Endgame: Why Dark Souls III Is A Fitting Finale

Dark Souls III [official site] is a superb entry in From Software’s series, and in both design and lore it feels like a fitting finale. Is it time to move on?

One day, many years from now, when I have a family that I hang out with by way of a VR headset while in real life we all fester in our isolated cubicles, I envision my future kid coming up to me in our shared virtual space and asking “Daddy, what was Dark Souls like?” At this point, I’d look wistfully out the virtual window at the setting sun (an illusion concealing the fact that in the real world the sun had set for the last time many years ago), and I’d say:

“Dark Souls, my child, wasn’t like all the other games. It didn’t play nice. It didn’t hold your hand, or make you feel loved or important, but it was, in many ways, the purest game series of all. It ended in 2016.”

Then, in true Dark Souls fashion, I’d conclude by making some sardonic observation followed by a bone-dry laugh: “Perhaps we are fools for having left it behind. But then, ‘tis fitting for a game that relished making fools of us all. Hehehehehehe….

Spoiler Warning: References to various key characters and locations in Dark Souls 3

While I’ll let Adam’s review fill you in on the basic judgement regarding Dark Souls 3, I can concur that the old magic is still there. That feeling of dying to a boss for the 20th time in a row, convincing myself that series’ creator Hidetaka Miyazai has ‘really gone too far this time’, before making the slightest of tweaks to my strategy that suddenly helps me breeze through said boss remains as powerful as ever.

A good session of Dark Souls makes me sleep well at night and wake up the next day ready to tackle any challenges that await. A bad session gives me nightmares about being a hollow in the Undead Asylum, wailing in that pathetic hollowed way as I’m bounced around like a blubbering pinball amidst a trio of asylum demons (and that’s only after I spend a good hour restlessly shuffling in bed, cursing the game as I toss onto my left side and cursing myself as I turn onto my right).

The die-try-die-again ethos that the series introduced to the masses is ever-present in Dark Souls 3, and continues to creep through into my daily functioning in a way that few games can. But as I explore Lothric’s forlorn keeps, twisted villages and cathedral-like cities perforating the fast-moving skies, I’m quickly overcome with an odd sense of comfort and homeliness, like the game is reaching out to me, as a Souls veteran, and saying ‘haven’t we had fun over the years?’ or ‘You know what’s coming next, don’t you?’

Even though the kingdom of Lothric is new to me, and I spend the first few hours being duly battered into the ground by enemies I really should know how to deal with, it’s a place that’s designed to feel familiar. Where before the Souls games were only cryptically connected with each other, leaving the community to thread the lore together, Dark Souls 3 not only threads the narratives together but then wraps them up with a bow and some confetti. Familiar faces return, old locations are revisited and items you pick up tighten those threads.

The familiarity of the narrative is intentional, but it also seeps through to the gameplay, causing much of what was once intrepid and intimidating to become routine: I know what will happen when the dragon appears in the first level, because it does the same thing in each Souls game; I’m able to ambush 90% of intended ambushers thanks to a Soul sense that I’ve honed over the years; and the aesthetic of its world no longer carries the menace of the unknown (or the unknowable).

And yet Dark Souls 3 is the most polished and mechanically sound game in the series yet, its visual splendour dazzling me each time I start feeling that creeping sense of familiarity. It’s the zenith of the series and its natural limit, making it the perfect point to bring those glorious cycles of fire and darkness to an end and seek a new setting for a gameplay formula that could well prove to be timeless.

Dark Souls 3 is a veritable mish-mash of Souls tropes. Each area has the satisfyingly interwoven design of the original game (while the overarching structure is more like one long, epic path). The stunning views and wide-open spaces of the sequel are inspired by Dark Souls 2, while the more pacey combat borrows from Bloodborne. It’s the perfect amalgamation of all that’s come before, and yet it doesn’t feel greater than the sum of all those parts. Instead, it feels precisely like the sum of those parts, content to look back and say ‘Hasn’t it been a blast?’ in a way that suggests it’s aware of its own finality.

