Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades review

Travelling through the Catacombs, I laid waste to a minion of darkness that controlled the remains of a fallen warrior. Across the bridge, I see another demon that I must vanquish. I draw my sword and raise my shield as I walk across the bridge. The demon spawn sees me and raises his weapon. As we get closer, I notice the demon pause and lower his weapon and shield. Just then, a sword is thrust through my body as the skeletal remains I thought I defeated rose again and threw me off the bridge. As I fell into the abyss, my only thought was “Damn, how many souls did I just lose?” When your thoughts are similar to mine, then you know you’re playing a Dark Souls game.

Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades brings us the adventure from last year with an added bonus. Not only do you get Dark Souls III, but you also get instant access to the two expansions: Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City. The insane difficulty that the Souls Series is known for takes you to the third and possibly final chapter of the Dark Souls franchise. As the Ashen One, you’re tasked with a difficult challenge. You must bring the Lords of Cinder back to their thrones to prevent the First Flame from fading. But the Kingdom of Lothric has been overrun by the undead at every corner. Do you have the strength, and patience, to link the fires and prevent the First Flame from fading?

Walk through the valley of the shadow of death

If you are familiar with the Dark Souls series, then you are already ahead of the game. Newcomers jumping in should know that the first few hours are the hardest. I say that because there’s a learning curve when it comes to the mechanics. It takes a determined mindset to break through those first few hours. But once you do, you’ll savor each encounter and boss battle. As with most RPG’s, you’ll custom make your character down to the look and stats. The different classes offer different experiences and play styles. From ranged to melee, spells to swords, each class brings both its strengths and weaknesses. You can even mix and match but the class will usually shine within its skill set. Like my knight has a heal spell to help with those long dungeons that require lots of health.

The level design of Dark Souls III is beautifully put together. Although most of what you’ll encounter will be the living dead, it’s filled with life and a rich atmosphere. Each section is pieced together well as if one gigantic landscape. Besides one section where you are carried off, you can actually walk from one end to the other. This is what brings the action to life Dark Souls III. Each dungeon has it’s own minions and boss battles to encounter. Most will be armed, and the harder enemies are usually taller. But at each corner and each room you enter, your heart races a bit more wondering what you’ll face. Naturally, as you get better, you get smarter. This isn’t a typical hack-n-slash game, but each victory and defeat makes you understand your character more. And the more you learn the fighting style, the better you’ll handle the enemies.

Final Reaction

Since Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades comes with the expansions already in the game, you have access to all the goodies from the start. Each new maps can be accessed once you reach them. The developer FromSoftware recommends a soul level of 100+ or at least clearing the game beforehand. Although veterans of the franchise will truly appreciate the series, newcomers could be put off by its difficulty. But getting past the first few hours and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing game. It’s not limited to only single player either, PVP and co-op modes add more replay value. Dark Souls III isn’t perfect, but it one heck of a wild ride that’s worth playing several times over.

Rating: 5/5 Atoms

Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades is available now on PlayStation 4 and XBOX One.

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