Never having played a Dark Souls game before, i was the victim of constant harassment from friends insisting i need too play these games. So to quiet the masses i eventual decided to pick the game up and see what it is all about, to which i can now pass on my finding to you the reader.
This third person action role-playing game (RPG) has a fantastic look and feel through the game whether it is the various types of monsters, NPC’s or locations. The monsters in this game are some of the most imaginative, well designed and terrifying i have ever seen within a game. every monster or enemy in the game looks unique with aesthetics really tying to the lore of that characters origins such as the boss “Dancer of the Boreal Valley”, who on accidentally stumbling upon was so intimidating and unnerving i immediately felt my impending death. The games enormous landscapes of area’s you will eventually visit are breathtaking, and a constant reminder of your progress as locations disappear out of view with your continual drive to slaughter everything. Each area have entirely unique characteristics that made me want to explore, whether it was the bleak and dangerous swamps of Farron Keep or the deathly remnants of man verses dragon at Lothric Castle these areas are steeped with intrigue and drenched in lore producing an atmosphere for the player i have rarely experienced from a game.
Dark souls manages to hit a fantastic balance of solo, co-op and online in terms of its invasions which creates a deeper level of caution before deciding to get help. In order to allow for a co-op session (which you will after dying 4 million times) you need to enter a state of ember, which is basically the state of living that you loose when you die and then must ember again to allow for co-op hosting. Being embered to allow for co-op hosting allows invasion from other players, which can lead to intense combat as dying in Dark Souls means dropping all your currency and being sent back to the last check point ruining progress. Even worse than this is when invaded your opponent will not be recognised by enemies where you still will, creating a cat and mouse situation where you and your friend are desperately trying to cut the invader off for the kill while they look to wait for enemies to whittle you down or another person additionally invades to kill you and take the spoils. For invaders the benefit is in the currency they receive along with any token received for being associated to a covenant which is like guilds within the game. I love this dynamic as your reward for killing an invader is that your not dead, with an invaders incentive bieng for progression and trolling giving the sense that the invader and invaded are both have a lot to loose and gain depending on their skill. Finally if you are the equivalent of the un-dead and not embered, fear not! you can still be called in by a friend who is in ember state with the bonus of acquiring currency for kills in his world and loosing nothing if you die giving plenty of reason to help people.
You will die alot! but its an annoying and necessary step to git gud as the hardcore dark souls audience would say to the inexperienced. Your path to victory in the game is in the movement patterns displayed by enemies, as you can die extremely easily so observing dying and knowing when to attack will be the method to defeating the foes of Dark Souls 3. As the player you are given the task of stat management, equipment management, weight management and resource management, whilst utilising your defensive and offensive capabilities trying to not run out of stamina which will leave you open to counter attacking. These mechanics are extremely deep, very confusing and not very well explained as the tutorial is extremely basic, which could deter or really intimidate someone new to the series which at first i admittedly was. However the Dark Souls community is enormous and provides an absolute wealth of information on the internet in various forums, which allowed me to grasp all these concepts and in no time had me strategically allocating level points and resources to build my character to meet my play style. Combat in this game cannot be understated, its fantastic!. utilising a combination of light, heavy and weapon art attacks which are unique to each weapon and/or type of weapon, along with defensive capabilities such as rolling, parrying if your shield permits and even usable items like fire-bombs allows for epic dynamic fights where you will try and outwit, counter and muscle your way though combat. These facets are all helped through the large variations of weapons and armour available to your character whether that be light armour and a dual wield sword providing low damage absorption but high fast attacks, or big bulky armour and a greatsword providing great defence and attack with the trade of slow rolling and weapon swing speed, how you equip and level your character really dictates your play style and offers a very personal level of customisation which keeps me tinkering for hours in the pursuit of moulding the ultimate killer.
This game is a deep and captivating whilst being heartbreaking and annoying, drenched in secrets and lore to be discovered at your own pace and discretion. This game has turned me into a Dark Souls fanatic, and it is extremely easy too see why From Software’s key franchise is so beloved by many. i would strongly suggest you pick this game up and give it 5 hours too see if its for you, as it may not be appropriate for the casual gamer but for regular gamers its a must buy.
- Fantastic game play mechanics
- Amazing visual aesthetics
- Epic Soundtrack
- Massive amounts of customisation
- Intricately designed areas
- Multiple management mechanics can be confusing
- Poor tutorial to explain systems
- Extremely convoluted storyline
I played Dark Souls 3 on a Playstation 4, and at time of writing have played the game for 72 hours.