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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Dark Souls 3 Review: We didn't start the fire.

Here we are, the end of an era. I can't believe we haven't just seen a new Souls game almost every year since 2011 but they've all been uniformly spectacular. From Software has pretty much pitched a no hitter for 5 years. That's insane. All good things must come to an end and Dark Souls 3, or better or worse, is at least a perfect way to end things.  They made a game so radically different and memorizing they have their own genre. "Souls" is a genre now, like it or not. But even the best ware thin after a while, even if From is responsible for almost every game.

While I loved DS3 it is regrettably one I have loved the least. It may be because this is the most straight forward of the series. You won't still be finding humongous secret areas even after your 4th play through; and a third of the bosses are just a touch too easy or derivative of whats come before. That being said, this series has been semi annual for 3 years now. That's some serious crunch. Dark Souls 3 is still a masterpiece, but it's a far more modest one than the first. Or even the second.

Livin' up to my full potential!

Because while I kept getting the sense From Software was running out of ideas, it was obvious they still had a bunch. The welcome cosmic-horror vacation in Bloodborne was a test. Could we speed up Dark Souls and still keep players hooked? Yes. Yes they could. DS3 is lighting fast and all the better for it. No more slow plodding strikes from the opening skeletons and zombies. Expect furious rush attacks that tear your guard down in seconds. If you decide to play as an unmovable object, you're gonna have your work cut out for you. But unlike Bloodborne you are no longer actively punished.

Don't know about you, but I want a Persian rug scarf and kilt.

The world of Lothric should be very familiar to veterans. Perhaps too familiar to those who played the first. Though the shout out to the oft forgotten 2 are plentiful, which is generous considering Miyazaki sat that one out. I always admired the otherworldly look to the "giants" and I'm glad he agreed with me.

When 3 is on it's ON. Three of the greatest bosses in the series are in this game. Two of my favorite video game enemies ever are in this game. When DS3 shines it blots out the sun, but repetitive environments, hastily re-used assets from Bloodborne, and a scant offering of secrets bring it low.

This is the perfect time to end it. DS3 won me over in the end, but just barely. There's only so much one studio can do to define a genre. They have thankfully put this franchise on the shelf and are dutifully passing the torch. And it's fitful it's the Souls series that manages to go out on it's own diabolically uncompromising terms. In the annuls of gaming history they will all live on in rapturous infamy.

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