Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin is an expansive and incredibly punishing game at times. There are mechanics in this one that are different than any of the other Souls Series (such as a health pool that shrinks with each death until you use humanity) and can take a little while to adjust to. However it is one of the most open worlds in the Dark Souls series, allowing you to go anywhere on the map and not pick a specific pathway. A fun experience, but approach it as you would a new experience or you may have a bad time
Scholar of the First Sin also includes the three DLC for Dark Souls 2, though to access them, you will need to find certain items within the game. These DLC can be equally fun and punishing (it feels like some of the areas are meant to be played with other people). The three DLC are all fun and add more to the Dark Souls universe through visiting more about the abyss.
The story within this game is told through the few friendly NPCs that you meet along your journey and the many items that you collect throughout the game. You are given an opening cutscene that explains why you are in Drangleic, and then you must figure out the story for yourself. The amount you learn is based off the number of interactions and items you find through out your journey and all of the environments you travel through on the way.
The game won't hold your hand and explain why things are happening, or why the world is in it's current state. This is a pleasant departure from standard storytelling where everything is described in great detail to you.
The gameplay in Scholar of the First Sin can be very punishing if you are not careful. The game requires trial and error as you fight your way through bosses and enemies, learning their attacks and movements. The leveling system can be quite confusing (though all the info is there, it can just take a long time to learn) so it can help to use a guide if you are feeling under powered or overwhelmed.
The biggest advantage to Dark Souls 2 is that you are not on a scripted path. You can explore the world in any direction you want, and you aren't stopped (except by the enemies you meet along the way). So there are no locked doors or gates that are stopping you from going where you want to on the map.
If you have played other games in the Souls Series, you may find some new gameplay changes difficult (such as the decreasing health bar, attacks going where the character is aimed by your controller, slower heals) but with a little practice and time, these don't end up being a big deal as you make your way further through the game.
The visuals in this game are fantastic, and I would find myself at times stopping to look around (sometimes followed by my immediate death), but the views were worth looking at. The environments you travel through all feel unique and different, and there are many areas to explore through. The weapons and armor sets are also particularly good in this game.
I recommend this game to anyone one who is a fan of the Dark Souls Series, or any players that are just starting out. As with any of the games, they can be punishing at first, but the big thing is not to give up and keep trying out new things. Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin has some additional bosses compared to that of the original Dark Souls, and there are other enemies put throughout the game. If you haven't tried out this version I highly recommend it.