Dark Souls III, the much anticipated video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, has finally been released and it does not disappoint at all. Living up to the high quality standard that FromSoftware sets for their games, Dark Souls III has been said to be the final game in the beloved franchise that started back in 2009 when Demon’s Souls was released. If DS3 truly is the final game in the series, I would be alright with that, particularly considering that up until now there has never been a more satisfying and complete experience in a Souls game than what FromSoftware has done with Dark Souls III.
The Souls series has never really been known for its story , but for this entry I was very much intrigued to go deeper and learn about the lore that was surrounding me as I progressed through the game. The game takes place in the Kingdom of Lothric, in which an ongoing war between Light and Dark results in the world being destroyed and covered with ash. As the player you travel through brand new areas, facing off against the Lords of Cinder, previous heroes who have gone mad from the darkness devastating the world around them.
The world of Dark Souls III is mesmerizing to look at, leaving you completely engrossed throughout the vast and dreadful world through which you travel. There were times that I got so distracted by the environment I actually died from creatures I never even realized were there. Seeing each new enemy try to kill me never left me frustrated as I was baffled at some of the creatures that the developers came up with, whether it would be something simple such as a small minion with a massive sword or the terrifying spiders with a face of a wolf. The boss design is incredible as well, most of which are massive foes that change throughout their multi-phase fights. The soundtrack and voice acting is something that needs to be praised as well. Each score from the original soundtrack is chilling to listen to and fits the atmosphere of the game flawlessly. Meanwhile the voice acting is also done so well, allowing the player to really understand the dreadful world that these characters are living in.
If you have previously played a Souls game you have a pretty good idea of what you are going to get out of Dark Souls III. An incredibly challenging game that leaves you wanting to break your controller or smash your keyboard as you die hundreds of times. This game is easily the hardest in the series, especially after what was a relatively easy experience in Dark Souls II. DS3 takes the best parts out of each game from the series, leading to a satisfying experience that is unlike anything else. The combat in Dark Souls III takes the swift combat that was introduced in Bloodborne and combines it with the difficulty of the original Dark Souls, along with the terrific enemy design from Dark Souls II. The best part of each game is put into DS3, which leaves a brilliant and rewarding experience that issues a challenge no matter what type of playstyle you have. That is what makes DS3 and the Souls series in general so great is the fact that you have an abundance of weapons and spells to choose from, whether you like to play as a mage that uses pyromancy or a warrior that carries a great sword and shield. The currency that you get from killing every enemy is called souls, which you can spend in the hub world in order to level up your attributes, buy items, and even spend in order to upgrade your weapon. When you die all of your souls are dropped at that specific location as you respawn at bonfires placed throughout each area. All the enemies that you previously killed respawn and if you die trying to get back to your souls, they are gone forever.
Once you kill the final boss on your first play through you have the option of replaying the game on a higher difficulty while keeping all of your characters stats and gear. Called New Game Plus, you are essentially playing through the same game you just completed but with some changes to keep the experience fresh. Enemies have an increase in their health and damage while dropping more souls, as well as new enemies being added which spawn in different areas of the game. I personally enjoyed the experience of playing through Dark Souls III again on New Game+ as it was satisfying to be able to get revenge on a boss that took hours to kill the first time I encountered them.
The only real downside that I found while playing this near perfect game is the constant dip of frame-rate. Whenever a lot of creatures were on the screen, or during a boss fight, frames would drop which caused me to die on multiple occasions. This made the game incredibly frustrating at times as you can lose a lot of progress on a fluke death like that.
Dark Souls III to me is by far the best game in the Souls series. The game is just as punishing and anger inducing as ever, the setting and enemy design is simply incredible, and the new combat is so satisfying. If Dark Souls III really is the last game in the Souls series than I am happy to have been able to play a series that has redefined the genre of challenging action role playing games, and set the standards for games like these to be released in the future.
My Score: 9.5/10