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Dark Souls III hands-on preview: Prepare to keep dying, again

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 6, 2015
I played an hour of Dark Souls III last week, and I'll be honest: My first instinct is to fall back on that old stalwart, "It's definitely more Dark Souls." It would be easy to do so, because it's the truth. This is no Bloodborne-esque shakeup. No assumptions are being challenged here. The demo we played, set on a small section of the Wall of Lodeleth, was all pale yellow skies and crumbling castle walls.

Dark Souls can't change that much. It can't completely rewrite the rules of what it means to be a Souls game, or at least it's not willing to do so. Each new Souls game reshuffles the deck, but you're still playing with the same 52 cards. And for a game that's built on needing to "solve" its systems, that's a problem--if not for you personally, then for the absolute diehards at the core of the community.

To be clear: I don't think Dark Souls III is a bad game. In fact, I'm sure I'm going to enjoy it until I inevitably plateau. It's got the same brooding atmosphere, the same creative monster design that I fell in love with the first time around. To me, "It's more Dark Souls" isn't a bad thing.

But those who bought into the series because it was difficult and awkward and new, those looking for a real challenge or at least a "new" challenge, I think will have to wait and see what From Software and Hidetaka Miyazaki do next. Hopefully something Bloodborne-esque, something that rewrites the rules again (and not PS4-exclusive). Dark Souls III feels familiar, and for this series--and some of its core fans--that's not necessarily a good thing.


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