Developer: FromSoftware, Inc
Publisher: FromSoftware,Inc, Bandai Namco Entertaiment
Release Date: April 11, 2016
Review Date: April 23, 2016
Reviewer: Zechariah Gerthung
Prepare to Die. Those are the words plastered on the complete editions of the Dark Souls, the original game of this very rough, but very fun franchise. I was brought to this game simply because I am a Souls fan, I love the lore, the story, and the game and visuals. I have played Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, and now 3. I will be using the previous 2 to compare and contrast the game’s mechanics, visuals, and story progression.
You need to understand going into this game, that it is difficult, but not impossible. One of the biggest things that makes this game so great is the fact that everyone’s experience and first run through of this game are never the same. Where some may have a cake walk and an easy time with a boss you may find that this boss is a giant wall you have to work and claw your way over.
To set up the world of Dark Souls 3 you need the story the original Dark Souls laid out for us. Before humans, and the gods existed there was grey crags, arch tree’s, and beings known as everlasting dragons. Then the first flame was born, with it came disparity. Heat and cold, Life and Death, and the most important, Light and Dark. From the first flame 4 souls of lords where discovered. Gwyn took the first soul and became the lord of sunlight. Nito who was the first of the dead, took another. The Witch of Izalith and her Daughters of Chaos, took the third. Finally the furtive pygmy took the last soul, and from him humans where brought forth. The 3 lords, Gwyn, Nito, and The Witch of Izalith banded together and fought against the Everlasting Dragons, and won. However a short time after the victory a curse spread across the land known as the dark sign. It causes one to go Hollow, which is the loss of all memory, makes you violent towards most things, and seems to cause your body to wither, but before that happens you become undead, constantly dyeing over and over again until you finally hollow. However a prophecy soon spread throughout the land that a ‘chosen’ undead would rise from an Asylum where they were held, and challenge the lords. It was said that the chosen undead would kindle the first flame and bring forth a new age of fire.
(Bear in mind this is speculation from my perspective and is subjective to what I learned and my experience)
In the Original game you play as the chosen undead. At the end you can kindle, or let the fire fade. However in Dark Souls 3 it is assumed that many undead actually made it to the first flame and did in fact kindle it. Now in Dark Souls 3, this has gone on for so long, and so many have kindled that lords of cinder, who are either brave warriors, kind people, or champions of sunlight, and in some cases, simply there because they are so overwhelmingly powerful. However it seems the lords of cinders have shirked their duty to become kindling for the flame, and have left their thrones. Thus a bell is tolled and the ashen are awoken from their slumber to hunt down, and return the lords of cinder to their thrones.
Thusly the stage is set for Dark Souls 3, You awake as an Ashen one, and must hunt down these titans of ages past and kindle…or walk away from the flame.
The mechanics of Dark Souls 3 are pretty much the same as the previous souls games, with a few minor tweaks to some mechanic’s. Where in previous souls games you had a certain number of spell ‘uses’ available to you now in Dark Souls 3 you have an actual Mana, or FP bar which tracks how long and how many spells, and weapon art abilities you can perform. On top of that a new Estus flask has been introduced to us as well, known as the Ashen Estus flask, which instead of restoring health, will refill your FP bar. Aside from that all the old mechanic’s you know, love, and hate are back. The Combat in Dark Souls 3 is in my opinion much like the original, with a few things they learned from 2 and Blood Bourne added into the mix. All together the combat felt nice, responsive, and it felt good to kill with each and every weapon I used, and don’t worry there’s a weapon for everyone in Dark Souls 3. As a final note before we move on to pro’s and Con’s, I highly recommend if you plan to play this game, do so online, while invasions and pvp may not be your thing you can make it through the game without ever pvping, and bringing in friends, or strangers, to help you through can make an area you may have been stuck on a lot easier and doable. Finally one last thing, buy this game sooner rather than later, while I suspect PVP and players to stick around and inhabit this game for a long time coming, the number of players of these games does eventually wane and thin out quite a lot.
Now then moving on to the pro’s and con’s that I see within this game in its current state.
- This game is absolutely gorgeous. There are hundreds of beautiful, wide open and sprawling landscapes that have breath taking views and vista’s. Visually this is probably one of the best works they’ve done
- While the game is absolutely beautiful and breathe taking, it does not pull away from its tone, or theme, and it blends into the world perfectly. Area’s where light is scare are dark, grey and miserable, yet where fire and light exist and show, the world is awoken into colors. Its overall theme is best described as having a macabre splendor to it.
- The Combat in Dark Souls 3 is quick paced, as hard and challenging as ever, but just as always, extremely doable.
- Much like Dark Souls 1 and 2 you can play any way you want. The variety is insane, and the weapons are all unique in their design. I have yet to try it but as a potential challenge to any fans, see if you can make it through using 2 shields.
- On a final note the story of this game in my opinion is amazing. Though you have to seek out and really try some crazy things sometimes to find hidden lore, and characters, it’s well worth it, and every discovery expands the world around you vastly and shows you more of what’s going on underneath. Remember read the descriptions of items if you want the full story!
- As a Final and very important Pro to this game. The Soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. Arguably the best in the souls franchise yet.
- The Multiplayer is a buggy mess, at least as of the current writing of this review. Invading and sometimes being invaded can cause many issues. The Most famous I’ve heard of is a ‘statue’ bug where all players on an invaders screen freeze into the idle stance and skate around the map. This makes PVP impossible as you can’t tell when the other player is blocking, when they attack, or do anything.
- This is a problem I’ve personally encountered and have not looked up yet as it did not affect me too substantially. Whenever I tried to invade or summon a player in to help me, my game would freeze on my monitor and noise would cut out. After a few moments the game would spring back to life and I would either immediately invade or my connection would be broken to the point where I was forcibly logged out of the game back to the main menu.
- At Current I know that the game has had, and a few where fixed recently, majorly game breaking bugs. Check your system and do some research before purchasing to make sure you will actually be able to make it through this game and you’re PC can reliably handle it.
- It also should be understood and known that this game is very taxing and hard on lower end systems, it may be difficult to squeeze out 30 fps, and expect it to tank in a few areas.
To wrap things up, do I recommend Dark Souls 3? The answer is an overwhelming yes. It is a fantastic game from start to finish. It is challenging but not impossible to make it through. While I would highly recommend that you play the original first before playing this, it is not required to enjoy Dark Souls 3. I strongly recommend that fans, and people who want this to be their first souls game to give it a try, you may like it. Yet as always when it comes to these games, prepare to die!
The game currently costs around 59.99$ or your regional equivalent on steam.
As well as that the game has an ESRB Rating of M for mature.
It also has a PEGI Rating of 16+ (These ratings do not include any online interactions)
The game is avalible on PlayStation 4, Xbox 1, and PC