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E3 2015 – Dark Souls III Preview: Apocalypse Evolution

There are very few games that beat you into submission, that you don’t play, but the game instead plays you. Dark Souls has been a series that fans all over the world have fallen in love with for its absurd difficulty at times and unforgiving gameplay. Hide your controllers, because here we go with Dark Souls III.

I recently (this morning, actually), got to sit down behind closed doors to watch someone play and die in a 45-minute demo. The demo we were shown was said to be alpha footage, and sometimes you hear that from people and it means the game is lacking a lot of polish or has issues. However Dark Souls III didn’t have any of that, the game just looked stunning even at its alpha state.

Our presenter focused on three main talking points for the upcoming game. Immersion, an apocalyptic world, and the evolution and depth of series concepts. All of these points were drilled into our head during the presentation. Things like the new dynamic light sources showed a high level on immersion into the world, as things like wind blowing around your character or carrying ash throughout the air was fantastic. 

As our presenter started walking around the world, it was clear just how much scale this post-apocalyptic world had. There was a huge draw across the map where you could see huge buildings that were we told were all explorable. It really was a giant area at your disposal, giving players a big world to explore and multiple places to die at.

When we finally made our way into our first battle, I could really feel each strike and block from the character, as everything seemed to have a lot of power and sound behind it. You just really felt like each strike, block, and dodge mattered. Sure, some of this could have been the ridiculously loud speakers but even so, the impact was there. Your character was also so much lighter on his feet, moving around the battlefield and dodging with speed that we never saw in the past games.

One of the things we were shown is how each weapon has multiple different ways you can use them. For instance, the regular sword that he was using one handed, he could then change to the ready stance and put both hands on it, changing the type of attacks and defense you get from the weapon. This was even more apparent when he found a Greatsword and started to wield it around like Guts from Berserk, which made this guy extremely giddy.

Later in the demo we got to see two more weapons; the Short Bow and dual Scimitar’s. With the short bow, our character was able to quickly fire arrows in concession, while dodging around the map. What was really cool was how each arrow showed on the enemy you were facing, adding even more to the immersion of the game. Then when you had to get up close, you could quickly pull out your sword and attack, similar to Legolas from Lord of the Rings. Then switching to the dual scimitar’s, we got to see him take out 5-6 weaker enemies with relative ease.

What was apparent was how each weapon had their strengths and weaknesses against certain enemies. For instance, the short bow was almost useless against the knights, who would quickly overpower you with heavy attacks. The Greatsword was powerful but left you open for all sorts of attacks. You really have to pay attention to what weapon you are bringing to each respective fight.

We ended the demo with a boss fight that was just typical Dark Souls, meaning crazy as hell and completely unique. The boss had a very femine build but moved almost like a snake, as her upper body was twerking all over the place. This made it extremely hard to know jut what she was going to do. The boss started with a fire sword and then after taking damage, opted to dual wield, bringing out an ash sword as well and completely changing up her tactics. The fight had everything you have come to expect from the series and more.

What else can I really say about this game? We were told the game was being played on an easier mode and our demo player still died over 3-4 times, something you rarely see in a closed door demo. The game was brutal, beautiful, and from what I was shown, should easily surpass the first two as the best Dark Souls game on the market. Dark Souls III will be punishing controllers and systems everywhere for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2016.