Kindle the Bonfire with Dark Souls 3

Newest Addition to The Soul Series Available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC

By Gabriel Davila

Alone once again in a strange land, my character traveled across various lands, from the familiar yet strange sight of Firelink Shrine to the vast, barren wasteland known as the Kiln of the First Flame.

To people familiar with the Souls series, “Dark Souls 3” combines elements from the previous Souls games, including the fast paced combat centric “Bloodborne”. “Dark Souls 3” does not take the fast, think on your toes approach as “Bloodborne”, but instead, the game takes a slow and methodical approach to exploration, fighting bosses and discovering the various covenants.

There are a total of 10 starting classes in “Dark Souls 3”, ranging from a battle hardened knight armed with a long sword and metal armor to sorcerers, pyromancers, clerics, assassin and thief. The most popular class that players start with is the knight, as it is the more well-rounded in terms of stats and the armor is quite sturdy.

As a dedicated Souls player, I could not help but get flashbacks to not only the first “Dark Souls”, I was reminded of “Demon’s Souls” in terms of how gloomy the environments were, especially when I traversed the Untended Graves. Playing “Dark Souls 3” for the first time was a welcoming experience, the controls were the same as always and the speed which my character traveled was akin to the first “Dark Souls.” One stat FromSoftware reintroduced was luck, which had been absent since “Demon’s Souls” in 2009.

Another thing brought back from “Demon’s Souls” was this blue bar on the HUD, which I thought was magic. The blue bar is utilized through magic and a special mechanic called battle skills. This bar can be refilled through the use of a new item called Ash Estus Flask.

In the first “Dark Souls,” the amount of Estus flasks or healing flasks you could carry depended upon how much humanity was used to make bonfires grow and could go up to 20 through the rite of kindling.

“Dark Souls 3” decided to take the “Dark Souls 2” approach where the player has to find Estus flask shards in order to increase the amount of flasks a character can have. The player can also put these shards towards Ash Estus Flasks, if they choose.

Initially, I thought “Dark Souls 3” started doing the same thing as “Dark Souls 2,” which was reusing previous elements for no apparent reason except for fan service or pandering, like when I saw Andre the blacksmith from the first “Dark Souls” or familiar armor. My perspective changed when I began reading item descriptions to gather lore, the story of the game. As it turns out, not only is the flow of time convoluted like in the first “Dark Souls”, the land changed as well.

The more I traversed through the unknown lands of “Dark Souls 3”, my curiosity continued to grow. What familiar faces would await me? What bosses were waiting to strike me, the proclaimed Ashen One, down? Armed with my only companions, a sword and shield, I forged on through the desolate areas.

One boss fight which was a fan favorite was the Abyss Watchers.

As soon as I stepped through a fog gate in Farron Keep, I was greeted with a cutscene of two armored knights dueling in a room filled with dead soldiers wearing similar armor and weaponry.

While dodging attacks, I countered with my own and healed when my health was low. When both watchers were slain, I thought the fight was over.

It was far from over.

The souls of the other soldiers gathered into one vessel and stood tall. Then the Abyss Watcher lit its massive sword on fire. The battle began anew. The Abyss Watcher’s sword cut through the air, fiery waves nearly scorched my avatar’s skin. I was on the edge of my seat, fighting for survival until the very end.

When I finally won, I sighed in relief and clenched my fist in accomplishment. The Abyss Watchers was not a difficult fight, but it was so much fun.

In some ways, the Abyss Watchers reminded me of Artorias from the first “Dark Souls” but, in the end, the boss fight itself was much different.

Overall, “Dark Souls 3” is a fantastic game that utilizes familiar mechanics and characters while introducing its own mythos and diversity in terms of geographic areas to explore.

Most of the bosses were fun and required a strategy to defeat.

The game juxtaposes light and dark, blending in beautiful environments filled with color and a few gloomy, dark areas meant for a player to proceed cautiously.

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