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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.