4 Reasons Not to Play ‘Dark Souls 3’

I’ve been playing Dark Souls 3 for over a week now, and it has lodged itself deep into my brain. When I’m not playing it, I’m thinking about playing it. I’m a full-on devotee. You can read all about the reasons to play Dark Souls 3 here.

That said, this isn’t your average big-budget game, and it’s not for everyone. Far from it. Dark Souls 3 demands a lot from players while giving them relatively little in return, aside from the satisfaction of overcoming sizable challenges. It doesn’t care if you quit playing and don’t come back. It is what it is, and if it’s not for you, it won’t meet you halfway.

1. “Prepare to die” is right

The first thing most people hear about the Souls series is that it’s tough. That’s because it is. The third installment is no different; it’s a game that relishes killing you. Even the most common enemies have enough attack power to end your life, particularly if they come at you in groups — which they often do. There’s no way to turn down the difficulty. You have to approach this game on its own terms, and if you don’t particularly like throwing yourself at a challenge time and time again before overcoming it, then you won’t find much enjoyment here. Even with our Dark Souls 3 tips, you’ll still die plenty.

2. It doesn’t respect your time

Most games these day try to be crystal clear about their gameplay mechanics, laying out what you can and can’t do as a player. In keeping with the series’s tradition, Dark Souls 3 is about about as clear as a brick wall. Don’t expect to find a tutorial here. The game starts with a scattering of notes on the ground that tell you how to do the basic moves. Aside from that, you’re on your own. It doesn’t explain how to level up, how to equip items, or even what many of the things you’ll encounter in the game are.

That leaves it to you to experiment and figure out what does what. There’s a certain pleasure in deciphering the game’s mysteries, but if you have scant free time, you might be better off playing a game that doesn’t ask so much of the player. (For what it’s worth, the video above explains a lot that the game leaves out).

3. It’s very similar to previous Souls games

This one goes for people who have played other Souls games or Bloodborne, a similar game that was made by the same developer. If you didn’t like one of the other games in the series, you’re not going to like this one either. A few tweaks and changes aside, Dark Souls 3 is basically like Dark Souls 2, which was basically like Dark Souls, which was basically like Demon’s Souls. It even has most of the same kinds of environments, like castles, swamps, and forests, so you’ll be exploring similar areas.

Clearly, developer From Software has no interest in reinventing the wheel with Dark Souls 3. It’s a Souls game through and through.

4. There’s less room for exploration

Despite its similarity to previous Souls games, the path through Dark Souls 3 is more linear. At few points do you find yourself with lots of new areas to explore. The kind of environmental openness and interconnectedness fans of the original Dark Souls enjoyed so much often isn’t found here. That won’t bother newcomers because they won’t know what they’re missing, but fans of the series may be disappointed.

Despite all that, I still recommend it

Despite spending hundreds of words cataloging the drawbacks to Dark Souls 3, I have to admit I adore it. For all its faults — most of which fans of the series have come to expect of any new Souls game — it offers a gripping experience you won’t find anywhere else. Is it frustrating? Yes, often. Is it exactly what we’ve come to expect from the previous yearly installments? Pretty much. Should you play it? If those drawbacks don’t bother you, yes, you absolutely should. You’re not likely to find many richer, more finely-tuned games this year.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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