Dark Souls 3: Deluxe Edition – £10.19 @ Humble Bundle
Dark Souls III is an action role-playing game played in a third-person perspective, similar to previous games in the series. According to lead director and series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game’s gameplay design followed “closely from Dark Souls II“. Players are equipped with a variety of weapons to fight against enemies, such as bows, throwable projectiles, and swords. Shields can act as secondary weapons but they are mainly used to deflect enemies’ attacks and protect the player from suffering damage. Each weapon has two basic types of attack, one being a standard attack, and the other being slightly more powerful that can be charged up, similar to FromSoftware’s previous game, Bloodborne. In addition, attacks can be evaded through dodge-rolling. Bonfires, which serve as checkpoints, return from previous installments. Ashes, according to Miyazaki, play an important role in the game.
Magic is featured in the game, with a returning magic system from Demon’s Souls, now known as “focus points” (FP). When performing spells, the player’s focus points are consumed. There are two separate types of Estus Flasks in the game, which can be allotted to fit a players’ particular play style. One of them refills hit points like previous games in the series, while another refills focus points, a feature new to the game. Combat and movements were made faster and more fluid than Dark Souls II; as several player movements are performed more rapidly, allowing more damage to be done in a shorter period of time.
Throughout the game, players encounter different types of enemies, each with different behaviors. Some of them change their combat pattern during battles. New combat features are introduced in Dark Souls III, including weapon and shield “Skills”, which are special abilities that vary from weapon to weapon that enable unique attacks and features at the cost of focus points. The game places more focus on role-playing; the expanded character builder and improved weapons provide the player with more tactical options. The game features fewer overall maps than its predecessor Dark Souls II, but they are larger and more detailed, which encourages exploration. The adaptability stat from Dark Souls II was removed in Dark Souls III, with other stats being adjusted. The game features multiplayer elements like the previous games in the series.
PlotSet in the Kingdom of Lothric, a bell has rung to signal that the First Flame, responsible for maintaining the Age of Fire, is dying out. As has happened many times before, the coming of the Age of Dark produces the undead: cursed beings that rise up after death. The Age of Fire can be prolonged with the linking of the fire, a ritual in which great lords and heroes sacrifice their souls to rekindle the First Flame. However, Prince Lothric, the chosen linker for this age, has abandoned his duty and instead chooses to watch the flame die from afar. The bell is the last hope for the Age of Fire, resurrecting previous Lords of Cinder (heroes who linked the flame in past ages) to attempt to link the fire again; however, all but one Lord shirk their duty. Meanwhile, a sorcerer from the painted world, Sulyvahn, wrongfully proclaims himself Pontiff and rules over Irithyll of the Boreal Valley and the returning cathedral from Dark Souls, Anor Londo as a tyrant.
The Ashen One, an Undead who failed to become a Lord of Cinder and thus called an Unkindled, rises and must link the fire by returning Prince Lothric and the defiant Lords of Cinder to their thrones in Firelink Shrine. The Lords include the Abyss Watchers, a legion of warriors, sworn by the Old wolf’s blood which linked their souls into one, to protect the land from the Abyss, and were ultimately locked in an endless battle between each other; Yhorm the Giant, who was once a conqueror of the very people for whom he then sacrificed his life; and Aldrich, who became a Lord of Cinder despite his ravenous appetite for both men and gods. Lothric himself was raised in order to link the First Flame, but rejected his destiny and chose to watch the fire fade.
Once the Ashen One succeeds in returning Lothric and the Lords of Cinder to their thrones, they travel to the ruins of the Kiln of the First Flame. There, they encounter the Soul of Cinder, an amalgamation of all the previous Lords of Cinder who had linked the flame in the past. Once the Soul of Cinder is defeated, four endings are made possible based on the player’s actions during the game. The player can attempt to link the fire, summon the Fire Keeper to extinguish the flame and begin an age of Dark, or kill her. A fourth ending consists of the Ashen One taking the flame for their own and becoming the Dark Lord of Londor.