There are definitely more seasoned players on Dark Souls 3 than myself. When I first played a Souls game I went in thinking: I’ve completed Oblivion and Fallout 3 so I’ll destroy Dark Souls. What a ridiculous theory that turned out to be. I totally respect the countless hours of playtime the full time streamers put in because that what it takes to master a Dark Souls game. What I’d give to be a full time gamer! Having put out this video explaining my initial thoughts on Dark Souls 3 it had been interesting to read your comments on how you guys had been finding the game. A lot of you indicated that Dark Souls 3 was too hard which made for an incredibly shallow gaming experience. I can completely empathise with this because it’s exactly how I felt when playing Demon’s Souls, Dark Soul, Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne. I simply didn’t understand what it took to be good at a Soul’s game…. until now and I still have a lot to learn.
Dark Souls 3 got a worldwide release on March 24th 2016 and slots right in line with the same tones of the previous games; dark, gothic, passionate, serious and deadly. Deadly being the formative concept; a concept that trickles through the Soul’s games like blood through veins. FromSoftware made some subtle yet staggering changes to the dynamics of the gameplay mechanics compared to its predecessor, Dark Souls 2. Players’ agility seems a lot more fluid, both in combat and general motions, weapons move and respond with more validity which made my character feel incredibly powerful. I noticed this at the very start of the game. One to two (maximum) swipes with my Knight’s sword easily slayed oncoming foes which resulted in me dying a lot less in the earlier stages of the game. I started to gain some patience in Dark Souls 3. A smoother start, less deaths and more fluidity in gameplay mechanics all had me hooked. It was the total opposite in Dark Souls 2. I died more, felt less powerful and weapons seemed less effective. Needless to say that I gave up pretty quickly.
#1 Time is of the essence
Over the years my friends and I have often commented at how quickly we can beat a game. Right back in the NES and Super Nintendo Days it was all about how quickly you could get through Super Mario World or defeat Vega in Street Fighter 2. I’ve been conditioned to think this way. During my time with Dark Souls 3 I’ve had to un-learn this and re-condition myself to a new style of play. Taking my time in Dark Souls 3 is absolutely crucial to succeeding. I forced myself to play through the same areas over and over again in order to learn about how my characters moves, what my limitations were, where I can obtain the most souls from and how to use the menu system efficiently. My tip here would be for you to replay The Cemetery of Ash and work through to the Firelink Shrine to level up. I’m only nine hours in to the game and I’ve found these first two stages to be the easiest and smoothest ways to collect souls. Secondly, the risks of dying are a lot lower if you re-battle your way through these early areas. I’m certain that the hardcore souls players would disagree but if you’re like me and you’ve struggled with previous Soul’s games then listen up! Take your time. This is not Super Mario World. The slower you go the more time you will have to plan your way around the enemies and study their movements.
#2 Please die
We’ve all heard this about a Souls game right? I’ve heard people wince over dying all of the time. That is a great thing and in Dark Souls; death should be appreciated. Why is that? It’s a learning curve. If you focus your energy on this you will become a much better player in Dark Souls 3. During the first minor boss battle I tried to stay as far away as possible from him and only swooped in for a strike in between his attacks. After dying twice using this method I changed tactics. Instead I stayed close when on foot and rolled closely to the direction of his movements. I also put my shield away which gave me a more powerful strike with my sword. The result? I beat him in one try using this method.
I can completely appreciate how something as frustrating as losing is really the build up to winning. There’s a saying I always use which I believe applies to Dark Souls 3:
If you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got
Meaning; change your tactics to change your outcome. Death is a massive part of success in Dark Souls 3 so learn to embrace it and don’t give up. God I love Dark Souls 3!
Summoning Phantoms have been a phenomenal experience in my Dark Souls 3 quest. Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking that’s a load of sh*t as it’s cheating! For those of you that are unfamiliar with the culture of Dark Souls we are able to summon phantoms in to our active campaign. They spawn (but not always) in a ghost like myst, they cannot collect any items but are able to fight their way through anyone ghoul that gets in our way which comes in handy before a solid boss fight. Additionally, I’ve been observing how Phantoms move, fight and react in boss fights. I’ve picked up some handy skills. Let me know what your thoughts are on summoning phantoms. Do you use them? Oh and watch out for the purple phantoms!
#3 All roads lead to Rome
I made a killer mistake in Dark Souls 2! It really threw me to the lions and certainly contributed to me quitting the game before I gave it a real chance. I allowed the myriad of pathways/directions to confuse and frustrate the hell out of me. Again, this is not Super Mario World. We are not in a move left to right kind of game. It took me this long to realise at how conditioned I was to this type pf gaming. This is something I’ve read from other players who don’t like that they have no clue no where to go! That was me in previous Souls games.
Dark Souls 3 definitely has smaller maps but with just as many pathways, doors and ladders to investigate. Combining tip 1: Time is of the Essence I spent a lot of time going down every pathway, through every doorway and down every ladder. You know what I learnt? They all led to the same place eventually. You will meet your goal so don’t allow Dark Souls 3 to drown you in choice. Okay so there is odd dead end but this will also lead to huge rewards in the form of small bosses which opens up opportunities for Souls! Lots of Souls! Time to head back to Firelink Shrine and level-up.
I’m yet to complete Dark Souls 3 but so far one thing is clear: I won’t give up on this quest. I want to complete it. I want to meet the remainder of the eccentric NPC’s with their garish screams, twisted faces and deformed limbs. Yeah Dark Souls 3 really has it all. If you have any tips you'd like to add then smash them in the comments.
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