The sense of repetition in Dark Souls 3 is palpable from the start. The first boss explodes in his second phase to become an unpredictable, jerky beast that has echoes of Bloodborne’s beast bosses, while the first area you visit after the very Demon’s Souls-like Firelink Shrine is the High Wall of Lothric – a well-designed but generic battlement much like Dark Souls 2’s Forest of Fallen Giants (but better laid-out) and Undead Burg from the original.

The second area, the Undead Settlement, is a wonderfully atmospheric rural village, where the buildings and trees appear to be twisting and squirming into each other in a vain attempt to protect themselves from the malaise enveloping them. But Bloodborne players will recognise it as a spitting image of Hemwick Charnel Lane, a feeling that becomes even more pronounced when you head down to the central square, and find none other than Yharnam’s villagers – pitchforks and all – seemingly on a rural weekend retreat, congregating around a portly magician who looks like the female twin of the Fat Official enemy from Demon’s Souls. From the attack dogs to the locales, there are countless moments where I questioned whether the repetition was a result of creative drought or an acceptance by the devs that certain things that came before in the series are so good they’re worth repeating.

Moving beyond the assets, repetition in Dark Souls 3 is often used to charming and poignant effects. I chuckled when I bumped into the bumbling Siegward of Catarina, the natural successor to Dark Souls’ loveable but tragic Siegmeyer, whose tubby armour earned him the endearing ‘onion knight’ moniker. Siegward is essentially the renamed return of a fan favourite, his constant predicaments and now-legendary ‘Hmmmm-ing’ providing the feelings of warmth and nostalgia that you’d expect from the final episode of a much-loved sitcom.

Conversely, I could almost hear the pantomime booing when I met Unbreakable Patches, Dark Souls 3’s iteration of the recurring villain who may as well be stroking his figurative thin, twirly moustache as he sets traps that you inevitably always find your way out of.

The Abyss Watchers, meanwhile, are heirs to possibly the most popular boss in the series, Artorias, with their tragic story, music and movesets paying tribute to the great Abysswalker. All these characters are more than just cameos – they play an important part in Dark Souls 3’s narrative – but that narrative itself is based on homage to the original game. Never is this more apparent than when you revisit Anor Londo, the great God-city from the original game that’s now frozen over. It acts almost like a kind of museum, as you wander through the cathedral where you fought Ornstein and Smough, visit the now-empty rooms where the queen Gwynevere and Gwyndolin used to dwell, and take on a horrifying, mutated version of the latter. As you explore, players’ soapstone messages act as rudimentary information boards at key landmarks, reminding you that you’re not alone in your historical tour.

Dark Souls 3 comes as close as its dark mood will allow to being a celebration of the people we met, the bosses we fought and the stories we’ve been part of for the last several years. Remember that Citadel DLC for Mass Effect 3, which gave closure to fans who felt betrayed by the main game’s conclusion? Dark Souls 3 is the equivalent, minus the orgiastic atmosphere, but with a similarly self-aware sense of humour. So many little details and lore tidbits from previous games are brought together in Dark Souls 3 that it takes on an almost reflective tone, looking back on the series’ ‘Best Bits’ and presenting them to us in a satisfying closing chapter.

With Dark Souls III being From Software’s fastest-selling game to date, the temptation will be there for the company to milk those rancid yet moreish teets a little bit more (awful image, I know…). And you can easily argue that if publishers of other top franchises (of mostly inferior quality) are rinse-repeating their big games with only superficial changes, then why shouldn’t something as undeniably great as Dark Souls do it?

