Set in the Kingdom of Lothric, an undead warrior known as the Ashen One is tasked to avert an oncoming apocalypse brought about by the ongoing conflict between Light and Dark. But the only means to avert this event is with the destruction of the Lords of Cinder, previous heroes who have linked the First Flame across eons.
Completed the game
Dark Souls 3 is the fourth issue in a triology. This becomes more apparent with every step into this more and more familiar world. You're playing a "best of Souls" game with no major plot of its own. Instead it does it best to bring out the high point of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls, and it does it really well.
If you can close your eyes for the unimaginative story in the macro scale, you can really enjoy the small tidbits you get from the various NPCs you meet throughout your adventure. The strength of story telling in Dark Souls 3 is through the individuals you meet, their motivations and where they end up.
In my case, I don't play Dark Souls 3 for the lore anymore, because Miyazaki has painted himself into a corner. There is no real place where the lore can expand, so all you can do is build an awesome game on top of the lore that was set in Dark Souls 1, yet still where the lore is lacking it is the best Souls game made up to this point.
Dark Souls 3 is good. My measurement for that is myself. I've finished the platinum trophy for all the Souls games, and this is the only one where I still feel like playing the game after completing the trophy. In all the other games I've been more than satisfied, but here I want to keep playing the game, and I create new characters with limitations to keep the challenge going.
Dark Souls 3 has been perfected in its game play by taking mechanics from Bloodborne and still going back to its early roots of Demon's Souls. Weapon arts makes the combat much more interesting, and it makes PvP a fun experience. You meet other players that rock weapons that you've never seen before and combinations you'd never thought about yourself.
The high point of this game is its bosses, were I dare to say it has the best bosses in the series. Only Bloodborne can measure up to the diversity and strength in the boss lineup. Some of the late game boss fights have a tad too much HP, but I really enjoy the many stages that boss fights have in this game, and more than once thought "this was an easy boss" just to be surprised by a full health bar in its second phase.
In a closing thought. I really enjoy this game, and it is a game that I will play many times ahead. It is said to be the last Dark Souls game, which is fine. Maybe Dark Souls 2 should've been the last Dark Souls game, but we still have two DLC's to enjoy for Dark Souls 3, and FromSoftware haven't let us down with their DLCs so far.
## Part 3
This is the third part where we go beyond the hub area and venture into Lothric.
* Part 1 - The Tutorial
* Part 2 - The Hub
_Spoiler alert: This will spoil all of the first area after the tutorial. I will write about all of it as I see and experience it._
## High Wall of Lothric
This first area, when you first come out into the air, it doesn't remind me so much of Undead Burgh from the Dark Souls 1. It doesn't remind me of Forest of Fallen Giants either from Dark Souls 2. What it does feel like is Boletaria from Demon's Souls. I think it has to do Dark Souls 1 & 2 has starting areas that has been deserted for a very long time and has remnants of battle, as where Demon's Souls has a distinct feel that everything went to shit quite recently.
Here we are, at the end of the world. Those people that are left worship the dragons in this place. Hollowed soldiers are raging about trying their best to keep defending their castle even in the afterlife, and you meet these infected hollows that will have a touch of dark, just like Iudix Gundyr in the end of the tutorial.
I think this area is really cool, but I also think it is much harder than previous Dark Souls games. The Balder Knights (here called Lothric Knights) are really aggressive and they will destroy you unless you know how to tackle them. There is a Winged Halberd Knight that reminds me of Dragon Rider boss from Heide's Tower of Flame in Dark Souls 2, except that here it is just a regular enemy that respawns.
It is when you encounter a Lothric Knight with his back turned to you, that looks a bit suspicious this game really turns into Demon's Souls 2. He turns around and reveal his red eyes. And if you've played Demon's Souls, you know to fear those red eyes.
All in all this area has everything you could wish for in a Dark Souls starting area. There are a lot of ups and ins, secrets and alternative routes. You will unlock doors and get jump scares that even I was not prepared for.
You will encounter mystery, as a strange sect that seems to be all about decapitating ones head.
In the end you will reach the boss, Vordt of the Boreal Valley. It reminds me a lot about the beast bosses of Bloodborne, as it moves on all four and start charging you in the second phase. Maybe Ludwig is the closest boss, but this is much much easier. All you need to do is to get up his groin and stab away.
This boss fight is not so iconic as I would say the ones in previous games. I don't really know any backstory to Vordt other than it was a knight that has this purpose to protect the castle gate.
What I don't like about the game so far is that it is leaning too much on previous installments and not really doing its own thing. I want new lore, new items, new things to amaze me. So far, it has been a sweet ride of nostalgica.
## Part 2
Previously we fought and defeated the tutorial area boss. This time we will take a look whats beyond the tutorial.
_Spoiler warning: I will write about anything I discover. If you don't want it spoiled, don't read it._
## What is that?
When you're standing in the boss arena and look at the path ahead it will lead to something that looks familiar. It looks like the belltower from Dark Souls 1 on top of Undead Parish, and not suprisingly it also is a bell tower.
