Overall - 90%
While the game is unrelenting and punishes you for any little mistake, you cannot compete with the level of gratification that comes with beating this game. Of all the games I've played this year, this is by far the best one and by a wide margin. Go forth, and fear no darkness!
After taking a couple year break, Dark Souls rears its unforgiving head once more. Is this dark path worth taking? Or is the road better left to those who enjoy pain? Check out our Dark Souls 3 honest game review to help make your choice!
Dark Souls 3 Honest Game Review
Dark Souls 3 takes place in Lothric, the home of the Lords Of Cinder. As an unkindled, your job is to hunt them down and take their embers. The Thrones of Cinder must be filled even if you have to bring the Lords back in pieces. The game starts with a basic character creation menu where you pick your race, class and bonus starter item. The classes are really just for early game armor, weapons, and stats because you can play any way you want. You can be a battle mage with heavy armor or a half-naked dude with a giant sword, your call. The one thing you can’t really do is be a jack of all trades, master of none, as too much balance leaves you weak in too many spots.
After you make the unfortunate soul that has to undertake this journey you are tossed right into a “tutorial.” The Dark Souls tutorials aren’t traditional and you can easily die over and over again in them. You are taught how to do basic fighting and surviving and then tossed into a boss fight. On my warrior I walked through him no problem because I had a lot of power and HP. On my cleric I had to face him about five times before I got through, and even then it was a close fight. If you are looking for a game to hold your hand you should just skip right over Dark Souls 3.
This is where the whole appeal of the game comes from, challenging enemies and monsters that make you feel accomplished when you beat them. Dark Souls 3 has a lot of those moments. It’s kind of hard to put into words but you get a cross of Dark Souls and Bloodborne here on both sides of the fence. Combat on your end is much faster and you can now use skills with weapons and shields. On the opposite end of the spectrum, enemies are just unrelenting. They seriously will not give you a breath when you get cornered. Some of the boss designs are amazing and will leave you in awe after they stomp you out of existence. I sat there on multiple occasions with my mouth dropped thinking “did that just happen?” or “where did that come from!?”. Fantastic boss design all around with only a couple of stinkers in the mix.
Dark Souls 3 lets you play with other players by summoning them from their world to yours. These players come in with reduced stats and healing items but are still a massive help most of the time. It is great to have an ally but playing online leaves you open to invasion and boy, is there a lot of that going on right now. It is more uncommon for me not to be invaded when playing online then it is to be invaded. A big part of Dark Souls has co-op with friends and on this end the game fails. You can set up a password and you friend can as well and you can join each other. That’s how it should work in theory, but in practice it doesn’t work well at all. We’d spend upwards of 10 minutes just trying to get into a game together and that’s just not how it should be. It is really weird because without a password you can see tons of summon signs but with a password on you can’t just find one.
The factions play another role in online. You have the red phantoms who invade players and try to kill them stealing their Ember. You have the blue phantoms who come in to help you fight with the red phantoms. The Sunbros are orange phantoms who help you clear the area and the boss in the area. The purple Phantoms are mad and can help you fight red phantoms or kill you, their choice. The Watchdogs will just randomly invade other covenants in the Swamp. And plain old white phantoms who are just unaligned people playing Co op. It might sound complicated but it all works very well and no one faction feels too strong.
Dark Souls 3 has made a huge leap graphically from Dark Souls 2. Lighting and effects are on point and there’s so much detail put into the world. The game runs at a very solid frame rate with very few drops and even then they were minor. I had an issue with a boss that made me sort of fight in slow motion but that was before the latest patch. The game has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard. If I was rating it based solely on the soundtrack it would easily get a 10. Each boss fight comes in more epic then the last and it you feel like you HAVE to win that fight. The Firelink Shrine has a tone of despair even as the residents try to cling to hope. Genius is the only word I can really even use to describe it.
While the game is unrelenting and punishes you for any little mistake, you cannot compete with the level of gratification that comes with beating this game. Of all the games I’ve played this year, this is by far the best one and by a wide margin. Go forth, and fear no darkness!