Dark Souls III

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JaySevenZero
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Dark Souls III

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 12:58 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of Dark Souls III for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Senorb123
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Re: 361: Dark Souls III

Post by Senorb123 » January 25th, 2019, 7:54 pm

I never beat the original Dark Souls it was too hard and I was discouraged and unable to "git gud". However having nearly spent 250 plus hours on Dark Souls 2 I was very excited for Dark Souls 3. I had preordered the game and picked it up the day of release and was not disappointed.

Dark Souls 1 felt merciless to me and Dark Souls 2 felt like it was on easy mode. Dark Souls 3 felt like the perfect mix of the two. I loved the mix of fast traveling to locations yet still having to find shortcuts throughout the game. The controls were outstanding. Responsive and tight. I felt like there was no delay between my button presses and the actions on screen. Going back to DS 2 after DS3 felt like my character was slogging through mud.

The game was beautiful and the soundtrack was amazing. Part of my preorder included the soundtrack and I actually listened to it from time to time which was a 1st for me.

As a fan of the series I was absolutely satisfied with the game. I still go back and just wander around this beautifully crafted game and its something I imagine I will go back to time and time again.

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Re: 361: Dark Souls III

Post by Alex79uk » January 26th, 2019, 8:28 am

As a huge fan of the previous Souls games, why it took me quite so long to get to this one, I don't know. But it was worth the wait. Almost a greatest hits of Dark Souls, and seemingly having taken at least some inspiration from Bloodborne, I loved the game from start to finish. Easily the most forgiving of the series, a lot of the bosses were beaten solo first time, but the challenge was there towards its final third. It looked stunning, some brilliant level and enemy design, and I liked the way it slightly overlapped with the first game. Another genuine classic from From Software, and I'm on board for whatever they do in the future, they've not let me down yet.

THREE WORD REVIEW: Technically series best.

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Re: 361: Dark Souls III

Post by MarkHoog » January 27th, 2019, 2:55 pm

I’ll try to keep this short, but DS3 is a special one to me…

After avoiding the Souls-franchise for years, I finally gave the first Dark Souls a spin in the winter of 2016 – and was immediately hooked. After having completed the second game a few months later, my girlfriend gifted me the third game. A seal of approval of sorts; it meant it was okay for me to lose myself in these games. And swear at them. And punch my desk.

The next few weeks I devoured Dark Souls 3 twice in a row, loving every minute of it - well, the swamp bit not so much, but okay. My fondest memory involves an entire day spent exploring Archdragon Peak bit by bit, knowing the much maligned Nameless King was somewhere waiting for me. (I felt like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, slowly making his way towards Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz). And when I finally made it to the boss’ misty arena, trembling and heart pounding, I defeated him at my third attempt.

I wouldn’t touch DS3 again until december of that year, which is when my relationship ended. While mourning someone who hadn’t died, I spent the remaining weeks of the year with the two DLC’s and another playthrough, grinding and levelling up for the sheer heck of it. Looking back, I treated DS3 as both a coping mechanism and some sort of mindfulness exercise, while at the same time acknowledging it as being the last remaining thread of my relationship. It had been her gift, after all.

Which is why, a few depressing months later, I decided to 100% the game and be done with it (rising it, if you will). This meant replaying half of the game for certain spells and gestures, as well as the endless farming of ultra rare covenant items. I must’ve spent dozens of hours just fighting the same three or four enemies. But finally, when the final achievement popped up, exactly one year after finishing my first playthrough of Dark Souls 3, I felt I had slain the one demon that wasn’t in the game. I had overcome my ‘dark night of the soul’, ironically through getting an achievement called ‘the Dark Soul’.

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Re: 361: Dark Souls III

Post by The Baboon Baron » February 15th, 2019, 11:28 am

Hard to follow @MarkHoog, that’s for sure! Amazing post mate.

By the time DS3 rolled around, some of us were well versed in what we would be getting ourselves in for. There’s an irony that the DS universe, one of birth, decay and rebirth, was being aped and copied quite liberally by the time of the 3rd iteration, with each copy slightly hollower than the last.

