Dark Souls III already hit the shelves in Japan a couple of days ago, and that means die-hard fans have already taken them out for a spin. Needless to say, fans who are waiting for the worldwide release on April 12 will definitely want to hear what they have to say about the hard-core title.
It's no mystery, Dark Souls is one of the most difficult game series to have ever been made, and the third installment is no different from the previous ones. On top of that, it has a pretty interesting take in giving players the complete adventure shindig.
"It's also impressive how Dark Souls III strikes a balance between exploration and guidance. There's usually more than one path you can take through the world at any time – to new bosses, secret dungeons or new areas entirely – but never too many that it feels overwhelming. The level design encourages wandering without losing focus," Mike Mahardy of GameSpot says.
Of course, even though it has several new elements for a more action-packed gameplay, it does a good job in sticking to the original feel of the Dark Souls games.
"[T]here's some new gameplay features like weapon skills that give combat a bit more depth. Certainly the game's aesthetic is a blend of the original Dark Souls with a touch of Bloodborne. And some aspects of the game even feel a bit like Demon's Souls. But ultimately, Dark Souls III feels most like the original Dark Souls, from the way the world is designed to the boss fights and enemies you encounter," Erik Kain of Forbes writes.
Without a doubt, Dark Souls III has a story in store for the fans, but just like its predecessors, it's more centered on gameplay. In other words, some players may find it sort of lackluster in some ways, particularly the oversophisticated language in the world.
"This is a question of taste but I find Dark Souls III lacking in poetry, the ambiguous but memorable lines and descriptions that can inspire days and weeks of thought about their possibilities. The language in the Souls series always had archaic elements, but never at the expense of meaning. 'If substantiation be thy want, set thine eyes upon my charred corse' is needlessly over-written when plainer words would give the sense much more power. There are countless exceptions to this, especially the items relating to Aldrich which bring me out in shudders, but in a broader sense this is again not so much to do with the writing and everything to do with the well-worn grooves of an established style," Rich Stanton of Eurogamer.net says.
As somewhat expected, Dark Souls III came with a few minor kinks here and there, but to be exact, it has frame rate issues.
"We were playing a final build with the day-one patch applied, but the game still consistently ran terribly, with the frame rate stuttering and frequently dipping into or near the single digits across a variety of areas. We've also received a report of at least one repeatable crashing bug that Bandai Namco says will be patched soon after release," Philip Kollar of Polygon says.
It should be noted that this problem isn't really a deal breaker or anything along those lines, but it does have a slight negative impact to the whole experience.
The Bottom Line
All in all, early bird gamers have little or no things to complain about, despite the frame rate trouble and arguably obscured storyline. With that said, Dark Souls III may have relatively come up short compared to the two previous installments, even though it's expected to be the last one of the series.
"If Dark Souls III truly is the last game for now, it makes perfect sense, since it's just as much of a love letter to fans as it is a culmination of the series. I may not have liked this iteration as much as the rest, but it's still streets ahead of most current action games and deserves a warm spot on your shelf by the bonfire," Chris Carter of Destructoid writes, summing up what Dark Souls III can bring to the table.