It’s true that Dark Souls is special. So special, in fact, that it’s the only series that can get away with not having to come up with some kind of revolutionary feature, new gimmick, or even distinct settings between its constituent games. We complain about Far Cry never evolving, even though it’s just taken us to the Stone Age (though I guess it’s more accurate to call that devolving? Am I right?), or Assassin’s Creed, where it’s just not enough that it takes us to a different beautifully realised historical city each time round. But Dark Souls? Dark Souls which has so many overlaps between locations, enemies, bosses, weapons and other assets across the series? Nah, you’re OK Dark Souls. As you were…

That’s because the series, from the start, has been damn-near perfect at what it intended to do. It never needed to offer players a punchline, or fantasies of surviving the post-apocalypse, or exploring historical places, or ‘doing whatever you like’, because its appeal lay in its fantastic core mechanics. Nor has it ever needed to market itself with silly buzzwords for in-game mechanics, or gloat about how open its world is. ‘Soulsborne’ has a unique role on the gaming scene that defies all claims of competition because it’s the master of a genre of its own making, spawning only games that genuflect before it rather than dare try and usurp it.

Series’ creator Hidetaka Miyazaki’s formula isn’t married to its medieval setting of clanky armour, dungeons, keeps and cathedral-cities. In fact, it’s already proven to transcend it, and at this point the only thing that can taint its appeal is keeping it in a Dark Souls universe that may have reached its full state of becoming.

Sisyphian repetition and cyclicality is woven through every part of the Souls series’ fabric. Gods awaken then fall, to be replaced by equivalents in newer kingdoms that layer over the old ones in enigmatic ways. Ages of fire come and go, and even your perpetual dying is artfully integrated into the narrative. We’ve embraced this relentless repetition for five years, and its impact has hardly budged until now, as the series has come to feel like an old friend rather than a mysterious yet intriguing stranger like the original Demon’s Souls.

The rapturous reception of Bloodborne shows that the appeal of ‘Soulsborne’ lies in its systems. We’re drawn to their deadly light by their uniquely passive approach to storytelling, haunting atmospheres, mechanically simple yet deeply tactical stamina-based combat systems, and of course gruelling challenges and weighty consequences for death. Playing Bloodborne (I know it’s not available on PC, but indulge me for a moment), with its idiosyncratic vision of a Lovecraftian-Gothic nightmare world opened me up to the myriad creative possibilities to which Miyazaki’s magical touch could be applied, to the extent that going back to the relatively conventional medieval world of Dark Souls afterwards felt more like a fond trip down memory lane than a confident stride towards the future.

I’d never turn down a return to Dark Souls, which I’m indebted to for helping me rediscover a way of playing that I once thought was gone forever. If a Dark Souls 4 appeared, then I’d be there for it, because it would almost certainly continue to satisfy a craving that no other game can. But I want more than an itch scratched – I want that, and to explore other dark recesses of Miyazaki and co’s imaginations.

Dark Souls 3 feels like both a triumphant final performance and a victory lap, and From Software should honour that. I’ll miss it terribly, but I’d rather have that feeling of longing for Dark Souls than quietly growing to resent it, while fantasising about the wild directions its formula could take – Steampunk? Sci-fi? A fantasy universe based on pre-medieval times, like classical or ancient? More Lovecraftian horror a la Bloodborne?

As well as being a fitting swansong for the series, Dark Souls 3 is a powerful statement that the formula is refined and ready for new horizons. That’s why there’s no better time to put out the Souls fire, and herald in a new age of darkness in which we can live with the excited trepidation of not knowing what tragic, brutal world Miyazaki has lying in wait, ready to ambush us around the next corner.

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66 Comments

  1. Justoffscreen says:

    Woman ahead
    Therefore try wielding with two hands

    • RedViv says:

      It’s an old dear
      therefore try tears

      I still have not untangled all the emotions I felt on finding myself entering a very familiar crypt, ascending a well-known staircase, then entering what remains of the Sunless City and finally getting confirmation that this is a really sequelly sequel when the location name appeared.

