The Dark Souls franchise is one of those game series I never intended to get into. Myself being average skill level at best, I always felt like the game would end up pushing me away from the third person boss rush archetype. And honestly for a while, it did. I picked up the original DS on PC and played for around an hour, before quitting out of rage at the terrible framerate and controls. A year or two later, I picked up Dark Souls III on console and (as cliche as it sounds) was almost immediately sucked in to the brutally difficult world of the Souls series. Seeing as Dark Souls: Remastered just came out, and I’m still trying to decide my final opinion on it, I figured I might as well review DSIII seeing as it was MY true first game in the series.
To quote Reggie Fils-Aimé, “The game is fun, the game is a battle. if It’s not fun, why bother? if there’s no battle, where’s the fun?” This quote is honestly my best description of DSIII; DS is a massive battle that feels almost as if it’s you versus everyone else. It’s one of the only examples I’ve ever seen of a game world based around yourself done right, not yourself basing your actions on the world. It almost feels as if you have so many choices even though you have none, and are basically a pawn for someone else’s game, but without making your feel helpless. But enough meta commentary, about the story…
The story is confusing as it’s divided into obscure dialogue with characters and item descriptions and it’s hard to fault the story because it has so much effort put into it. At the same time, over half the player base won’t end up knowing anything. The basic story is there’s a bonfire that gives life to everything in the world but after a while, the fire will fade. However, this can be prevented by someone powerful enough sacrificing themselves to fuel the fire every once in a while. Years later, the person designated to sacrifice themselves has refused. The previous sacrifices are resurrected to act as a substitute but instead refuse to return to the fire. So as a final longshot, those who failed to fuel the fire are resurrected to hunt down the deserters, with your character being one of the failures. Confused yet? Don’t even get me started on the DLC.
The gameplay is very refined after four games (yes i’m counting Demon Souls and Bloodborne), so this game feels the most fair out of the others. Even so, the game may feel unfair on the first playthrough and you WILL die over and over, but don’t be discouraged, that’s how the game is. It builds up a challenge that is perfectly beatable if you know what to do, but brutal if you’re unprepared. Prepare to die, but prepare to enjoy it.