Monday, April 18, 2016

Screenshot of the Week #80: Inception!

                This article comes later than usual, partly because I got a new (more demanding) job, but also because Dark Souls III was released and I’ve played it inside out (within my limited time frame). I feel the need to go into details about my experience in the latest and last Dark Souls game, but as I have a review in the works I’m going to keep this as brief as possible.
                Dark Souls III is an impressive game that has a lot of good things in store. But between the goldeny apples of quality mechanics refined through four games (and a scam re-release) hide a few bad apples mudding the shininess of what could be a terrific game from start to finish.
                Combining the faster pace combat of Dark Souls with the vast and varied itemization of Dark Souls II and the more up to date graphics of Bloodborne, some would say that Dark Souls III has it all and for the most part it does. There is an above the average amount of content filled with challenging encounters in a linear driven yet intricate world that requires enough skill and attention from the players to become frustrating at some point, basically the recipe of a Souls game.
                The mysterious story rekindles a purpose to go through the world of Londor one last time, exploring old and new areas in a breath taking artistic world but with a slightly less impressive level design. But the dungeon crawling is there, with attractive loot, deadly encounters waiting around the corner, traps where you don’t want them to be and enough secrets to force the obsessive players to hit walls for a few more weeks from now.
The combat system is as good as it gets after going through the forging process of multiple releases and with a few neat little tricks which add more complexity where it was needed. Usually, people would say that with the combat comes the challenge and that might be true, for some. For me mastering Dark Souls III was easier than I expected. Maybe because I trained myself just before release and after going through the slower paced Dark Souls II dodging faster in the third game was like growing wings. But when one says Dark Souls people usually gasp as they are reminded of nightmarish boss encounters they faced, which I can’t say I’ve experience here. The boss fights are impressive from an artistic point of view.  Fighting imposing looking enemies accompanied by a musical score that transcends the epic was a hell of an experience even if more often than not this experience was cut short by my swift success. But difficulty might be the most subjective thing on my list of complaints, so my experience in the matter can’t apply to most of the cases.
As I’ve slowly slipped from good qualities to complaints, I have a lot of those and not because I want to be annoying (which I tend to be) but because there are more than enough problems that my analytic eyes can’t miss.
                The third and final (for now) installment in the series has inherited almost everything that the previous game had good and has managed to improve on its inheritance as a sequel should always do. But these praise worthy features and mechanics have been accompanied by most of the problems the Souls games I’ve played had. Even as the best port in the series, Dark Souls III still has some sketchy keybinds accompanied by controller icons in all the menus. The camera can go crazy at times and there are a few battles where it can be the biggest enemy on the screen and if not, the commands queue and the small input lag could finish a fight prematurely. The enemies weapon collision hasn’t been fixed and the target system could be a gamble at times. There are other various issues and bugs, but I don’t want to emphasize on the negative as I stretched this article more than I wanted to and I don’t want to end it on a negative note.
                With all its improvements Dark Souls 3 might as well be the apogee in the series, but still doesn’t unshackle itself from the problems of the past. It’s not fresh but nor does it have the stench of reused that most of the current popular franchise exhale. It’s a sweet scent for the fans and in a better shape for the skeptics with enough room left for the noobs. Take from this what you will…
Must suck for those who lived there.

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