The influence of From software's "other" hack em up-Bloodborne- was clear from the start, as was the additional time and money that this new era of soul’s games had at their disposal. The frame rate, draw distance, detail and character animations all a marked improvement on the PS3/360 iterations that predated DS3, as was the hype surrounding it. It was time to “prepare to die” again and we were all going to have to “get gud” for one more roll of the dice.

And what’s there to say? Its amazing. The story is opaque, the combat violent, the settings luscious, the characters vague and the achievements unattainable. DS3 seems somehow brighter than the previous entries, with horizons that stretch out for miles, but it retains its gothic and cruel setting of the previous entries. Under torture I couldn’t tell you the plot, but just like the previous souls games I felt wrapped in a whole other world by its drip fed details.

Its quicker than its predecessors- something that was made clear when the DS1-remaster followed it. Re-playing the first installment so soon after the 3rd made the evolution of the series that much clearer. However, whilst 1 and 3 work well together, and the call backs an excellent piece of fan service, I felt the 3rd game lacked some of the imagination that the first had. The bosses were less “OH GOD WHAT IS THAT!?!” and more “oh cool, you hit that bit, sweet” not to take away from what it achieves, its still a wonderfully imaginative game.

It’s a fitting end to a wonderful trilogy. A trio of games that will be played and re-played with love and devotion for years to come. Perhaps as we ashen ones face the Age of Dark when there are no more souls’ games, we can still rest by the bonfire and tell tales of the times we spent in Lothric. Or some such Gothic boll*cks.

3WR- Bell still rings

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Re: 361: Dark Souls III

Post by Lokhe » March 9th, 2019, 11:03 am

I replayed this 7 times in a row when it came out. ’Nuff said.

Also, first time I emerged from the catacombs into the Boreal Valley.... just, woooooooow.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (16.3.19) - 361: Dark Souls III

Post by HMSPolio » March 11th, 2019, 6:35 pm

Dark Souls 3 was the game that proved to me that From were making the right decision in putting the series to bed.

DS3 is a wonderful game in so many ways, with the art design and animation being a particular highlight (and the skyboxes! Oh the skyboxes!)

But whilst I'd never charge From with laziness or phoning anything in, it definitely felt like they'd reached a terminus with the constraints of the Dark Souls world.

A lot of the areas feel like retreads of past decisions: the poison area, the castle, the catacombs, without the strange ways in which DS tried to shake those areas up (see the back half of DS1, which tried to bring unique mechanics to each of its areas, if not always successfully).

I think it's just over-familiarity, but DS3 never felt as weird as it's predecessors. The NPCs referenced, or were outright copies of, previous NPCs, without the melancholy and pathos of those characters. It also felt, to me, that it pandered to the worst parts of what people like about these games. Namely, 'Dark Souls is all about difficulty'. It seemed to rely on more enemies doing more hits for more damage, to the detriment of trying to do anything more interesting.

DS3, for better and worse, is a game made for fans of the series, and showed that From needed to put the series to bed to move onwards and upwards.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (16.3.19) - 361: Dark Souls III

