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Dark Souls 3 Review

Are you the type that throws holy water when hears the name of this game; or have you worshipped the Sun for the release date to come faster? Regardless the category in which you find yourself, you probably have the same curiosity: How good is DARK SOULS 3?

As a brief introduction, I admit that I’m no expert in this type of games, but I have finished everything that is related to SoulsBorne (Demons Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne), except for The Old Hunters DLC. But I don’t want to get you bored with all that info, let’s get straight to the Dark Souls 3 Review.

STORY

At the sound of a bell, you are awakened from the sleep of death. You are in Lothric, the place where the five ashen emperors, Lords of Cinder, left their thrones, leaving the Flame to extinguish, and your task is to bring them back to the throne, to stop plunging the world into darkness.

I will also admit that I am not a living encyclopedia when it comes to the story of the series, but this is one of the things that you appreciate in the SoulsBorne games: the gameplay takes over. There are a few cutscenes, and the story can be discovered as much as the player desires. In particular, the Dark Souls series tries to present us a metaphor about life, death, and reincarnation. If it sounds pretentious and complicated, don’t be discouraged. The story and lore are detailed in the descriptions of the objects and weapons which you find in the game. It remains at the discretion of each user if it wants to decipher the riddle, why is the world dark in Dark Souls.

GAMEPLAY

Dark Souls 3 brings some interesting changes, so gather around the fire: I have a few stories!

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The ashes and the fire are the subjects of the third part of Dark Souls. The mechanics of Human and Hollow now comes in the form of Unkindled and Kindled. In Kindled – represented by a visual smouldering combustion of the character – you receive bonus health points, as well as access to the online component of the game, in which you can summon other players to help you; or you can join them to steal their gathered souls – which still remains the currency and resource with which you can increase your level.

If you die, you lose all the benefits and the souls; but they can be recovered if you get back to the place where you died – but be warned, when you revive, so are the enemies. And the Kindle, the character’s “flame”, can be recovered using Ember, or by killing bosses on the map.

An interesting feature brought by Dark Souls 3 is the Hollowing feature, which is a counter that tracks how many times you died, up to 99, and with each death, the character loses its human traits and starts to look more and more like a zombie. I don’t if Hallowing has other properties besides the visual effect, but one thing is certain: if I will be invaded by a player who still looks human-ish… I will get trashed really hard.

The series grew quite well, and Dark Souls 3 took notes from Bloodborne, by increasing the pace of the action. Enemies are slightly faster, and sometimes even ambivalent. And since I mentioned Bloodborne, the mechanic by which you can recover health by hitting the enemy can be replicated on objects.

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To balance the new pace of the game, Dark Souls 3 introduces skills, weapons and shields, which provides access to new movements and techniques that change the combat system even more. Discovering the skills of the comrades that are accompanying you in battle is a pleasure, and of course, I am not going to tell you what they do, go check for yourself.

The classes are listed based on their difficulty. Starting from lighter ones, focusing on Strength, continuing with the Dexterity and ending with the Intelligence. If in the previous games, the use of magic was doing the game very easily, this time, it is no longer the case. It takes a lot of time to cast a spell, and with the fast pace of the game, it is difficult to survive as a character who relies on magic.

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Other changes that can be noticed by the veterans of the series:

  • The Soul Meter is missing;
  • Luck from Demons Souls is back, a feature that helps you find better items;
  • Ring of Sacrifice can no longer be repaired and re-used as in Dark Souls 2, so hold tight to those that you find;
  • Those who prefer the bow and arrows, try the Thief class with a Shortbow. It’s much easier now to change the bow and send two to three arrows, if you got some distance from the enemy;
  • Two Estus Flasks, one for mana, another for life, and the number of uses may be shared between the two. Estus Flasks can be improved using Undead Bone Shards, and the number of uses can be raised with Ember Shards.

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But let’s review the less enjoyable parts of the gameplay too. First of all, the game “retains” the commands for too long. It often happened for two commands to be inputted and then the character to be hit after the first command, just to observe that he is executing the second command after the hit animation while I was already pressing desperately for other commands.

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Another issue that I encounter in every SoulsBorne game is the illusion of choice. For example, a weapon can be effective for over 80 percent of the game, therefore ruining any build ideas and creativity.

GRAPHICS

Dark Souls 3 tastes a bit too familiar, and immediately the idea of  “good tricks, or expired” comes in my mind? Why do I say that? It’s a bit more complicated, but I’ll clarify.

