The Souls series, which includes 4 titles, has for some years been depopulated among players for various factors including the great difficulty, a mysterious universe and a unique setting. Announced during the last E3, the new chapter of Dark Souls was judged by fans as the last masterpiece for the brand, also thanks to the desire of its creator, Hidetaka Miyazaki, to move on to other projects. After having explored Lothric far and wide we are ready to give you our judgments on the latest effort of “Miyazaki-san” in the Dark Souls III review.
Version tested: Playstation 4
Dark Souls III tells the journey of one Sopita flame, a risen from the ashes, who must leave for Lothric in search of Lords of the Embers, beings who have bound the First Flame, escaped from their graves to the sound of a mysterious bell. Our task will be to bring them together and prevent them from extinguishing and the consequent Age of Darkness. For those less accustomed to the Souls saga we will quickly explain what we are talking about: Gwyn, Sun King present in the first chapter, he was one of the three deities to find the Flame (which is a symbol for light and good) and sacrificed himself to revive it to its weakening, becoming in fact the first Lord of the Embers. After him, numerous entities gave their lives, making sure that this did not run out, at least until the tolling of the bell we talked about earlier. Over time, these entities have borne the same name as Gwyn and some of them will be the main antagonists of this Dark Souls III: Aldrich the Saint of the Deeps, the Farron Legion Guardians of the Abyss, Ludleth of Courland, Yhorm the giant e Lothric the Holy King. Our task will be to defeat them and bring them back to their respective thrones, because they are necessary to re-bond the Flame again.
Miyazaki has promised several times that this chapter of the series would answer most of the questions that fans have asked themselves in the past years and from a certain point of view it is like this: as per tradition most of the lore is told through the description of the objects (mainly the souls that we will get from the bosses and their weapons), and while some issues will be closed definitively, others will remain open, or even new food for thought will arise, confirming in practice that the series will not stop here but will go on in the next years, one way or another.
This chapter of the saga draws heavily on the two previous ones, albeit with more references to the first chapter. We will find ourselves wandering around Lothric and in its settings we will come across many elements that bring to mind those of Lordran, land of the gods that we visited in Dark Souls, or Drangleic, the kingdom of the second chapter. In addition, in the game we will see a series of returns directly from the two previous episodes, as well as references to Dark Souls will be more explicit than those made previously, and there will be deja-vù situations for fans who have followed the saga since Demon Souls.
Speaking of settings we want to focus on the great work done by From Software compared to Dark Souls II. The linear environments of the last chapter have been replaced with huge levels full of secondary paths to take and visit, large areas that will keep us busy hours to discover every little secret, and when compared with the past, even the management of the bonfires has been improved, making it available in smaller quantities, but distributed with more criteria and with intelligent shortcuts that allow us to get to the boss faster. As in Demon Souls and Dark Souls II there is also a hub called here Altar of the Bond (In English Firelink Shrine as in the first chapter but translated Fire Link Altar). Here we will be able to find all the merchants, who will have to be hired for Lothric by convincing them to give us their services: the blacksmith, the Fire Keeper which will allow us to level and above all the thrones of the Lords of the Embers that we mentioned earlier. The Altar of the Binding will also be the only area not connected to the game world, and we will therefore be able, from the bonfire inside, to travel throughout Lothric thanks to the teleportation that will also be available from the beginning in this chapter. Regarding the merchants, while in the previous games the items for sale changed according to the bosses beaten, here we will have to find particular artifacts around the world called "ashes" (for the basic seller) and the tomes for those who will sell us magic, pyromancy and miracles, which in turn will unlock new items once given to their respective recipients.
Another of the characteristics for which the From Software saga is known is that of the extreme difficulty of its bosses, and Dark Souls III in this respect does not disappoint at all expectations. If in the last chapter all the bosses tended to resemble each other, with a prevalence of humanoid beings, in Dark Souls III there is a greater variety of enemies and, those present, boast a charisma and an epicity that the series lacked since the first chapter , also helped by the sumptuous soundtrack that accompanies the boss fights and emphasizes the fight. During the battles, when the HP bar drops below a certain threshold, the bosses will change moveset and often they will be upgraded going to inflict much more damage and adding an extra gear to the discounts, obviously to our disadvantage. Same thing happens with some particular mobs that once they reach a certain vital quantity will be swallowed up by a strange disease, probably coming from the Abyss, becoming more resistant and aggressive. Dark Souls III focuses on the continuous change of your way of playing: if you are inclined to face the enemy directly you will often find yourself, both with a boss and with a normal enemy, using spells or choosing to fight while keeping your distance, and vice versa in case of builds based on magic.
