PLOT An undead warrior fights to prevent an apocalypse.
RATED M for Mature
DETAILS PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC; $59.99
BOTTOM LINE That’s the spirit.
For a series that’s always cloaked itself in mystery, Dark Souls III comes with the weight of overexposure. Nowadays, the Souls series is milked for buzzwords and knockoffs. As for its vaunted difficulty level, within two weeks of “Dark Souls III’s” release in Japan, a speedrunner finished the game in less than two hours.
Souls games have always encouraged multiple playthroughs via their New Game+ feature. That allows a player to carry over his or her souped-up avatar from one game to another while at the same time increasing the difficulty of enemies and upping the value of the rewards. Forcing oneself to get better is the gift it gives to the player. Anyone who has weathered one of these long games will have a range of useful strategies committed to muscle memory.
Dark Souls III contains some of the best boss fights in the series. The Deacons of the Deep sees the player face off against an ecclesiastical order of skeletons arrayed in different vestments. The trick in the fight is to spot, among the rabble, a group of fiery-eyed skeletons, which are vulnerable to attack. Kill them and a mist will rise up and descend on another group, imbuing them with a similar unholy light.
Players are sure to delight in slaying those desiccated elders caught by the spirit. Moments such as these will remind you of the series’ ability to surprise, which is a good thing, because many of the environments are reinterpretations of the stages of past games.
With its handsomely crafted labyrinths and rigorously paced combat, Dark Souls III hits all the notes that aficionados have come to expect.