Dark Souls 3(XB1) Review

Ah, Dark Souls. A game series that is riddled with both admiration, fear and hatred. It is a series that I admit missed out on while it was very popular. When it first came out I did not play it. Not because I was afraid of it because of how difficult people said it had been or because of how skill one had to be in order to play it, simply put, I just never got around to playing it.

I have since played both the original and the sequel and I would consider myself a mild fan of the series, mostly because I have not beaten either the first or second game in the series. With the third entry, my goal was to squeeze the most out of the game, go everywhere and explore as much as there was to explore. Go fully confident in abilities to take on the giant monster at the end of the tunnel where a set of armor or awesome weapon was waiting for me.

Oh my god what an experience!

This is Dark Souls 3!

Lothric Nights 


Like previous Dark Souls entries and Bloodborne, the story in Dark Souls 3 is not direct and out there for the player to understand who he or she is in the world, what is motivating their actions or why the world is in the state it is in. There are even some areas in the game that leave the player riddled with questions.

However, that is not to say Dark Souls 3 does not have a story. You are an Ashen One, summoned by the Lothric Firekeeper to prevent the apocalypse in Lothric by defeating the Lords of Cinder and you ultimately becoming THE Lord of Cinder to ensure that does not happen.

That's the plot, however, the lore of this world and what has happened to the land of Lothric, it's inhabitants and otherwise. Is left for you as the player to either discover or to derive from what you see in the world and what you hear from the other characters as to what has happened to Lothric.

Lothric Sights


Dark Souls 3 simply put is beautiful. The world and the atmosphere of many of the locales are littered with all sorts of sights and wonders to be seen. Even graveyards as dim and gloomy as they may be led to mountain sides with views of valleys below or miles away with clouds gliding below you and mountain sides. My favorite area being the Irithyll of the Boreall Valley that when first laying eyes on it felt like I was looking at a city that was the jewel of the land. Among the graveyards, decrepit castles and murky swamps, Irithyll was truly the diamond in the rough location of Dark Souls 3. Many areas of Dark Souls 3 leave the player a feeling of awe at the astonishing locales in Dark Souls 3 but for me, Irithyll is by far the best.

Lothric Fights

Ah yes the infamous gameplay of a Souls game.

The game really felt like it was a completely new Dark Souls game yet also like it was the original Dark Souls all merged into this perfect combination of combat, world and exploration. Everything had been changed yet it was still the same. There were even moments where although I had seen this enemy or area before, it was like I was experiencing it again for the very first time.

Dark Souls 3 has excellent combat. It feels very much like a Souls game but with the technology now available, the fighting in Dark Souls 3 feels more robust. The original Dark Souls, in my opinion, had some clunky combat with enemies moving rather stiff and you the player not really being able to roll around exactly where you wanted to and being hit by attacks you really should not have been hit by.

Combat feels excellent and more engaging than in the past two Dark Souls games. Items in Dark Souls that most of you are probably familiar with have also changed. Creating this almost perfected Dark Souls combat system of old yet changing things along the way that fit perfectly within the feeling of familiarity of the original Dark Souls. Instead of every weapon or shield acting the same, certain weapons and shields come with certain skills that allow you to change the way you approach combat. This time around, only certain shields can be used to help you parry enemy attacks, certain weapons will allow you to parry through the now item skill system. One shield will allow you to parry attacks while one shield will allow you to charge at your enemies causing them to stumble and open to attacks or opening a time for you to recover lost health. Certain weapons will allow you when using one handed to parry while others will have stances allowing you to open up a new set of attacks against enemies. There are even dual weapon sets that come with their own unique attacks and special moves.

There are of course many familiar items, armor sets, weapons and enemies  brought into Dark Souls 3 which to me brought many good memories....and bad....from the original Dark Souls game from using this same item, running around in the same armor set for most of my journey and of course regretting that I had stumbled upon a particular enemy that looked awfully familiar.

Again, like I was playing the original Dark Souls but it had been improved in many ways.

The one bad thing about the game?

Frame rate issues

Throughout the many many details of the game, the one problem that was really the only problem with the game was frame rate issues. At random times suddenly the game's frame rate would come to a turtle's walking speed. It would of course fix itself but the frame rate dips did come at some points frequently than others.

Conclusion

Dark Souls 3 is a masterfully crafted gaming experience. The last hurrah of the Souls series that sends the series out with an incredible final act. The game perfects on it's already well established and familiar gameplay making it feel anew but also familiar. Changing so much yet keeping things the same to many of us who have experienced the journey through the world of Dark Souls. Seeing again the enemies and characters of old brought back to gives many players the sense of nostalgia when they had experienced Dark Souls for the first time.

There is so much to do, so much to discover and so much to experience. Heck if you're like me, beating the game one time is not going to be the end of your journey. There is more to find and others to fights.

A true love letter to the fans of Dark Souls

Dark Souls 3 gets an incredible 9 out of 10



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