Post by Tbone254 » March 15th, 2019, 1:55 am

One day while trying to gather some vertebra shackles for the Mound Makers covenant, I placed my summon sign down in Irithyll on a small ledge outside the door after the Pontiff Sulyvahn boss fight. I was summoned quickly and I ran back to the ledge at the beginning of the area to find the person who summoned me, and as I approached I was met by a red phantom. I readied my sword and shield and began advancing forward for the fight. To my confusion, the red phantom waved, turned and ran back to the ledge. As I sprinted up after him, I saw the person who summoned me, standing at the ledge with his back toward both of us. But as the red phantom approached my summoner, again to my further confusion, instead of attacking him, he ran up next to him and sat on the ledge with the toast emote. The person who summoned me, turned to me, waved and then turned back towards the edge of the ledge. As I continued forward, I could see that there were two more phantoms fighting in a circular area just beneath the ledge. I walked up next to the other two on the ledge and we all sat there and watched the two phantoms fight until one became victorious over the other. While the defeated phantom faded from view, the victor took a swig from his estus flask and looked up at us. The red phantom that greeted me when I was first summoned, stood up and jumped down from the ledge. They both bowed and began their duel. I realized I had come across a Dark Souls fight club. It was a pretty incredible thing to see. People would get summoned, wait their turn and then fight, with the winner staying until he was defeated. It was like the UFC of Dark Souls and it really showcased the diversity of Dark Souls 3’s weapons, magic, and armour systems. I spent countless hours trying out strange new builds to see how I would stack up in the fight club.

While I had plenty of fun hopping into the Irithyll fight clubs, it had the unfortunate side effect of revealing the the shortcomings of its combat system. Mainly that it was too fast. I’m not extensively knowledged in the more subtle mechanics of the combat, but I think some of the problems are related to the scalings of the armour and weapons. Mainly with heavy weapons and armour. This really translated over into the multiplayer, where dodge rolling is king. The game is still playable while using the heavier elements. However, with a game known for its difficulty, intentionally not following the path of least resistance can be hard.

There were a few other things that bothered me about this entry. I miss the weapon degradation system from Dark Souls 2, and I was bit upset that they removed the Darkmoon invasions. I miss being a spirit of vengeance, dealing out divine justice to those that had sinned against others.

Even with its few faults Dark Souls 3 has a lot of things to love. I really enjoyed my time with it and think it is a wonderful send off for the series. It’s a gorgeous game, loaded with atmosphere and filled to the brim with fan service. I am sad to see the series come to an end, but I can definitely see that it was time for it to end. And after having gone over Dark Souls 3 again and seeing how much the Souls formula has been repeated, I am even more hyped for whatever changes FromSoftware has in store with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

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Re: Our next podcast recording (16.3.19) - 361: Dark Souls III

Post by paleAvenger » March 15th, 2019, 11:09 pm

The first two Dark Souls games quickly became some of my all-time favorites when they provided an outlet during graduate school. So when my then-girlfriend, now wife, surprised me with an Xbox One for my birthday, Dark Souls 3 was the first game I bought.

At it's best, the game is absolutely beautiful, and I don't think I'll ever get over seeing the burning eclipse in a blood-red sky over Lothric Castle's soaring architecture. I loved the breadth of weapons and armor available to find, and I also found the enemies to be some of the most interesting in the series. Fighting everything from disgusting grub monsters to cruel jailers to beast-like frozen knights was exhilarating. And the music, when it plays, makes you feel like a proper legend.

The story has some incredible discrete elements, but I don't think it's as cohesive as the first Dark Souls. There are also some gameplay issues that frustrated me throughout my adventures. Enemies don't seem to fight as fair as they did in prior entries, and FromSoft's changes to the poise system make heavy armor a less viable toolset.

Still: it's more Dark Souls, looking and sounding better than ever before. That's hard to beat!

3 word review: Ash seeketh OCELOOOTTTTE!

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Re: Our next podcast recording (16.3.19) - 361: Dark Souls III

Post by Nupraptor » March 16th, 2019, 9:41 am

I spent more time on this game and enjoyed it more than any other game released in 2016, but I have surprisingly little to say about it as an individual game.
The Souls games (plus Bloodborne) offer a gaming experience that no one other than From have really been able to replicate.
The first time I played through Dark Souls in 2011/2012, I was stunned and desperate to find a similar game to give me that same "fix". It seemed such a simple formula. Surely there were other games that offered a similar experience?
I wasn't alone. There were numerous discussions and articles on "Looking for a game like Dark Souls? Try these!" None of the suggestions came close. I eventually had to buy a PS3 to get my fix from Demon's Souls. And it was the SAME fix.
And now we have Dark Souls 2 and 3 as well. For me, the differences in the overall experience of playing all these games is small. The overall core gameplay and story-telling experience is the same in Demons Souls and Dark Souls 1, 2 and 3. And I love it.

