Dark Souls III can make you want to break your controller in half, pour gasoline on your console, light a match, watch it all burn, and swear off video games forever. But if you like a challenge, the only thing you’ll break while playing it is a sweat.
It is a tough-as-nails third-person action role-play game, in which the player has to venture through treacherous dungeons and fight gigantic foes. It’s an absolute onslaught gameplay-wise. Best of all, the main theme is dying over and over again.
There’s a reason why Dark Souls III is Bandai’s best selling game ever, shipping over three million copies in just a few months. It’s the conclusion to a beloved series with a huge fan base built up over the course of a decade.
Who knew such a painstaking game could be adored by so many people? It’s largely due to the game’s adversity. Clearing its various realms feels extremely rewarding, especially after slaying a gargantuan boss.
The thrill of Dark Souls III is all in the controls. The third-person perspective combined with dicey obstacles like traps, pitfalls, CPUs with aggressive A.I., and other players makes for a heart-pounding experience. There’s no rush quite like narrowly avoiding a death blow with a decisive somersault and running a gruesome monster through with your sword.
The basic concept of the game is fairly straightforward: progress through each series of obstacles, killing or avoiding everything in your path, and make it to the next level until you reach the end of the game.
Actually doing so isn’t quite as straightforward. The adversity of the game cannot be underscored enough. You’ll be on the edge of your ergonomic gaming chair every minute you play Dark Souls III. It’s that intense. Danger lurks behind every corner in its gameplay. You have to go forth bravely but proceed with caution at every twist and turn.
Speaking of twists and turns, the level designs are labyrinthine and often leave you feeling lost. There is an air of despair to the overall art style of the game. It’s purposely engineered to inspire dread, leaving the player feeling hopeless at moments.
The words “gothic” and “medieval” come to mind when trying to describe it, but they don’t quite do Dark Souls III justice. It’s as if Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team turned Dante’s Inferno into an interactive experience.
Though it’s been out for years, Dark Souls III still has a robust online community, and best of all, it can be pretty silly. Players do some remarkable and often hilarious things when interacting together, which brings a little joy into the otherwise very dreary world of the game. But watch out, it’s not uncommon for groups of other players to gang up looking to troll all the lone wolves out there.
While it is an excellent game that stands the test of time, Dark Souls III isn’t for everybody. Sore losers most likely will not enjoy the game because of its difficulty and steep learning curve. It’s easy to get discouraged when the words “YOU DIED” keep popping up on your screen every couple of minutes.
But with enough practice, you can overcome the challenges the game throws at you. You’ll start having an excellent time, making clutch plays like baiting beasts off cliffs and learning all the secret nooks and crannies of the levels. It’s a game that is more rewarding in the long run, giving the player a better and better experience over time. On average, it takes over fours days of gameplay to complete the game, so buckle down for the long haul.
Beyond the entertaining game play, the storyline and lore of Dark Souls III is brilliant. Without spoiling any of it, it’s safe to say that the narrative is intriguing, mysterious, and full of drama. The boss fight cinematics are particularly gorgeous and the main vehicle through which the story is told. But there are also interesting side conversations with quirky and sometimes creepy NPCs.
All in all, Dark Souls III has everything you could ask for in a third-person action-adventure RPG: great gameplay, an expansive and bizarre setting, fun online play, and really big bosses. And it’s a fitting end to the series, as sad as that may be. In other words, it’s the total package, especially if you like gothic subject matter, demons, and questing in general.
You’ll be surprised how quickly you get over dying all of the time, and it honestly helps put things into perspective in the bigger picture. What is life if not an adventure? But don’t be surprised if you rage quit every now and then. It’s meant to be a bit frustrating.