Dark Souls 3 Review
Hundreds of hours spent drudging through the first two installments of Dark Souls led me to a false belief of feeling prepared for the third installment. Known for its unique creatures as well as the high difficulty curve, Dark Souls 3 brings an even more gruesome world to battle through. Traversing the cataclysmic land known as Lothric you find yourself battling a curse known as the Hollowing that has already corrupted most of the living world. This medieval era world has been plunged into darkness as grotesque creatures and cursed humans lurk around every corner, each with the capacity to kill you faster than you can say “Crap I didn’t see that guy there!” Each new area you journey through blesses you with a captivating landscape to immerse you further into Lothric, from eerie swamps to stunning mountain ranges. Aside from an onslaught of horrifying new creatures and insanely stressful boss fights we are also given several new features that help make each character you create unique.
Dark Souls is known to be one of the most painfully difficult games to endure mainly due to its boss and creature designs. Each boss and creature is equipped with an arsenal of techniques and abilities with the sole purpose of overwhelming players and making them feel insignificant in this world. A boss may appear slow-moving and predictable, but as the battle goes on they may change-up tactics entirely and use a whole new set of skills. Whoever said change is good obviously never played Dark Souls. Compared to its predecessors Dark Souls 3 increases the difficulty of its bosses dramatically as you venture further and further. Bosses do not just straight up slaughter you, they make sure to do it with style. When it comes to visual designs and animations FromSoftware, the developers of Dark Souls 3, did not cut any corners as each boss is given captivating move sets, with some being given terrifying cut scenes that only intimidate you further. Every battle felt like a final showdown in some highly acclaimed action/adventure film as you are constantly changing tactics and using all of the terrain around you to battle these epic bosses. If anything makes this game hard it is the ruthlessness of the bosses for certain.
Even though the intensity of boss encounters and other creatures create a very hostile and difficult aspect of this game, they are not the only parts of the game that truly grasp you. Lothric is a stunning land in which its beautiful landscape can kill you. You traverse through this daunting kingdom where everything including the trees and ground beneath you, seek to claim your soul as their own. From poisonous bogs to precarious cliffs, no spot in Lothric is safe to stand for long. With that said this bloodthirsty land still gives off a serene and almost calming feel in certain areas as you are blessed with visually pleasing landscapes that help cleanse you of any insanity and rage you may have been filled with from your countless deaths. Each zone truly feels more grand than the last which leaves you realizing how small you truly are and that this journey you are on feels like the world is against you. I myself was always in a constant state of anxiety as I explored such sinister domains, constantly in fear of what is lurking around each corner while being distracted by the magnificent sunset in the distance. The setting’s expansive, playable world truly makes you feel the magnitude and importance of your adventure as you seek to claim the throne of Lord of Cinder.
Similar to previous installments, Dark Souls 3 also provides a very versatile combat system with some added variations. Focus points are introduced in this installment in which the player is now able to have more of a “mana pool” rather than charges on each of their spells. They also give all weapons a skill or ability which previously was only available with special weapons found off bosses or in secret areas. With so many ways to fight it makes your character appear truly personalized as your fighting style can have many more variations than in previous installments. This helps balance out the player versus player aspect as users can have many more ways to fight rather than just sorcery or miracle builds. FromSoftware also helped addressed issues when it came to online play in general, as they fully implemented a password system that makes playing with friends easier and much less stressful. Esthetic changes like those definitely make a difference, but the one major difference I felt they is their increased story telling. Formerly Dark Souls had an underlying story the game never truly delved into. You basically start off being told “Here is the bad guy ruling us all, now go kill him and his friends.” This time around you get more of a reasoning behind the rulers of Lothric: why it is you are doing what you are doing, and why your character even exists. These may all sound like little additions and fixes but comparing it to the other installments, Dark Souls 3 feels entirely different.
If you loved the previous Dark Souls installments then you will love Dark Souls 3. New bosses, a new world to explore, increased difficulty, and even better story telling help make this journey more homeric as you fight your way to be the new Lord of Cinder. Several new features were added in Dark Souls 3 make it feel completely like its own but recurring zones and characters brought a lot of nostalgia as you struggle through such a hell-driven land. The difficulty does not make it a good choice for casual gamers, but don’t let that deter you. Other players are there to help along with guides on forums and videos on YouTube help you battle through. FromSoftware aimed to raise the bar when it came to this series and they made it higher than the heavens, but that leaves you battling through the hell of Lothric below. Good luck to all those that play and do remember to take a break here and there when playing, for this game will become addicting and in turn stress you out.
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