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Time to Die Again in Dark Souls 3

Time to Die Again in Dark Souls 3 - Preview

by Chris 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.

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Wagram (on 21 October 2015)

Press demos are always easier than the intended release. Don't read anything into it.

Valdath (on 21 October 2015)

Can't wait for From's Software next masterpiece! Loved Bloodborne but i love playing as a knight with shield and a shining armor, so i'm glad we're back to good old Dark Souls gameplay.

The_BlackHeart__ (on 21 October 2015)

I know hardcore Dark Souls fans will probably question this approach, but they will eventually have to admit that the "waiting for a boss to attack you" style is not going to make the franchise evolve. As a BloodBorne Platinum owner I approve and welcome the changes to the series.

Azuren (on 21 October 2015)

I agree, although I think you may have worded it in a fairly "what you like us dumb" format. DS3's more action-oriented approach over the "wait behind a good shield" approach will force new strategies, though I suspect there will still be very viable tank builds in the game. I suspect Dual Shields will be made super useful. "You broke through my shield's defense? They're was another behind it, sorry." Tracks will still be viable, but they'll be made very much a team role instead of an end-all approach to the entire game

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malistix1985 (on 24 October 2015)

Its gonna be a bit strange to get used to the slower pace of dark souls after bloodborne but.. day 1 buy for me this will be a masterpiece

KingdomHeartsFan (on 22 October 2015)

Dam I still gotta get Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the first sin.

Azuren (on 21 October 2015)

Excuse me, but difficulty came back in spades for Bloodborne. That said, making NG easier is a good thing; it helps others get into it. We all know the game really starts at NG+.