Casual Reviews – Dark Souls III

Guys and gals, let me just say I’ve missed you all. I have moved through 4 time zones, a new climate, and 57 bonfires to bring you this casual review.

I like to change things up. I like reviewing games back-to-back that are different. As casual gamers, we are a very diverse group with specific casual needs and casual interests. Bloodborne was my last review before I moved, so the last thing I expected was to be in my new home reviewing Dark Souls III for your reading pleasure. I apologize. Somewhere between the Continental Divide and the East Coast I lost my way in a desire for something stable.

If you read my Bloodborne review, you’ll remember how I felt about FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series and you will join in my shock at discovering that…I can’t believe I’m saying this…Dark Souls III was my rock. My comfort food.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

Environment

When looking around the environment of Dark Souls III, it’s difficult not to quote the most wholesome man on earth, known as Donald Trump: “What the hell is going on???” Embers, cinders, estus flasks, estus shards, bone shards, titanite shards…just about everything has a shard. There’s a handful of very depressed, cryptic-speaking NPCs to invite to your firelink shrine, and interacting with them is not unlike having your first tamagotchi pet. Many of them will end up dead at various times and it’s rather unclear why. 

I would be remiss to not mention the music specifically in this section. Each boss usually changes tactics halfway through the fight, and the music makes sure you know it. Many boss fights felt as though the world–no, the universe–hinged upon me winning. My poor Dualshock 4 felt the brunt of this epic tension as my palms sweated to the point of drowning in their own excretion.

Taking nothing away from how well packaged Dark Souls III’s environment is, I do want to add that I missed Bloodborne. Dark Souls III is different, yes…but Bloodborne was simply its own…whatever it was. I can’t compare it to anything. Maybe if Underworld, Game of Thrones, and The Muppets Christmas Carol were popped in a Vitamix, devoured by Guillermo del Toro, and that man defecated, the turd produced might come close to resembling Bloodborne. Dark Souls III, while still keeping its own identity, still feels more familiar to anyone who is a fan of fantasy.

Gameplay

Here is where I finally understood why fans of the Souls games didn’t praise Bloodborne as much as previous FromSoftware games. Bloodborne now feels very limited. The states, the attire, the weapons…there is so much more here in Dark Souls. The gameplay feels deeper. More options are available to the player and so, of course…I played as a knight. I know, I took the most bland route possible, but I understood how to play it, and that is how the casual gamer do.

Once again, the combat feels tight as ever. I mean, it just feels right. Yes, it is difficult sometimes. Yes, I did lose my cool a few times. But when I would usually have given up on any other game and walked away, Dark Souls III kept me craving more combat.

While nothing really changes in the gameplay (you kill enemies), the variety in enemies, how they attack, the landscapes, and bosses all magically keep Dark Souls III from feeling old.

From what I’ve heard in the rumor mill (aka Reddit), combat is very different from previous Souls games and is more influenced by Bloodborne. After my catastrophic failure at Dark Souls, I was perfectly fine with that. If you are a long time fan of the Souls franchise then…what in God’s green earth are you doing here?? You’re not a casual gamer, you are a god among men who I am unworthy to look upon…but I also can understand if you are upset your franchise got soiled by FromSoftware pandering to us mere mortals. All I can tell you is…I apologize.

Online

I was invaded. I died.

I was invaded. I died faster.

I turned off online. I died enough without the help of players who are much less casual than myself.

Replay Value

As I said of Bloodborne, the excitement of discovery is the charm of Dark Souls III, but also the reason it is not replayable. While some people–and by some people I mean fanatics–might return to flesh out how your “choices” affect the “story,” I cannot see myself returning. The reason I enjoy these games so much is the tightness of the combat paired with discovering a crazy-looking world.

While some of this world was not as unique as Bloodborne, it was still interesting, and the game itself is long enough that I can respect it for giving me the ride it did. No, that was not an innuendo.

Much like high school, Dark Souls III was fun, lasted longer than expected (or wanted at times), and nothing on God’s green earth could convince me to go relive it again.

Conclusion

I get it now. I am willing to admit that Bloodborne was only a little sister to Dark Souls. Dark Souls III offers so much more and I am so glad that my gaming pride recovered enough that I was willing to give it another go.

So, the question I try to answer in my conclusion is…should you buy it? Usually I am able to definitively say yes or no to gamers in general. But this style of game is tougher to make that call. It’s like recommending a phenominal anime to someone who never watches anime. It’s risky, and you’re almost a little embarrased to admit how much you enjoy it and how much it means to you. At the same time, if the person would just be open and try it, they would probably have a really good time and maybe get hooked on the genre themselves.

My advice is this. If you haven’t played a Dark Souls game, are feeling adventurous, don’t have anything else to play, and you’re in a happy place and not stressed…give it a go. Enjoy it…see where it takes you. Don’t worry, you’ll eventually beat that a-hole that just destroyed your hopes and dreams.

I apologize that this took so long. Thanks, everyone who is still hanging around. As a side note, what are you guys playing right now? I feel like there isn’t anything to be excited about until Persona 5 and that feels like ages away.

