Dark Souls 3 is easily the most replayable game in the Dark Souls Series. Consequently, it should be no surprise that I have finished the game over ten times and gotten all the Steam Achievements in the 95th Percentile of players.
Playing Dark Souls is like peacefully convincing Juggernauts to reach a peaceful resolution by catering to their needs of being bashed in the head by a giant club and bonking them to sleep before they put you to rest for the 97th time.
It’s a Souls Game. There is genuine difficulty mixed with some curveballs, which may cause you to tilt and start tweaking. Ancient Wyvern’s boss runs, and the boss fight is either unmemorable or a Vietnam simulation with the number of lizards trying to play “catch the guillotine” with you.
Let’s not forget how their heads can jab you like a boxer or their knives to turn you into the late-night news’ next stabbing victim. However, the more traumatizing the experience, the more it makes for better memories when you finally conquer the situation.
I always loved talking to my friends who’ve played Dark Souls about their struggles, only to find we had completely different works or some common ones, like Sister Friede. On the topic of Bosses, my favorite ones would be Sister Friede, Slave Knight Gael, Nameless King, and Champion Gundyr.
I would’ve mentioned Pontiff Sulyvahn, but I don’t have the right to after parrying him hundreds of times with a Buckler and Casteus. I have died hundreds of times to each of these bosses only to eventually master them and find my opinions changing every NG+ run with them.
At first, Nameless King felt like a monster because of his enormous damage, but in my most recent, I found him quite easy. On the other hand, Sister Friede, who I usually used to RNG and stun lock, managed to be my most difficult boss. I never hated the enemy for having a Dash so much.
However, my favorite feature is interacting with the blood pools and messages of others. It makes for a feeling of camaraderie despite no real interactions going on. Seeing the messages littered throughout the entire boss arena after winning the fight brings a great serotonin rush.
On the other hand, it’s always fun to invade, get invaded, or even engage in PVP against these other players. I remember all my experiences of being invaded and raided; they all have a little story.
In my most recent playthrough, I was speedrunning and got invaded during my Boss Run to Midir (On the Bridge) in the Ringed City. It was funny to completely ignore them and have them die to Midir’s fire breath environmental damage while I was trying to make it to the next bonfire.
Also, how could we forget Fashion Souls? Unfortunately, the lack of color doesn’t make for the most vibrant fashion, but changing your skin color to pink is a good method of adding some flare of color. On the other hand, who can resist cosplaying as Artorias and Solaire when given the option?
Alternatively, you can mix and match the best pieces of armor. Moreover, although it was quite funny to use bits and pieces of Smough’s Armor and look unnaturally disproportionate, the armor gained helped to deal with more difficult boss fights heavy on the damage like Nameless King.
I also loved the choices of weapons. My favorites were the Lothric Knight Straightsword, Sellsword Twinblades, Great Club, Fume Ultra Greatsword, Hollowslayer Greatsword, and Lothric Knight Greatsword. Playing with DEX, Quality, and STR setups was fun.
On the other hand, I only really vibe with STR and FTH builds. With the abundance of all the Spells available, I tried doing a Mage run but ended up abandoning it after struggling to beat High Lord Wolnir.
Furthermore, I did beat him, but that was by enchanting the basic +1 dagger with the Magic Weapon spell, and I felt like a clown for doing so. Some niche builds work with INT, FTH, and Luck, but I enjoy the convenience and simplicity of STR and DEX builds infinitely more.
Also, having two bonfires right next to each other with the Grand Archives and the Dragonslayer Armour Bonfires may be funny. Still, it just highlights how the game optimizes replayability. The game has few boss runs, making for a fun speedrun experience.
Dark Souls 3 has little filler and has highlights from A to Z. On the other hand, some boss fights and even complete areas are completely missable. This oversight sucks because, by the time I found out about the Old Demon King in Smoulerding Lake, I was so over-leveled that the Boss Fight felt like I was bullying a toddler.
It’s my fault for not thinking you could’ve used the broken Bridge before Wolnir as a ladder, especially with the delay it takes to register as a bridge. Finally, let’s talk about Covenant Farming. Now, you don’t need to do this, but if you want all the Steam Achievements or Platinum Trophy if you’re playing on a PlayStation, you should prepare for the boredom.
