Tag Archives: Dark Souls III

review

The original Dark Souls was a masterpiece. It introduced us to a vast and meticulously detailed world where every aspect of the experience was crafted to a staggeringly high degree of quality. It was also one of the most uncompromising games of its generation; consistently testing your resolve with its ‘risk verses reward’ style. Dark Souls II faltered slightly but still maintained the original’s core strengths. With Dark Souls III, Hidetaka Miyazaki, the design lead from the original title, has returned, and indeed, with lessons learnt from previous Souls titles – alongside Bloodborne – Dark Souls III achieves a tremendously satisfying balance of components from all of them to form the most compelling and enjoyable Dark Souls experience so far.

Veterans will know what to expect: semi-realistic combat that feels impactful and purposeful, tied with enemies infused with extreme bloodlust. The result is a brutal experience as enemies punish you for impatience and bad strategy with relentless aggression. It’s a unique challenge that takes some getting used to but the combat is so well designed that once you do get to grips with it you’ll be in awe of its mechanics.

Combat requires forethought and constant adaptation. Your opponents will attack aggressively every time and whilst they each have their own patterns they react to your actions as well, making them slightly unpredictable and very dangerous. Moreover, anyone can kill you, all it takes is a lapse in concentration and an enemy will take that opportunity to tear you apart. This also means it’s important to judge combat before entering the fray. Multiple opponents can easily overwhelm you and simply judging what kind of foe and how many you’re up against is crucial to your survival.

Dark Souls 3 1Dark Souls III also expands the combat from previous titles, allowing you to use Battle Arts. These Battle Arts come in the form of special skills that are attached to certain weapons, and vary wildly from a different stance to a new attack. Using these Battle Arts eats away at your FP bar, the same bar that fuels magic, with Ash Estus flasks and resting at bonfires replenishing it. As such, using them becomes a strategic consideration depending on your FP bar and flask quantity. Additionally, often these skills possess their own animations that can slow you down and make you vulnerable to attack momentarily, offering another strategic consideration. It’s a terrific additional to an already superb combat system, and alongside Dark Souls III’s increase combat speed, this extra tactical option elevates the combat to new heights, making it even more compelling and satisfying, as well as making encounters more exhilarating and equally terrifying.

Once again, you’re primarily up against a variety of undead, humanoid foes in Dark Souls III, however, enemy design is now even more varied with each foe possessing a more complex set of attacks that complement the new tactics offered by Battle Arts, as well as transformations into even deadlier and intractable enemies being more common. Indeed, combat is still extremely tough, and returning level design tricks where enemies hide around corners, drop from points of elevation, and target you from afar with projectiles makes every step a nervous decision between pushing on and hoping to find a new bonfire, where Estus Flasks can be refilled and health restored, or retreating back to a bonfire location you’re already aware of and triggering all enemies to respawn.

Dark Souls 3 2However, it’s the other players you really have to watch out for, with phantom invaders threatening to enter your world and ruin your day a frequent reminder of how harsh the world of Dark Souls can be. Fortunately you can still summon other players to aid you, and Dark Souls III features Bloodborne’s password system so you can even invite friends to the fray. Then there are the bosses. These huge and menacing creatures are a testament to FromSoftware’s design, looking spectacular and truly testing your combat skills. However, more so than in previous titles, there are a few bosses that come down to attack spamming more than finesse, which is disappointing. Grinding to raise your stats is also still an inevitable chore in order to give you a fighting chance against the tougher bosses.

The majority of creatures offer up souls when you slay them, with loose souls also scattered around for collecting off of corpses. This is alongside humanity, which restores you from an undead form to a stronger human one. These souls are the currency for raising you level and stats, purchasing items, weapons and armour, and repairing and forging new equipment. Souls are still a precious currency that must be spent wisely, and when you die your collected souls are deposited where you fell and must be picked up again before dying a second time or they are lost forever. Falling once and seeing your souls collect in a pile can be heart breaking at the best of times but falling again before getting them back can bring tears to your eyes.

