Dark Souls 3 Review – Firestarter

Dark Souls 3 Review – Firestarter

I played through Dark Souls 3 on PS4, and suffered no technical issues (I didn’t notice many drops in frame-rate even). However, the online component seems kinda broken at the moment. Whenever I tried to summon someone, it failed. And I have only been able to go into other people’s worlds a few times. It seems to be getting better but is still rather finnicky.

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The world is in ruin. The fire is fading. And the only beings who can reverse the apocalypse refuse to return to their thrones. It is up to you, a chosen Unkindled to travel the land and bring the ashes of the Lords of Cinder back to their thrones, for if they won’t come willingly, their bones will have to suffice. So begins the rather epic Dark Souls 3, the conclusion to the Dark Souls series. Dark Souls 3 is not only a fitting end to the series, but is also possibly the best of them all.

Dark Souls 3 seems to revel in it’s history. The action RPG series famed for it’s difficulty and minimal storytelling has made a big mark on the landscape of current video games. And for good reason, Dark Souls is brutal and brilliant, and the third entry is no exception.

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Personally, I have loved the series ever since Dark Souls 1, being drawn in by the mystery of a world where nothing can be taken for granted. Although absolutely accessible for new players, Dark Souls 3 pulls characters, themes and plot points from previous games, meaning you’ll only truly appreciate it if you have played the other games in the series.

However, being a returning player also means that you know what you’re in for. I didn’t find Dark Souls 3 incredibly difficult and most of my 53 hours of playtime was spent exploring every nook and cranny of the world, rather than banging my head against a boss for days. There are indeed some hard fights ahead (one of which I feel may be the hardest in the series) but I found bosses to go down in two of three tries. This is almost entirely because of my prior experience, so I can’t really say how difficult it is overall.

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Dark Souls 3 walks the line between the entire open world of Dark Souls 1, and the impossible warping world of Dark Souls 2. Right from the outset, you can warp between your bonfires (the safe points you will find throughout the world where you can replenish your stocks) meaning some places, you can’t just walk to. However, the game does open up and about 80% of it you can just walk around. I’m not sure why From Software decided to segment off what amounts to only two levels, but it doesn’t really bother me that much.

Dark Souls 3 brings back characters and even some settings from previous games, drawing mostly from 1, but sometimes from 2, and even (if I interpreted things right) from franchise fringes Demon Souls and Bloodborne. Some of the things put in this game seem to be a little fan-servicey, but I have to admit that most of it totally worked on me. Watching a lift travel upwards to reveal an old friend was a series highlight for me.

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Being the ‘conclusion’ to a series that has minimal story is a weird proposition, but Dark Souls 3 at least has the most accessible narrative. There is a real feeling that the world is teetering on the edge, and I definitely felt a sense of urgency as I was playing, mostly towards the latter half. There are three endings to the game, and I got the one that I’m sure everyone else’ll get, at least first time round.It was a conventional Dark Souls ending, meaning there wasn’t much there, but it was enough for me.

Although Dark Souls 3 is inherently less impressive (due to it being the third one), it still managed to keep me playing for hours and hours. And I’m going back in for another playthrough to seek out another ending, and all those items I missed. And I’m sure I’ll love every minute of it.

In Short…

Dark Souls 3 is From Software’s flagship series at it’s best. The hard-as-nails action RPG is back for one final hurrah, and From has crafted something phenomenally special. It’s as compelling as ever, with inventive level design and crafty bosses. If you love games that get in your face and demand your attention, this is it. Dark Souls 3 is a fitting end to a truly magnificent series.

DARK SOULS 3

9.5/10

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