Dark Souls III: PS4 Review
Released by Bandai Namco Games
Two words you will see a lot in From Software's apparently final Dark Souls offering.
The action RPG is back and it's as challenging as ever in its latest iteration, one which may leave you with levels of frustration which border on seeing you hurl the console out of the window.
Famously hard in its earlier outings, the latest Dark Souls has lost none of the challenge that its predecessors had. Set in the kingdom of Lothric, you take on a soul trying to stop the rot of the kingdom and reverse the curse that is upon it.
If anything, Dark Souls III is as famously brooding as you'd expect, building dread into an atmosphere that's claustrophobic and as dark as the vistas around you. Combat is as epic as the previous games, relying on you to plan an attack and melee rather than just launch into it. Each attack drains you a little, so there needs to be a plan for taking on bosses or those two words will come back to haunt you with ease.
Skills and magic are there to be used too, but again, these have to be used sparingly and with a degree of smarts; replenishing these takes time and focus off you too, meaning you are left vulnerable to attacks if you're not careful.
It takes elements of From Software's Bloodborne, with its Gothic edges and its pacing as well - this is a game that feels like the series has evolved and one which still maintains the series' DNA all over it.
As the game progresses, it's clear that Miyazaki wanted this to be a more speedy affair than previous outings and there's a real sense of the pace of the game sometimes getting ahead of itself. Frustratingly even though the speed is ramped up, it doesn't stop you going back to quite a way in your quest if you die - so perhaps, the faster factor is there to prevent a degree of burn out that was experienced in prior games.
There's no denying Dark Souls III looks epic; there's equally no denying that it takes time to bed in too - you'll need perseverance to get on with this game and that doesn't come with ease. Finding a groove can be tricky as an experience, but when Dark Souls III gets it right with its atmosphere, its difficult gameplay and its claustrophobic aesthetics, it remains nothing short of a compelling game that you will sink plenty of time into.