Dark Souls 3 3The hub-world setup returns, rather than the original Dark Souls’ interconnected design. Locations this time don’t suffer from the same linearity of Dark Souls II, and the confusing, labyrinthine world of the original Dark Souls is avoided due to the hub. Instead Dark Souls III provides a pleasing compromise between the two, with large, relatively open areas with connected paths and hidden shortcuts, alongside bonfire fast-travel to and from the hub-area, the Firelink Shrine. It works well to keep you orientated and focused on exploring the right locations rather than wandering off into an area far beyond your level, or being too restricted and failing to offer options for circumventing hordes of enemies. Furthermore, the visuals have been tremendously enhanced to provide some of the more awe inspiring vistas the series has ever produced, giving the whole experience a far grander feel.

Indeed Dark Souls III is a vast and challenging game, but it’s equally brilliant and fascinating. It’s a tough world for sure, triggering genuine emotion as you fearfully explore, compelled to see what wondrous creatures and locations are round the corner. It’s a damn near prefect balancing of curiosity and trepidation that melds MMO qualities with a singleplayer experience subtly and effectively to create a wonderfully intimidating experience. Magic is unfortunately under powered currently, meaning certain character builds are destined to fail, however, the melee combat is even more impressive than it already was thanks to an increase in speed and the addition of Battle Arts.

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But it’s the design that truly stands out, from the attack patterns and mob mentality of enemies, to the level design, architecture and ingrained history and lore the world emits through every character, building, and enemy encounter. The pull of pushing on after fighting dozens of enemies, all in hope of finding a new bonfire rather than retreating to a previous one is powerfully compelling, and invokes a ‘risk verses reward’ style of play that you simply can’t find outside of this series. Indeed, the Dark Souls series is an example of excellent game-design, and Dark Souls III is a product of that design being polished to a mirror shine. It’s bloody hard, though.

Thanks to Xbox and Bandai Namco for supporting TiX

Dark Souls III shows it’s true colours

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Bandai Namco are really gearing up for the release of the much antcipated Dark Souls III. They’ve released the next in a line of new teaser trailers, with this one highlighting the dangers of the Kingdom of Lothric. Set to a hauntingly good backing track, the Kingdom is showcasing it’s True Colors of Darkness.

Will you be ready to defeat them?

Dark Souls III is still on schedule for a 12th of April release.

Dark Souls III season pass details revealed

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Who’s been waiting for Season Pass and digital pre-order news on FromSoftware’s incoming sword hacker, Dark Souls III? The good news is, your wait is finally over.

Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe have today revealed an exclusive digital pre-order deal on Xbox One for Dark Souls III, as well as a Season Pass programme for the title.

If you pre-order Dark Souls III from the Xbox Store, here, then you’ll recieve a digital copy of the original Dark Souls. This will be playable on your Xbox 360 initially, and later through the Backward Compatibility feature on Xbox One. This code will be delivered to your Xbox Message Centre 7-10 days after pre-ordering.

Also announced was the Dark Souls III Season Pass programme. This will be available for both the standard and will be included in the digital Deluxe Edition, containing the main game, the Season Pass, official soundtrack and dynamic theme. This is available for pre-order here, costing £69.74.

Pricing and further details will be unveiled as we approach the 12th of April launch.

Dark Souls III gets all cinematic

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It’s only a couple of months until we get our grubby gauntlet-clad fists on Dark Souls III. Bandai Namco have started that run-in by releasing the game’s opening cinematic as a new trailer.

Introducing the freshly risen Lords of Cinder in the lands of Lothric, Yhorm the Giant, Aldrich the Saint of the Deep, Farron and his Undead Legion and more await your passage. The Pilgrims have ventured North and have discovered truth in the Old Words.

This is just the beginning.

Dark Souls III is due for Xbox One release on the 12th of April.

New screens to claim your Dark Souls III attention

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It’s scheduled to come out on the 12th of April, but already Dark Souls III is looking every bit as creepy as it’s previous incarnatons. Bandai Namco have released a whole slew of new screens to whet your appetite while your sharpen your combat skills in readiness for release. Developer, FromSoftware have pulled out all the stops visually for this, it would seem.