The game has nine covenants, and the grind for each covenant-specific currency is long, but nothing beats the struggle for the Blades of the Darkmoon Covenant. Now, I love Dark Souls 1 and Anor Londo. I adore Anor Londo.
But who believes it is a good idea to spend 6 hours killing Silver Knights on stairs to get 30 Proofs of Concord Kept to unlock what? A ring and a miracle? Save yourself the trouble. However, if you have the completionist drive, watch something while farming the Silver Knights. Don’t worry about focus. You’ll get the act ingrained in your muscle memory and down to an industrialized process.
In short, Dark Souls 3 is about defeating the Lords of Cinders to return their ashes to the respective thrones, harnessing their power to reignite the flame and prevent the world from descending into darkness—essentially, the act of rekindling the fire, just like Dark Souls 1.
However, the Dark Souls series has never forced focus upon the story and lets you figure it out for yourself. Moreover, if you only go through the cutscenes and bits of dialogue, you may often find yourself needing clarification and trying to understand why you’re fighting.
However, this is where channels like Vaatividya step in, and you have access to high-quality Dark Souls Lore for you to consume, and when you finally realize what all the crap and deaths you went through were for, it elevates the game to the next level.
My favorite story revolves around Slave Knight Gael. There is a nice comic that tugs at my heartstrings and makes me appreciate how difficult Gael’s boss fight was. On the other hand, the lore of the Boreal Valley surrounding Pontiff Sulyvahan, Dancer, and Vordt is also interesting, and it would’ve been fun to see an alternate ending for Dark Souls 3 with Pontiff Sulyvahn as the final boss as was originally intended.
I played Dark Souls 1 and 2 on my old Laptop with an Nvidia MX130, a decent low-end GPU. However, Dark Souls 3 was infinitely more demanding, but the ending of Dark Souls 2 left me wanting more. So I did, at the lowest settings at a resolution of 800×600.
This pinnacle gaming experience had me second-guessing every little bit of text I read because I could not read anything. Despite all that, I managed to make it to Iudex Gundyr and from there. It was unadulterated, pure love and appreciation for the game.
I finished the boss fight with PlayStation 1 graphics and bought a new gaming laptop with an RTX 3060. From there, the gameplay was at max settings at 1080p and 144 Hertz… except the gameplay caps at 60 FPS.
I could’ve gone through the game at 800×600 with my MX130, but the game deserves better hardware. However, the game would run decently on anything equivalent to or better than Nvidia’s GTX 750Ti. Furthermore, this goes without saying, but make sure your CPU doesn’t bottleneck your GPU.
Get Good. If you died, it was 99% your fault. The last 1% is also your fault, but we can let that go because sliding mechanics are awkward. The controls in Dark Souls 2 were a twist and turn, which was jarring when coming from Dark Souls: Remastered.
However, experiencing the mechanics in Dark Souls 3 felt like a more refined version of the first Dark Souls, which immediately relieved me. Everything from the Camera, Jumping, Melee Attacks, Estus Drinking, Rolling, etc., felt like a joy to do, and
Dark Souls 3 has a bleak and dreary world devoid of color. This desaturation is not appealing, but it’s an understandable art direction because of all the unsettling events in the world. If you ever pay attention to the environment, you can see how many bodies are littered around, mangled, some corrupted, and turned into the normal monsters you face throughout the game.
The sky turns orange upon defeating Dancer and reaching Lothric Castle. The Covenants and NPCs are affected by each boss and area you accomplish. It is truly an experience catered to the fall of the world. However, the graphics do fall a bit short especially when it comes to anti-aliasing.
Dark Souls 3 has some kinks that need ironing out, but overall, it is possibly one of the best experiences you can have in gaming and is a definite must-play. The feeling of accomplishment you get after beating the game is phenomenal, and you may end up playing the game repeatedly, all the while enjoying the process.
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Unfortunately, the game isn't as accessible for people playing but if you can then you owe it to yourself to play and finish Dark Souls 3... multiple times. Your struggles will tower over you but the whole process of overcoming them and turning the tables is what makes your blood, sweat, and tears worth it.