Published on August 8th, 2015 | by IceCube
GLiTCH Plays: Dark Souls III
My name is GLiTCH and welcome to my latest video game preview. This time I got to play a very early build of Dark Souls III on PC, using an Xbox controller!
I’m a big fan of the Dark Souls series, so I was quite excited to play it, but extra critical if they get things wrong.
This version allowed me to choose from two preset character builds: a “Wandering Knight” fully-clad in plate armour, full helmet, sword and shield, or a “Northern Warrior” in chain armour with leather and thick fur, axe and wooden shield. I chose the Northern Warrior.
Dark Souls fans will feel right at home with overall look. The series isn’t known for its graphics, however, it’s hard to argue with how much extra detail has gone into the textures – from the settings to the characters and monsters. The visual designs are as powerful and striking as ever.
Gameplay is very comfortable. Moving around feels lighter and less clunky, but not at the expense of the series’ famous combat mechanics. The difficulty was tough, but fair. As a veteran, I fared surprisingly well in my run through, dying twice within an hour (with some very close calls, but experience paved the way), whereas the person beside me struggled to get past the first room.
The setting was the top of a decaying fortress, with crumbling grey stones and many towers with cone-shaped, tiled roofs. It was strewn with statues of preaching monks, a cloudy yellow sky and wandering (mostly harmless) undead with a few who had been paralyzed to stone.
I was attacked by a variety of armed undead. These monsters were the same enemy “type”, yet they all had something unique to their appearance, size, weapons, movement and combat approach. It never felt like you were fighting clones. They also used lots of surprise tactics to overwhelm or sting you. Often when you felt like an area was clear, a foe would climb or drop behind you. It teaches you to stay on your toes and watch your back!
I struggled but survived my fights against the larger-sized undead types, as well as a couple of heavily armoured knights. There were also pitfalls and traps awaiting the careless.
The castle design offered multiple routes to explore, which is one of the simple things that made Dark Souls in particular so special. You can take the door, bridge, stairs, ladder, drop or simply march onward… walking towards the unknown brings a great sense of tension and resolves curiosity once your discover how each path connects a way forward.
I discovered weapons along my journey, and all three were quite effective. The Battleaxe was a solid, one-handed damage-dealer. The Broadsword was a huge one-or-two handed weapon slung over my shoulder, that was slow but cut wide arcs. The Scimitar was a much faster weapon and less demanding on your endurance, but was short and far less damage.
My shield and armour remained the same throughout this playthrough.
I tried to get a sneaky peak at some of the RPG menu options, but all that was available for now were basic system settings. Though the gestures are alive and well when you hit the “Select” button, virtually identical to the Dark Souls 2 setup.
There were two more unusual creatures encountered:
The first was an undead (or hollow) who mutated into body organ tentacles before me. It knocked me off the rooftop to a platform below, so I didn’t get to fight it, but it reminded me of the Uroboros Virus victims of Resident Evil 5.
The other foe was a slumbering black dragon. Two of these impressive beasts lay entwined over portions of the castle. Perhaps I’m a quiet killer, or just a likable guy, but my dragons lay asleep during my entire playthough. My colleague playing beside me, however, wasn’t so lucky – as the reptilian beast woke and roasted him.
I’m not sure what we did differently, as I progressed much deeper into the game than my colleague. My best guess for the variant outcome is the different paths we chose. Isn’t that great?
Dark Souls III is looking and feeling fantastic. I’m loving everything so far. It could use a few more surprises in terms of menu layout and structure, or some kind of gameplay element to really shake it away from over-familiarity. Aside from that, I’m already hooked and can’t wait to play more!
For more on Dark Souls III, as well as Migsy’s video playthough, stay tuned to gamebug.com.au!