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Dark Souls III is the latest and last chapter in From Software’s brilliant series. Dark Souls III comes with the series trademark sword and sorcery combat and rewarding action RPG gameplay. Players travel across a wide variety of locations in an interconnected world of unrelenting challenge as they search for a way to survive the coming apocalypse.

Hidetaka Miyazaki is a misunderstood artist. The idiosyncratic work of the developer is known as brutally difficult, unnerving and even frustrating. But what you are seeing and feeling, especially when you play the Souls games, is more than just desperation. A title like Bloodborne and now Dark Souls III paves the way to the most delicate parts of your soul and disrupt a whole collection of instincts. Euphoria, anxiety, aggression, relief, and more intense than in any game whatsoever. It’s expressionism, an art which Miyazaki from start to finish speaks to you and gives you more than most developers are able to. And with Dark Souls III, the swan song of the series, From Software presents the best of its rich portfolio and brings it together smoothly. The quick, aggressive action of Bloodborne and the deep character building from Dark Souls II can now easily pass through a single door. This part of the story may therefore be the best for a beginner to get on, were it not only for the beautiful world that’s showcased by the studio.

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We awaken. Around us and in the distance Gothic castles. A downward extending rubble path is the only way forward, which leads to a small path showing a couple scrawny zombies. A few feet further, we hear the footsteps of the first enemies. With a shield in one hand and a long sword in the other, we chop them down mercilessly. Blocking attacks with the shield feels as natural as always and we still know exactly where that fine spot is and where we need to hit an enemy to conduct a deadly attack. One merciless stab in the back, blood flows freely and the enemy falls lifeless to the ground.

The open structure of Dark Souls is shown fairly quickly. There are not necessarily full-fledged alternative routes, but in one of the first areas ,with some good search (and jump) work several hidden and alternative paths can be found. A little side note: in Demon’s Souls there were different courses to choose from. This gave you the opportunity to search anywhere if anything did not go in a certain stage as planned. That’s still possible, but it is more likely that the different routes is more difficult. So you get pushed in a certain direction in a sense.

For the veterans Dark Souls III adds something new to the arsenal, with so-called weapon arts you expand the move set of weapons; think of a certain battle stance with your spear, or buffing your axe. It makes fights more versatile and gives an interesting twist to your strategy. The times you can do this, is coupled with a deflating blue mana bar, which you refill with separate Estus Flask.

The satisfaction is perfect when you land one of these attacks at a critical point during a thrilling confrontation. The equipment and weapons that are available, are again fairly easy to translate onto the terminology of Demon’s Souls. The ring that gives you that oh so welcome little extra HP is back and fire bombs are up for grabs. The striking and stabbing weapons come in the form of axes, swords, daggers and maces, the other bigger and meaner looking then the previous.

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When finally achieving a glorious victory or after exploring, you return to Fire Link Shrine, which funtions as the central hub in the game. A large part of the lore is found here as the typical semi-religious way tells you, if you’ve unearthed an obscure writings from the fifteenth century near the ruins of a dilapidated castle. It contributes to the wonderful mystery of the game that you have to chisel and brush as you explore the wondrous world. To get behind the greatest secrets of the Lords of Cinder and Unkindled Ashen you’re very tempted to play the game for a second time. But not only by the story, you are constantly drawn back to Dark Souls III. The game lets you experiment in New Game Plus with other weapons and options, so you experience the game in a completely different way. A second time with a friend to help each other through awkward situations, also makes it a perfect multiplayer game, wile the tactical depth increases.

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There is one very bad thing about Dark Souls 3, it will never let go of you, once you start playing it is almost impossible to stop. All the exploring, challenging enemies, gruesome bosses, deep and mysterious lore, never-ending varieties of weapon-builds and character builds, covenants, perfect co-op, pvp do I need to go on?

About author

Jorge Wolters Gregório

Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for almost two decades now and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers

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