I never thought this game will surpass my expectations but it did. I’m only halfway through and it is stunning…. both visually and literally. You will get stunned a lot, but summon some help and you might just make it through!

The art direction is phenomenal and the graphics are rich and detailed in glorious 1080p. There are many grand vistas of places you can actually go to. When you getto a  a viewpoint (there are many) you can see how all the areas are connected and survey the area for enemies and pathways. There is a lot less forced combat in small spaces and claustrophobia, which was made worse by a shitty camera. Bonfires are not generally hard to find and not too sparse. Merchants, once found in the world , move back to the hub for easy access. You no longer have to waste time getting to some special blacksmith hidden away somewhere. There are even developer messages in some particularly sticky areas with clear hints on what you  need to do. The tryhards will decry this as hand-holding but they can go play Dark Souls 1 again. If you think this game is easier you’re in for some nasty surprises, mofo….

The combat is meaty as ever, but more refined and less slow and clunky. There are some really satisfying techniques you can learn to use and the new weapon arts system makes finding new weapons a real joy. Every weapon has an associated weapon art which is a powerful special attack or some kind of buff, and there is a good variety to discover.

From have really corrected a lot of the annoying shit that was in previous games. You can parry with a buckler without spending months practicing, and the lag when fighting other players is much less, with less of the absurd phantom range / laggy hitboxes and backstabs that plagued the previous games. There is none of the BS that made summoning people for multiplayer in Bloodborne a PITA. You can summon and be summoned all day without needing to spend some resource or waste time trying again and again.

There are still some issues with the stagger and poise system. Almost everything staggers you and straight swords can easily stunlock you to death if the first hit connects. As a result, almost all invaders use straightswords and spam the quick attack…

The framerate issues on the PS4 have been fixed and there is only the occasional brief slowdown but it is smooth and without stutter.

I’ve been playing non-stop since I got the game and will be doing so for the foreseeable future!

To conclude, Chris Carter’s review score here is pretty much spot-on. Dark Souls 3 deserves a solid 8.5! For the first time From Software have delivered a game worthy of most gamer’s time. It may not change the formula but it seriously improves it.  I believe this is the game that Miyazaki has always wanted to make. While his previous games were mediocre at best, plagued by clunkiness and obnoxious and obscure design, this one truly deserves a lot of awards! This is basically  The Best of Souls, the only Souls game you really need to experience.

If you’re a scrub and feel intimidated by the trolling in this game, stay tuned for the upcoming Shane Botwin’s Guide to Casual Souls, telling you all need to know to enjoy Dark Souls 3 with only minor grief!

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