Spoilers for bosses and the story of the game!
On March 24, 2016, Japanese company From Software released Dark Souls 3, and more than two years after the release, I came across the game. After playing through the game six times, and am currently on my seventh, I can confirm that Dark Souls 3 is my favorite video game of all time.
The story of Dark Souls 3 has your character, know as the “Ashen One”, defeat 4 Lords of Cinder. In Dark Souls, there is a time of prosperity for humanity known as the Age of Fire. In order to continue the Age of Fire, one must sacrifice their soul and link the flame. The person who is set to sacrifice their soul is Prince Lothric, however he refuses to do so. In order to try to re-link the flame, 3 Lords of Cinder, those who linked the flame in the past, are resurrected to do it again. However, they refuse and leave to their respective lands, the Abyss Watchers to Farron Keep, Yhorm the Giant to the Profaned Capital, and Aldrich to Anor Londo. As an Ashen One, you tried to link the flame in the past but failed, and now it is your job to defeat the 3 resurrected Lords of Cinder and Lothric in order to keep the flame of humanity alive. However, in the Dark Souls franchise, story has always been secondary to the amazing gameplay.
The franchise has been heralded as one of the most difficult modern game series, and Dark Souls 3 is no different. The placement of enemies with a lot of health and large damage potential mixed with the level design makes this one of the hardest games I have ever played. But the game is also fair. Enemies telegraph their attacks in advance, giving you ample time to roll out of the way. Every death feels like your fault, and that is a good thing. It helps you learn from your mistakes so you will be able to overcome the challenge when you reach that point again. And that is, in my opinion, the best part of the Dark Souls franchise. The feeling that you get when you overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. However, for me, the areas are often just small steps until you get to my favorite part of Dark Souls 3, the bosses.
At the end of every area, you fight a boss. These bosses range from a sentient set of armor, to the son of a god riding a dragon. Every one of the bosses have their own special style and way to fight them. These bosses all have their own form of challenge, although some more than others. Take the Ancient Wyvern, the boss of the Archdragon Peak. All you have to do is rush up to a high point and perform an attack in the air to hit its head, taking it down in one shot. While it may seem like an interesting concept, it is not executed well and is incredibly easy. This is the same with two other bosses, the Deacons of the Deep and High Lord Wolnir. Both of these are puzzle-like bosses, rather than an actual boss. But other than those three bosses, every single other one is a joy to fight against. My personal favorite is Slave Knight Gael as the end boss of the Ringed City. The boss is incredibly fun to fight against, dodging flashy combos and strong lightning strike attacks, while counterattacking when there are windows for you to do so. Not to mention the amazing music which makes the boss fight incredibly epic and always something I look forward to whenever I replay the game.
The Dark Souls franchise is also known for its music, and Dark Souls 3 definitely has some of the best in the series. As said before, the music during the Slave Knight Gael fight is incredible. My personal favorite piece of music is the music of the final boss, Soul of Cinder. The first phase helps build up hype for a challenging fight with different forms of attack. But after you deplete the boss’s health bar, it powers up for a second phase, and this is when the music goes from good to absolutely perfect. Gwyn’s theme from Dark Souls 1 starts playing, and the somber piano notes will always send a chill down my spine. And while the music is calming, the fight gets harder and harder. The callback to Dark Souls 1 is amazing and fitting as Dark Souls 3 is the final entry of the series.
Overall, Dark Souls 3 will forever go down as my favorite video game of all time for its amazing gameplay and bossess, beautiful music, and engaging and interesting story. I am very excited to see what From Software’s new game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has in store when it releases March 22 of this year.
Picture Credit: https://www.redbull.com/us-en/dark-souls-3-10-tips-for-not-dying