Dark Souls 3: Three Months Later

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Dark Souls 3 came out months ago, then I played it, ending up loving it, and hated it at the same time. Oh, yeah, I want more. DLC when?

I’m not sure if this is a review, but I will write down what I experienced so far. I’m not gonna tell you the lore, characters, etc. because that’s for you to experience. So anyway, it’s been months now, so I think I know the ins and outs of the game and gave it a proper final thought.

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I never played Bloodborne, nor I ever will (no PS4, I can’t afford it, poorfag 3rd-worlder, <insert excuses here>), but after seeing screenshots and gameplay footage of the game, Dark Souls 3 has that same atmosphere and graphical fidelity thanks to the Bloodborne engine it uses.

While the game looks good, it comes with a price: Higher hardware requirements. Even with my set up (i5 2500K, 8 GB RAM, Sapphire R9 280X Toxic), game struggles to reach constant 60 FPS, and there were lots of performance hiccups on day one. I’ve been hearing that the game runs smoothly on a GTX 970 set up, so it’s probably my graphics card being under-powered.

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Once you adjusted the graphics settings and or you already have a good video card, Dark Souls 3 looks absolutely great with grand vistas of castles, very detailed areas like it felt each square foot were hand crafted with care. Though there are some missing textures here and there, the over all areas are littered with many small details. In fact, you can efficiently hide in these worlds using a spell like Chameleon because there are so many nook and cranny that an Invader would have to literally break hundreds of things just to find you. Go back and look at DaS2 and then look at DaS3: The visuals, area density and details are like night and day.

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Combat is a mix of old and a bit of new. When you play it, the game feels like you’re playing Dark Souls 1 with sped up animation and more forgiving recovery times. When you played Dark Souls 2 right before the game came out, combat is generally easy and that’s sometimes a bad thing.

Dark Souls 2 has introduced new mechanics like powerstancing (wield two weapons at the same time), hyperarmor, slower attack animation when your stamina is nearing depletion, can’t run while you recover after draining your stamina, poison is a threat, high stamina drain when rolling, can be invaded even when hollowed and already beaten the area boss, parry when two handing, etc. These mechanics made Dark Souls 2 initially hard, but once you got used it, the gameplay is satisfying. These made the game unique to Dark Souls 1.

In Dark Souls 3, the combat is still satisfying but the majority mechanics of DaS2 went missing. You can’t efficiently use any weapon when they’re equipped in your off hand like in DaS1: pressing LB with a weapon will initiate a block, and LT will perform light attacks. This can be a problem because your character’s left side is a blind spot and can be exploited by a smart invader.

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Now there are weapons that allow you to effective dual-wield, but the selections are severely limited. You can no longer dual wield ultra greatswords and great hammers any more.

The biggest addition to the combat is the weapon arts. When you two hand a weapon and press LT, you can perform unique moves that lets you perform powerful attacks ranging from parrying, guard breaking, giving you poise, to devastating moves. You can’t use weapon arts constantly because each move costs FP or Focus Points. Yes, Dark Souls 3 has a mana system for spells and special moves now.

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PvP is sorta okay, but it feels like the combat is not so varied compared to Dark Souls 2. In my experience, hyperarmor (avoid getting staggered when performing an attack) is the deciding factor. Even if you have heavy armor, you can get staggered in one hit and if you’re brave enough, you can tank a hit and combo your opponent thanks to hyper armor.

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I spent a great deal PvP’ing in NG+3 and I ended up fending off invaders without dying much. Here’s what I do: I two-hand a greatsword and attack the opponent while he’s mid-swing. Due to hyperarmor, I won’t stagger and can land two or three hits. I do take damage in the process, but if you take advantage, your opponents will have less options to counter.

But don’t be greedy though because while you can stun lock an opponent, they can roll away or reaction after the 2nd swing. Smart players use this short window to parry and punish you. Thankfully you can’t parry most weapon arts and a jump attack gets them every time.

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The biggest flaw of the game is the forced meta by the community. You are forced to limit yourself to level 80-120 because majority of the players do this for “balanced” PvP. Sure you can ignore the forced level limit and level up without a care in the world, but it severely limits your ability to level up some covenants.

On my first playthrough, I usually level up as much as I can so I can try out different spells and builds. Once I’m over level 150, getting the rewards from covenants like the Darkmoon and Farron Watchers is next to impossible because you can no longer invade people since majority of them are following the meta level cap. What’s worse is the Darkmoon covenant doesn’t give you a blue orb to invade people, and just like the Farron Watchers (forest warriors in DaS1), you wait for someone from the Way of the Blue covenant who needs help.

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You can still rank up but the method of doing it is very time consuming. Certain enemies can drop covenant items, but the drop rate is very low even if you kit your character with gear that increase item discovery. It took me forever to get 30 Proof of a Concord Kept just to get the Darkmoon Blade.

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Overall Dark Souls 3 is a great game that kept me playing three months later. It’s the sense of progression, the level design and combat that kept me coming back for more. It’s a flawed game with lots of problems no doubt, but in the grand scheme of things, they’re just blemishes to an already solid game. That’s what I think at least.

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Meet my character Aoi x SHiN. It’s not the most creative name in the world, but hey, her name is Aoi with my name beside her. :3

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Here’s my Fashion Souls

Head: Lucatiel’s Mask
Body: Black Hand Armor
Arms: Faraam Gauntlets
Legs: Black Knight Leggings
Primary Weapon: Hollowslayer Greatsword
Off-hand: Sunset Shield
Off-hand: Avelyn
Off-hand: Yorshka’s Chime

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