Fight for your life
Dark Souls III is a game in which we will have to fight for our lives and to do so it will be necessary to learn every single action at our disposal. Let's start from the basics: our Flame Sopita will be able to equip weapons or other tools (such as shields, catalysts, bells or other) both in the right and left hand, managed by the two groups of backbones. With R1 / RB we will perform the normal attack and with R2 / RT a heavy attack (both using the right hand). L1 / LB serves to protect ourselves with the shield (or use any object we have in the left hand) while with L2 / LT if the shield allows us we can try the parry (repel the enemy hit) and try to inflict a critical attack on it, or in alternatively take it from behind so as to perform a backstab. In Dark Souls III, a new type of attacks called laying (or ready stance), which can be done by taking a two-handed weapon with Triangle / Y and holding L2 / LT. Doing so the character will assume a pose and will attack the opponent in a particular way. It is possible to read what a weapon does from its description, as well as the characteristics of the shield will inform us or not if it will be able to perform a parry. We keep talking about what's new in this new chapter: the mana bar. Already present in Demon Souls, it will be used by the special attacks of the pose mode and by the spells, replacing the classic "to use" method present in the previous chapters of the Dark Souls saga. In the past, once we finished the “casts” of a spell, we could move on to the next ones as long as we had them available; here once the AP bar (which indicates the mana) is consumed, no other spells can be used until it is restored.
From Software developers wanted to help our casters and mana hungry people by introducing a new one EstusCalled Estus Cinereo flask, which regenerates it. It is possible to choose how many flasks of each type to take from the blacksmith to the Altar of the Binding, the total of which is determined by the number of Estus shards found throughout Lothric. For example, for some bosses where you will not use magic it will be possible to bring only normal Estus while on the contrary you will be able to bring only Estus for mana, all based on how you will play a particular section.
As for the RPG aspect, we will be able to improve our character by donating an increasing number of souls to the Fire Guardian who is present in the central hub. Those who complained about too many features present in Dark Souls II will have to change their mind: in this chapter From Software has decided to decrease the number and increase the gap that is created with the passing of the levels, thus allowing you to focus on some particular aspects of your character . We, for example, in our run we have almost only increased vitality, strength, dexterity and faith to allow us to have a character with a lot of life able to wield numerous weapons and use some healing miracles to save Estus.
Always related to the equipment, in this Dark Souls III we have encountered a huge number of weapons and shields, each with their own peculiarities and their clues that expand the lore of the universe created by Miyazaki. Some will be obtainable from the souls of the bosses or from particular enemies who will release theirs, all thanks to an object obtainable in the first hours of the game by defeating an optional enemy that if given to Ludleth (one of the Lords of the Embers remained in his place) will help us in this step.
Each weapon has its own set of attacks, heaviness, speed, range and other types of information. It will also be possible by donating embers to the blacksmith to infuse our weapon with elements such as fire, electricity, chaos and many others. In Dark Souls III we will have to pay attention to the weight of the various equipment because once we have reached a certain percentage of the total, our evasive somersault will change and become heavier making it much more difficult to escape the attacks of the enemies. This count will also include the rings that, as in the previous chapters, will give the character skills, resistances and momentary increases in statistics.
Dead at 15 fps
Dark Souls III is visually beautiful, thanks above all to its artistic direction that touches very high levels of inspiration, but it is certainly not among the best titles seen in this generation, as well as not being free from technical problems, as in the From Software tradition. We started Dark Souls III almost a week before the official release, facing a tragic situation despite being the same engine used last year by Bloodborne. Some areas had really significant losses of fluidity, making it difficult to cross and with repercussions with different mobs and bosses. Perfectly dodging an attack that could kill us at 15 fps was not easy and many times we have died from such problems. A couple of days after the official D1, From Software has released patch 1.03 which solves most of the drops. The only issues we continued to experience after the corrective update occurred while we were connected online to the game servers, leading us to assume that these are momentary situations due to the high number of users present. Like the previous ones, this chapter of the Souls series also has online multiplayer in both co-op and pvp versions. Using an object called Embers we will be able to enjoy a 40% increase in our HP and activate the online features of Dark Souls III. With an item, which can be purchased in the Altar of the Binding, we will place our symbol on the ground, so the players who see it can summon us in their game and fight together. Obviously if the one who summons us were to die we will be sent back to our world with the souls earned in our pocket. Some pacts present in the game will work through the online: by equipping the special rings, obtainable from some NPCs that we will find around Lothric, it will be possible to be summoned according to some conditions such as if a player enters a certain area or if a Flame Slain it has the same bargain as we do and is invaded by an adversary. Instead, as regards the PVP we will be able to invade our opponent with a stone that will be delivered to us during the course of the adventure by a particular character (we avoid giving you too many details to avoid revelations or spoilers). The game is fully dubbed in English while all the writings, including subtitles, are in our language.Verdict 9/10 At least this time the uploads last 10 seconds Comment Dark Souls III is on balance the best chapter of the entire series and even surpasses what was Bloodborne last year. This is because Miyazaki and his team have done a great job both from the gameplay and lore side, perhaps one of the crucial aspects for Souls lovers. The soundtrack that helps increase the tension of the fights and the improved level design compared to the prequel, but still a step below the first Dark Souls, is of great thickness. Despite the goodness of the title there is no lack of the usual problems related to the frame rate, which despite the corrective patch (the first of a long series) still wobbles in certain situations. Hidetaka Miyazaki with this final work hits the mark again, creating another great title that will keep you glued for a long time and we are sure that the passion for this saga is destined to continue over time. Pros and cons ✓ Highest quality soundtrack
✓ All different and excellent bosses
✓ Even better than Dark Souls x Framerate disastrous under certain conditions
x Graphically it is not the top