Dark Souls 3 Review

Dark Souls 3 is an action-RPG and the fourth installment in the Souls series. It's meant to be extremely difficult, especially for new players, that ends up being very rewarding as the player gets better at the game.

The game takes place in a dark and twisted medivial afterlife. Everyone you interact with, including your own character, has died. At the beginning of the game, you get the choice of 10 starting classes that are some form of a fighter, thief, wizard, or cleric. As you progress through the game and level up, the lines between the classes blur. The series as a whole allows a lot of flexibility as to how someone want to play the game (basically, any class can do anything).

The Good

Dark Souls 3 vastly improved its story over Dark Souls 2 and the game is slightly more linear. There's less running off in random directions and hoping to find something useful or having to backtrack a bunch of areas. It's much harder to get lost and the optional bosses aren't out of the way or extremely hidden (with the exception of one secret area that was implemented extremely well).

All of the boss fights are interesting and none felt repetitive. Also related to that, bonfires are well placed in the game and there weren't many areas where it was horrible to get back to your corpse in the event you died; each area had enough shortcuts that deaths, especially retrying boss fights, weren't horrible.

For the first time in the series, a mana system for casting spells was introduced and it's one of the best improvements in the series. A mana estus flask was added in the game so it's now possible to regenerate your spells. There are still spell slots in the game but there's no need to aquire multiple versions of the same spell just to cast said spell more times.

The Bad

It's a Souls game, so online play is pretty poor. The new password feature is great for finding your friends (it's much improved over previous games), but the problem is generally with invading and invaders. There are no punishments for players who rage quit, intentially disconnect, or run into boss fights. Invaders have a huge advantage against players that are trying to progress through the game or have a huge disadvantage against players that have set up traps against invaders (like waiting near a bonfire with multiple allies and resummon allies when one dies).

The Ugly

The game felt a bit a rushed. Build diversity is non-existent right now (strength based builds are by far the best builds at the game's release). Magic users are at a severe disadvantage in PvP, sorceries and pyromancies are pretty stale overall; spells aren't terrible unique and dark magic tends to just be reskinned versions of other spells in the game. Regarding this, I have faith in the developers to balance the game and get it to a Dark Souls 2 state for build diversity.

In addition to the lack of build diversity, NVIDIA seems to be struggling a bit with Dark Souls 3 and crashes are frequent for some people near bonfires (I was thankfully unaffected by this, but I saw a bunch of posts complaining about this and a few of my friends were also affected).

Summary

9.0

 Amazing

Positives

  • Story is great; bosses are extremely well done.
  • The game has improved on previous games; the FP system (mana) is great, Dark Souls 3 is much faster than previous installments.
  • Playing with your friends is much easier by password protecting your summon signs; you can summon players of any level using a password (great for trading items or starting new characters without completely starting over).

Negatives

  • Some players experience crashes regarding video card drivers.
  • Major balance issues for PvP.
  • Online play is (still) lackluster.

Most of the problems with Dark Souls 3 are almost strictly regarding PvP, so I can't put too much weight on that. I'm banking on future patches and expansions to fix the balance issues (and hopefully make casting viable in the future).

There aren't reviews of Dark Souls or Dark Souls 2 on the site (maybe sometime in the future), but Dark Souls 3 is virtually tied with Dark Souls 1 for best in the series (both would be rated a 9, but Dark Souls 1, post expansions, is still best in the series in my opinion), with Dark Souls 2 at a 7 and Dark Souls 2: Sins of the First Scholar at an 8.5.

Corey Docken

Corey Docken

Corey has been playing video games all of his life. He learned how to use grid references playing The Legend of Zelda on NES and spent way too much running in front of a TV as a child. He loves the Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dark Souls, and Civilization series and is stil trying to get over the loss of Fable.

Published on Monday, April 25th, 2016 at 3:56 PM.
Last updated on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016 at 3:44 PM.