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Dark Souls 3 Review: Can you finally git gud

Dark Souls 3 is a great game, but it’s a game that takes a few steps back to be accommodating for players that are still not acclimated to the series.

Dark Souls 3

When it comes to Souls games, I’m a habitual 50%-er. I have that horrible habit of playing about halfway through the game, only to get incredibly discouraged and walk away.

My first run in Dark Souls was actually erased when the Games For Windows Live died, and my first completion was by exploiting the crap out of the dark knight halberd. My next closest completed game is Bloodborne, where I am pretty close to the end but stopped playing because J finished and I lost interest. Dark Souls 3 is now my second furthest completed Souls game, as I am pretty sure I’m about 2/3 of the way through it. That’s a quite telling stat at the end of the day.

First Impressions

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Let’s start with the simple stuff. Dark Souls 3 is everything that worked in Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 but slightly improved. Controls have been slightly tuned to improve the execution a game like this requires.

“The successful formulae that made the predecessors to Dark Souls 3 successful are all still here.:

Combat is largely the same, with the re-addition of a magic bar and a few little modifications based on the success of Bloodborne’s combat. PVP is also largely the same, with more factions and some really cool colors to run around in.

Largely, the successful formula that made the predecessors to Dark Souls 3 successful are all still here. The game seems to know this though, and takes the opportunity to destroy all your in-game optimism early though.

The Game

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Here’s the interesting thing, Dark Souls 3 seems absolutely harder than the last games. Most major threats are essentially met head-on, there are only a handful of moments in this game where you find yourself looking at the “You died” screen while asking yourself what happened. I’d venture as far to say that many times I died to a surprise, I also found myself agreeing that the death was indeed my fault. It’s more difficult because the game is more flexible and you probably screwed up on your own.

Dark Souls 3 is much more fair in the way it deals with the player. If you try to ignore the threat and refuse to change tactics, I hope you are used to seeing “you died” screens often. There were only a few times in my time playing so far that I’ve wanted to put down the controller and walk away. Most of this was while you are forced to traverse through the swamp. Screw everything about that place. I also had some serious issues with the Dancer and Aldrich. More than I have had with any other bosses in the series.

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The most interesting thing I think I’ve noticed from Dark Souls 3 is that there are several interesting storylines that flesh out your supporting characters as you play through the game. I found it way more interesting than throwing characters at you without any real motivation like they basically did in the other games.

“Dark Souls 3 is easily the best looking game in the entire series.”

There are actually legit quest-chains that have impacts on the actual story of the game. I did look online, and I did sneak a peak at some of the stuff I needed to do to get the best endings of the game. I have my work set out for me.

Visually, Dark Souls 3 is easily the best looking game in the entire series. As the game features many different areas at varying times of day, I’d even say that it edges out Bloodborne, even though it appears to use the same engine.

“Characters within the game have never looked better.”

Overall, on top of fantastic graphics and beautifully created skyboxes, characters within the game have never looked better. Hair isn’t perfect in the game, but is easily 900x better than it was in the prior games. This seems like an odd point of contention, but in EVERY other game, it simply drove me crazy because it looked like cardboard. Textures look crazy awesome too.

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This was the first Dark Souls game that I really got into the PVP aspect of the game. Maybe it’s that the game makes PVP so much easier to set up and invade other players. I was able to join a few different covenants early in the game that made PVP a little more interesting as well. When I say early, I am talking about 90 minutes into the game.

If there was anything to complain about, it would be that there are way too many players that like to use the estoc. It allows them to get in close and attack super quick, locking you up until you die. Also, there was a few players that kept using really fast fire magic too. Fortunately, there are still plenty of strategic battles available that aren’t filled with cheating jerks.

Dark Souls 3 Final Verdict

At the end of the day, I absolutely enjoyed the game. The game wasn’t perfect, I’m not super happy with the way magic works now and I feel like the game starts you off way too strong. There are a few brick walls that will trip you up, but you feel so top-heavy early in the game that most early hurdles can be overcome with brute force. It’s obvious that they kept difficulty in the game, but did so with more situational combat that still allows you to kite enemies and pick them off if you are patient.

Dark Souls 3 is a great game, but it’s a game that takes a few steps back to be accommodating for players that are still not acclimated to the series.

It’s fun and totally worth playing. Still one of the best games I’ve played this year. Souls fans will really enjoy it and the PVP is much improved. Check it out. 

Reader Rating0 Votes0
The Good
Much more accessible than any other game in the series
One of the best looking games this generation
Improved controls are a great improvement
The Bad
The games makes you feel too strong early in the game
PVP is great, but there are plenty of exploits that ruin combat
I really don't like having magic meters again, but that is personal preference
8.4
Overall

Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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