      • PikaBot says:

        I absolutely loved Anor Londo because although it looks more or less the same from the outside, and is still guarded by steadfast Silver Knights, once you get inside you can see just how badly it’s degraded from its height. In Dark Souls it’s dark and abandoned, but still an amazing monument to the era of the gods. In Dark Souls 3, despite its well-preserved exterior on the inside it’s crumbling to pieces, infested with dark creatures, and its sole occupant is a cannibalistic monstrosity.

        • RedViv says:

          It was the perfect ending to show the decay of the first generations of gods. Their last representative having been devoured and digested and their hollow shell waved around in a grotesque mockery of their previous elegance by a saint-cum-shoggoth abomination.

          • FreshHands says:

            Gods, I simply assumed he appears like Gwyndolin because of eating him and always wondered why he looked like a shoggoth in the intro.

            Now that you say it, it all makes horrible sense – only my limited human mind could not grasp this awful truth.

            Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

      • MikoSquiz says:

        Filth ahead
        If only I had a fire

        Every character I roll has to put that message in front of Rosaria. Grr.

    • MrFinnishDude says:

      Time for tongue
      but hole?

    • Fnord73 says:

      What we want now is Cyber Souls. Or something like that, a new trilogy in a post-apocalyptic world with laserguns and vibrablades. Or even more magnificent, the next step: An open world RPG using the Souls combat and hardheadedness with a storytelling game that equals the Witcher.

      Because, while I appreciate the Art of fighting my way through a world where I dont know what the hell is going on, it sure could use some more narrative and less japanese poetry.

      • Luciferous says:

        I love that the story is obscured behind vague dialogue and sparse item descriptions, but I do hope they are bit more upfront with story in whatever they do next. I still want to feel like I’ve earned my understanding of events, but something a little more meaty is required.

  2. Justoffscreen says:

    Don’t give up, skeleton

  3. Justoffscreen says:

    Illusory wall ahead

  4. Abndn says:

    In before a bunch of entitled folks with “souls fatigue” show up and explain how this means that rather than them finding something else to play, From must cater to them and make something different.

    • Justoffscreen says:

      Tears ahead
      Therefore try but hole

    • wcq says:

      Well, it sure is nice you set that straw man up in advance.

      • Ketchua says:

        Well, to be fair to their straw man, it’s got at least some flesh on it.

        I’m one of those people who aren’t happy with how things worked out in that regard. I’m not being a douche about it, though (at least I think I’m not).

        I don’t mind the revisited locations and returning characters so much (although having Leonhard literally be Lautrec feels like cheap, lazy fan-service), but the items are what’s making me most sad.

        Thanks to the amount of items brought over from the previous games, I already know what I want. There’s almost none of that joy of exploring the different weapon types – I already know how they all work, and what’s best for me. I am happily going to finish using Uchi, which I’ve found 15 minutes into the game. Same goes for rings – chloranthy, RTSR, Havel’s.

        Thanks to this, Dark Souls 3 is (to me) like an insanely hefty piece of DLC for the first game. That’s cool and all, you can’t have enough DkS1, but I was expecting something more.

        • wcq says:

          I’ll agree with you on that, to an extent.

          The game did feel overly familiar, especially in the beginning, with a few too many references to the first one. In addition, some mechanics of the game are starting to feel like relics that were dragged along just because they’re expected to be there (like the persistent illusory wall nonsense, which I’m not a great fan of). I wouldn’t say I was greatly disappointed, since I did sort of expected the game to be more or less like this. It was still a quality game, and the later parts of the game had some excellent boss fights, so I won’t complain too much.

          Here’s the thing: I like Bloodborne. I like Bloodborne so much that I beat it four times almost back to back. In my eyes, From has proven that they can make something even more interesting when they branch out from dark fantasy. That’s why I keep hoping they’ll keep doing it, and let sleeping souls lie.

        • Qazi says:

          So you’re another that doesn’t use the FP weapon skills?

    • Kinsky says:

      Personally I’d love for them to go back to making Armored Core games.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Oh yes please.

        Better yet, stick them on PC as well for a change.

