Dark Souls II is slated to arrive this fall, but since its announcement at the 2012 Video Game Awards we haven’t seen any running gameplay of the title. UNTIL NOW. IGN was fortunate enough to get to speak with the game director for Dark Souls II, and he walks us through this twelve minutes of gameplay.

From what we see here, it looks like the basics of the Demon’s Souls/Dark Souls gameplay are retained. The use of weapons, shields, and acrobatics expend stamina, and felling foes nets you juicy souls that you’ll use to level up with or buy items.

A new edition to your character’s repertoire is the torch. In some areas that are pitch black, where your natural glowing aura doesn’t seem to project much, you’ll be able to light a torch at a nearby fire to take with you to illuminate your surroundings. Of course, this means that either your shield or your weapon are put away while you hold up your torch and creep into the darkness, but that second or so of seeing an enemy before it gets the jump on you could be worth it.

Also shown was a character deflecting projectiles with deftly timed attacks. A large monster decided to throw GIANT axes at the player character, and his only defense seemed to be to knock them away. Unfortunately, the character’s luck ran out, and he got a face-ful of giant axe. But let it be known that the option exists.

In another room, the character uses a special stone to fill the mouth of a face carved into a rock, and the room lights up in a dim, red glow, revealing that it is, in fact, a long hallway. The director mentioned that this stone(s) can be used in special instances and using them has different outcomes. There are multiple places to use these stones, so it’s up to the player to choose where they might be best utilized. Further on in the hallway, a cyclops behind a barred door stands menacingly. The director takes the time to point out another new feature, where certain monsters may not attack unless provoked. Taking out his bow, the character shoots the cyclops in the face. Not taking too kindly to that, the monster slams himself into the wall, breaks his cage and rushes towards the character. It is explained that some monsters will be able to break through walls like this, so it’s not always safe to just get away through a door they are too large to fit through.

Drakes on a bridge

The director notes that they have made the game even more gorgeous than the previous iterations, and that certainly is true of an area looking across a huge chasm to a castle surrounded by flying drakes. A thin, rickety, wooden bridge is your only passage to the castle, and in this demo, as soon as the character began to cross, a wyvern flies down, lands on the bridge, and breaks it, causing the all too familiar “YOU DIED” to pop up on the screen as the knight falls to his death.

Speaking of deaths, apparently there will be many more death animations in Dark Souls II. The designers are hoping that these new ways of dying will help bring an even greater sense of accomplishment to the player when they finally find victory over a tough area.

From the Dark Souls II website, the current release date for the game is December 31st, 2013. This’ll surely be an interesting way to ring in the new year.