Dark Souls 3 Review & Roundup

Once you finish Dark Souls 3, what’s your opinion on it as a whole?

First half of the game is really easy. Like, did From decide to put in an actual difficulty curve this time? Starts getting hard at the cathedral of the deep or the catacombs of Carthus, and gets legitimately hard at Irithyl. Also way too many bonfires for the first half of the game. Cathedral of the Deep is where they start reusing bonfires and they do it to amazing effect, with one central bonfire and tons upon tons of shortcuts.

Tons of little mechanical revisions that bind the whole thing together. Weapons have more attacks than ever thanks to the new weapon arts system and more diversity between 1 handed and 2 handed attacks. You can also charge attacks like in Bloodborne. They even used the weapon arts system to make functional versions of a ton of boss weapons, which is totally cool. You can finally use the stormruler sword wherever you want, and it’s balanced.

They managed to make gimmick bosses work a lot better this time around, between Wolnir, Yhorm, and the ancient wyvern. They had multi-enemy bosses that were pretty alright too, not amazing. Pontiff Sulyvahn is a work of genius.

They had less bosses than previous games in the series. Also the world was incredibly linear. At most you had 2 paths to go on. There was not even a single connection from a later area back to a prior one. If you plot all the areas out graphically, it would be like a tree, starting in one spot and branching out, but never folding back on itself. Dark Souls 2 did better than this, so did bloodborne.

A lot of the new and revised returning enemy designs are great. Black knights are more threatening than they ever have been.

A lot of the returning level design gimmicks weren’t played totally true to the originals. There’s literally 3 wheel skeletons, they hit less times, and move slower. There’s 3 archers in anor londo now, which is cool, but the walkways are wider, so it doesn’t matter that much. I didn’t fall in that section once. Dragon bridge is kinda lame both times it happens. The encounter in the archdragon aerie is cool though.

The new embers system works great and they solve the issue of allowing extra healing through humanity type items by not allowing you to use embers once you’ve already used one. They’re also dispensed in a lot of places, so embers are fairly easy to come by, for killing people in netplay, co-op, random enemy drops, and scattered everywhere. Also it’s like an inverse of the demon’s souls system, more health as a bonus instead of getting back your base health as a bonus. Cute touch of framing. You seem to take more damage with embers though.

The new backstab system is brilliant, works great. Finally solves the issues of the original system without going full bloodborne.

The rings have nice varied powers. The utility stats like VGR, ATT, END, VIT are maybe a bit too split up. END sucks this time.

I mean, it’s an ensemble souls performance, with a bit less content this time + easier first half. Seems we’re getting DLC though.

Miyazaki said in a new interview that “Dark Souls 3 early game difficulty was toned down” after they “received feedback that Bloodborne early game was too difficult”. How would you feel about difficulty settings in souls to fix this, so both new and experienced fans would get the right difficulty

Don’t change anything, have it ramp up after the high wall of lothric, make the game longer. Various people have covered this topic at multiple times. Having one difficulty mode allows you to fine tune the experience very well. Dark Souls offers recourse for worse players in the form of RPG mechanics, such that you can progress a little more every time you fail, or chip away at areas until you overcome them with pure numbers.

Anyone can overcome a game like Dark Souls because it almost never demands excessive physical skill. Look at Game Center CX. It’s entirely a matter of patience and having the right problem-solving mindset.

People don’t ask this of Super Meat Boy. Super Meat Boy is arguably harder. Tons of casual people beat Super Meat Boy anyway. Or they don’t. Not everyone needs to beat every game.

Here’s two other videos on the topic:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Games/comments/4ggx1c/slug/d2hpak2 Thoughts on this comment?

Okay, From Software hasn’t been very inconsistent with gameplay quality these past 5 games (can you believe we seriously got 5 souls games?). And by gameplay quality, I mean overall gameplay quality. Quality of the attacks and general enemy designs. We’ve obviously had ups and downs, like Lost Izalith, and Dark Souls 2.

