Dark Souls 3
|a game by||FromSoftware, Inc.|
|Editor Rating:||9.3/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown|
|User Rating:||8.7/10 - 3 votes|
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|See also:||Hardcore Games, Dark Souls Games, Hack and Slash Games, Co-op Games, PvP Games|
Having spawned a now cluttered genre of its own namesake, the original souls-borne title returns with the latest installment, Dark Souls III. An action-RPG series made famous by its tough-but-fair combat and excessively cryptic lore—the Souls series has continued to make a name for itself as a standard-setter of its own genre.
That said, years have passed since the first game’s release in 2011, and with dozens of copycat games out there like Lords of the Fallen, Nioh, and Jedi: Fallen Order on the market—not to mention related IP’s in Bloodborne or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice also designed by From Software—does Dark Souls III continue to be a trendsetter, or has it finally been beaten at its own game?
Old Genre Roots
Despite the growing popularity of the term souls-borne as a video game genre, Dark Souls III is at its heart an action-RPG. The combat, though newly famous, is heavily inspired by 3D iterations of Zelda—which forces the player to transition tactically between offensive, defensive, and evasive actions. In Dark Souls III, that sequence can be done by attacking with a wide variety of medieval weapons, blocking with a shield, and finally evading with a quick-roll maneuver.
To keep things interesting, these actions are each given some variety: with weapons having light and heavy attacks, shields offering a parry function, and the roll button also offering a quick backstep when no directional input is given. A player also has the option of ranged weapons, such as swords and bows, and magical spell-attacks—but the game tends to feel most at home in melee-combat, where the player is forced to manage a stamina pool that each action draws from.
Dark Souls III has big shoes to fill as From Software’s previous title, Bloodborne, took the reactive combat of previous games and cranked the speed way up—putting all players (even ‘poise’ champions) on the offensive. While Dark Souls III still maintains its more defensive posturing in combat, the game is noticeably faster as a result.
Additionally, enemies are beautifully animated and feel great to fight, with faster move-sets and fluid animations requiring fast reflexes to telegraph attacks. The game also borrows the larger enemy density of Bloodborne, featuring open areas that will have the player taking on hordes of medium-sized aggressors. This is all made more satisfying with crisp sound design, and seamless reactions from enemy NPCs when they take a hit.
A Love Letter to Past Games
While the game maintains the series’ famed interconnected world and monumental set pieces, the environments might feel to some a bit reused after three games of a similar fantasy aesthetic. For example, the first castle area will feel reminiscent of a similar one from Demon’s Souls, whereas the swamp levels may feel like a third or fourth return to the same poisonous locations.
Similarly, returning enemy types may begin to feel uninspired and mundane. Still, these very issues may be a bonus to those seeking the best game in the series. While Dark Souls III borrows from its predecessors, it does so in a way that offers the best rendition of what came before. These familiar environments and enemies return with textures and animations impossible on previous generations of consoles.
With all that said, if you were to ask which game offered the most complete Dark Souls experience—Dark Souls III would, hands down, the best distillation of what makes the series great.
- Impressive visuals and environments
- Smooth gameplay and animations
- Tough but fair combat
- 60-hours of gameplay
- The rush of beating a tough boss few games can deliver
- Port from less powerful system doesn’t look great
- Uninspired ranged combat
- Melee over magic
- Familiar enemies and environments
Download Dark Souls 3
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP