What’s Good About Dark Souls 3
It’s been *checks calendar* one week since I published the first edition of What’s Good About and my life is the same as when it was when I first started. What you were expecting, a big life change? Be realistic now. Like I said previously, this series is essentially my excuse to get back into writing in a non-academic fashion; so I figured I go with an easy topic and just tell you guys what I like about Dark Souls 3 even though it’s already been done by the positive reception from three years ago.
The reason I decided to do a piece of writing in this game is that I wanted to try to get more into streaming on Twitch (shameless plug at the end) and to get off my ass and finish it. What better way to do that than in front of other people, right?
While I still maintain that Bloodborne is my favorite of these games (the rankings might change whenever I get to Sekiro), Dark Souls 3 is my favorite Souls experience in terms of playing it because of the increased pace of the combat, the level design, and how it feels like the perfect distillation of the other games before it and the Fashion Souls game (because we all know that getting the right aesthetic is the true endgame).
The changes to the Souls combat system can be easily described as “Be more Aggressive, coward” and this is the logical conclusion to how the design of combat has been trending since Dark Souls 1. Back in those long-forgotten days of Fall 2011 (Wow, it’s already been over seven years), combat was more of a slow-going affair in my case, just waiting, blocking, and attacking because everything could kill you absurdly fast and I was a scared babby back then. This conditioned me to use the heaviest armor and the biggest weapons and just become a slowly advancing wall of Justice since I didn’t trust myself to time parrying and rolling properly. This carried over to Dark Souls 2, but with the ability to roll because of how stats were changed in that one (Vitality increasing Equip Load and Adaptability increasing Poise was silly as hell, but I loved it).
All this changed with Bloodborne, which decided to forgo the use of plate armor entirely for swanky-looking Victorian era duds and a change to armor that more or less forced you to adapt to an increased pace or become werewolf food. This change, the lack of shields (outside of 2, one of them is a joke and the other being highly situational), and the more aggressive enemies all lead you to take a more offensive-oriented pace if you wanted to survive.
This transitioned to Dark Souls 3 in a way that makes it feel like a natural end progression on the iterations they’ve been doing on their games since Demon’s Souls. The general feel of combat is a refined version of Dark Souls 1 with more variety of build styles that can be readily viable from the start. Sorcery, pyromancy, heavy tanking, even limited forms of stealth are all of the ways I can think of off the top of my head and some of those are from the preset starter classes. Enemies do a decent job of reinforcing this with powerful defensive enemies that need to be baited out of their turtling, shambling hordes that need to be picked off carefully (even those aren’t pushovers because some can straight up turn into other monsters to catch you off guard), ranged marksman/magic users. Some of the weirder stuff can’t even begin to describe how much more dynamic they make combat just by existing, and while the other games have done this as well, it feels more noticeable in Dark Souls 3. The bosses themselves are similarly varied and dangerous, the standouts being those that are more humanoid in shape and thus turn into tense duels where you need to carefully manage your stamina and resources on top of timing your attacks in tandem to the boss’s patterns. These can easily be the most fist-pumping moments in the game because of how they are paced and how much they challenge your ability to not rush in like a total fool.
But all of this wouldn’t matter if the levels and areas you explored were just plain corridors or flat fields. This is my way of pointing out that the Kingdom of Lothric may be my favorite of the decaying kingdoms in this series, second if we count the city-state of Yharnam and its surrounding countryside. While the interconnections of the first game are more or less gone in favor of the level-based approach seen in Dark Souls 2, the areas themselves make up for this by being way bigger and more like a small maze at times, which helps when there are secrets and weapons to be found because hoo boy is there a lot of those in each level. Sometimes that it can be easy to miss a bunch of them if you’re just gunning from bonfire to bonfire.
But surely the only reason we’re doing all of this is for something of worth? Something we can display as a badge of honor, bragging rights, and dare I say, even overcompensation? That’s right I’m talking about Fashion Souls. At first, I was admittedly a little miffed when I found out that the armor system was changed to be more like Bloodborne (there are stats on things, they can’t be upgraded and in the long run ultimately don’t matter), but then I realized that I had the freedom to wear whatever the fuck I wanted while traipsing around and that feeling is the best. Cosplay as Guts from Berserk? Do it. Make yourself look like a samurai/unkempt wanderer from a far-off land? Go for it. Want to wear Artorias’s Armor and wield his great-sword and cry while doing? A little specific and weird, but you have the freedom to do so. It also has the side effect of tying into the fast combat pacing and making it so you have to rely on your reflexes and skills as opposed to your defenses to stay alive, which is a neat thing too, I guess.
When I started writing this I had the faintest idea of what I wanted to talk about and just ended up vomiting words and loose ideas because I had a shockingly hard time doing just that. I decided to go through with this because I was streaming it and wanted to get it done because I never finished it and the idea to write this popped into my head. Neat how things like that work out, huh? If you’ve gotten to this point, I want to thank you for making it this far and to have a lovely day/night/afternoon/whatever time of day it is you’re reading.
Oh ad here’s is the link to my Twitch Stream so you can see the silly things I do there now and then https://www.twitch.tv/mojomoud
And here is a link to a highlight because I think it’s funny https://www.twitch.tv/videos/397744838
And before I become an Asshole, all images found here https://www.igdb.com/games/dark-souls-iii/presskit