If From released Dark Souls 4 tomorrow, featuring the same mechanics and another menagerie of scuttling abominations and corrupted knights to pit myself against, I would buy it in a heartbeat. I would probably spend another 100 hours of my life, swigging estus, listening to people finishing every sentence with a sinister chuckle and failing to get NPCs through their quest lines.
But it would be the same experience as I have had before.

I like Dark Souls 3. I like Dark Souls 3 a lot, but my enjoyment of it and my affection for it, is as part of the Souls "franchise" as a whole rather than as an individual entry. If From give me more of the same, then I am delighted, but I am also excited to see how they mix things up in the future.

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Re: Dark Souls III

Post by Scrustle » March 27th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Just listened to the podcast episode and had some thoughts. Never quite sure of the right place to post this kind of thing following the Patreon release. Don’t really want to wait a week for the official episode thread, and the game threads tend to be more active too.

This is another one where I wanted to contribute but ended up not getting around to. This one in particular I felt like maybe I could give a bit of a different perspective as this is pretty much the only From game I’ve really properly got in to and enjoyed, but I did really love it. So while I did have a familiarity with Dark Souls 1 going in, I’m not in the same boat as this being yet another entry in a series I’ve been neck-deep in for years before it came out. And also how since playing over 200 hours of this game, I still can’t get much enjoyment out of DS1 or even Bloodborne in comparison.

But you guys still said pretty much all the things I would have said anyway, which I was somewhat surprised with. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m not on the same wavelength as a lot of other people when it comes to games, and while that’s generally unrelated to this game specifically, I was expecting this episode to be echoing that sort of feeling. To be saying how this game is well-crafted and everything, but uninspired, etc. But I’m glad you guys still gave it credit and it can still have an impact to people who are veterans of the series. Because I think it deserves it. A lot of the time I think people do tend to ignore a lot of how much this game improved over previous ones, just because it’s the third one doing a lot of the same things again. So I was particularly glad to hear recognition that this game does have the best feeling combat of the series, which is something that makes it stand out so far above the others for me. Or DS1 at least. Not that I don’t see where some of the criticisms are coming from. This game is clearly very derivative of the previous games, and is leaning hard on them. But it still felt pretty fresh to me, especially when it came to combat. And in a way, I think the game actually makes good use of that “tired” feeling. The game is sort of about that. It’s weaved in to the themes of the game and they make a really good point about how repeating things over and over, trying to recreate past glory ends up eroding things away and burning them up in to ash. They managed to turn around something that should have been a drag for the series in to a form of artistic drive and energy that is uniquely suited for this series.

On the topic of how much it calls back to previous games, I can see how that can come across as a bit cheap and unimaginative, but I didn’t have much of a problem with it. I think my experience with the series might have actually helped that a bit. Having played about half of the first game, and watching a bunch of videos about the whole series, I had knowledge of the stuff that DS3 was calling back to, but not a lot of first-hand experience. So that gave it this sense of having an extra layer of distance to me. I knew what it was pointing to, but what it was referencing was still somewhat elusive to me most of the time, which is the exact kind of mood these games try to go for. And a lot of the references aren’t too direct either, like the Abyss Watchers, or Soul of Cinder. Speaking of, I don’t think it playing Gwyn’s theme in that fight was bad for that reason. He was the first Lord of Cinder after all. So it’s fitting that once you have gone through all the different phases of that fight first, it’s forced to fall back on some kind of ingrained, original essence, that would obviously take the form of Gwyn. However, I do think as an actual endpoint for the game, and overall “antagonist”, it doesn’t really work very well. It’s a great boss fight, and the callbacks to Gwyn make sense, but it doesn’t really come across like an actual character with an agenda. The game builds up Prince Lothric as fitting that role more. Although I think the DLC does a great job of fixing that, with Gael’s story being an excellent exploration of the themes of the game, and the series as a whole, that feels like the perfect punctuation point to finish everything on.

