March 17, 2019 at 11:51 PM #1004
Dark Souls III
Rating: 4.5 – Outstanding
Dark Souls three, another great addition to the series
Whether or not we see another iteration into the Dark Souls series, Dark Souls three is an amalgamation consisting of the prior titles best aspects thrown into one melting pot. What comes out is a brilliant game rich with expansive environments, in depth engaging combat, and a foreboding sense of exploration teaming with secrets.
Borrowing from Bloodbourne’s combat speed and even bringing back the Focus meter for magic which has been missing ever since Demon’s Souls. Dark Souls three feels right at home for a series veteran, and welcoming to newcomers.
The models and textures present here are top notch, that is not to say that they are the best we have seen currently in gaming in fact they are not with the NPCs still showing no facial animations while talking. This issue was not an issue in say Demon’s souls and even a little laughable in Bloodbourne however at this rate it just seems a little lazy.
This small nuance aside the enemies and destructible environment looks fantastic. Animations handle smoothly with very little lag or stuttering throughout the entire game only experiencing this with a full lobby of friendly and unfriendly phantoms all casting spells and going at it at once. That and a small area near the very end game it is worth noting here that a normal PS4 was used not the pro so mileage may vary.
That being said the character models themselves look great and all the armor is varied quite a bit too in which you should not see anyone person looking entirely the same. A character creation system is available to create your own character this time around again as in prior titles and are rewarded with a much more fleshed out creation system allowing to customize all sorts of features and even amps up some to create real abominations.
Boss designs deviate from the somewhat underwhelming to expansively amazing and clever leaning more towards the latter. Admittedly after playing Dark Soul two multiple times the bosses seemed to lack the luster from Dark and even Demon’s Souls. However the challenge and awe is back in Dark Souls three. Apart from the sheer size of some of these creatures the attention to detail is staggering. More than once the bosses look distracted from the fight but in a good way.
The overarching and interconnected paths present here feel inspired almost more from Bloodbourne as they tend to warp back multiple times within the same area and some shortcuts being easily passed by. While the world is more cohesive then the past title Dark Souls two, we are treated to a sort of hub world like area in the beginning that feel like Demon’s Souls. Nevertheless The paths that do connect on one another usual tell a story in the form environmental queues which leave a sense of wanting to know what happened before the player arrived.
As touched on briefly before the game run smoothly at thirty frames per second and only lags or stutters in minor instances nothing to break the immersion. The game itself handles responsively while hardly ever feeling like the game caused a death. Player control is down the tee and every action feel as though it is taking up a noticeable turn so the speak. That is not the say it feels blocky or disjointed, quite the opposite. Timing and reflexes play the key parts in adjusting the free movement and capabilities provided by Dark Souls three. Eventually every button press, every second ends up becoming an important part of successfully navigating and overcoming an area.
On a side note it is still possible to so to say “cheese” some enemies with magic as they have a limited aggressive range and once exploited can throw fireballs behind an invisible barrier. It is better than past titles however is can still be done sometimes.
The same issue as always does persist here as well in regards to lag and online play and should be discussed. While many in the gaming community are aware, the consoles current in the market have limited capabilities in terms of putting out interstellar graphics and providing seamless sixty frames per second.
Personally these issues are not much of a concern however it does create a sense of broken mechanic whenever a match is lagging so badly that we see a player invade our world and persist to beat us up from twenty yards away. Unfortunately this has happened since the beginning of the Dark Souls series and it still happens now.
What can be done about it only time will tell however it is worth noting these people seeking a seamless experience in terms of hit detection, instant action may find themselves wondering what happened more than once. Thankfully these issues are not as prevalent as they sound and more time than not multiplayer is great, however for a newcomers it is something to watch out for.
In between bosses and save the main hub area, little to no music will play for much of the adventure. The soft hum at the hub is comforting and warns of the greater dangers lurking. Boss themes ranges from ominous builds to bombastic explosions to an epic conclusion.
Sound effects range from varied and dissonant in regards to location from tinny and very much similar from weapon to weapon. The familiar cackle of the bonfires bring a warmth to the scene as well as the player’s footsteps reflecting the amount of weight and garb being varnished it all sounds great. Enemies hollowly screeching around corners sound as though they are relative to their surroundings. Having relative sound bites correlate to where they are is important in a title such as this with large open chasms and it hits all the marks.
Going into what sounds off would be the simplistic weapon noises and contact noises. No matter what your opponent is wearing and no matter what weapon is equipped a squishy noise is made upon achieving a hit. Being a series player this is normal however it is odd to note it has not been changed to something more realistic. Just as well it is a small detail and forgivable to say the least some may not even notice nor care and it certainly does not break the immersion factor.
Considering how convoluted the story in Dark Souls three is one may well play the entire game and still have no idea what the story was actually about. This is especially true for newcomers as you literally spawn in after a short cut scene with little to no direction. Personally the freedom in this regard is what adds to the story if and when it finally unfolds.
Subtle does not mean bad is just means it may be up to the player to fill in the gaps and think a little more than most games. Again from a newcomer’s perspective this can be quite confusing. Non-player characters are often cryptic and will not outright say what they want from the player. Without important attention to detail one could easily break a quest line without even knowing it making it unfinished until next new game plus.
Bearing this is mind the lore is extrapolated upon if one takes the time to delve deeper. Reading the descriptions of weapons, armor and key items has been a major storytelling elements in the franchise and is present here as well. While it may be difficult to follow at times Dark Souls three offers a new game plus mode which allows the player the keep most items and all levels to experience the story again and potential do some quests differently the second time around.
Overall Gameplay/ Final Thoughts
As a total package Dark Souls three is a phenomenal game with a lot to offer both veterans and newcomers to the franchise. The challenge forces the player to pay attention and is equally rewarding when the words “Duty Filled” come across the screen. Multiplayer is in full swing with the multiple comrades and dark spirits constantly present and is a blast.
All in all the game was thirty dollars at the time of this review and would certainly recommend purchasing it. Since release significant patches and updates have occurred as well boasting better armor statistical variations as well as fixing a lot of bugs. During the time played over one hundred thirty hours and two complete journeys, Dark Souls three earns its place in the series and should be played regardless of old or newcomer, it truly is an example of how triple A developers can stick to a high quality game.
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