—one hello right after the other, defeating sadism with genuine excitement and camaraderie.
To be clear, if you only buy one of the three DLC, then purchase this one. It's the strongest of the three, and actually might be better designed than the game proper.
Now that the story of Dark Souls II has been fully told, the theme of persistence is key. I think back to my initial review, where those brief flashes of light and life offered hope against overwhelming, almost oppressive odds and darkness. Dark Souls II: Crown of the Ivory King concludes the adventure, the player has earned the sense of hope that he/ she is left behind with. At least until you begin the adventure anew and Dark Souls II ups the difficulty and prepares to make you die yet again.
Crown of the Ivory King is exhausting, but at the end of it all, the predominant emotion swelling inside of us was sadness. We wanted more: one more boss fight, one more tucked-away room – not because the DLC is lacking, but because we didn't want to leave. This may be the last we hear of Dark Souls II, but it went out with a bang.
Crown of the Ivory King's snow-swept ramparts are an exemplary example of intricate, looping level design. This third and final release wraps up the most consistent set of DLC I've played since Fallout: New Vegas.
Deception's always been an implicit facet of Dark Souls' architecture. With Crown of the Ivory King, it steps out of the shadows and transitions to a palpable theme. Paired with Crown of the Sunken King and Crown of the Old Iron King, it's enough to wish From Software could extend Dark Souls II's life with interminable rounds of additional content.
Dark Souls II: Crown of the Ivory King is arguably the best of the Lost Crown Trilogy, but it's not without its faults. The main complaint revolves around the conclusion not having a big pay off, despite sinking ten to fifteen hours into the entire set of quests.
If you've been playing through the Dark Souls 2 DLC up to this point, Ivory King offers plenty of reasons to see the last of what FromSoftware has to offer. It features the same focus on new experiences and terrifying boss fights as the past two Crown installments, tucked into a setting that's atypical for a Souls game. Once you tie the bow on Dark Souls 2, the only thing left to do is start counting down the days until Bloodborne.
Dark Souls II ends in an icy bang with the Crown of the Ivory King DLC. Despite a few weaknesses, the scenario in the frozen city of Eleum Loyce is fun, challenging, and thoroughly rewarding.
For those that have yet to venture into Drangleic, this updated release might just be the best opportunity to jump in. Meanwhile, fans that have already conquered Drangleic may find it a convenient excuse to tackle it all once again.