The screens, below, show a Pyromancer challenging some maggotty enemies, a Mercenary looking down Firelink Shrine and a new look at the High Wall of Lothric, amongst other views.

I’ve taken up too much of your time, here are those screens.

Embrace the darkness with Dark Souls III pre-orders

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It’s a little over four months away from launch and From Software are already teasing us with the pre-order details for Dark Souls III, the continuing story of the Lords of Cinder.

Pictured above, the Apocalype Edition can only be pre-ordered through GAME UK before launch and will include the following:

  • The game
  • Metal case
  • Official Soundtrack on CD

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The Collector’s Edition, pictured above and available at selected UK retailers, will offer:

  • The game
  • Red Knight figurine
  • A4 DARK SOULS trilogy hardcover artbook
  • Metal case
  • Official Soundtrack on CD
  • 3x iron-on patches
  • Cloth game map
  • Exclusive box

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And finally, the Prestige Edition, which will only be available from Amazon UK and pictured in all it’s finery above, will give you:

  • The game
  • A numbered 40cm premium Lord of Cinder hand-painted polystone resin figurine
  • Red Knight figurine
  • A4 DARK SOULS trilogy hardcover artbook
  • Metal case
  • Official Soundtrack CD
  • 3x iron-on patches
  • Cloth game map
  • Exclusive display box

Bandai Namco are at pains to point out that the Apocalypse Edition will only be available by pre-ordering through GAME and won’t be available to purchase after launch.

To appease the gods of pre-ordering, Bandai Namco have released a new trailer, encouraging us all to embrace the darkness.

Dark Souls III is set for release on the 12th of April 2016

Bandai Namco unveil new Dark Souls III multiplayer screens

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Coming in 2016, Dark Souls III has already stirred quite a bit of interest. Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe are ready to stoke that interest further by releasing an array of new screenshots that detail some of the features of the multiplayer element of the incoming title.

Expect to be able to catch glimpses of other in-game players who are facing the same challenges and secrets around every corner, where studying them may give you small hints of where to go and what to do next. Look out for bloodstains on the floor as you go around as they’ll indicate another player’s death. Touching these will show you how the player died, can you avoid the same fate?

You’ll be able to create messages on the ground to help, or hinder, other player’s progress, that choice is entirely up to you. Other players will be able to rate your message as fine or foul though, and each time it’s rated your HP is restored by 50% and the message remains in the world for a longer duration of time. You will also be able to summon another player into your world for co-op gameplay, use embers to temporarily restore the power of the Lord of Cinder giving you the ability to summon white spirits. Look out for Dark Spirits of an online player invading another player’s game, that can introduce dangerous enemies into your game.

Also revealed in these images are The Wandering Knight, The Northern Warrior, The Herald of White and the Academy Assassin. These will all have their own special abilities to look out for, such as the Northern Warrior’s “Warcry” skill that increases the damage of his axe as he goes in for the kill.

Have a look at the gallery of images below and let us know what you think.

Dark Souls III is due out in 2016.

 

 

Xbox @ gamescom – Dark Souls III reveals some gameplay

Finally some gameplay footage! Pushing boundaries graphically, Dark Souls III looks stunning and looks like it runs really smoothly, we see some dark creepy locations and huge enemies with a healthy dose of gore. A new addition to the series is “Battle Art” attacks, which will enable you to deliver stronger attacks to break down your enemies defences and destroy them, each weapon is equipped with its own unique Battle Art.

E3 Bandai Namco reveal Dark Souls III

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Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe haven’t been quiet during this E3.

Indeed, quietly, even such a short time after Scholar of the First Sin was released, FROMSoftware and Bandai have announced Dark Souls III.

This will continue the critically acclaimed storyline as fires fade, the world falls to ruin and only embers remain.

Directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, this promises to be even more genre-defining that the last release and it’s heading our way in early 2016.