As the review embargo on Dark Souls 3 is lifted, critical response to this hotly anticipated and hugely challenging title is starting to do the rounds — find out if the third game in the trilogy lives up to the hype.
For hardcore gamers looking for true test of their abilities, there are few releases scheduled for this year that can match the challenge of Dark Souls 3. Now, the first reviews of the Western version of the game are starting to proliferate — and most critics seem to agree that it’s a worthy end to the trilogy.
Ever since the original Dark Souls released in 2011, From Software’s brand of hard-as-nails action RPG has steadily grown in popularity among players around the world. The series is considered as something of a successor to the more linear Demon’s Souls, and is similarly tangentially linked to the PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne.
It’s no secret that a huge component of the franchise’s notoriety is its extreme difficulty. While there are already reports of the third installment being beaten in under two hours, most will likely have to spend much more time getting to grips with its systems and mechanics to have any hope of completion.
Is Dark Souls 3 a heady challenge players will be eager to meet, or has the franchise fallen at what seems to be its final hurdle? Here’s the word on the street as the game’s review embargo closes.
IGN (Chloi Rad)
“Dark Souls 3 does suffer from occasional framerate dips and a few underwhelming boss fights, but beyond that, its epic scale, aggressive obstacles, and rich development of existing lore make it the grandest and fiercest Dark Souls adventure yet.”
Destructoid (Chris Carter)
“As always, Dark Souls III doesn’t immediately let the player know what’s changed. In reality, it’s a mix of just about everything From has acquired in its bag of tricks from Demon’s Souls all the way to Bloodborne.”
PC Gamer (James Davenport)
“Dark Souls 3 gracefully pushes the series’ notoriously difficult action towards a greater artfulness that tests far more than reflexes. I was challenged to read environments and props like a novel, to empathize with Lothric’s imperfect inhabitants, and to ask whether or not I was trying to save anything worth saving. But there are no easy answers here, only 40-plus hours of tense action, awe-inspiring exploration, certain death, and big, bleak, beautiful questions.”
Polygon (Philip Kollar)
“Dark Souls 3 remains a deep, complicated, fascinating experience. But it’s also one with some big flaws, weaknesses that are more visible and harder to ignore than they’ve ever been. Dark Souls 3 isn’t a failure, but it’s also a long shot from the well-honed RPG experience I’ve come to expect from the series.”
Gamespot (Mike Mahardy)
“Whereas most of Dark Souls III makes uses of labyrinthine corridors and trap-laden outdoor settings, these areas lose their design appeal as the game comes to a close. I expected Dark Souls III to carry me through imaginative fights and engaging treks as my character reached the apex of her skills, but instead I felt disappointed. I had come all this way with her, and aside from two fantastic end-game bosses and a handful of inventive secret areas in its waning hours, Dark Souls III seemed not to erupt, but rather, fade slowly into the fog.”
For the most part, it seems that the critics are very happy with Dark Souls 3. However, there are some complaints — which is perhaps to be expected with any new iteration of an established franchise.
Slightly underwhelming map design and a sense of familiarity seem to be the biggest gripes with the game. On the other hand, there’s plenty of praise for the way that From Software have brought together some of the best elements from their output over the last five years.
If you’ve already spent some time with Dark Souls 3 thanks to its early Japanese release date, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Dark Souls 3 is scheduled to release worldwide on April 12, 2016 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.