Dark Souls III releases in mere hours from now, and if you’re not already on board, then I’m afraid you’re going to need a bit of prodding. Why? Because everyone needs to play a FromSoftware game by Hidetaka Miyazaki. The critics are pleased: the game holds an 88 rating over at review aggregation site OpenCritic, which puts it far above the company of its peers. So what makes it so great?
Probably the chief reason for the game’s critical success is that it’s quite similar to its predecessors, including Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne. Taking a little from everything, the game perfects and polishes a formula FromSoftware invented. But as for why you should play it?
For the challenge. Dark Souls III will not hold your hand. It will drop you into a world where everything is out to kill you in horrific ways, and you will be forced to fight to survive and thrive. Even the weakest foes of this game provide a challenge greater than some other games have in their bosses.
For the boss battles. And as if the game’s general difficulty isn’t enough, the boss battles are something else. Being trapped in an arena with a grotesque, magnificent monster with incredible speed and ferocity is always stressful. Yet you will find yourself coming back for more and more, until you learn how to beat then and ultimately relish in your victory.
For the graphics. While the quality of the art direction might be up to your taste, there is no doubt that technically, this is the best-looking Dark Souls game made yet. It’s based on the Bloodborne engine, and offers even more stunning vistas and enchanting atmosphere.
For the soundtrack. The game drops series veteran Motoi Sakuraba for Yuka Kitamura, who has also worked on the previous games’ soundtrack. The change in composer, however, does not cause the game to lose its soul, as it hammers you with grandiose battle music and haunting choral arrangements.
For the tight controls. Few games feature controls as effective as the Dark Souls games. There is a physicality to every action the controller can perform in this game, be it swinging a giant sword or casting a spell. Once you get used to Souls controls, it’s hard to switch back to anything else.
Because it will consume you. Once you go Souls, you never go back. This is a game where every victory is hard-earned, and the nature of the game means that you end up building a love-hate relationship with the game that turns into an obsession. Soon, you’ll find yourself thinking of the game even when you’re not playing it, browsing the Wiki to see how you can improve yourself, watching other people struggle in Let’s Plays and of course, returning to the game for more and more punishment.