The Lords of Cinder have abandoned their posts, and the darkness is slowly reclaiming the world that belonged to it. You are a just pawn in this fight – a pawn that needs to prolong the fight between light and dark by usurping the Lords and taking your place on the throne that awaits at the end.
Your journey starts off at the Kingdom of Lothric, from where you make your way through mountains, valleys and swamps, wander into dungeons and towers which have been beautifully… and eerily rendered. You can spend hours simply exploring the lands and still feel that there might be something you’ve missed.
Your foes are creepy and surprisingly quick and are not to be taken lightly, even if they look like they are at the brink of death. Dark Souls III is out to get you and it take joy in it. But each time you die, you know that you were your own undoing – it was your fault. You could’ve done better. You need to do better. And so you go again.
You start to understand patterns and basic weak points. It seems that it’s gotten simpler and you now have the upper hand, but with Dark Souls that is the grand illusion. You might have withered down half of a Boss’s health and have a complete understanding of its stroke patterns, but suddenly it switches to a completely new pattern and miraculously gains full health. That’s when you start to feel the adrenaline pump and you need to come up with a new game plan as you back away from each swing, dodging and rolling away. Trying to understand what just happened and how you’re going to survive it all. You need to adapt and adapt fast.
I’m a relative newcomer to the Dark Souls series, but I can say that it’s reputation for being a game that’s extremely difficult is well earned. The combat mechanic is clearly refined and varied with different techniques and abilities associated with different styles.
For example, dual wielding a long sword in one hand and a dagger in another, allowed me to deal huge amounts of damage to multiple opponents in one strike. Each weapon having a unique striking technique – which is why I kept most of the weapons I came across for use in different situations – some enemies are susceptible to parry attacks and some weapons are effective at parrying and then dealing a quick strike.
There are some drawbacks to the game however. On the PS4 and Xbox One it runs smoothly at 1080p. However you only get 30fps and at times the Xbox One does drop down to about 25fps. On the PC you can enjoy 60fps but you face the occasional frame rate drops when rendering volumetric fogs and large draw distances. Another problem I faced was the lock on Mechanic and poor camera angle in tight corners. With agile foes the ‘lock on’ was more hindrance than aid.
If the rumours are true and Dark Souls III is the last addition to the series, it has delivered a fitting farewell. Many games these days become mediocre as a franchise grows. Kudos to the developers who stuck to their guns and turned up the difficulty and rewards progression and resilience.
If you’re new to the franchise, do not hesitate getting the game. Dark Souls III shows a world nearing its end and you can play Dark Souls I and II later on to see how it ended up this way. This would easily be my game of the year. Period.