After Dark Souls 3’s introduction video, you awaken as the Ashen One in the Cemetery of Ash, and make your way through a basic tutorial, after which you are flung into your first major boss battle. Dark Souls has never been afraid to be difficult, and Dark Souls 3 is no different. The first battle against Iudex Gundyr is very difficult, especially if you haven’t played a Souls game for a while, but after defeating him, you’ll quickly realise he wasn’t a difficult battle when compared to what comes after.
The old, and frankly irritating hollowing feature has now disappeared and there are no penalties for dying other than losing your souls. As he Ashen One, you’re covered in smouldering embers all the time, and at all times, you are trying to make sure that these embers don’t die. There’s a lot of emphasis on fire in Dark Souls 3, from being the Ashen One, to the Lords of Cinder in the introduction, to the Embers that you can pick up giving you a HP boost, and fire attack effect.
As always, you can build your own character at the start of the game, and choose classes from Knights to Assassins. Each class has it’s own benefits, but there’s not much to worry about as most of this game is about how you play it, not what your character’s statistics are. There are some improvements in this game, which may or may not have been influenced by Bloodborne’s recent release. For example your character moves a little quicker, dodges a little faster, but at the same time enemies are quicker too.
There are some other changes too, such as the introduction of FP. In addition to your HP and Stamina bars, you now have an FP bar, which is used for weapon skills. FP stands for Focus Points, and is used in place of mana for magical attacks, but is also used for any special attacks that your weapon may have. To trigger it, simply hit L2 and you will be able to use the weapon’s special skill if it has any. I found that I didn’t use this feature that much because it was quite slow, and not very effective, especially earlier on in the game.
So there are some improvements to this game, but you’d be hard pressed to see much difference in the way it plays as it is essentially the same as it’s predecessors. Maybe that’s a good thing, because you shouldn’t mess with a formula that has worked for so many years. However, with the release of Bloodborne, there is more pressure on Dark Souls 3 to be the better game, but it unfortunately isn’t as responsive as Bloodborne. That’s not to say it isn’t good though, it’s very good, but if you’ve played both titles, you will feel the difference.