18. Jun, 2015 19:40 (HKT)

Dark Souls III: A Preview Of The Final Episode

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"I became Undead to pursue this!" - Solaire of Astoria, Dark Souls

As per the nature of E3, one of gaming's most beloved series was beset with rumors and leaks; regardless, the world was ready and prepared once again for the entry of Dark Souls: Dark Souls III. As the flame extinguishes on this year's exciting event, from the embers comes the rare instance of actual facts about the latest and perhaps final episode of Dark Souls, revealed from the maestro himself, Hidetaka Miyazaki, Director of Demon Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne.

"I’ve never heard that name. Is that what they call this place now?” - Straid of Olaphis, Dark Souls II

Setting & World Design:

The "Lord of Cinder" has been resurrected, and once again the chosen undead must tenaciously brave an intricately connected world filled with forlorn hope and esoteric lore. And while true Souls fans may immediately draw connections between this new foe and the story elements of Dark Souls and Dark Souls II, as tradition, Miyazaki strongly inferred that these theories will once again be up to the player to decide...

Similar stage elements will be retained across all previous Miyazaki lead titles, and once again, world inter-connectivity will return - what happens in one place will indeed be expected to change the world states of other sections as per the actions of the player, much like the transformation of Anor Londo in the first Dark Souls.

The only difference now is the scale, as everything a player can see will be a place one can explore. In an early E3 build, huge malevolent towers dwarf any previous design with nightmarish architecture, and players can expect one of the most  difficult Souls games yet. Taking a cue from the first Dark Souls, Miyazaki will be returning to personally design the world, and in a new twist, there will not be a world hub.

"Hm? What, you want to hear more?
Oh, that's all we need. Another inquisitive soul."
- Crestfallen Warrior, Dark Souls


New to the series are the introduction of small discoverable grave markers around the new world, and these are known as epitaphs. Essentially as the lore notes for Dark Souls III, players will "offer flame" - what seems to be an extension of the bonfire mechanic - to gain insight through inscriptions that offer details of the story. Regardless of the method, like all Souls games, it will be through a patient archeological method from which the presented truths are revealed.

"The bell belongs to the Princess it do. Stay back or we slice; slice ya to bits!
Me and my chums we shan't be miffed"
- Bellkeepers, Dark Souls II

Combat Mechanics & Stances:

A new evolution to Dark Souls exceptionally precise combat mechanics are the introduction of "Stances." Insofar, this application has only been shown with the Straight Sword, and is an alternate two handed wield stance similar to a "Hidari No Jodan" stance of Kendo, where the blade is held up and ready to unleash without a wind-up. It can be presumed that this will apply to multiple weapon groups, encouraging new aggressive guard breaking tactics, as each combat move in the Souls games has carried heavy significance in life or death battles.

Additionally, the Greatsword has a new move called the Lunge, and this is charging attack with a heavy slice coming from beneath, knocking enemies helplessly into the air. Miyazaki has stated that this move has been directly influenced by the famous dark fantasy manga classic Berserk, namely the move set of the main character Guts, who deftly wields this weapon with an alarming ferocity.

Also revealed was the ability to dual wield, but in the case of a weapon called the "Legion Scimitars," this was one weapon that could change into two, similar to Bloodborne's trick weapon - the Blade of Mercy. There is also a dervish spinning move, a powerful technique which leaves a player subsequently vulnerable, tying in with the Souls' risk-reward style of fighting.

Finally, bows have been fine tuned to reflect their use; the Short bow fires instantaneously and is deadly in close combat, whereas the long bow will hit harder from a range at the cost of a longer draw time. 

"Hello there. you really are very diligent.
Oh, I understand we are in the midst of a revolution!"
- Big Hat Logan, Dark Souls

Multiplayer, Gestures, And The Rest:

A few final details until the next great reveal, and hopefully there won't be, as Bloodborne's secretive launch was immensely rewarding. Yet, it is very important to establish that Praising the Sun will return as a gesture, which would imply covenants once again o/

Multiplayer (Co-Op/PvP) will be based on Soul Level, and summoning will be done via signs; as to new changes and modes, Dark Souls III is still at a very early stage so not much has been mentioned.

There will also be an improvement to the upgrade system, based on Dark Souls II, but details have been sparce.

So until then, probably either until Gamescon or the Tokyo Game Show this year, will more details glean come by.

Dark Souls is slated for early 2016, and if based on previous releases, look forward to February/March - we know we will, as the Souls series has gained a huge following here at Play-Asia.com - one of, if not our favorite series of all time.

© 2015 Play-Asia.com. OK to reproduce if copyright note stays intact.


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