Time to Die Again in Dark Souls 3 - PreviewChris Matulich , posted on 21 October 2015 / 7,728 Views
The first two Dark Souls are beautiful games, even when running on the previous generation hardware, but as you can imagine Dark Souls 3 is on another level entirely. I managed to get some recent hands-on time with the game and one of the more noticeable changes to the series comes in the form of more fluid character and enemy movements, which certainly helps give creatures and people a more natural feel.
This has a direct impact on gameplay as well, opening up the possibility for rapid consecutive attacks. There always seemed to be a slight stutter or stiffness to character movements in the first two games but this how now been eliminated, refining the gameplay somewhat.
The castle fortress where the demo took place was brimming with detail. The sun setting in the background brought the fortress to life and some superb lighting highlighted the game's improved textures, with torches flickering off the walls and providing only a slight bulwark against the darkness, all while casting atmospheric shadows.
The demo featured four playable classes, but as anyone who’s played any of the previous games (Demon’s Souls included) knows, classes are really guidelines rather than rigidly set paths. Besides more natural character movements some other noticeable changes have also been made, with the biggest one arguably being the presence of an MP bar, since spells are no longer limited to uses.
Since you can now hack away just that slightly bit more efficiently, keeping enemies off balance has become easier, which means that you won’t need to defend or dodge as much as in previous titles. However, this wouldn't be Dark Souls if it was all smooth sailing - there are plenty of enemies that will not be so adversely affected by your attacks and will instead power through them, although even these did end up feeling slightly less challenging and may need tweaking prior to release.
Since you can now get in at least one, sometimes two extra attacks after dodging or defending against larger enemies, they tend to go down more easily irrespective of their size. In the first two Dark Souls titles, for example, I died once or twice as I made my way to the first boss, but I was able to comfortably whittle away half of this one's life before my time with the demo ran out.
Dark Souls 3 remains true to the series in other key respects though. It doesn’t, for example, implement Bloodborne’s twitch dodging and life-regeneration mechanics, and overall it’s still got that distinctive Dark Souls style even if it doesn't kill you for every misstep. Attack, dodge-roll/backstep, Eustus flask, throw a bomb, cast a spell, and so on; it's all still there.
It’s true that, since Demon’s Souls, the series has gotten slightly easier with each release, and this has been a major discussion point within the Dark Souls community. I’m sure Dark Souls 3 will cause quite the uproar within the community, followed by people swearing off the franchise, if the difficulty level exhibited in the demo translates into the finished product. However, I will risk fan ire by saying that I've generally welcomed this (very slight) easing off in difficulty.
When Bloodborne was announced and eventually released to critical acclaim, I wasn’t sure if we’d actually see another Dark Souls. Yet FromSoftware has quickly produced another entry regardless of its work on a spiritual spin-off title. In its present state it's easier than its predecessors, chiefly because of smoother animations and more rapid attacking, but I've no doubt it will prove just as frustratingly brutal at times, so get ready to die again and again... and again come March 2016.