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The game uses the same graphics engine used by all previous games, but with minor improvements and optimisations. It has moments where it looks great, but when put under the magnifying glass it doesn’t impress. The objects and models of the characters are well-drawn and detailed, but if you look beyond the layer of wax that makes everything “glossier and next-gen,” the game does not differentiate from the Demon Souls versions of the Playstation 3. Between Low and Hi, the difference is made only by a few layers of shadows, blur, reflections and physical simulation of the tissues from clothes.

The textures look washed out for the current year, but speaking of Dark Souls this is an irrelevant aspect too. The game is full of action and you don’t really have time to wait and admire the walls with a magnifying glass, and the characters are sufficiently detailed and well animated. Dragging the line, it’s the showiest game of the series. Therefore, an improvement.

Finally, the character can get dirty! Even more, you can clean the dirt when to jump or falling in a puddle of water. Also, you can decorate the walls with blood, as in Bloodborne. These are trivial details, but have a special charm and helps immersion.

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The game was tested on an I7-4790K, with GTX970, and I have to mention there were a few areas where the FPS has touched “cinematic” levels, without the resources to be pushed more than 50% – whether the settings were on Low or Max. And because I don’t want to give you any spoilers, I won’t give examples. There were no performance issues, the game running very fluently.

Other issues that I have noticed would be the reduced draw distance and texture pop-in, the use of false lights which leaves no shadows, or situations where enemies leave shadows, but you don’t.

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Dark Souls 3 offers a very good experience, and I’m hopeful that all these small problems will be repaired after the launch. It can be seen that in some areas, which could affect the weaker systems, the game’s engine was caused intentionally stepped, but hopefully, the developers will discard this solution. Maybe they’ll remove the 60 fps limit imposed on the game.

If you have a modest system but want details, the Medium preset is more than enough. The difference between Medium and Max being nearly undetectable during the game.

LEVEL DESIGN

Dark Souls returns with the same dark world – but more detailed than before – littered with castles in ruins, dungeons, and dark forests. But the formula is modified, the maze levels having an emphasis for the vertical plane. I don’t know how others will appreciate this change, but I noticed that it was easier to find and remember the alternative paths that can be explored, even though in the beginning I was feeling overwhelmed.

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More than ever I wanted to explore every corner and trail, and every time I was bashing my head against the wall – of course, helped by the strong enemy forces – I was able to find an alternative path. The patience and exploration have always been rewarded with enemies of my level, secondary bosses, weapons, items and even sets.

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Another change that may affect the exploration, it’s the fact that you have access to Bonfire teleportation immediately after the tutorial. Some will love it, others not that much.

But to return to the “familiar” mentioned earlier. Being the fifth SoulsBorne game, the repetition of certain level design patterns becomes quite obvious. Some enemies, bosses or animations seem recycled from Bloodborne, and even older games, including Demons Souls.

SOUND

In this chapter, just things to praise. The soundtrack is just like the action of the game, and the sound of weapons or metal and the screams of the creatures encountered in the game are very well represented.

MULTIPLAYER

We have already spoken about the mechanics, so let’s move on to the technical side.

Personally, it’s part of what I’d be most interested to know in a Dark Souls 3 Review: The PVP being a very important part of the experience.

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“Is the lag fixed? Do I still get hit while the enemy stabs the air? “. Unfortunately, the servers are pretty empty right now, because the game has not been released yet. Only one time I managed to group up with someone, but it was not enough to make a concrete opinion. Believe me, I am equally disappointed that our questions have not found the answer.

For more on this topic, return to Technobezz.com after the game has been launched.

CONCLUSION

“BUT HOW ARE THE BOSSES? HOW HARD IS DARK SOULS 3? ” I can hear how veterans shouted through the monitor. Without giving any spoilers, I panicked, believing that the game repeats what Dark Souls 2 did. And indeed: you might think the game is too easy, given the experience we have accumulated along the series.

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About the gameplay time, here I am a little worried. With over 90% of the game explored, with all Bonfire sites found, with all the secondary bosses defeated and with over a hundred deaths, the game can be finished in somewhere around 40 to 45 hours. So, from this point of view, I think it’s somewhere on the level of Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne without DLCs.

The content is more than enough, if we are to compare with other games! But considering this is the Dark Souls series … we are patiently waiting for the DLCs.

Even though our Dark Souls 3 Review score will not go exceed 9 points, Dark Souls 3 is an excellent game, and “Praise the Sun” has a new meaning for me, because I caught the sunrise in front of the screen more often than I’d like to admit.

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  1. puru April 6, 2016
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