Bandai Namco Entertainment America

Dark Souls 3 offers a challenging but rewarding experience

"Embrace the Dark" in this fun soul-crushing game about power

April 26, 2016

Though the 3rd installment of the Dark Souls games, Dark Souls 3 is a game that anyone can jump into, with little confusion.

The story of Dark Souls 3 seems to take place centuries after the previous games, with the last breath of an ever dying world reaching its end. Fire seems to be one of the only items of value to the condemned souls that sprinkle the world, that, and the power of souls themselves.

Fire is used for survival, while souls are used for power. Numerous souls are gathered with each kill, some of the most powerful souls coming from terrible foes that can crush unprepared wanderers without a second thought.

The player character is called an “unkindled one,” and is seeking to destroy the Lords of Cinder, and take control of the flame. Whether the flame is a myth, a palpable power, or simply a goal that keeps the player pushing forward, it is what they are after, and what they’ll do anything to find.

Dark Souls 3 has sprawling and intricate environments that weave and connect to one another, always keeping the player on their feet and sometimes in awe with the sheer scale of the world they explore. At one moment, the player may be exploring a forsaken catacomb writhing with unthinkable filth and monstrosities, and the next, they may be running through a frozen kingdom filled with dark spirits and forgotten knights.

The main argument those who view the series with disdain is that the combat is too hard. The people who don’t like the games see it as unforgiving, that enemies are far too complicated for anyone to fight fairly. And the fans of the games would agree, but this love for the game’s difficulty spawns more from the belief that the games aren’t hard in the way people would normally describe a hard game, that the enemies, weapons, and overall combat is designed intentionally to be unique and intricate; a puzzle for players to figure out through observation and experience.

The game can be difficult, but fans of the series see the difficulty more as a tactical challenge, rather than a broken and unpolished game.

People who love the franchise love it for different reasons. Some people love it for what they consider the deep lore, hidden meaning, and the internal puzzle solving that can go through a player’s mind as they put together bits and pieces of story that are presented, and also sometimes hidden to them.

Other groups of fans love the games for their tightly knit and challenging gameplay, sometimes completely ignoring the story and diving straight into the game with the hopes to kill everything that has a health bar.

They revere the game for the complicated and intuitively designed enemies and bosses, the wide range of weapons, and the immense feeling of accomplishment upon the defeat of the terrible foes through the blood, sweat, and tears that a player puts into beating the enemies.

Both groups often blend together, loving the game for similar reasons, making games like Dark Souls user friendly in a particular way.

Dark Souls 3 also has side stories and hidden tales sprinkled around the world. These stories can be told either through item descriptions or from lone souls who are on their own journeys.

Some items the player gathers as they make their way through a tomb tell the tale of a self proclaimed king who conquered numerous lands, crushing the crowns of the kings he conquered into dust and smelted them into his own crown, but this king soon became overwhelmed with a dark and powerful force called “the Abyss,” confined to a cursed chalice made from his hollowed out skull, only to be killed by the player who is teleported into his realm after touching the skull.

Another side story is of a traveler who the player meets throughout their journey, a polite and kind young women traveling with her mute but closest friend. She eventually gets separated from him, and ponders where ever he could be, but the player learns that this friend, in his solitude, has lost his mind, and viciously attacks anyone who comes near him.

Her side quest could actually become involved in the main quest, depending on how the player handles certain situations, as well as the path the player decides to follow in the main story.

The girl carries on, unaware of her friends location nor his lunacy, and she continues her quest in hunting an ancient lord whom she hopes to kill in the name of those she left at home.

These stories, and many others like it, add more and more depth to this dying world as the player explores its darkest corners. Dark Souls 3 is an accessible, if challenging, game that anyone looking for something different to play can enjoy thoroughly.

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