Dark Souls II: Crown of the Old Iron King DLC review - a divine view

£7.99; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC; Namco Bandai

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The Independent Tech

Continuing a possibly unintended theme of the of the Crowns trilogy, the ancient structures of the new locale Brume Tower make Dark Souls II’s Drangleic appear evermore beautiful, but decidedly less hospitable. Rising from the depths of the Iron Keep’s fiery lava pits, the crumbling strongholds within Crown of the Old Iron King are linked by gargantuan rusted chains, the first of which acts as an ad-hoc bridge to a solitary throne covered in white ash masquerading as a delicate lining of snow. While the view is divine, I did find myself wondering which poor tormented soul drew up the plans for this place.

Read more: Dark Souls II: Crown of the Sunken King review - a handful of new, tougher enemies

While that particular deranged architect is disappointingly absent from the DLC, there is plenty of lore for Dark Souls cryptographers to work through here with charred, frozen corpses and ethereal murmurs hinting at a storied history for the titular Old Iron King.

In contrast to the first Crowns entry there is very little environmental interaction, instead the focus here is on the combat with hulking Axe Demons and engorged crawling abominations that have a habit of self-destructing offering an increased test of mettle and perseverance.

With sheer cliffs and cloaked pits mirroring the area’s hardy challenge, despite the relative brevity of the new content compared to its predecessor, there are few places within Drangleic that can equal the shock of battle and visual awe found within Brume Tower’s historied chambers.

Now two chapters in to the DLC series however, there is really no excuse for the boss inclusions thus far. Whether it’s the dual-wielding Fume Knight who quietly succumbs to the tried, tested strategy of ‘dodge-hit-dodge’ ad nauseam or the vengeful return of a particularly frustrating beastie from the bowels of the Iron Keep in a spangly new colour scheme, here’s hoping that the final crown is guarded by more imaginative final adversaries to close out the Dark Souls II saga.