Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Short Game Review - Dark Souls 3

A game review??

Yeah, I have not a clue on why I decided to do this. Well actually, the reason is I felt compelled by how good Dark Souls 3 is.
Dark Souls 3 is a game developed by From Soft (or is it Fromsoft) and is the third game in the series. (DUH) Fromsoft is famous for games such as Dark Souls 1 & 2, Demon Souls, and Bloodborne.

Before we begin, let us get a few things out of the way.
  1. I am not a lore aficionado.
  2. I am not an expert in the game.
  3. I finished Dark Souls 1, scratched the surface of Dark Souls 2, and finished Bloodborne. Never played Demon Souls. I have no favorites, although as a fairly casual gamer I would say that Dark Souls 2 kinda bored me after a while. Keyword here is casual.
So where should I begin? That question is one that is hard to answer for a game of this caliber. Perhaps the most amazing part of this game is the Visual aspect of the game. No, I am not talking about how it compares to Crysis, but more in the veins of the imagery, the scenery, the attention to the positions of locations, items and structures to make the world that much more interesting to explore. The atmosphere within each of these distinct locations will sometimes make you forget that you have stopped breathing for a little.

In one glance, I already knew where I was going to spend the majority of my time in this game.

Hours will be lost exploring this place.

Of course, there are locations that are slightly less.. inspired. To avoid spoilers, I will not include them in here, but lets just say that these locations could have been expanded and worked on a little more. The Lords of Cinder were hyped up in the beginning of the game, and the journey to reach each of them were really interesting. You pick up bits and pieces of lore and story as you progress to each of them. Except one. I can't help but feel they dropped the ball big time on this Lord of Cinder. From the trailers alone, that was my favorite Lord of Cinder. I expected an epic journey. But what I got was a straight path to the boss room. The lore was fine, it was just the journey itself that was fairly disappointing. Even 1 or 2 of the non-Lords of Cinder bosses have way more respectable journies to the boss room (some of them really boring bosses too).

Next on the list, the Soundtrack. The composers really outdone themselves this time. Almost (I said almost) all the tracks capture the feeling of the fight/location that you are in perfectly. The vocals in the tracks are all so hauntingly beautiful, just like the world the game is set in. Some of the boss tracks even change (or skip) if you have entered the next phase of the boss fight (HOLY SHIT). These tracks perfectly catch how hopeless you feel against all the dangers you are facing. The boss tracks will give you the "Oh shit oh shit oh shit" feeling. As a person who pays a lot of attention to the background music, I would even go to the lengths to say that the music strikes the illogical fear of the bosses on me, just as much as how menacing each of the bosses look. (Sample below might be spoiler-ish)

  Here's a sample. The name is kinda spoiler-y.

Another One.

Here and there Fromsoft tosses in some throwbacks to Dark Souls 1. In fact, I think that the game has a lot of fan-service stuff in it. I can't reveal more without being spoiler free, so I am gonna say, if you loved Dark Souls 1, prepare for some fan-service that will make you happy (or mad. depending on which side of the fence you're on)

Next is the Game-play. Why did I decide to write this now? Because I feel that this might be a slightly weaker aspect of the game. It hurts me to say, but the weapon choices in this game feels extremely limited. From a viability standpoint of course. Even before the game released, I have already made up my mind to pick an Ultra Greatsword (like great swords, but bigger) and use that for my play-through. Only to switch to a faster weapon soon after. Why?
  1. Rats can break your poise and prevent you from ever swinging your weapon. In full armor.
  2. 1 swing from the Knights break your poise and prevents you from ever swinging your weapon.
  3. Actually, anything hitting you pretty much stops you from attacking.
  4. Big weapons are slow and consume an absurd amount of stamina, for very little damage.
  5. No matter how big your weapon is, some enemies don't even flinch. Your weapon is the size of a concrete pillar? Nah bro it ain't doing jack against me bruh.
That sums up my feelings for the fans of the bigger weapons. #MakeBigWeaponsGreatAgain.

That being said, the mechanics of the game seems fair enough. With most enemies being difficult, but not impossible to overcome. Each of the areas feature a distinct set of enemies that will require different tactics for the individual enemies, although some enemies are utter bullshit that deserves to burn in the deepest depths of hell #TRIGGERED. The usual divide and conquer method is still very viable in this game, and playing with caution is definitely more important than playing with style. Some enemies killed me more times than I would like to admit due to me not having the tools to deal with them and I had to explore other options to defeat them, although with less swagger (but I am still alive, and that counts). In the end, staying alive is what matters the most. After all, you are just an Undead on a mission.

Well that Sums Up all the things that I will write about this game. I am no expert in in-game mechanics, so I won't write about that. And also there are other places to read about that. This game is definitely a masterpiece. Undoubtedly. To really enjoy the lore aspect of this game, you will definitely need to play Dark Souls 1, which is in itself, another masterpiece. Dark Souls 3 is not just a game, it is an experience in itself. The final chapter of a world in its final hours. The mechanics, lore, atmosphere, soundtrack and above all, the difficulty it prides itself in will become the benchmark that all other games in the genre will be compared to. Is it the best game ever made? Nah Final Fantasy 9 bruh. #RemakeFF9. Just kidding. Thank you for reading.

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