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Dark Souls III First Impressions – Embracing Death

Dying is only the beginning.

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As many of you who follow me know, I was never a fan of the Souls series. After playing, and not enjoying Demon’s Souls, I wrote the whole thing off. Not only did I not want to deal with constantly being killed by lowly skeletons, but in general I am not a fan of medieval fantasy (with the exception of Dragon Age and Game of Thrones, of course).

A third Dark Souls game wouldn’t have even been a blip on my radar had it not been for one thing: Bloodborne. I can’t exactly pinpoint exactly what it is about Bloodborne that made it work for me. For all intents and purposes, it was a Souls game just with a few tweaks. Was it the faster gameplay? The stripped down mechanics? The Lovecraftian cosmic-horror Victorian setting? Whatever it was, I loved Bloodborne a lot and because of that I decided to give Dark Souls III a try despite my past feelings on the series.

I only played about two hours of Dark Souls III. I never made it much farther than the first bonfire in the first area you travel to after defeating the first boss and finding the area where you can level up. While this game does have some of the aspects that I remember from Bloodborne, it is also very different at the same time. DSIII has more button functions and mechanics to keep track of. Because of that, encounters were harder than I was prepared for.

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As I said in a preview of the game, Dark Souls III is the fastest game in the series. Your player character isn’t as nimble as he is in Bloodborne, but he is agile nonetheless. However, this didn’t mean that dodging attacks saved me. Too quickly I learned that I needed to use a shield in order to survive against the evil monsters bent on killing me. I’ve never been a person who likes to use shields in games so this is one aspect that was the hardest to adjust to.

The area I played was actually the same one from the demo. This meant that a giant fire-breathing dragon stood before me and the next bonfire (the save points of the game). However, since I knew to expect the dragon, I worked my way around it. Figuring out what to do based on past deaths is actually a key component of the series and knowing that a dragon would be an obstacle better prepared me for that. Basically, this is a game where you shouldn’t see death as a defeat, but as a learning experience.

Graphically speaking, the game looks absolutely gorgeous. This is running off the same engine as Bloodborne so the fact that it is a beautiful looking title shouldn’t be a surprise. The entire game world is, objectively speaking, actually quite ugly. You get the sense that the world is nearing its end thanks to all of the dull and faded colors around you. It almost looks as if everything has been burned and all that’s before you is ashes of what once was. This decaying beauty was something that made me want to further explore the world to see what other macabre but wonderful sights awaited me.

Although I’m not digging the game as much as I initially did Bloodborne, I am still eager to continue playing it. I know that once I level up some more and get better equipment, and of course, master the game’s intricate mechanics, that I’ll truly love this title. Fans of Bloodborne should definitely give Dark Souls III a shot as there are no other games on the market that give players the sort of rewarding challenge that this series does.

Our official review of Dark Souls III will go live within the next few days so look forward to checking that out when it drops.

About The Author
Tony Polanco Executive Editor
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