Dark Souls, the massively popular franchise by From Software is well renowned for being difficult. Dark Souls 3 is no exception, it may be difficult but this dark masterpiece is incredibly rewarding for anyone up to the challenge.
Dark Souls 3 follows the familiar formula laid down in Dark Souls 2 and to an extent, Bloodborne. This is an action RPG so before you enter the world of Lothric you’ll be asked to choose what class you want your character to be and choose from a few different looks for your character. Each character class starts off with different attributes so it pays to take a look at each character class to figure out which one is going to suit your style of gameplay.
Anyone looking for a tutorial to ease them into their games is going to be out of luck. It’s nothing new for the franchise, Dark Souls is renowned for putting players through a trial by fire and Dark Souls 3 is no exception. The opening sequence does offer up some of the basic fundamentals to get you going, these are provided through messages that are scattered about the ground and are accessed by clicking on them. If you’re new to the series then you’ll want to locate as many of these as you can before advancing too far along, veterans however can just get on with engaging in the opening exchanges. The opening sequence culminates in a Boss fight, that compared with challenges that lie further ahead is fairly easy. In saying that tough, newcomers will get baptised in combat very early and will no doubt face quite a few deaths. It may seem tedious but Dark Souls is not meant to be a walk in the park. Stick with the challenge, overcome that first boss and prepare yourself for a dark adventure that will reward and surprise the more you get into it.
What is this dark, rewarding adventure you ask? Well you’ll be thrust deep into Lothric to try and thwart an apocalypse. This is a dark world that continues to grow darker unless our hero can retake the land and link the fire. The plot is engaging enough and from start to finish you’ll be challenged in a way that very few games challenge players. I never give the story away but really have to emphasise that the challenges are well worth it. Even when I felt like quitting that never say die attitude kicked in and consumed me until I overcame the challenge and when I did there are few other games that provide such immense satisfaction for perseverance.
The thing that is most striking about Dark Souls 3 is the visuals. In this day and age the vast majority of games manage to put forward impressive visuals but Dark Souls 3 is just about in a class of its own. The entire world of Lothric is stunning! That visual quality is immediately on display as players get an immediate look out across some gorgeous Snowy Mountains, a quick look around reveals massive castles forged into the mountains and an ominous world that sprawls off into the distance. Should you dare get up close to your enemies take a moment to stop and take a look at them (probably best to do this via the screen capture option), what you’ll discover are characters that are overflowing with detail, it’s a theme that runs right through the entire world of Lothric. Be it the environment or the characters, it’s evident that From Software have put a lot of time and effort into creating a rich, dark gothic world for their foul underworld creations to live in.
Gameplay wise, Dark Souls 3 follows the familiar style of its predecessors with a most notable change, albeit a good one. That change is an increase in speed to the action. Enemies will come at you faster than veterans may be used to. Make sure you’ve got your fingers ready to hit that block button because with an increase in attack speed from enemies it is going to become a button you’ll need to make use of to maximise your chances of success. To go with that, Dark Souls 3 brings in some new attack skills. There’s a new weapon skill that can be unleashed in combat, depending on what type of class and attributes you have that extra skill may take the form of a special spell that you can cast or being able to unleash a more devastating attack. Depending on how good you are, that extra skill may just prove to be the difference between life and death. When it comes down to the heat of battle perhaps the only downside to an otherwise exceptional gameplay experience is that many of the enemies you face, bosses included, can be dealt with in much the same manner. For the players that struggle with Dark Souls, this may be a godsend knowing that your moves are going to work against the bulk of your enemies, for the pros out there it may get a bit tedious but that shouldn’t stop you from trying a few new things and seeing if they come off.
The review copy that I got was for PC and there have been a few issues here and there, most notable have been some frame rate problems. There is a day 1 patch that will fix a great deal of the pre-release bugs but the good news for gamers is that there is nothing in there that is going to cause a major interruption to gameplay. You certainly shouldn’t experience anything that is going to cause that rage inducing mid-game crash. The bulk of my review took place on an ASUS ROG G752 gaming laptop that had an nVIDIA GTX 980m, I was able to play on max settings and pull 1080p at 60FPS which just made the game look all the more stunning. I also gave it it a fair blast on the Lenovo Y700 Gaming laptop which features the nVIDIA GTX 960m. I got around 50FPS on High settings so again that’s not too shabby at all. Anyone gaming on a desktop won’t have any problems at all running Dark Souls 3 and even most decent gaming laptops will still deliver a great experience.
Few studios are able to be as consistent as From Software. They just continue to make high quality games that deliver rich, rewarding experiences and Dark Souls 3 is another fine example. Dark Souls is an iconic franchise and Dark Souls 3 continues and adds to that legacy. Lothric is a dark world that will challenge even the most experienced gamer out there but that challenge is offset by some of the most rewarding gameplay you’ll experience, all complimented by one of the most stunning gothic visuals your eyes will come across. There may be times where you want to rage quit but hang in there, Dark Souls 3 is simply a masterpiece.
- Visually Stunning
- Well implemented Attack system
- Challenging yet incredibly rewarding
- Combat can be a bit same same