Dark Souls III

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37 thoughts on “Casual Reviews – Dark Souls III

  1. I’ve been playing a bit of Horizon Zero Dawn and Night in the Woods, but recently I jumped back onto the Final Fantasy XV train. New DLC is dropping on the 28th and I’m super excited! Good to see you back!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a shame you didn’t play some more online, multiplayer really makes Dark Souls 3. Getting invaded is a pain, but being able to summon help, and broing for people adds a whole new dimension to the game (as well as being a great, risk free way to gather souls). I played the first Dark Souls game, but it genuinely fatigued me, I’m pleased I stuck with this one. I think the sense of achievement in completing this one eclipses most other games out there 😁.

    Currently playing Ghost Recon: Wildlands. Decent game, also best with other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Please, please, please play Breath of the Wild. It’s the best game to come out in decades (and a piece of my own will be coming out soon if you need further convincing). The Wii U version is totally functional and playable, so you don’t need a Switch to have fun with it.

    Anyway, I’m in the “anyone out there?” rut too. Good to know you still are. :y:

    Now go play Demon’s Souls!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Demon’s Souls would kick my pasty butt back across the country to Alaska again. I’m not fully prepared to make that trip again so soon.

      And I hate to break it to you but I have no Nintendo system except my wife’s gamecube and 3DS. 😦 Someday I hope to play it. I look forward to your piece. I’m really interested in that game!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice review!

    I’ve been thinking about reviewing a bunch of games, especially after my really, *really* dark Catharsis series.. I’ve just finished Layers of Fear, I’ve played Dead Space, I’m playing Sunset Overdrive…so many options.

    Right now, though, I’m trudging between playing Outlast and Sunset Overdrive. Because I like toturing myself with everything. Keep it up, mate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay, good to have you back 😀

    Beat Bloodborne last fall and it made me curious about Dark Souls…which then resulted in me completing 1-3.

    About Dark Souls 3 having more stuff and feeling deeper – I understand what you mean but after trying out several weapons…a lot of them just feel the same. Then I prefer Bloodbornes limited amount of weapons where you have the trick-weapons etc. 🙂

    As the other comment mentioned, you definitely need to do some co-op. Beating a boss alone is awesome. Beating it with others is just as awesome and then you can make weird emotes/poses when you win/lose.

    Can’t wait for the last dlc for Dark Souls 3 so I can finish my Dark Souls journey! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve wanted to give this a try for some time but I have so much of a backlog right now. Breath of the Wild is not helping the aforementioned backlog.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good to see you again! It certainly has been a while 🙂

    I’m gunning for a Dark Souls Collection release on the Switch at some point. I don’t have a PS4 and I don’t want to play a digital copy on PC, so I’m kinda holding out. I’ve heard from many that Dark Souls III is a better entrance into the series for a newcomer than the original installment. Thoughts for someone wanting to get into the series?

    Bloodbourne has also piqued my interest and I need to get on that, I just hope it releases outside of PS4 at some point..

    Liked by 1 person

    • The way I, as a casual gamer, got into the series was absolutely because of Bloodborne. I think it would be possible to get on Dark Souls III and pick up there, but I was really thankful for my Bloodborne experience prior to it. For you I think you could jump in to Dark Souls III if you don’t get a PS4, just saying I think Bloodborne lessened the blow of how difficult Dark Souls games can be.

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  8. I’m actually glad I’ve read your review. I haven’t personally survived long enough to even say I’ve played any Dark Souls games (I attempted DS3 and gave up pretty much after the first introduction boss) BUT I love watching gameplays. Maybe I will attempt it again

    Liked by 1 person

    • My guess is that if you get the hang of the game, the combat will feel so rewarding. However, it’s not for everyone and I completely understand the reasons someone would never get interested in these games to play. My argument against difficult or frustrating things in games is usually “I play games to have fun feeling awesome. I don’t need a game to tell me how much I suck at stuff.” But something about Dark Souls feels like it rewards you. But don’t feel obligated to play just because some weirdos like me like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Read a couple of your reviews, really like the format. I like how the beginning of the reviews start with a brief introduction about you and the game that add personality, and base on the Dark Souls and Bloodborne almost has a narrative of a casual gamer leaning more towards the hardcore side.

    Also the grading system is neat and creative. Keep gaming and writing my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dark Souls is one of those games that’s hard to get into if you’re really casual especially since the game can be a bit overwhelming at times but once you get used to the mechanics and how the AI work it becomes easy…until you run into a boss or higher level enemy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dark souls three was the first souls game I played. I ended up with four play-throughs and I even joined my nine year old son in co-op until the deacons of the deep and the watchmen (the game is actually quite family friendly if you turn the gore off) – after that it became too difficult for him. I know die hard souls vets would hate me for saying this but I am with Jim Sterling on this one: I love the fact that the difficulty modifier is built right into the game. It is really as difficult as you want it to be. Between the way of the blue covenant and summoning sunbro’s I rarely fell to an invader even though I also do not claim to be hardcore. And you have to love the level design even if you hate the lore like I actually do. The game completely won me over. I am now slogging through bloodborne blindly because of my love for DS3.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that I prefer the difficulty being more welcoming to new players. I understand if a hardcore fan is upset since I would be upset for a franchise I enjoyed to be dumbed down for the masses after I had been a part of the community that lifted it to success. But hey…now I enjoy dark souls. Although it was bloodborne that won me over to dark souls 3. Haha

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