First Impressions: Dark Souls III

DevinRogersWarning: This post may contain spoilers for the first two hours of Dark Souls III.

Having not played too much of the first two Dark Souls games, but falling madly in love with Bloodborne, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Dark Souls III. Despite this uncertainty, it was still my number one anticipated game of 2016.

After two hours in I have an idea what this game will offer, and I am very much looking forward to that adventure. Here are some quick thoughts on the brief time I’ve spent with Dark Souls III thus far.

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Positives

One of the first “hell yeah” moments I experienced was early on in the tutorial area. A note on the ground said something to the effect of “Turn Back,” which I hastily ignored. What I discovered was an epic fight with an ice lizard, setting the tone early for what I could expect from enemies in the game.

The tutorial boss, though not very difficult, transformed into a dark, hellish liquid, which I didn’t expect. And a dragon appearance early on looked pretty incredible.

I can’t express how happy I am that movement speed has been drastically sped up compared to the first Dark Souls. Though not quite at Bloodborne’s level, it is a very noticeable and welcome change to the Souls series.

I learned the hard way that you should always tap a chest with your sword before opening it. It was both an enraging and fun as hell twist at the same time.

The music and sound effects are pretty great.

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Neutrals

I appreciated the quick entry to the Firelink Shrine for leveling up and weapon/armor enhancement, but because of the ease of access it didn’t feel earned. Beating the tutorial area in Dark Souls, though short, was certainly a challenge. And even though Bloodborne didn’t require you to beat a boss to level up, you did at least have to see one, and getting there took a lot of patience. The tutorial in Dark Souls III was both short and tame, which felt out of place for this genre.

I feel disconnected from this world. I’m not sure if it’s because I didn’t really play the other Souls games, or if because the fantasy setting just doesn’t intrigue me as much as Victorian-era Yharnam. Still, there is nothing inherently wrong with the world, and at only two hours in I’m still eager to explore it.

Negatives

Coming off of Bloodborne, I expected the visuals to be as good if not better in Dark Souls III. As soon as my character entered the world, I immediately noticed a difference for the worse. Textures seemed rather basic, especially on the ground. Geometry pop-in occurs frequently, and the frame rate is pretty crappy. I wouldn’t say the visuals overall are bad, but they definitely feel like a step backwards.

Time will tell how I ultimately will feel about Dark Souls III, but despite some speed bumps I am eager to get back in and praise the sun.

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