Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: FromSoftware, Bandai Namco Entertainment
Dark Souls 3 (III), possibly the last in its series, is a welcome addition to franchise. Without giving anything away, it’s set in the mysterious Kingdom of Lothric and your job (the Ashen One) is to prevent the coming apocalypse and the only way to do that is to end the Lords of Cinder, or in other words, kill them. That’s essentially the crux of the game, but with anyone’s Dark Souls experience, the story unravels with additional branches and surprises and it’s largely refreshing to play a game where you discover the story yourself. But more often than not, I seem to forget the story or what mission I’m currently on because of how heavily gripping and intense the fights are, so you just want to kill these dudes and move on.
It’s also a good thing to note that this is the last Souls game in the franchise so while it is unfortunate that there won’t be more Dark Souls games, I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing what they come up with in the future! Besides, I’m sure we don’t want it to become another Call of Duty franchise to milk as much money out of it as possible, I know I don’t.
Character creation isn’t so bad
The character creation has always been something I haven’t been impressed by because I’ve seen better. Also you don’t really get to see your character’s face much anyway so it’s all pointless in the grand scheme of things but having to customize your character is just something to enhance the RPG experience. While it’s certainly improved over the previous games with more in-depth customization, let’s just say it’s not the best. However this is soon quickly forgotten by the time you start playing and get to mow down the demented foes waiting for you.
How does the game play?
Well it plays as anyone familiar with the Souls series expects and in regards to the combat, there doesn’t seem much of a difference compared to the previous Souls games, however Dark Souls III takes the good things from the prequels, including Bloodborne and puts it all in one game. Again, these are things that bug me when I’m playing sequels, what does it add or what does it improve? Now I admit I’ve played Dark Souls I, but skipped Dark Souls II (even I don’t know why!) but I can tell you that there is indeed an improvement over the combat and feel of movement in Dark Souls III. And that’s partly why I’ve enjoyed this game. It feels much smoother to play, like Bloodborne does and I’ve noticed that it is easier than Bloodborne and previous Souls games for the first few bosses (especially the first boss), or it might just be that I’m getting used to the style of gameplay and learning attack patterns alongside not wanting to die as much could contribute to that. However saying that, the difficulty ramps up from the first to the second boss quite significantly and it does get progressively more difficult as you play on. A good bit of advice is to be on guard at all times!
Can’t help but notice it’s vast similarities to Bloodborne in regards to combat and the designs of buildings and creatures but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing because I favour the combat far more than in Dark Souls 1 because it doesn’t feel anywhere near as stiff. This isn’t meant to be a comparison post to Bloodborne but it’s really not that difficult to pick up on the similarities once you’ve seen or played Bloodborne. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from a bad game, in fact it’s a hell of a game, but it would have been nicer to see more unique designs. It might just be me and I’m being too critical but it’s how I felt while playing Dark Souls III.
Dark Souls III is a timing game. Hit the roll button too slow and you’ll get more than you bargained for, time a strike wrong and you’ll miss or get hit before you’re even halfway into your attack. Once you’ve nailed down the timings, you won’t lose any battle (unless your equipment is so weak that it won’t do much damage and you’ll eventually make a mistake). If you don’t panic, you’ll play much better and you’ll get hit less and the important thing is to stay calm, even after getting hit or losing your position. It happens. When you get hit, you’ll know next time how not to get hit. Repetition, repetition, repetition.
There is a leveling system yes, but I don’t find leveling up or upgrading weapons nearly as rewarding as when I finally beat a challenging boss because it’s the satisfaction of besting the beasts after spending a grueling amount of time on them. It’s so much that even the heap of Souls and items that you get from the bosses feel like added bonuses. That’s what makes Dark Souls as a franchise, especially Dark Souls III, so god damn great. Physical rewards simply feel like afterthoughts, even though a big reward is always granted in the form of Souls and and item or two.
With Dark Souls III, Focus Points have returned (from Demon’s Souls) and they’re used to execute Weapon Arts or special moves that each weapon type has. A slash weapon will do a move that relates to a powerful slash, although these moves will consume a fair amount of FP and can only be recovered by using Ashen Estus Flasks or at a bonfire. Weapon Arts is 100% optional and only serve as another form of combat and I feel that they aren’t worth doing because of how much FP is consumed and I prefer the extra Estus Flasks since the number of flasks you have are shared between HP and FP flasks.
Armour can no longer be reinforced but as a result, there are a lot more choices of armour to choose from, which I think is a great change simply because you won’t be stuck with one set of armour after upgrading it and newly obtained armour can used instantly. Therefore the focus of reinforcements are solely on weapons, which is good that it’s still around because it gives you a sense of progression. A progression of your weapon(s) becoming stronger as you find the materials to do so.
A constant sense of danger
Having to look around each and every corner (hidden creatures) slowly is what a Dark Souls (and Bloodborne) can only do. It’s a different kind of fear. A fear that you don’t want your character to die and lose your hard earned Souls and this is what I felt, a sense of danger no matter where I ventured, even in safe places I felt uneasy because of the what’s the come past such safe havens. You expect something fierce and ferocious but you don’t know what exactly to expect. And this is that fear. Sometimes I’d completely turn the other way to find a different path in order to avoid dark paths. But sometimes you have to be brave and stick it out. I’m just going to stick this quote in below since it explains Dark Souls in 7 words. And yes, it’s a Star Wars quote.
“Death is a natural part of life.” – Master Yoda
Much too easy with another player
Is this a worthy game?
Hell yeah it’s a worth game. Dark Souls III is filled with suspense, thrilling action and terrifying creatures that make you question how sane the designers are. Everything from the sad soundtracks to the grim environments make you feel like your fighting madness itself and that it’s believable and you have a clear purpose. Spending an hour will certainly turn into three quite easily because there’s so much to do, and an hour may not be enough to progress much! The game constantly made me question if there’s any sort of good in this world, which is what a great game does. It makes you think about the game more in-depth and to connect with it on a more personal or emotional level. I highly recommend picking this up because the experience you’ll have with it is damn worth every penny.
What’s your take on the latest Dark Souls III game? Enjoying it so far or are you loathing it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!