Announced just a few short weeks ago, Dark Souls III had a special hands-off demo at this year’s E3. We got to check out how the game has changed but also remained true to the series’ legacy.
We were walked through the demo by Hidetaka Miyazaki himself (with the help of a translator). This is the first game in the series to be created specifically for current-gen consoles. As such, the team was able to expand the world’s size to gargantuan proportions. For example, even the furthest mountain peaks and hilltop structures could be traveled to and explored. This will be the biggest game in the history of the franchise by far.
Since this is Dark Souls, it will be extremely challenging. Before the demo started, they warned us that the person demoing could die. Despite the challenge, the game is set up so that if you pay attention to your surroundings and enemy’s movements, you’ll be able to overcome the odds. For example, a room full of bad guys was easily cleared when the player launched an arrow into explosive barrels. These sort of situations are common but one must be vigilant to take advantage of them.
In the demo, we got to see the character wield a straight sword, great sword, short bow, and a pair of scimitars. These are a tiny fraction of the weapons one can use. The game promises to have a plethora of weaponry, much more than Bloodborne did. Stats will also be more in-depth, allowing you to put points into a wide array of different attributes. Similarly to weapons, there will be a great deal of armor and shields as well.
Speaking of Bloodborne, some of that game’s influence has managed to bleed over here. The most obvious thing is that the character is nimbler and faster than they were in previous Dark Souls games. While they may not be as quick-footed as the main hero of Bloodborne, they are able to dodge and roll very swiftly. This newly added mobility will help to speed up battles and keep them from becoming dull.
The game takes place before the apocalypse. As such, everything has an oppressive and foreboding tone to it. The short demo made you feel as if the world was truly coming to an end. The current-gen graphics felt instill just the right tone of finality that the developers no doubt want players to feel. Despite the unsettling nature of the art style, the game world itself looks absolutely stunning; a beautiful nightmare.
Adding to the sense of dread are the enemies. This demo featured a few rather nasty characters that the player needed to dispose of lest he find himself on the other side of a rusty sword. The most formidable foes were hulking knights. We were told that the knights scale with the player, so that they will always present a challenge. Actually, THE most dangerous enemy was a blob/horse/lion/something creepy hybrid that managed to kill the person playing. There was also a giant fire-breathing dragon along the way as well but it was avoided since there was no way the monster could have been taken down at this point.
Though they mostly loved Bloodborne, Souls fans will no doubt be happy to have an actual sequel to the franchise instead of a spiritual successor. Dark Souls III seems to be taking everything that was great about the series and using current-gen technology to make it even better. This may also prove to be a great entry point for gamers who enjoyed Bloodborne but never played or liked the Souls series.
Everyone will prepare to die when Dark Souls III is released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in early 2016.