‘Dark Souls 3’ a Daunting but Rewarding Experience

Robert Davis, Editor

There are many words to describe the Dark Souls series — engaging, fun, unique — but the chief word is difficult. The Dark Souls series has always been advertised as hard, even titling the first game “Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition.” This series is not recommended for the faint of heart.

Trinity junior Hunter Mulloy, who dislikes the Dark Souls series, said, “I just don’t find enjoyment because the stress level is so high.” That being said, the difficulty is not a negative.

The difficulty is what makes the Dark Souls series so great.  It adds a sense of accomplishment and forces use of the brain to finish the game.

For example, Trinity junior Brandon Attaway, a longtime fan of the Dark Souls series, said, “When I beat a boss, I felt like I accomplished something.” He said he even jumped up and celebrated after beating a boss that took him 10 tries.

“Insane difficulty and interesting game settings” defines the series for Attaway.

“Dark Souls 3” is no exception. This game is hard, very hard. “Dark Souls 3,” released Apr. 11 and developed by FromSoftware, is the final chapter in the Dark Souls series.

“Dark Souls 3” is similar to the previous games in the unique way the story works. The basic portion of the story is told through characters’ dialogue, but the rest must be figured out by paying close attention to smaller details or reading descriptions of in-game items.

Giving any portions of the story away would be ruining the experience. The basic storyline is the following: The life of the world is fading, and the Lords of Cinder have abandoned their thrones.

It is a player’s job to find these lords, defeat them and return them to their thrones to preserve the world — or players can take their own paths. There are three vastly different endings to the game, and all are worthwhile. The rest of the story must be discovered by the player.

This way of telling stories adds a unique twist. It is extremely fun piecing everything together.

Mulloy said, “The story is hard to understand, and for me to be involved, I need to understand the story.”

This is an understandable issue, but it is rewarding to figure out the story in the end.

Another well-done factor of “Dark Souls 3” is the level design. There are multiple levels in the game, even some hidden optional levels. Each level is expansive and detailed. The levels do not feel like some linear corridor; instead they are intertwined with many optional paths.

For example, a player can progress far into a level but take an optional passage that turns out to be a shortcut and winds back to an earlier checkpoint. There are also multiple areas not necessarily needed, but they offer new challenges and new items.   

Most people think ‘Dark Souls 3’ would make you angry and more frustrated, but it’s done the opposite to me. I have become more calm and relaxed in my day because of the sense of accomplishment.

— Trinity junior Brandon Attaway

This encourages exploring, which is one of the best parts of “Dark Souls 3.” Players can spend hours exploring one level and enjoy every bit. All levels are very different from each other, and each offers new challenges.

The next core piece to “Dark Souls 3,” and possibly the most important aspect, is the game play. The combat is basic on the surface, block or roll to not get hit and deal damage to the enemy. But the basic combat is taken to the extreme and turned into something deep. There are vastly different ways to play this game. Players can craft a character’s stats to be unique and not follow a set path.

There is one major change to the “Dark Souls 3” combat compared to its predecessors, added speed.  The extra speed makes the combat more intense and more difficult. It requires timing to be more precise. This game’s combat can provide some truly pulse-pounding moments made greater by the difficulty.

There are some bosses in this game that can take multiple hours to learn and defeat. This creates extremely intense fights that get the heart racing.

Although this game is terrific, it is not without flaws, the most major being that it tries to reference past dark souls too much. Sometimes it feels very forced; for example, there are some returning characters who are never truly explained. It seems like FromSoftware was trying too hard to tie this game to the previous games, with references to inspire nostalgia.

This flaw, however, does not ruin the game. “Dark Souls 3” is still well worth the asking price of $60. The difficulty can be off-putting, but do not let that scare you away.

As Attaway says, “Most people think ‘Dark Souls 3’ would make you angry and more frustrated, but it’s done the opposite to me. I have become more calm and relaxed in my day because of the sense of accomplishment.”


Check out some excerpts from the game. WARNING: contains graphic gaming violence.  Videos by Robert Davis.