DSII takes all the great elements of DS (and Legends of Aranna) that made it such a classic game and streamlines them into a very slick package indeed.
Improvements abound with character development. Choose your own skills – as a ranger there are several options you can take depending on wether you want to specialize with the bow/crossbow or thrown weapons. Very well thought out!
Gameplay, although similar to DS, has had a bit of an overhaul and the result is a much smoother experience. Besides the main quest, there are a broad range of interesting sub-quests that will see you journeying the length and breadth of the country to accomplish. And it's worth exploring any little nook and cranny you come across – not only for the rewards but for the sheer pleasure of the range of diverse locations.
Don't underestimate the power of your pets! I got through most of the game with just myself (combat mage) and 3 pets – and I can tell you that they can help you survive some very, very sticky situations. The attention to gameplay is evident here as well because your pets receive bonuses depending on what you feed them. Love it!
Weapons, armour, spells, etc are brilliant and keep you playing and playing in order to upskill your characters so you can make use of higher level stuff. And you can enchant certain items too.
There's stacks more I can go on about – the replayablility factor for example is quite high – but stop reading this review, buy the game, and see for yourself. As for me, I'm off again ( as a ranger this time ) with my more traditional party of a fighter and a nature mage to kick some ass......er, no, I didn't mean you Pookie (my mule).