Dark Souls III is a third person action game where you jump, roll and parry your way through swathes of enemies in a ballet of death where every movement could well be your last. Having played previous Souls titles, my experience with the series famed difficulty is somewhat different from new players will witness, death does not come quickly at first, familiar systems and attacks patterns initially allow quick progress, but then the game throws a spanner in the works, with a seemingly harmless monster suddenly splitting open, revealing a giant of blood and sinew erupting forth, smashing me within seconds, complacently kills in this game and is a reminder for all that venture to this new world, this game will own you. For newcomers, you will die, a lot, but that is part of the game, if you struggle, try and find a new route, or wander around a little, earn some souls, level up and try again; there is some grinding for experience involved here but it is fun.
Just like previous FromSoftware titles, souls are the main currency of the game, used for the purchase of items and also in levelling up your character, allowing you to increase stats that allow you to carry larger weapons and cast spells quicker amongst many other areas. Along with collecting souls you also slowly accrue quite the armoury, carrying around a vicious assortment of knives, bombs, swords, axes, shield, bows and arrows and a magic book full of offensive and defensive spells. With the inventory management still a little clunky to navigate, it is still easy to equip and use whatever you are carrying, each weapon having multiple attacks, single and double handed uses and dual wield possibilities. New to the series are Arts, which when certain weapons are combined they add another move to the already deadly repertoire, though this will come at a cost to either your magic bar or even health. To help offset this harsh cost is another new addition to the series, the Ashen Estus Flask, working in a similar way as an Estus Flask would grants health, the Ashen Flask refills your magic gauge.
At the time of review, the online servers have yet to be switched on, but if the experience is anything like previous Dark Souls games you can guarantee it will be exciting as you come across messages from other players marred by a frustrating experience of dropping requests and waiting patiently for someone of a similar level to need assistance on whatever area you are on. Hopefully servers will be up to scratch and if anything is worthy of reporting, we will update this review.
Overall the experience with Dark Souls III was spot on, only marred occasionally by some frame rate drops, which happen infrequently and not enough to effect your experience, there is however a strange audio glitch that resets the ambient sound track when you are looking at the inventory, not so much game breaking as just annoying.
As with all the Dark Souls games, there will be a lot of hype and excitement surrounding this new release which is totally warranted, however, if new to the genre there will be a lot to get through before you will begin to understand just what this game is all about.
+ Huge lands to explore.
+ Thrilling boss battles.
- Frame rate and sound effect glitches.