    • Scraphound says:

      Where does your culture come from? Reddit? 4Chan?

      God, I hate “in before X…” and “entitled this…”

      Contribute to the conversation instead of arguing against people who aren’t even there. It’s foolish.

      • mavrik says:

        This. Who the heck is the guy even fighting with? O.o

      • Abndn says:

        Where does your culture come from? Reddit? 4Chan?

        God, I hate “in before X…” and “entitled this…”

        Contribute to the conversation instead of arguing against people who aren’t even there. It’s foolish.

        Love how deeply ironic your reply is. You complain about how I don’t contribute, yet your own post is nothing but you explaining that I don’t contribute, with some insults and wrong assumptions thrown in. As if you are the king of the internet, with the final word on what should and should not be in a comments section. Please get over yourself.

        This may come as a shock to you, but I have my own opinions that are not the same as yours. In this case, I am thinking my post is pretty relevant, since nearly every Souls discussion lately has had people talking about their Souls fatigue as if them personally being jaded with the formula is valuable information that ought to be taken onboard by the developers to the point where they try to make something else instead, despite the millions of people buying and enjoying them.

        • Abndn says:

          Woops, left your post at the top of mine, and I can’t edit it out. Oh well.

        • wcq says:

          The problem here is that you come in throwing around words like “entitled”, seemingly trying to pre-invalidate the opinions of everyone who doesn’t agree with you. I’m sure you can see how this comes off as a crappy move.

          Also, I’m not sure what exactly is entitled about expressing one’s personal opinion about this. Are these people demanding changes? Are they acting like their opinion is somehow more important than anyone else’s? I’m not seeing any of that. People are simply stating they’ve had enough souls for now, and that they hope From makes something different and interesting again.

        • SnowCrash says:

          You know what you are if you use “Entitled” as a derogatory manner. An jackass with to much time on his hands and not enough to do. Its funny how it works as a mirror on the person using it.

          So get back on your white high horse and ride off preferably into a canyon

          • Kolbex says:

            Yep, his (and you KNOW it’s a dude) post is stuffed with internet dickface bingo words, “entitled,” “cater to,” “this may come as a shock to you,” “get over yourself”.

  5. Kinsky says:

    Finger but hole

  6. wraithgr says:

    Given that the whole concept of games that use the “no handholding” excuse for being arbitrarily hard interests me about as much as the next episode of eastenders, I have to ask: in your fictional scenario, how did the sun go out in your lifetime? Or is it that you have achieved some sort of VR-based immortality (but then why is your kid still asking you about stuff?)

    • DingDongDaddio says:

      “Arbitrarily hard” is the opposite of the truth. It’s very deliberate and purposeful, hence the lack of difficulty levels.

      Putting Call of Duty on Veteran to make the bullets do more damage is “arbitrarily hard.”

    • Abndn says:

      The Souls games are not arbitrarily hard, and they do not use ‘no hand-holding’ as an excuse for anything. You seem to have misunderstood these games.

      Souls games are difficult because they want you to fail, learn, and overcome, and feel that victory is meaningful because it didn’t come easily. It is true that difficulty is played up a lot since it’s a great marketing scheme, and they are harder than most games, but there are many games out there that are much, much harder. They also have many built-in mechanics that let you decide how difficult the game is going to be, so nearly anyone with some gaming experience can get through, really.

      The lack of hand-holding is there for different reasons. It is what enables the feeling that you are a stranger in a strange land, free to explore the game’s areas at the speed and in the order you feel comfortable with. It also inspires a pretty unusual non-gamey decision-making process that is difficult to describe. On top of all that it is a perfect fit for the game’s world and lore, which intentionally keeps things hidden from you.

      • Luciferous says:

        Exactly this ^

        There is no feeling like it in any other game when your’re at the end of your tether from getting slapped around by a boss and you say ‘Fine, one more go.’ and something just clicks, you suddenly see the patterns, learn which moves you can counter and how to draw those moves out and BAM Heir of Fire Destroyed. You sit there, hands shaking, grinning from ear to ear because you did it, you learned from your mistakes and you conquered something that was starting to feel impossible.

