The official announcement of Dark Souls III got E3 off to a hot start, but those in attendance got an even closer look at the game at the Bandai Namco theater above the show floor.
This hands-off demo was presented by the game’s director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, and showcased the game’s “dark hero” battling his way through enemies, traversing castle ruins and dying...many, many times.
That’s right: Dark Souls III is primed to be the same ego-crushing experience as the previous installments—so much so that one of the game’s developers, who was demoing the title for the crowd, died on multiple, unexpected occasions.
But aside from the difficulty of the title, there was just so much to take in from this brief demo.
A World Worthy Of The Series
First off, Dark Souls III is massive. The portion of the map that I saw during the demo looked out upon an endless collection of derelict buildings, war-torn castles and murky dungeons, all of which are able to be explored as the quest moves on. The game does an incredible job of dropping players into a living, breathing dark fantasy world with hordes of villains and dragons to battle over and over.
Miyazaki made sure to emphasize the game’s dynamic lighting, cloth and ash mechanics, and open world as highlights of the game’s incredible graphics. Even in this Alpha stage, Dark Souls III breathes life into the type of gothic fantasy often only seen in novels (or on the cover of every Iron Maiden album).
Swordplay With Some Depth
Everyone knows about Dark Souls’ difficulty, so it’s only natural that the game’s combat has evolved to help players combat the hordes of undead. Swords of different sizes, dual-wielded blades and a handy bow (that you can use during movement) all make the player quicker and far more agile than previous installments.
In the demo, it was evident that with some practice, these weapons and fighting styles can be combined for some energetic combat with a focus on wits, rather than brute force.
It’s Still Damn Hard
For as great as the world looks and how intuitive the upgraded combat seems, Dark Souls III will absolutely destroy you. So be prepared to mediate, do some yoga or strap a sphygmomanometer to help manage that stress, because you will die and die spectacularly during the course of Dark Souls III.
As Miyazaki so eloquently summed up, "Everything is designed to basically kill you guys." The team probably had that sentiment in mind when they had a dragon light a castle courtyard on fire, killing everything in sight, all within the demo's opening moments.
I may have only seen about 10 minutes of the game, but if someone involved in the actual making of the title took three tries to get through it (at a reduced difficulty for E3!), it’s safe to assume Namco isn’t going to disappoint hardcore fans of the series by neutering its biggest franchise.
Dark Souls III hits Playstation 4, XBOX One and PC exclusively in early 2016.
Stay tuned for more E3 2015 coverage all week from TechTimes and T-Lounge.