Which links quite well in to another point I wanted to talk about. I can’t agree that there are no “special” boss moments in the game. Gael is a big one. But I don’t think you even need to go the DLC to get moments like that. For me the Twin Princes fight was a pretty special moment, as were the Abyss Watchers, and Oceiros to name just a few. The build-up, story surrounding them, and the way the fights play out were really impressive for me.

And on the topic of difficulty, I think I am proof that this game is easier than the previous ones. I managed to pick it up pretty naturally after struggling with DS1. And even after getting in to 3, I still have loads of trouble with that game and Bloodborne. But I think just talking about the games being plainly easier or harder is kind of reductive. Difficulty can come in many forms and have a lot of components. I think the reasons that DS3 is easier than other From games are good reasons. It’s still very challenging and does the Dark Souls thing very well, but in a way that doesn’t feel cheap or overly mean. No encounter to me felt like it was obtuse and unreasonable like I came across in other games. But in general the discussion about difficulty in games lacks nuance, and this series definitely highlights that, with people often talking past each other about various things. It’s like no one can even agree that they’re even playing the same game sometimes.

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Re: Dark Souls III

Post by GunstarBlue » March 28th, 2019, 1:48 pm

Although Dark Souls II gets a lot of criticism I think the combat and classes are a lot more fun than DS3. I usually enjoy playing as a sorcerer due to the flexibility and variety in combat that this gives however the more fast paced rushing and agressive enemies coupled with a short lock on range ruin this class until the later game in DS3.

In fact the early game becomes a horrible grinding chore unless you pick a melee class, with many suggesting that you select this class first then switch to a sorcerer later in the game.

Due to this I find the game is not as well balance as the first two games for ranged classes and equally not as fun to play.

I still haven't completed DS3 yet having gotten bored just over 2/3 of the way through the game, whereas I have completed DS2 now about 3 times.

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Re: Dark Souls III

Post by James » March 31st, 2019, 9:20 pm

Scrustle wrote:
March 27th, 2019, 1:18 pm
However, I do think as an actual endpoint for the game, and overall “antagonist”, it doesn’t really work very well. It’s a great boss fight, and the callbacks to Gwyn make sense, but it doesn’t really come across like an actual character with an agenda.
I think that's exactly my issue with this fight, Scrustle. Be it Demon's, Dark, Dark II, or Bloodborne, the final bosses present thematic and narrative stakes against a known character. I get in theory why LoC is significant, but I don't know who that character is, what it wants, or (really) why I'm there to fight it. Also agree on Gael.

Thanks for that excellent feedback. A shame we couldn't discuss it in the show itself, but really pleased to be able to read your thoughts here.

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Re: Dark Souls III

Post by James » March 31st, 2019, 9:36 pm

GunstarBlue wrote:
March 28th, 2019, 1:48 pm
In fact the early game becomes a horrible grinding chore unless you pick a melee class, with many suggesting that you select this class first then switch to a sorcerer later in the game.
Regarding starting class, I only ever pick based on what I want to be doing for the first hour or two of the game, until I've put enough points where I want them for my eventual build. That said, I've not tried a magic build in DS3, sadly.

I do get that it can be frustrating for a build to be non-viable early on though. A couple of Dark Souls speedrun routes used magic builds, and they had to start off using melee until some of the more powerful spells were available. Whilst magic was viable early on in that game, it wasn't optimal for speedrunning.

Funnily enough, my favourite weapon in DS2 is in the Shrine Of Amana. I usually build for Dex and then respec once I pick up my weapon of choice. I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with the game asking that of the player, but it does sound like it's more difficult than in previous games. I also completely agree that the enemies are faster and more aggressive in DS3, likely a hang over from Bloodborne, and a nod to player movement being slightly faster too. Not that that helps ranged builds, especially with casting times being longer than bow or throwing item startups. :(

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