        • wraithgr says:

          This is precisely what I meant. Depends on how it’s actually done, and I haven’t actually played the games so maybe it’s done really well here but I just don’t have the time to spend dying on some boss because I need to master a specific kind of twitch reflex or because I didn’t realize that I had to first put the whatsit in the thingum or whatever…
          The only way this kind of stuff might be acceptable to me would be if the penalty for failure is literally nil, i.e. if you expect me to grind back through a level to get to the boss then I just move on, plenty of games out there…
          All this is just personal opinion of course, I’m actually very happy that there are successful games out there which I don’t personally like!

          • stringerdell says:

            So youre happy to dismiss the whole series as ‘arbitrarily hard’ but you admit you havent played the games before? what even is that.

          • ggggggggggg says:

            ay dude Dark Souls games are hard but not at all ‘hard’ in the way like you’re describing. There’s actually a whole lot of very careful balancing going on with how the difficulty mechanics work and I’d recommend watching this video if you want to see how link to youtube.com its pretty long so feel free to skip around a little

        • trn says:

          I agree that this is a fantastic feeling, but disagree that it no other game offers it. Monster Hunter, for instance, has been offering this sort of gameplay experience for a decade now in various iterations.

  7. TΛPETRVE says:

    Said it before, saying it again: I consider Dark Souls III in many regards the BioShock Infinite of the SoulsBorne franchise, most notably in that it is a postmortem to the entire overarching meta-universe that started in 2009 with Demon’s Souls. Some folks understandably dislike the approach, as it goes way beyond FROM’s usual level of self-reference down into outright crossover territory, but I love it; in fact, it is exactly what I was hoping for.

  8. ChrisGWaine says:

    “fantasising about the wild directions its formula could take”

    I think of how much the megastructures and transhumans of Tsutomu Nihei’s style of SF settings would suit it.

    • RedViv says:

      Demon’s Souls, but Blame! instead of Berserk.

      Good grief, that gave me shivers.

  9. Synesthesia says:

    Agreed. Deep nostalgia set in when “Anor Londo” popped in. The giant’s corpse hit me hard! I loved the little guy.

    SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

    What do you guys think about the finale? The torn down future of lordran/lothric? Is it actually the future? What about the darksign sun? Man, I have so many questions. Have any of the usual suspects started pouring lore videos out?

    • RedViv says:

      The game has been out for two weeks for most of us, they deserve some time of their own with it for a while.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Also, yes. I would love to see something different. Miyazaki has proven he can do that.

    • PikaBot says:

      Spoilers in my comment!

      My biggest question is: what the hell is the deal with the enemies who burst into huge snake-like black masses? They must be significant; the first boss is one, they pop up everywhere, and the wyverns from Lothric castle have one each stuck to their foot; either projecting the Wyvern or controlling it, since killing the black mass kills the wyvern. And yet, I can’t find any item descriptions or other lore which refer to them, apart from the Grand Archive key which states that the Archives were closed due to fear of the “spreading pus of man” (according to guides, these enemies’ name).

      • wcq says:

        While I haven’t gotten deep enough into the lore yet to get the full picture, the impression I get is that the “black stuff” is related to the abyss: it’s “the darkness of humanity”, as the description to the Dark Sigil puts it.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Yeah, i thought about those too.
        Maybe the pus of man might very well be just a violent expression of humanity, during the final years of this particular age of fire.

        It looks a lot like the corruption seen in DS1 dlc, which a sort of humanity primordial soup? I also wonder why artorias’ armor is tucked down in firelink shrine. That place is key, and i can’t piece it out.

        • Ketchua says:

          Armour placement makes no sense for the most part, at least to me. You do something and Lautrec’s outfit appears at the Handmaiden’s shop. It’s not even giving her ashes, but killing a certain enemy. What? How?

