|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Pub: Bandai Namco Entertainment|
|Release: April 12, 2016|
|Players: 1-4 Players|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Blood, Violence|
Other role-playing elements are drizzled around the kingdom, though most are condensed in the Firelink Shrine, the morbid social hub of the game. Along with leveling up, your precious supply of souls can be used to purchase new weapons, gear, and consumables from a rather disturbing crone, and the rippling blacksmith Andre is always available to enhance your equipment and offer a positive conversation that seems almost unbefitting to the hopeless pessimism that permeates the rest of the game. As you defeat the Lords of Cinder and introduce yourself to some odd and unique non-player characters, the Firelink Shrine will bustle with life, in a manner of speaking, echoing conversations through the hallowed halls and piecing together the lore of a once mighty kingdom.
Though typically grim, listening to the uninflected dialogue is a welcome salve to the unsettling silence that pervades the air in the haunting and treacherous slums. Yet the silence is a masterful design choice. Every pebble that crumbles off a wall and causes you to whip the camera around in haste, every footstep heard in a room beyond your vision calls your valor into question. Dark Souls III may not be a game designed around jump scares, but when the sight and sound of being struck by a concealed assailant jerks your heart, you'll appreciate what powerful tools shadows and silence are in creating atmosphere.
Devout followers of the Souls series will immediately discover that Dark Souls III is in many respects more of the same, and the majority of them couldn't be happier with that judgment. It is a challenging adventure unlike any other in the field, with the personal gratification after overcoming arduous obstacles second to none. The environment, though lacking much of a color palette, is an intricately detailed necropolis filled with terrors and rewards alike. The loose class system invites you to follow your own path, and the slightly relaxed introduction and accessible sanctuary of the Firelink Shrine beckons newcomers to give it a try. It is a stout and exceptionally formed entry in a series that keeps a steady course in the heart of its fans.
Date: April 4, 2016