Dark Souls III feels like the proper sequel to the first game
I loved the original Dark Souls, it is one of the most difficult games to master and completing it gave players some great bragging rights! FromSoftware is notorious for crafting especially hard games, like Demon Souls and Bloodborne. However, when Dark Souls II came out I wasn’t too impressed. I played it, I did like it but it included a lot of new features and “improvements” that I didn’t feel was necessary and somewhat damaged the experience. Perhaps this is partly because Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of the original Dark Souls, wasn’t part of its creation. Dark souls III feels like the proper sequel to the first game, it includes everything that is Dark souls in addition to a new great game and spectacular graphics.
Dark Souls III opens in the Cemetery of Ash, where you wake up as the Unkindled. We’ve always been an Undead, teetering on the verge of going hollow. But in Dark Souls III an important distinction is made – we’re Unkindled. Unlike the Chosen Undead, who went on to kill the gods, the Unkindled exist in a time where greatness can no longer be achieved. If you read the item description for the consumable Embers, you find out a bit more about the Unkindled’s predicament:
“No Unkindled can ever truly claim the embers that burn within a champion’s bosom which is precisely what makes their yearning for warmth so keen.”
The game includes its usual glowing scorch marks containing hints and leading the player in the right direction. The controls are similar to previous games so it was an easy task taking out Hollows along the way. Just as I was thinking, “Well this is pretty easy” I get to a stone courtyard where Iudex Gundyr, the first boss, is kneeling in the centre. He’s harmless enough until you remove the sword from his chest and then he’s up and thrashing about. This is where new players might have a bit of difficulty and if they’re not used to the controls it might take a few tries to beat him, but again, this is Dark Souls, right?
Iudex, by the way, means ‘judge’ in Latin, which is Gundyr’s role: he judges whether or not you’re worthy to leave the graveyard and progress to the Firelink Shrine. Your worthiness is, of course, proven only if you beat him.
Just like in previous games, resting at a Bonfire will heal you, repair your degraded equipment, and restore your Estus Flasks. Shortly after the game begins, players gain the ability to warp to any Bonfire they’ve previously visited.
It’s great that warping opens up so early because players can’t level up at Bonfires like in the original Dark Souls. An NPC that hangs out in the HUB will handle all character level ups. New players should note that there is no level cap, and while the stats all cap at 99, they all traditionally taper off around 50.
The storyline in Dark Souls III is gradually uncovered as the player explores the world picking up information and clues. This is bad news for players who tend to rush through games as you actually have to read the information you collect to understand what is going on. On the other hand, if you don’t care about storyline and are only interested in beating the bosses then you are in luck, dialogue is kept to a minimum so theres not much to distract you from the combat.
One thing that has always kept me coming back to Dark Souls are its visuals. The scenery in this game is something that FromSoftware got very right. On multiple occasions, I’ve come across a new location that looks so stunning graphically that I take a moment to wander around before continuing on. There is also a great connection between the different locations too, there are many spots where you can look back and see the multiple areas you’ve visited before and catch sight locations that you haven’t yet discovered.
The graphics have been updated to take advantage of the higher specs of the latest consoles. Textures look a lot sharper and render distance has been greatly improved. One thing I noticed was that it’s much easier to see when in dark areas such as dungeons and hallways. On a few occasions during gameplay, the frame rate dropped considerably and took a few seconds to recover. This is likely to be fixed with the Day One patch bit did affect my overall experience with the game which means it’s worth mentioning.
Dark Souls III takes the best parts of the previous games to deliver something amazing. You will find amazing levels, great bosses, loads of secrets and gestures, a massive collection of different weapons, spells and shields; as well as aggressive enemies that won’t allow you to turtle. The graphics and audio perfectly immerse players in their surroundings and the combat is challenging but fair, which tests players skill and decisive tactics in nearly all situations. The game does suffer from a few minor technical issues although they should be fixed shortly.
As a Dark Souls fan, I was incredibly satisfied with this game. It just keeps getting better and better. I would recommend Dark Souls III to veterans and newcomers alike. It is a masterpiece and as the final instalment in the series, I think that FromSoftware has exceeded many gamers expectations.