Unless you've been hiding under a rock lizard for the past several months, you'll know the wonderfully twisted and challenging action role-player Dark Souls returned to our PC telly boxes earlier this year. With series director Hidetaka Miyazaki reinstated at the (knight) helm, the third installment isn't necessarily the best but is probably the most realised, and like its forerunners - and console cousins Demon's Souls and Bloodborne - it'll swallow you whole if you don't know how to handle it. And even when/if you do it rarely shows mercy.
Out next week, Ashes of the Ariandel marks Dark Souls 3 [official site]'s first of two proposed DLCs before the series is laid to rest, which seems like a good time to explore the mods which might, just might, make reading the words YOU DIED over and over and over again that little bit easier to stomach. If not, they should at least help you have fun doing so. Git gud or die trying.
How to install Dark Souls 3 mods
Like many of other games we've covered here before, Dark Souls 3 doesn't have Steam Workshop support - thus its mods are housed within the game's corner of Nexus Mods. These can be installed manually - details of which are almost always noted on each respective mod's page - or via the Nexus Mod Manager. Personally, I prefer the latter as it not only keeps things tidy, but also handles updates automatically. This is purely personal preference, though, so please do whatever you're most comfortable with.
NB - It's also worth nothing some of the mods featured here are best suited to offline play, due to the fact they may offer an unfair advantage online. To avoid being soft banned, do check for disclaimers/warnings on each mod's page prior to installation.
If you're reading this list, I assume you've played at least one Dark Souls game before now. Which means, on the off-chance you didn't believe my habitual expiration-related predication above, you're well aware just how much death Dark Souls involves. As such, success requires perseverance in spades, and new areas and seemingly impossible bosses often demand long spells of grind, determination and luck.
Unless you can't be arsed with all that. And that's where mouthmilk's Infinite Possibilities comes in, by offering players three unique characters already tooled up, kitted out and ready to rumble. Each set has bespoke weaponry, magic and armour ensembles and is dropped into Lothric at specific times in the game when specific events have occurred and enemies felled.
The Ashen One profile, for example, boasts all weapons besides boss weapons; all boss souls; all armor sets; all pyromancies besides boss pyromancies; all spells besides boss spells; all miracles besides boss miracles; all bonfires unlocked; and a wad of gems and upgrade items. If you're pressed for time or perhaps find NG+ too much of a challenge/headache, this mod's the one for you.
Ah, poise in Dark Souls 3 - such a small change that's caused such a big rammy. To be honest, the poise statistic isn't something that bothers me all that much, but I do understand why it's caused such a furore - especially if PvP is your thing.
To recap: in past games, poise values were tied to both armour and shields and offset the chances of players being staggered. In Dark Souls 3, however, poise is, in essence, an invisible stat that has very little effect - even if you're kitted out in the most powerful clobber. Upon the game's release, some players thought the adjustments were the result of a bug, until From Software confirmed otherwise, and while poise is set to become "more effective for heavier weapons and armor" in the incoming DLC, some folks just like it the way it was.
Like the intuitive person that created the Dark Souls 3 Poise mod, which, as you've probably guessed by now, reintroduces the poise stat as it were in the series' prior games.
"A small cheat engine script to turn on the classic Poise system," reads a disclaimer on the mod's page. "Using it offline is recommended. Don't use it while online or you may get softbanned." Judging how passionately certain facets of the playerbase feel about poise, I bet that's a risk some people are will to take.
By Zullie the Witch
HEATHEN! cries the bloodthirsty third-person action role-playing faithful. BUT LISTEN, I reply, DARK SOULS LOOKS REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD IN FIRST-PERSON VIEW.
Which, if you've spied the image above, is a statement I'm sure you totally agree with. Replicating the first-person perspective otherwise facilitated by bows, crossbows and binoculars, Zullie the Witch's First Person Cam transforms Dark Souls 3 into a wonderfully different game entirely. Minus a wider overview, it makes the game increasingly difficult and while I've seen the odd commentator compare this mod's visual overhaul to the likes of Skyrim, I think that's doing it a disservice. The next Elder Scrolls really would do well to recreate what's on show here.
Customisation options include being able to tinker with:
- Left/Right Offset
- Up/Down Offset
- Cam Center Location Offset
- Cam Lens Distance Offset
- Rotation Angle Min/Max
- Rotation Speed X/Y
- Field of View
And here it is in practice:
It should be noted that as a cheat engine script, this mod is best used offline.
By Zullie the Witch
Another from Zullie which ups the ante, and then some. Remember your first trip to Anor Londo in the original Dark Souls? Remember those bastard Greatbow Archer Knights with the incomprehensible aggro detection ranges that, assuming you arrived without the Ring of Fog, would fire at will from a stupendous distance causing you to launch your control pad against the wall more times that you care to admit? I know I'm not alone here. Well that's pretty much what to expect from the Aggression mod.