Obviously the core game is more important than nonlinearity, but nonlinearity and interconnection is important if you ask me, both on the level of individual areas, and across the whole world. Having that type of interconnectivity on the level of individual areas makes it so there are a bunch of different ways to go through the area, so you get a different experience each time, and once you know the area well enough, you can strategize around how you’ll cut through it to minimize risk and travel time. Good examples of this in Dark Souls 3 are the cathedral of the deep and most of the areas after it. Having it on a world level means the same thing, except on a larger scale. It means fitting the world together in your head to see the points of interconnection, and tracing routes across it that hit the fewest enemies, gross the highest number of souls, pick up the most items on the way, open the most shortcuts. Dark Souls lets me, right out of the gate, cut through new londo, kill ingward to grab the key to the seal, open the floodgates, pick up the red tearstone ring, ride the elevator up to dark root basin, kill Sif, go back and kill the 4 kings. Or I could follow that roundabout route to get to the gargoyles, or quelaag. I could even go down and kill pinwheel, grabbing the rite of kindling and a gravelord sword on the way. It’s fun to think of different ways to get around the world the fastest way possible. Warping at bonfires, at least in the early game, kills this constraint. Having it be limited in the late game still requires you to go through areas and plan around where you warp. Verticality is a component of this because it allows levels to wrap on themselves.

I’m fine with the input buffering in the souls games. It’s handy. Having a smaller window would be sensible to prevent accidental buffers, but most of the time you’re fine if you don’t mash.

Poise was not broken in dark souls 1. The equip burden system exists for a reason. You cannot get more poise unless you invest in endurance, or you pay the price in speed. If you had enough endurance to avoid slow roll, you likely grinded to get that much. Poise in Dark Souls 3 needs work, it’s literally turned off for some reason.

The healing gems in dark souls 2 let you remove context from fight to fight much more easily. So it wasn’t a matter of trying to push further on a limited total amount of health (your current bar plus all your flasks), it was about purely surviving each individual encounter, which is lame. Fair point about the bar increasing at a slower rate, though you can move while crushing gems

Fair points about the PvP though, it was pretty broken in dark souls

What do you think of this?


Funny, I already watched that.

I’m honestly amazed at how good his description of the gameplay is. He didn’t do a half bad job there.

Also, daaaaamn, guy does not know how to avoid fatrolling. Also never burned a single bone shard.

What really pisses me off is how he said the animations don’t tween. I left a comment about this:

“The animations DO tween. Tweens are literally how all 3d animation is done. There’s no way they couldn’t tween unless they were animated frame by frame like Guilty Gear Xrd.

You mean Cancel, not tween. And they DO cancel, like say Devil May Cry, God of War, and Bayonetta, unlike say Kingdoms of Amaleur or 2d Castlevania. The endings of the animation, the followthrough, cancel when you input another swing, or a dodge, or a block (though it will only cancel into block if you hit an enemy). The thing is unlike those other games, there are no mid-animation cancels, like jump cancels in DMC, block cancels in God of War, and Dodge cancels in Bayonetta. You are committed to your attacks, and the animations for the attacks have a longer startup and recovery time.”

I’m also sad that he was remarking on set pieces you learn to avoid and he shows the black knight in the expy anor londo room, but doesn’t get hit by the dragonslayer arrow. I tried to backstab that knight and the arrow caught me goooood.

I totally disagree that it’s not about learning the game’s systems. You definitely need to learn how the character controls, how lock-on works, how the various stats and upgrades work. Though given his gameplay, he didn’t do a very good job of that. It’s like he thinks of action game systems as purely muscle memory tricks.

Also, he seriously died to the Abyss Watchers. Come on. I beat that boss first try.

Skipping combat or minimizing it means literally deleting the experience. It’s an unwillingness to engage.

System mastery ISN’T just machismo, Coin-op games had a valid design philosophy.

Also funny how he doesn’t notice the irony in sarcastically saying that there’s a type of integrity in alienating a lot of its potential audience when he’ll defend all sorts of indie games that alienate a much much larger potential audience in the name of their artistic intent, and shit on AAA games going for the largest audience possible in ways he disapproves of.

2 thoughts on “Dark Souls 3 Review & Roundup

  1. treeghettox June 27, 2016 / 12:05 am

    Can you elaborate on why Pontiff Sulyvahn is so great?


    • Chris Wagar June 27, 2016 / 12:13 am

      Dude has nice attack combinations. He can rush you, he can do multi-hits, he can fly up and divebomb you. He can shoot projectiles from afar. He can punish you walking behind him. He has burst attacks. He can summon clones that copy his actions but slightly delayed, or desync from him and do different actions.

      Everything he has has some sort of vulnerability, but he has a counter for all of your counters, and the clone covers his ass frequently.

      The clone is just a brilliant move.


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