For years I have avoided the Souls/Bloodborne series simply because, like the Critic, RPGs usually don't do it for me. That, and all the talk about the grueling difficulty kinda turns me off. I don't need to prove my gamer cred by beating a difficult game. But I randomly decided to pick up Dark Souls 3 on PC during Steam's winter sale. I'm not sure why I went for it; sometimes the mood just hits me and I'm like, "sure, why not?" It was relatively inexpensive, and the games are highly praised.
All I can say is "Wow!" This game is fantastic, and I'm only 10 hours in. I'm still not a huge fan of the RPG mechanics like stat management and whatnot, but the actual gameplay is fantastic. The game is difficult, sure, but it almost feels like an old school NES game like Castlevania or Ghouls and Ghosts where you keep replaying a section until you perfect it. As you replay it, you learn enemy patterns, and discover new secrets each time. Yes, its frustrating when you make it so far only to die by a dumb mistake (or a boss that has some completely destructive move you were totally unprepared for), but that only encourages you to be patient and pay attention to what you are doing. Whether it's you hitting an enemy or an enemy hitting you, each hit hits hard and feels like it really matters. Low level enemies can usually be disposed of in one or two hits (like in many classic games), but if you play sloppy they can easily overwhelm you and make you die. And getting to the next bonfire/checkpoint is always a huge relief!
The story makes no sense at least initially, but at least there's minimal text/dialogue in the game. The world is just incredible though. Amazing level design, creepy and varied enemies, stunning environments. I want to see what is next. As difficult as the bosses are, I look forward to seeing what the next one is capable of and learning how to overcome them. I look forward to seeing what twisted environments the developers come up with next. Right now I'm in a swampy area, and it honestly makes me feel uncomfortable where I don't even want to explore it because I can't wait to get out of it, just like I'd probably feel in a real swamp!
This is the first game in a long time that makes me feel like I'm playing an old school video game without relying on pixel art. Yes, it's difficult, but honestly that's not really the point. This game has surprised me in all the right ways.
Tell us about games you are currently playing. "Quick hit" reviews.
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