          Then again, a lot of stuff doesn’t make sense to me, like teleporting without the Lordvessel.

          • zaygr says:

            For Lautrec’s armour set, the trigger to that is finding the Ring of Favour and Protection.

      • Anthile says:

        It’s a subtle theme of the game that is not exactly elaborated upon. Darkness is spreading due to the fading of the fire and chooses humans as hosts. All these pilgrims that look like Yoel have that thing on the back that is supposed to protect against it. The blue cleric robe has it as well. This is likely related to the crucial yet very easy to miss Yuria plotline and imagine the Sable Church will be subject of at least one DLC.

        • Grumpy says:

          My lead is going for the Yuria plotline, but it’s my staple “Grindhouse,” toon, which is a jack of all trades master of none.

          I just completed my first playthrough with my obligatory cheeseburger pyro/mage and did the “Linking the Flame,” ending.

          I’m running through the dark ending now, and hope to finish the third option (mentioned on “Grindhouse,” toon) for last.

          I am totally leaning towards @ Anthile. The darkness really seems to be doing something big, and I would share some of he different dialog that happens on the path to the dark ending I’m working on, but I would rather not spoil it for you guys.

          It kind of has an, “Oh shit…” type vibe of doom. I can’t wait to see it!

          That Yuria plotline is pretty crazy too! That toon of mine is through Anor Londo, so that’s as far as I’ve seen.

          Cheers!

  10. Coffee Ray Gun says:

    When FROM returns to the Soulsborne formula (it’s such a money maker I’d be shocked if they didn’t eventually) I truly hope they branch out. Anything that’s not more swords and sorcery would make me overjoyed.

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    AutonomyLost says:

    I read about half of the article and stopped, as I believe I’m roughly half-way through the game itself and decided that I’d like to embrace the thrill of discovery and not flirt with the possibility of having any more of the game spoiled for me than what’s already been. It’s entirely my fault, as I watched some pre-release Let’s Plays, the trailers, etc. etc. However, I liked what I read.

    Also, I wanted to give a heads-up to anyone who, like myself, has been playing this beautiful game up to this point on a 21:9 monitor and has had to endure the bulky black bars on either side of the screen as a result of From Software being too lazy to include native 21:9 support. Today I employed a fix, and was able to finally play in my monitor’s native resolution of 3440×1440. I was suddenly much more immersed in the dreadfully gorgeous aesthetic of the DSIII world, and I’m incredibly excited to finish out the remainder of what this game has to offer, well into NG+ territory.

    Anyway, here’s a link to the specific page on the forum where I found the fix (again, for 21:9/3440×1440, although there’s plenty of information within if you’re running a different WS resolution) and it’s roughly half-way down the page:

    link to wsgf.org

    I hope this helps out one or two people yearning for the full monty UW experience; it’s very nice indeed.

  12. Fnord73 says:

    In two months time, I have slotted this into my PS4 budget. (Since my PC is weeny laprop I play Total War on mostly). Oh my goodness, looking forward.

  13. jonahcutter says:

    I love the feeling that were wandering through the echoes and memories of all the earlier stories, encounters, creatures and lore. Which isn’t just meta. It works within the established themes of time looping in on itself and multiple universes crossing over.

    It feels more than post apocalyptic. It feels post time. As if we’re at the inevitable heat death of the entire series. Wandering and fighting our way through the remnants in one last bid to tie it all together. One last desperate journey at the very end of time.

    I think it’s a brilliant final act.

  14. Fnord73 says:

    Having said that, I just sat down seriously with Bloodborne. Its taken me three days of serious playing in hourlong bursts to learn the first level. And why do they make the summoning and so on once in a lifetime? I got Summon some Brother Gascoigne and I thought, great, its a help. But it turned out to be a one of summoning. Wich is fair enough, but without any fucking warning whatsoever? Thats cruel on the sloppy side. Hidden mechanics are my main gripe on this franchise. Wtf is bestiality? And when I started DS1, wtf is poise?

