Miyazaki is quickly becoming a god-like figure amongst the hardcore players of the industry – he’s revered, feared, worshipped. How can one man come up with so many challenges, so many combat puzzles, so many dark, bleak and depressing ideas that infect your mind as your muscles twitch on your pad, trying desperately to keep you alive? Dark Souls as a series has become synonymous with struggle, with persistence, with terror. It’s amazing that – four games later (including Bloodborne) – the setting of the series hasn’t gotten old: the Gothic architecture remains as imposing, the weighty mechanics remain as stressful (but in a good way, right?) and the world remains so full of mystery. Miyazaki tells his story in maps, in encounters. He’s unconventional, and his newest game promises more of that same trailblazing developmental talent.
PREPARE TO DIE
IT LOOKS like Dark Souls III is more concerned with making you feel supremely under-powered,
compared to previous games. What we mean by that, specifically, is that instead of mobs of enemies coming in at you, waiting in line to attack, you’ll be seeing more oneon- one encounters in Dark Souls III (or a-few-on-one, tops). What makes it worse is that the enemies have been programmed to come at you from all sides; expect ambushes, traps and lures galore. From some of the images here, you can also tell there will be a much larger focus on enemy scale, too – from dragons to giants, your enemies this time around will be even more punishing that Dark Souls II ’s most threatening combatants. Be warned: you will die.
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, the game design team has changed from the one that put Dark Souls
II together – directorship of the game has actually been passed on to Souls newcomer Isamu Okano (the creative mind behind Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor). Series auteur and mainstay Hidetaka Miyazaki is focusing more on iterating the gameplay systems and level design. As such, you might notice a shift in tone – the Victorian stylings of Bloodborne are out, replaced by a more Gothic world construction (which apparently predates anything we’ve seen in the Souls series so far). As such, you’ve got elder beasts like dragons still roaming the world… and you’d better believe they see you as prey.
CONTINUING ON from the combat evolution that Bloodborne introduced, Dark Souls III takes a
few of the main conceits of the series so far, takes them out of the code, and replaces them with something altogether newer and shinier. There’s now a ‘ready stance’ for example – attacking from this stance allows you to perform cinematic attacks on the game’s new huge enemies: think of it like a parry that requires some strategy to pull off, rather than just twitch reactions. Miyazaki has noted that he intends for Dark Souls III to have a much greater focus on player agility, too – something that’ll make fans of Bloodborne’s more fast-paced combat swoon.
Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Developer: From Software
From Software is known for its work on the Souls series and spiritual successor to the brand, Bloodborne, but let’s not forget how the studio made its name – mostly working on the Armored Core series.
Bloodborne proved to the world that the cult that had grown around Dark Souls was well-deserved, and that the ‘ultra hard’ gameplay translated well out of the successful series.