Another installment in the series of dark action RPGs, initiated and developed by Japanese studio From Software. The title is set in the same fantasy universe, in terms of content however, it offers a completely new story in which we visit 12 previously inaccessible locations. At the same time, the game features a more extensive plot, and the gameplay itself is accompanied by over an hour of cutscenes. The production includes as many as 12 character classes, 45 new enemies, 15 challenging bosses, 100 weapons, 40 pieces of armor and nearly 200 other items. One of the most important new features is the possibility of sacrificing the bodies of defeated enemies, which allows us to summon certain characters or haunt another player’s game. New sword fighting techniques were also introduced, and we learn them gradually as we progress in the game. Both the atmosphere characteristic of the series, and the high level of difficulty have been preserved in the sequel.
Officially, the Dark Souls franchise was born in 2011, when the first game under that title came out, however, it is Demon’s Souls, released back in 2009 on PlayStation 3, that is regarded as the first installment in the series. The franchise is traditionally developed by From Software, Inc., a company founded back in 1986. Their track record includes many different titles, including multiple Armored Core games, but it was theSouls franchise, that got them into the first league. Dark Souls III for PlayStation 4 is their latest project, overseen by Hidetaka Miyazaki - the father of Demon’s Souls, the first Dark Souls, and Bloodborne. Isamu Okano, the man behind Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor will be the game’s creative director.
Dark Souls III follows the usual setup. Once again, the players are invited into a dark fantasy world, where dangers loom behind every corner. In terms of gameplay the game takes after its predecessors and features a challenging action-RPG adventure, prompting you to explore different locations and learn its story piece by piece. Except the story is never placed before you on a silver platter – in order to get to know the setting you’ll have to read item descriptions, talk to the characters, or even study texts written by fans. The game includes roughly an hour’s worth of cut-scenes, which is a lot for this series.
You begin with the creation of your hero. The developers have prepared 12 default character classes, which are basically all the same because, in the course of a plathrough, you can develop your character any way you want. After your character is ready, you can proceed to the game’s main course, which includes mostly exploration (in contrast to the second Dark Souls, this time the way the locations are interconnected bears some resemblance to the first installment) and combat that requires patience and a cool head. There are 45 new kinds of enemies, and each of them can pose a challenge. From time to time you’ll face one of the bosses, which are a dozen or so in total. The combat system is familiar to anybody who’s played any of the previous chapters, albeit with some new additions, including the “ready” stance, which can be used to deliver exceptionally powerful strikes.
In a true RPG manner, in time, you will gain new gear, which can then be improved to enhance its offensive and defensive capabilities. Of course, you will also find lots of items (over 200 different types) with unique properties (healing potions, antidotes, weapon enchantments, and many more.).
Since Dark Souls III was designed for PlayStation 4 it features high quality visuals, besting any of the previous games in the series up to date. The developers have approached the design process with a noteworthy attention to details, as reflected by the appearances of both locations and enemies, and employed cutting-edge visual effects.