The Souls series sure has come a long way, hasn’t it? Back when Demon’s Souls released, not many people actually played it, but there was always this urban legend of sorts about a super hard and obscure RPG that was like nothing else on the market. Fast forward a couple of years and the Souls series is one of the biggest names in the industry right now. It’s become synonymous with brutal yet satisfying gameplay and that is most definitely its claim to fame, but having spent dozens of hours with what could be the last game in the series, it’s become really clear to me that there is so much more to this franchise than just its difficulty.
The story telling in Dark Souls 3 remains the same as the other titles, so if you didn’t like it then, you probably won’t be warming up to it here. From the onset, all you know is that you’re an Unkindled tasked with the job of bringing back the Lords of Cinder so that they may Link the Fire. Linking the fire means to sacrifice one’s self to ensure that the light prevails and the darkness is kept at bay. That’s about all you’re given at the start, and it’s up to you to try and piece everything together. The world and its story is probably the strongest aspect of the game for me personally.
I’ve been playing this series for a long time now, and to be perfectly honest, I kind of know what to expect in terms of gameplay, and this will be true for most Souls players. This is not to say that this game is not without surprises, because there are quite a few of them, and they’re pretty awesome. Hwever, once I started peeling away at the layers of this game, and I started to delve deeper into the world and story, I found myself completely hooked and drawn into the characters and lore.
A large part of my enjoyment of the story came from game’s new central hub. The new Firelink Shrine will be your sanctuary away from the chaos and danger of the outside world. Here you’ll level up, barter and upgrade your weapons. More importantly however, all the NPCs you meet along the way eventually end up here and most of your interactions take place in this hub. I’d often take numerous breaks just to do the rounds and speak to everyone to see if I can advance a specific questline or just get new dialogue from them. Each character has their own tale to tell and I found it fascinating how well they’re integrated into the world. For instance, there is a gravestone outside the shrine that, to me, looks like every other one. Once when I got back to the shrine however, one NPC was not at his usual spot, instead I found him kneeling at this gravestone. After learning more about him, and inspecting that gravestone further, I could understand the importance of it, and it’s just so incredible how much detail FromSoftware puts into the world.