As many people know Bloodborne is my favourite game of all time, so it only seemed natural that after I had completed it I picked up its sister game Dark Souls 3.
As it stands I’m 9 hours and 47 minutes into my Dark Souls 3 save file and during that time I’ve faced bosses, explored Lothric and its surrounding settlements and seen the famous ‘You Died’ screen more times that I’d wish to dwell on. But I’ve also had time to reflect upon my experience and compare it to the game that pointed me towards FromSoftware’s incredible fantasy trilogy.
The two games are so similar in style, graphics and controls that they are almost impossible to tell apart. FromSoftware have developed Dark Souls 3 with the influence of Bloodborne in mind. The increased speed of Dark Souls 3 in comparison of Dark Souls 1 and 2 means that dodging is now a key element of gameplay. Having got the platinum for Bloodborne (and having played it constantly since then) a mere month ago I found this quick combat easy to adjust too. I beat the first boss Iudex Gundyr on my very first try and succeeded in killing him without taking any damage. Whereas the first mandatory boss of Bloodborne Father Gascoigne, killed me thirty- eight times before I managed to ‘git gud’ and finally destroy him.
It was in this revelation that I realised the first big difference between these two games. Bloodborne is consistently hard from the first second the Hunter steps into Yharnam to the finale of the game. Whereas the start of Dark Souls 3 felt like a lengthy tutorial where my hand was held tightly throughout. In Bloodborne I was pushed into the midst of an angry hunt, underarmed and surrounded by lethal enemies. I struggled more in the opening hours of Bloodborne than I did with some of the late game bosses. Whereas I’m ten hours into Dark Souls 3 and I still don’t feel as frustrated as I thought I would be and I’m almost disappointed in the ease of combat.
One of my main issues with moving to Dark Souls 3 after spending a considerable part of the previous two years playing Bloodborne was learning to use a shield and alter my attacking tactics. Bloodborne puts all of its fighting emphasis on evasion rather than blocking attacks, meaning that there are limited defensive weapons in the game. Learning to wait for an opening when fighting a shielded foe was something I never had to do in Bloodborne. Bloodborne taught me to dodge, whereas Dark Souls taught me to block. This was the first alteration I was forced to make during my hunt through Lothric and the shake-up of gameplay felt refreshing.
The first few locations of the game I covered have been diverse, and my curiosity has led me to explore these areas in detail. Like Bloodborne, added exploration is often heavily rewarded. The five bosses that I encountered were all unique but I had little if any trouble with them. The nervousness that grew when I saw Vordt of the Boreal Valley appear for example quickly dissipated when I realised how many weak points he had, leaving me to dispatch him with little bother. This ease continued to the third, fourth and fifth boss and it became clear that at this point I was having more trouble with the bulky knights than the notorious bosses.
In my ten hours of game play I travelled from the Cemetery of Ash to the Cathedral of the Deep, killed five bosses with a little struggle and collected an array of arsenal and weaponry. In comparison to my first ten hours of Bloodborne which were filled with sweat, tears and rage, my introduction to Dark Souls 3 was one of simplicity, and one that left me begging for a difficultly spike.
However, with over ten bosses left and two DLC’s to get through I’m more than sure that Dark Souls 3 will have me screaming at my TV in frustration within no time.