  15. kirkkh1 says:

    It’s Sisyphean.

  16. FriendGaru says:

    I finally gave the first Dark Souls a try recently, but had a very hard time getting into it. I really wanted to like it and I can see glimpses of the game that everyone seems to be talking about, but it just hasn’t clicked with me.

    For a game I was told over and over again is “hard, but fair”, I was surprised at how much I hated the controls. The camera feels like it came out of a much darker era. Very often I know exactly where an enemy is, but by the time I actually can put the enemy in view I’m already bleeding profusely. I’ll try to center on the enemy, but since my character doesn’t have line of sight the camera will swing wildly in the opposite direction and I end up staring at bricks while getting devoured.

    When combat gets going, it feels great in the larger, open arenas. However, it’s very frustrating in smaller confines. The character bounding boxes seem to be bigger than the actual models. I’ll try to dodge between an enemy and a wall, and visually there’s more than enough room for my character to fit through, but she ends up snagging the invisible edge of an enemy and futilely rolling up against nothingness. It’s hard to feel like dying in those situations is my own fault.

    It also doesn’t help that dark fantasy just doesn’t really do anything for me. Purely personal preference there. I can feel some of the game’s allure, and it is undeniable compulsive, but I end up frustrated with the game rather than with my own abilities.

    • Premium User Badge

      Alfy says:

      You know you can lock on an enemy if you are close enough, right? Although the same button will swing the camera in the direction your character is facing if no enemies are in your field of vision, which can screw you at times. But in those cases, and in doubt… Roll!!

  17. Premium User Badge

    Alfy says:

    The one think Miyazaki IS married to, it seems, is depressingly adolescent dark settings. I know you can find kind of humorous touches here and there, but overall, the darkness is layed on so thickly, it loses too much of its power.
    Give the same difficulty, but true heroism, a princess/prince I can actually save (and that does not look like an undead monstrosity), a world that looks beautiful but is not doomed. And you know what? I think that would actually count as an “easy mode” for the souls series. Having to endure so much to achieve so little has always been part of the hurdle for me.

  18. Freud says:

    While there would be some fatigue if they made DS4 I think people would still enjoy it since it’s the core gameplay mechanics and the world building that makes the game fantastic.

    While a new setting would be fun, I think these games have to center around melee because so much of the fun is based around avoiding attacks and learning patterns. It’s really hard to make it work well with guns. That’s one of the reasons From has never made magic or bows overpowered in these games.

  19. pillot says:

    those endings suck though, like if this is meant to be the last one i was looking for something that would really wrap things up or be just a little more substantive, rather than a 5 second scene.

  20. PancakeWizard says:

    So does everyone just refer to everything as ‘Dark Souls’ now or do we pretend Demons’ Souls never existed?

  21. Premium User Badge

    AutonomyLost says:

    POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

    I just defeated The Dancer, finally (such beautifully arhythmic patterns), and discovered a seemingly end-game path… I’m tempted to explore, but I know it’s above my pay-, er, souls-grade at the moment. I’ll be heading back to The Boreal Valley and diving deeper into it next time I boot up the game. I am loving this adventure.

  22. ShinySpoons says:

    From the first few hrs with the game I too felt the sense this was the finale. The last souls game to tie them all together.

    It’s like the new star wars. They brought all the old tropes back so they could finally reset and try something new.

  23. skabb155 says:

    “‘tis fitting for a game that relished making fools of us all.” 1) you really missed the point of all the dying and 2) just because you are a fool doesnt mean the rest of us are.
    The difficulty was to slap you in the face, it was to make you “git gud”. What you are saying is like saying that the coach pitches to you in practice to make fun of you when you miss.

    • skabb155 says:

      *The difficulty WASNT to slap you in the face, it was to make you “git gud”

      Jeez RPS, get an edit button….