Praise the sun! Dark Souls is back in all of it’s ass-kicking, hope stomping fury. It released last night at midnight and since then thousands of players have already fallen before the games brutal onslaught of beasts and baddies. This is (supposedly) the final game in the series for developer From Software and from the looks of things they are going out on with a bang. The game has been out for less than 24 hours stateside and I have only been able to play for about 9 of them, so I am not too far into the game as of yet, but here is the GeekGoneRogue first impressions of Dark Souls 3!
This time around, our unnamed undead hero is traversing the land of Lothric, a once beautiful kingdom that is a shadow of it’s former self. Monsters and demons stalk the lands and this once-powerful nation is on the brink of disaster. Sound familiar? When it comes to story, players know what they’re gonna get before you ever even get past the title screen. This familiarity is exactly what you are looking for. The bonfires, the undead cities, the huge beautiful stop-and-stare castles. If it were any other franchise, people would be bitching about how the developer was just throwing out the same old game with a new skin every 3 or 4 years in order to just rake in another round of cash. Basically the ole Call of Duty formula. That’s one of the ways that From Software has been able to set itself apart from so many other developers over the years. On the surface the game is the same, but once you start digging you start to see the differences. All of the Souls games have done it, but in my opinion Dark Souls 3 by far and away does it the best. In almost every scene and setting, DS3 has brought back memories of playing the previous games in the series (I am including Bloodborne in this, I know it’s not a souls game but it might as well be). As soon as I was walking along a raised walkway and saw a giant dragon come crashing onto a building in front of me, I knew what was going to happen next. I quickly reversed and ducked around a corner and watched as the dragon torched the bridge, killing the 8 or so enemies that had been previously walking upon it and rewarding me with a quick 300 souls. I didn’t have to learn this lesson the hard way, because I had been here before. I have already learned it. It is in this way that I feel like DS3 rewards you for having played the previous games in the series. Sure, there are new lessons to be leared, but not as many as if I was a new player. I have earned my scars. By playing my way through all of the other games in the series I have prepared myself for this moment. Same goes for the Blue Eye/Red Eye soldies (demon souls), the Giant Underground Sewer Rat (Dark Souls), the midway-point-feral-monster-phase-shift for bosses (Bloodborne).
Hello dragon my old friend. You’ve come to burn my ass again.
Now, none of this is to say that there isn’t anything new to see in DS3, because there certainly is. In just my first few hours I have encountered new items, new equipment, new movesets, and of course new enemies. Believe me when I say that the From Software team has really outdone themselves with some of the new creatures that are going to be coming after you throughout your journey. The motherfucking corpse filled cage monsters scared the SHIT out of me the first time I encountered them. On top of that you have some new character classes to add a little more strategy into the mix with their magics and weapon arts. Speaking of, the new magic/weapon art system is awesome. It improved upon the one area that in my opinion Dark Souls had been lagging for the last couple of games, which was the unimaginative magic resource system. Having set spell uses was inconvenient, but didn’t really add much to the level of strategy, instead acting as more of a timer between when you left one bonfire and got to another. With the new ability to sacrifice the number of life preserving estus flasks you are carrying with you in order to be able to use more spells, DS3 has added another level of complexity into their already stellar combat systems. Same thing goes for the weapon arts, the ability to use another resource in order to do special movesets allows not only for creative combat, but it is pushing me to try out new weapon combinations instead of sticking with my tried and true big ass sword for hours on end.
Probably sticking with the big ass sword for this guy though
All in all, this is just a brief overview of my experience through the first few areas of DS3. There is plenty left to discover over the next few weeks as I grind my way through the evil hordes of Lothric, but I can say without a doubt, From Software has once again reated a unique and engrossing experience that is going to be worth every frustrating moment. For now it’s time to go die again.
Keep an eye out for our Let’s Play videos that will be popping up this week, as well as our full review here in a few days!