Dark Souls 3 review: A fiery sequel – Rappler

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Gaming adrenaline junkies, praise the sun! After spending too many of my waking hours on Dark Souls 3, hands shaking and heart pumping fast, I can conclude that Dark Souls 3 is indeed an incredible sequel to From Software’s most popular series.

Veterans and new Dark Souls players alike will appreciate plenty of what Dark Souls 3 has to offer. If you’re looking for a new way to get the blood pumping, then you’re in luck.

While Dark Souls 3 retains many of its core gameplay mechanics, it also introduces both subtle and overt changes that enhance the game overall.

If you’re wondering if the game is still as notoriously difficult as the previous games, I can say for certain that it is.

Beyond its difficulty though, Dark Souls 3 has so much more to offer than the stressful gaming nights we seek.

The story so far

In Dark Souls 1 and 2, you fight not only to save the world but also to preserve your humanity. Humanity is what made you stronger, what increased your health, and what kept you from the brink of Hollowing. You were an Undead, who at the beginning of the game, was just trying to stay as sane as possible.

In Dark Souls 3, you are now an Unkindled. You may look human but you are tied to ash. You are called the Ashen One, tasked to save the world by retrieving four more Lords of Cinder to re-enact the first kindling of the flames.

You wake up in your own coffin and escape on your own, only to discover that the flames of this world are fading fast, every corner is filled with Hollows, and destruction is everywhere. But you yourself cannot turn hollow against your will.

This is now the world of Dark Souls 3.

This fresh change in the objective and lore of Dark Souls 3 is most welcome as it only means that the game will continue to mystify players who want to discover more about the story.

Whether Dark Souls 3 is the continuation of the story of Dark Souls 2 or not is up for debate. What is for certain however, is that the beginning of Dark Souls 3 not only brings a twist to the series’ lore, but it also dictates certain mechanics of the game.

Embers make the world go round

Because we are no longer dealing with the problem of our humanity, we no longer seek it. In the past Dark Souls games gaining Humanity meant that you could keep your appearance of being human and that your HP bar increases.

This time, in Dark Souls 3, Embers are what will strengthen you. Gaining Embers means increasing your HP bar, and it also connects you to your fellow players. By using an Ember you could summon players (with the help of a White Sign Soapstone),but it also means you can be invaded and attacked by other players.

Welcome to Lothric, enjoy your stay

One of the things that makes Dark Souls 3 so compelling to play is the incredibly beautiful and multi-leveled kingdom of Lothric. The way Lothric is designed just makes it so easy to immerse yourself in the game.

As expected, the environments in Dark Souls 3 have been designed with such great detail and From Software creates a striking contrast in combining jaw-dropping sceneries with a mess of grotesque death and destruction. Enhancing the world’s backdrop is the haunting music that accompanies you in every new area and boss arena, keeping you in the moment.

As I traversed through the first areas of Lothric, it was tempting to just stand on a treacherous cliff and take in the views. As I progressed and entered darker and drearier areas, it was a relief to find a bonfire to light for a moment of respite. That is how immersive the world of Dark Souls 3 is.

You could play the game straight of course if you only want to face the bosses and get through with it as quick as you can. But I encourage you to explore Lothric and discover the hidden intricate paths that branch off and intertwine with the main route.

After all, Dark Souls 3 will graciously reward the curious with great weapons, handy shortcuts, intriguing sidequests, and juicy bits and pieces of lore.

Go beyond the beaten path and try to piece the entire puzzle. It might just be worth it in the end.

A mix of challenges

If you are a veteran of Dark Souls games then you are probably used to focusing on defense and timing. If you’ve come from the world of Bloodborne and this is your first time to try out Dark Souls, then you could be used to speedy fights and the art of dodging and going on the offensive.

Dark Souls 3 is a mix of both. Each boss is different from one another and it takes different strategies to beat them. So at one point you can be fighting against a relatively small and speedy boss that deals a ton of damage, and afterwards you could be attacking a large horrifying being that can stretch the battle for a longer time.

Dark Souls 3 also infuses a bit of Bloodborne into boss fights. Much like Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3’s bosses will change mid-way and will introduce an array of moves and combos that will beat you to a bloody ashen pulp if you are not prepared for it.

What’s great about this is that if you aren’t challenged by one boss, then it could be because your strengths matched its weakness. Don’t fret though, the next boss might match your weakness and the fight might just drain your soul.

The same could be said for the mobs in the game. In addition to their mix of strengths and weaknesses, the way they’re placed in different areas, and how they are designed to move makes it frustratingly difficult to get to the bonfires and boss arenas.

Sure, they could be grunts that can be taken down with two hits, but gather a group of them together and place two tanky damage dealing mobs in the middle and all hell could break loose if you’re fighting without a proper strategy.

A mix of strategies

Speaking of strategies, one way to deal with the bosses and mobs of Dark Souls 3 is the Battle Arts system, which basically assigns different skills to the weapons you find in the game. Depending on the skills your weapons hold, they can give you different advantages in the battlefield. Some skills can help you dance around your opponent, other skills can make your weapon deal direct and potent damage by piercing through your opponents’ armor.

You cannot use these special skills all the time though. Dark Souls 3 introduces a third bar on your interface that will show you how much FP or Focus Points you have which basically limits your frequency of skills. To fill up your FP you will need an Ashen Estus Flask, or return to the bonfire.

It’s advisable that you spend a bit of time with the different weapons available to you so that you can master each before heading to a difficult battle. If you want to introduce a little more style and flair to your battles, try dual wielding. It will surely keep things exciting.

A satisfying adrenaline rush for an epic series

All in all, Dark Souls 3 is a brilliant sequel and an amazing heart-stopping way to wrap up the trilogy’s story. True to From Software fashion, Dark Souls 3 is a game that will keep your blood pumping from start to finish.

Dark Souls 3 shows that From Software has learned mastered the hearts of masochistic gamers. While the maddening boss fights and tough groups of mobs will make you rage and tempt you to quit, the immersive environments, multi-levelled areas, epic music, and creative combat that will suck you in and keep you in the game right until the very end. – Rappler.com

Dark Souls 3 review: A fiery sequel – Rappler