> The bells will ring when the flame is about to go out, and there only embers remain.
Does the bell ring because someone is ringing it? Is it other players as it was in Dark Souls 1? I guess we will find out eventually.
When you come closer you will get to an opening in what looks like the base of the tower, and once you enter you will be greeted with.
## Firelink Shrine, wtf!?
If this is your first Souls game, then this area is totally fine. It is actually nothing special. Quite dull for being a hub area. The Nexus in Demon's Souls has fantastic design, the Firelink Shrine in Dark Souls 1 has a sad type of atmosphere, Majula in Dark Souls 2 is quiet and pretty.
This. This is a cave.
First that it share its name with the hub in Dark Souls 1, is a huge thing. Does this mean that we're in Lordran? Does it mean that we're on top of the Kiln of the First Flame? Or is it literaly the shrine where fire will be linked? I don't know but I don't like it.
Soon there after I had another WTF moment.
It is not surprising to see the return of firekeepers. This is a big deal, but the design here is taken almost directly from Demon's Souls. Not only the long robes and covered eyes, but things the Firekeeper says comes directly from Demon's Souls. Is this fan service, or is Miazaki trolling all those that have tried to find a connection between the series.
> Then touch the dark inside me.
Behind the crestfallen warrior, you find a blacksmith called Andre.
The name is the same name as the blacksmith of Undead Parish in Dark Souls 1, and the design is almost identical. He doesn't present himself as "Andre of Astora", but we can assume that something weird is going on.
What I really don't like is that he goes on and on to describe the mechanics of the game. This is very unsouls like, and it bugs me.
If you look around the shrine, you will find more and more Dark Souls 1 and 2 references. I have not unlocked all of the shrine, but I assume that there are a lot more secrets here than meets the eye.
After completing Dark Souls II platinum trophy and waiting a few days, I finally met up with a friend to try the first few hours of Dark Souls 3.
These are my first impressions.
_Spoiler warning: I will spoil everything in the opening cinematic, tutorial area and the first boss._
## Opening Cinematic
I found the opening cinematic very interesting. It seems as we're down the road in time, from first and second game. We got enough information to reveal this wasn't a prequel to the first game, and we could clearly see giants as they were in the second game.
So a few iterations have passed since Dark Souls 2 and clearly the flame is about to die. The bells are sounding across the land to tell us so. We need to find the old lords of cinder so they can sit on their thrones and ... I assume link the fire once more.
The old lords of cinder could be a reference to the old lord souls, Gwyn, Nito, Four Kings, Seath, but I think of it more as a reference to Gwyn, the lord of cinder and every player in the iterations coming that has sat the throne in order to link the fire.
## Tutorial Area
You start off in a graveyard. I think this is a nice touch. You died and was buried, but now you're alive because you're cursed, or unkindled as it is called in this game.
Your loved ones was even kind enough to bury you with some fire bombs. (or another gift) I guess you have a lot of use of fire bombs when you're dead.
This area really reminds me of the starting area in Dark Souls 2, Things Betwix. It is quiet, desolate and you meet only a few easy enemies. You get to try out your weapons and the mechanics in a few simple configurations. Then you get to your first bonfire and now the game starts for real. The cemetery stretches out on the cliff side and you can't even see the ground if you look over the side. Here you fight several enemies at once, and there is also a hidden path where you will find fire bombs which will become handy with the boss.
When you get to the boss room you know it immediately. It is a big circular arena with a petrified statue in the middle. This reminds me of the first boss in Dark Souls 1, where you open a door and enter a big room. You don't know it yet, but this is a typical boss room and you will learn to recognize it.
You activate the boss by pulling out a big sword from its side, and the fight begins
## Boss: Iudex Gundyr
If you're observant you will notice that this is not a normal statue-boss as you're used to them. It has some crap on the back that will reveal itself halfway through the fight.
The first part of this fight is an ordinary big guy fight with big weapon. My thoughts goes to ruin sentinels and mirror knight. You just need to learn the timings and you will be able to dodge all of his attacks with no sweat.
His second phase is trickier. A large oilery creature comes out of his back and the boss become much harder to read. Its movement becomes erratic and both reach and speed is much increased. In this new phase he becomes sensitive to fire, so those firebombs that you picked up earlier comes in handy.
As a first fight in a game, this is pretty darn hard. I don't know how I would've dealt with it unless I had a lot of souls experience from before. I think it is much comparable to Father Gascoigne in Bloodborne, but that fight is far in to the game when you've had time to learn the mechanics and level your character quite a bit. Here you're stuck with the class you chose and the stats of that class until you beat the boss.
I played this first as a warrior and then as a Herald, and when playing as a warrior I found the game and the mechanics clunky, and the framerate pretty shit. But that is of course because I recently spent 100 hours in 60 fps Dark Souls 2 with a character ve completed the game.