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Games : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: April 12th, 2016 Movie Release Year: 2016

Dark Souls III

Overview -

From Bandai Namco and the now legendary FromSoftware comes 'Dark Souls III,' which in a five game series that also contains last year's 'Bloodborne' and PS3 exclusive 'Demon's Souls,' represents its own special genre. These 'Souls' games are known for their challenge, their lack of hand-holding, their combat systems, their low-key lore, and their all-around unique style in nearly all aspects.

This time out, the player seeks to be the Champion of Ash, and in turn, must return the Lords of Cinder to their thrones. Any concerns over the cyclical nature of this existence will hopefully be extinguished once the rekindling has been done.

More importantly for some, this is the first 'Souls' game to be developed with the PS4, Xbox One, and PC in mind. On the PS4, that means sharing the stage with both 'Bloodborne' and 'Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin.'

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
April 12th, 2016

Video Review

Ranking:

Since I clearly can't stop referencing the other 'Souls' games, I am very tempted to give 'Dark Souls III' the visual edge over 'Bloodborne.' I continue to be more taken with the more diverse fantasy setting, but it's not all good news. Certain things I didn't love in 'BB' make their return here, like the player's face and the excess clutter (which I have to role through at least once). Fortunately, there's no distracting drop in quality a la the Chalice Dungeons or various areas in 'Dark Souls II.'

On the PS4, the framerate can get unsteady in certain areas, but is still more stout than 'BB.' Happily, the load times (not to mention the mechanics of needing load/warp) are quite tolerable. The PS4 version is crisp, however, there can be noticable pop-in here and there. At its best, 'BB' is better demo material by a freaky nose.

Audio Review

Ranking:

I think the sound of the game has progressively turned more bombastic over time. Nevertheless, I do enjoy the symphonic presentation apparent in 'Dark Souls III' soundtrack. In what cannot be a shock to series' veterans, the game plays very fast and loose with sound design. Small, weak, and recently dispatched enemies can still make one heck of a jarring racket. Enemies on the other side of a wall also tend to be on the loud side.

Here again, the performance issues that made for audio distortion in 'BB' were not on display here.

Both voice acting and the ambient chatter of enemies great and small is well executed. I admit that this time out, the main story's lore sounds a little too 'Mad Libs' for my liking, but that's not a fault of the voicework.

Final Thoughts

'Dark Souls III' delivers. It scratches a special itch that only its developer has managed find. So while the bounty of 'Souls' games in recent years has spoiled this reviewer, it's impossible not to enjoy, and recommend the game to both new and returning players. In fact, only 'Bloodborne' players seeking that game's particular speed and setting may be an exception.