Dark Souls III First Impressions
This has been a week that I’ve very much been looking forward to with the release of Dark Souls III. I started it last night and I’m not disappointed. Before I continue however, I’d just like to mention how awesome the staff are at my favourite game store Playtime. I have all of the other games as collector’s edition and wanted to get a special copy of this one too. I’d looked around, but it wasn’t clear to me what edition was going to be available where and some of them were really expensive. I was preparing to accept that I’d have to get a normal copy when a member of the Playtime staff caught up to us, having chased us through town to inform us that they had the edition I was looking for. They even knocked down the price a little. You guys have never failed me yet on ensuring I get the game I want and have made a From Software fan very happy. 😀
I don’t fully understand everything about Dark Souls III yet. I use to look up guides to help me to get started, but now I’m confident enough with this franchise to figure things out for myself – I also want to keep things as a surprise. I decided to go for the assassin start, a mix of intelligence and dexterity. I’ve always had a habit of going for this type of character since Demon’s Souls where starting as the royalty class made the game much easier. I like to have some form of ranged attack to provide me with more options and I prefer faster characters, but I still want a bit of armour just in case. Character creation is much like you’d expect, similar to the other games. I do like that I could see where I was moving the sliders from in case I made a mistake.
The opening cut scene felt reminiscent of the original game, which I’m sure will make many fans very happy. While I did enjoy Dark Souls II, this one instantly felt like it was of a higher quality. The character feels good to control, half-way between the original and Bloodborne on pacing. I think this is a really good thing as dying is less frustrating when you’re not going through at a snails pace, but at the same time I do really like managing my stamina with the shield mechanics. It did take me a while to adjust my timings though, as I wasn’t sure whether to roll a lot or stand with my shield up. I don’t have 100% protection from physical on my current shield so my HP keeps getting worn down. The tutorial is really short, although you do have to overcome a challenge before you can level up. It didn’t take me too many attempts, but could be harder if you pick the wrong class. For example, starting as deprived could be difficult here (but then I suppose that’s kind of the point with this class.)
I was happy to see the Firelink Shrine and it felt oddly nostalgic. I don’t have much available to me yet, but I upgraded my weapon and bought Soul Arrow (a ranged magic attack.) I’ve heard people saying that magic is less useful in this game, but Soul Arrow does decent damage for me and has gotten me out of a few sticky situations. The magic system has been changed slightly and you no longer have a set number of casts for each spell. I liked the previous system as it created tension due to managing the limited casting, but I’m also happy with these changes. There is another type of Estus Flask known as Ashen that can recharge what is known as FP (focus points.) You can gain more of these and assign the usual Estus Flasks to Ashen. I also seem to have a powerful attack on my weapon that uses up some of the FP. There is a small sword icon on my shield meaning that I can’t parry with it, but I do get this extra attack. I’m still learning how to fully utilize this system.
The world so far looks incredible. I was slightly overwhelmed at first as it wasn’t clear to me which way to go. It was good to feel like I had a few options though, as this gave me other things to explore if one way was too difficult to pass. I slowly but surely progressed going down what felt like the path of least resistance. As the world consists of ledges and towers it offers plenty of opportunities to take the enemies on from different places. I imagine that some of the encounters could suit different types of character (unlike in the second game where the sorcerers seemed to struggle.) The difficulty feels just about right. I haven’t had any trouble making progress so far, but some of the enemies definitely felt challenging. I even bypassed a few and plan to return back to them later. On a final note, I like that my character looks good (unlike the hollowed appearance in the first two games.) I also love that they’ve kept some of the additional benefits from the second game such as the four ring slots and the ability to travel between bonfires.
I’m really keen to return back to Dark Souls III to learn more about it. It feels like it has taken ideas from all of the previous games, including Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne. I’m sure this will also satisfy those fans that were left disappointed by the second game. I love Bloodborne, but I have to admit that it’s nice to have a new Dark Souls game as the system feels a bit deeper in them. For example, the choices I make for my character’s build feel more important.