"The Aggression Mod is a Cheat Engine script that increases the distance from which enemies become aware of the player, the range from which they will run to attack the player, and how far from their spawn point they will go when chasing the player," is how Zullie puts it with decidedly less contempt than I.
On top of that, the mod has a neat special effect modifier that, by default, gives enemies glowing red eyes. You can of course choose to disable it if you like, but it's pretty cool and served as a handy beacon-cum-target for me to expend my displaced Anor Londo archer rage upon. A second modifier can be applied which simulates the Obscuring Ring - where enemies only become visible within melee range. Good luck with that.
Okay, so perhaps that last one pushed you a little too hard and you'd like to roll things back a little. I get it - Dark Souls can be brutal, my recently deceased hand-to-wall control pads are testament to that very fact. So what if we added an undo button of sorts? Something that rewound every bout of misadventure or autosaved your progress lending less significance to trivial mishaps between bonfires.
Save Game Backup Tool is "a program that creates backups of save games of Dark Souls 3 every 15 minutes (can be customized between 1 minute to 59 minutes using the Time Interval setting)," explains mod creator svaalbard. Better still, there's no limit to how many saved are backed up, although you'll want to manually delete your old 'uns as you go to free up space for new ones.
I can't believe I'm saying this but having spent an hour or so with this mod, it's perhaps makes things a little too easy. Think of this as the complete polar opposite of Zullie's aforementioned Aggression Mod, though, which makes actually lets you more freely explore DS3's world without worry of being savagely slaughtered along the way.
By Obanon, Axcalay and S17L respectively
Dark Souls 3 is easily the best looking game of the series (and gives Bloodborne a run for its money), however when there are mods, there will always be reshaders and other such ways to tinker with a game's aesthetic. Incandescent Reshade is probably the best available for DS3, as it removes some of the grey and washed out colours from the original game. It doesn't saturate or add any unnecessary effects, though, which means torchlight, candles and reflections appear more vibrant and emit more light; while tombs, shadows and areas set after dark appear, well, darker. Choose between the mod's Incandescent and Lite variations as you desire.
50 Cell-Shades of Dark Souls errs in the opposite direction by transforming Lothric into a Dragon Quest-inspired world of vivid watercolours. Similar to First Person Cam above, this mod makes Dark Souls 3 feel like an entirely different game - one which really must be experienced to understand its potential.
Lastly, iGP11 lets you "dump and replace textures used by the game". Which has led to some modders to replace the game's textures with faces of Nic Cage, Shrek and, um, crabs. Observe:
By mauskal, Niarlatoteph/LAGM4N and EvilDeadAsh34 respectively
Some more eye candy to round things up. While there are plenty of DS3 mods out there that tweak, improve or shoe horn players' favourite weapons into the game - Restored Lothric Armour, Por Artorias Shield and Dragonslayer Greatsword are my favourites.
From front to back, the Dragonslayer is a retexture of the game's titular sword that enables it to look like Guts' variation from the Berserk series. It comes in four different styles - "Bumpy Black Center Blade, Flat Black Center Blade, Bumpy Black Center Blade with Flat Hilt/Guard,
Flat Black Center Blade with Flat Hilt/Guard" - each of which is as cool as the last.
The Por Artorias Shield comes to Dark Souls 3 courtesy of Niarlatoteph who's borrowed textures from LAGM4N's work in the original Dark Souls. With permission, this has brought one of the coolest-looking shields in the series to Lothric and I for one am very pleased with that.
Restored Lothric Knight Armour is as superficial as they come, but is lovely nevertheless. Due its well-worn appearance in Dark Souls 3, this mod cleans, polishes and removes rust from the esteemed Lothric Knight Armour, making it instantly more presentable. The mod even replaces the cape for dazzling undead decimating results.
Play as a NPC
Play as NPCs from DS, DS2, DS3 and even Demon's Souls and Bloodborne.
No More Patchy Beards
One for all the beardies out there who're sick of misrepresentative facial thatch.
DS 3 Items Checklist
So simple yet so welcomed. "I was struggling to keep track of all the items I found in Dark Soul 3," says creator Braduzz619. "So I had a quick search for a checklist online, but found nothing that was helpful so I decided to make my own list in excel." Thanks mate!
So, do you reckon these mods will help you git gud? Either way, I bet you die an awful lot trying. If we've missed any of your favourites, please do list them in the comments below. If I've not then, well, Praise the Sun! (Come on, we couldn't get to the end of a Dark Souls list without this and you know it.)