Review: Dark Souls III

Release Date
PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Publisher / Developer
Bandai Namco Entertainment / FromSoftware
Action role-playing
Single-player, multiplayer
Pegi 16

FromSoftware’s Dark Souls games have come a long way since it’s original outing. Gamers are used to dying over and over again, but it’s the appealing gameplay that has them wanting to explore to the very end. Dark Souls III doesn’t change much, yet feels like the series is finally at the point the developers are truly happy with.

Your goal is to explore a new land, acquiring souls from fallen enemies and progressing from one bonfire save point to the next. You are able to sit at a bonfire to replenish your Estus Flasks, which are health potions, but doing so reloads all the previous defeated enemies. It’s the price you pay but it’s a great way for those that would prefer to grind for souls which can be used for leveling up your character or purchasing items and weapons. Having a higher health or stamina bar will help as you reach later sections of the game, but don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.

A huge selection of enemies will stand in your way, and it’ll all boil down to just how good you are at surviving. Gameplay is the same as past games – you do battle with creatures using your preferred weapon of choice, along with a trusty shield that’ll come in handy when you want to defend yourself. Dodge roll, which is used to evade enemy attacks, will become your best friend. Working out attack patterns of each enemy is the key to success and dodge roll is there to aid you as you locate the right moment to attack. Boss battles are where the truly exciting moments happen. Each one offers a challenge that’ll have you thinking it’ll be impossible to clear, but you’ll love the excitement of trying to work out how to defeat these strong adversaries. Get used to dying in Dark Souls III, especially during boss encounters, but don’t let it frustrate you. Learn from your mistakes – you’ll find yourself feeling more comfortable playing the game then you did in the early hours.

The Firelink Shrine is where you will spend most of the game. Teleporting from bonfires you’ve come across can be done from here which makes exploring this huge land a lot easier. NPC’s have a story to tell, and if you enjoy the lore of these games then listening to what they have to say is always worth your time. Firelink Shrine is also the place where you can level up your character and purchase/sell items and equipment. Leveling up each attribute of your choosing is a tough decision, but not one you’ll regret; it all depends on your play style, which can also be said for weapons and armour. You will play Dark Souls III how you want to do so, and it’s that customise feature that has many fans coming back for more punishment.

The biggest charm of the Dark Souls games is it’s level design. You are rewarded by exploring, even if by chance you come across an enemy you can’t defeat at your current level. There’s a reason why these strong enemies are where they are, be it strong weapon drops or a large stash of souls. Another charm is the sense of accomplishment. Having defeated that tough enemy, you will be praising yourself, attaining the knowledge that helped you do so and using it for future encounters.

The soundtrack is one of my favourite parts of the game, full of orchestrated music during boss battles that really capture the fight to the death encounter that is taking place. Beautiful atmospheric pieces can be found everywhere which really capture the beauty of Dark Souls III. If you’ve played Bloodborne then you know a next gen Dark Souls game would look magnificent. It’s a stunning experience, one that’ll have you taking time out of your survival game to take in the views and sights that are on offer.

If you are new to the Souls games, the third installment is a great place to start. The opening tutorial does a grand job of telling you how to survive and then it’s upto you how you progress after that. If you’ve been told, or heard, these games are difficult, they aren’t lying. Just don’t give up and you’ll be rewarded with one of the greatest gaming satisfactions of this generation.