The next instalment of the Dark Souls series has been visible on the horizon for a few months now.
However with Gamescom recently passing (and a few lucky individuals accessing) a playable demo, a summary of what we know can’t hurt. Keep in mind that these are pre-alpha impressions with a lot of tweaking to go.
First off Hidetaka Miyazaki (the creative force behind Demons Souls, Dark Souls and Bloodborne) is once again at the head of the team for Dark Souls 3. This includes the level design, so I sincerely hope that you love getting hopelessly lost only to die and repeat until crying. Trust me, it’s a good thing.
DS3 is at least partially in the realm of Lodeleth, another beautifully ruined kingdom with pyromaniacal tendencies. In Lodeleth the Lords of Cinder are being resurrected, the beings responsible for kindling the Flame after each cycle (like Gwyn from DS1). Lore is in item descriptions as usual, but also in epitaphs on gravestones which require the player to “Offer a Flame” to read. More juicy vagueness.
The AI is also apparently smarter, attempting to surround you or deliberately limiting your actions. For instance, a knight may shield bash the player to prevent backstab fishing. Enemy and especially boss movesets are more flowing and natural, making them harder to predict.
Combat in general is faster than the Souls games, being almost a halfway point between Souls and Bloodborne. There is little to no build up to a full run, short bows fire twice as fast and swing speeds are on steroids. For everyone. That means you’ll now have half your face in half the time! You’ve got to admire efficiency.
One last note is on the new Battle Arts system. The player’s L2 button will now perform equipment-specific actions. For example small shields will still parry, however a short sword goes into a stance allowing several different attacks. All of these moves require special points to use which are replenished at bonfires, and some use more than others.
There are far more details which you can learn by following the links below, but that’s the gist of it. To sum up, although I’m staying well clear of any pre-orders for other reasons I can’t wait for Souls 3 to hit the shelves; in Miyazaki we trust. Oh, and FromSoft is aiming for a steady 30fps on all platforms. At least it still beats Blighttown.
Dark Souls 3 is set to be available early 2016 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.