Dark Souls III Review – A Step Forward In This Grand Finale


What makes Dark Souls series truly fascinating? It is the way it draws you into its strange dark world full of hideous monsters that could kill you easily. In the first entry, Dark Souls showed a new harsh unexplored world, Dark Souls II expanded that world and this last entry Dark Souls III converges this world into one. FromSoftware has done wonderfully to continue both the intriguing lore and improving on the gameplay. Fans of the series will consider Dark Souls III a great conclusion to series and newcomers to the series will find it more accessible than the last two entries.

Gameplay

Gameplay mechanics are not much different than the last two entries. The release of Bloodborne (same developer but not a Souls game and exclusive to PS4) brought parts of its gameplay improvements incorporated into Dark Souls III. Actions are now faster pace than its predecessors and enemies are more aggressive in attacking. New to this entry is that each weapon type has a Weapon Art (deplete FP or Focus Point bar to use) separate from weak and strong attack where it performs a specific awesome action attack move. One example is a dagger type that could either parry like shields do,  jump to the side of the enemy or axe type that have a warcry where it buffs the player’s  character attack power for a short time.

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Bosses, in addition, now have two phases where they are more aggressive like past entries but what is new is that once their attacking pattern changes when their health are depleted to a certain point changes if you die. Quests for NPC are new and have more variations but are easily miss. Other than that, gameplay still remain the same as fans have enjoyed.  As for newcomers to the series, each weapon type has variety of a attacking move set that they could learn and try out. Difficulty in Dark Souls III feels accessible than past entries in the beginning and increasingly difficult in the later parts of the game instead of dying repeatedly on the first part like past entries.

Story & Lore

Story and Lore, as always, are simple and investment is needed in order to read item descriptions in order to piece together the whole coherent story. The basic plot for this game is that you rise from your grave as an Unkindled Ash that has one important mission. This mission is to bring the four Cinder Lords back to their thrones from which they fled no matter what, even if you need to kill them and bring their ash back. The reason to bring the four lords back is because the world flame (think it as something that is the creator of life) are weaken and fading. The four lords and you are needed to rekindle the flame again. If you want to know more you could look it up online if it is to time consuming; it’s truly a fascinating story.

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Art & Sound Design

Art design direction in this game is truly beautiful. From a morning medieval castle to green forest at noon or torch hanging on wall giving light to catacombs, and many more. Adding up and making each play-through visit feel unique and exotic. Environmental design doesn’t stop there, each location feels like handcraft to optimize your experience. For example, when you are desperately in need of a checkpoint (bonfire) after a long stretch of the journey between fighting and exploring; you will always find it after you need it most either by checkpoint itself next to you or getting there via a shortcut. There are consumables out of reach  that are visible and are possible to go there; if you look carefully, you will find an unexpected path leading to unexplored area. Dark Souls series always encourages exploring and this one is no different.

Music and sound effects in this game are still excellent. Moments when you fight a boss and music starts playing make it feel like an epic battle where your life is on the line. When you explore and hear sound enemies it sends a chill down your spine. The tone of your weapon impact against enemies or the wall sound weighty in your ears. These moments add up and help your immersion deeper into the world.

Final Impressions

Dark Souls III is fantastic but still not without flaws. If you are a fan or have play a Dark Souls games before, then this is another excellent entry to the series. Despite the improvements not much has change for the series. Enemies feel familiar yet not much different; bosses are more unique but still borrow some attacks from previous entries. Multiplayer is still good, especially in how easier it is to join a cooperate session with your friend like in Bloodborne. In PvP (player vs. player) area, there is no new improvements at all. Fans who play on PC could still hack and cheat easily without any good solution to stop this. On consoles, game lags too much to have fun (one vs. one is not lagging as much but when there are more than two people then it’s impossible to play).

Despite all of this, Dark Souls III is still one of the best single-player RPG experiences that are fulling accomplishments when defeating a boss. If you are a fan the series then this game will rekindle your love with it more. If you are newcomer then this would a great starting point in the series to try out and have opportunity to see why many people love it.

Rating

1 For more information on our rating system click here.

Pros

More Souls game, new bosses, new areas to explore and more lore.

Cons

More of the same Souls game, challenging,  online research is required for more in depth understanding of the story and lore.

Screenshots

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Fact Sheet

Publisher: Bandai Namco  Developer: From Software
 
ESRB Rating: 
 

ratingsymbol_m   For Blood and Violence

Released On: April 12, 2016             Platforms: PC, PS4, X1

Players: 1     Online: 2-6        Price: $59.99

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