The Dark Souls series have always been games that divide their audience into 3 distinct categories. Firstly those who don’t buy it as they understand how difficult it is and prefer to spend hard earned cash on something that will provide instant gratification. Next we have those that buy it, who may or may not know that the game has a reputation of being on the more difficult side of the spectrum, these people normally reach a certain point and then abandon all hope of progressing further. I would consider this the category that I fall into, at first I found it hard to believe that the game would be as difficult as it was made out to be and jumped in at the deep end. Over and over my character meeting its end as I slowly progressed through the game, getting small victories now and again and feeling the elation when I put down a difficult monster.
I struggled through the game having both highs and lows until I met the Capra demon; try as I might I never found a way to best this monstrosity and this is where my character’s journey ended. Finally we have the chosen gamers; these are the few who laugh in the face of danger and push themselves over and over, completing the game and restarting a new game as it if it was a stroll in the park.
With the release of Dark Souls III looming in the not too distant future (early 2016) we have received new screenshots from the upcoming release in the series. From them we can see that the game will feature mechanics from the previous titles like the ghostly silhouettes of online players and bloodstains of the fallen warning that something evil may lurk ahead.
There will be returning game mechanics that have evolved throughout the series; such as the humanity item from Dark Souls, which was replaced by Human Effigies in Dark Souls 2, will now be represented by Embers in Dark Souls 3. By using an Ember, players can temporarily restore the power of the Lord of Cinder; in doing so it increases their HP and allows them to summon white spirits (other players to allow Coop gameplay).
With a new release to the series it also brings new mechanics to the gameplay, with the one that stands out most to me being the new battle skills. Each weapon type in the game will have an attached battle skill that enables new mechanics to how the battles will play. For example the Straight Sword will feature a skill called Ready Stance, which allows the player to guard-break Shields and subsequently do significant damage to the enemy.
So far 4 out of the 10 classes have been revealed, each with their own play style. As with previous titles you will be able to unlock all gear and spells through gameplay and the starting class will only affect the starting stats and equipment. The Wandering Knight wears conventional metal armour and carries a straight sword and shield. The “Ready Stance” skill of the straight sword gives this weapon a lot of versatility for many combat situations.
The aggressive Northern Warrior focuses on offense, opting for lighter equipment to give him faster reflexes than fully armoured characters. He is able to use his “War cry” skill to increase the damage of his axe as he goes in for the kill.
The Herald of White can unleash the miracle known as “Lightning Spear” through the use of his talisman. The strength of the magical spear increases when it directly hits an enemy.
The Academy Assassin starts with the spells “Soul Arrow”, the rapid firing “Soul Dart” and close combat “Great sword”. The Assassin also starts with the sorcerer’s staff allowing use of the skill “Enhance Spell Power” which increases the power of the selected spell for a short duration.
With the game in its final stages of development we should start to see more images and gameplay footage being released as we get ever closer to the release date. I for one am looking forward to this game, and cannot wait to get my hands on it. Yes, I know well in advance I will scream in frustration, possibly break a few controllers or keyboards depending on how I play, and will more than likely never complete the game. But these things do not bother me in the slightest; I will take my triumphs and victories as a high and they alone will be enough to make it worthwhile for me.