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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dark Souls 3 Retroactive Review

The dust has settled and the game has been released. I've had some time to play it and really chew into the game a bit more. The problem with RPGs in general is that they take far too long to see all the content available from the time of release to the time when the review is posted. Since this site isn't terribly famous, I'm not able to ask for review copies of games, forcing me to stay up all night playing the game and churning out a review as quickly as possible. This is the first but probably not the last time I'm going to to do something like this. The purpose of this post is really just to point out some things I was unable to mention in my initial review, further clarifying other points I wish to put out there without having to change my review. I often say that a game will hook you within the first twenty minutes. You've gotten past the tutorial, played what can be played and generally the game has begun to reach its overall stride. Its not indicative of the overall experience of the game. I will say that I've stopped playing a game because I wasn't feeling it but picked it up later out of sheer curiosity or just simply good reviews on the game months after it was released.
The game has been a mixed bag so far. The PC port of the game has been sketchy at best. Most people with better PCs than I have been saying that the game is laggy in the weirdest possible ways and places. I actually asked Steam for a refund on the game and have been since playing it on my Xbox One. I was playing online with some friends on a particular boss fight against the Crystal Sage. The boss has a second phase where it spawns these dopples that can be killed in one hit. While we were doing this and got the boss to about 10% health, the boss disappeared and only a dopple remained that became unkillable. Another attempt the game made the frame rate choppy like I was playing on Ultra settings for a computer. Most of that should have been alleviated in the ports. The game also has a few other bugs that vary from minor, hilarious and frustrating. Before the Crystal Sage fight, I was attempting to summon two of my friends to my game. It didn't work. Nothing worked. They put their signs down and each time I saw it, it would dissolve away. The idea of a password system was to allow cooperative play between friends or acquaintances not only more possible but with less hassle, neither of which I could see. Enemies sometimes teleport into walls. I've seen a dog go through a wall, a skeleton jump through a wall into oblivion, a lizard exit the game world entirely and even had a few enemies land hits that I could see should not and were physically incapable of landing on me making for some cheap deaths or simply damage that should have been avoided. All of this can be fixed later, but its really annoying when they basically did a country wide beta test when they decided to release the game to Japan about a whole two weeks earlier than everyone else yet didn't seem to fix any of these issues for the North American release. I recently picked up a new weapon and was trying to work it out, when I found out that if you have it in your offhand while using a bow completely fuzzes out half of the entire screen until you decide whether or not you want a weapon you worked so very hard for if it means dying because half of the game is obscured from your vision.
A lot of the pacing sort of goes out the window after the Catacombs. Enemies spike so high in difficulty its astounding. You go from skeletons who have relatively low poise, yet do considerable damage and have their own unique styles of combat to a bunch of knights who not only have high damage weapons, considerable amount of poise but also do about five hit combos regularly. So you get the shaft if you're anything other than a pure ranged class and playing with others who can take the aggro. Weird thing is you can actually skip this area for the moment and go to another area which is the new Lost Izalith or demon area. And the demons are less powerful than these knights. How does that make any sense? I could understand if they were quick and had considerable poise but to offset that, the weapons have to be scaled down. If an enemy can kill you in a single combo regardless of your gear and stats, there's a huge problem going on. And when demons are far less difficult than these near generic knights, this is also a huge problem. In fact the bosses difficulties are switched too. The boss for the knight area is also quick, has high damage weapons that hit in multiple stun locking combos that can kill you in a single hit. While the main demon boss is slow but to make up for it he hits like a truck and has considerable amounts of fire attacks that punish you for getting too close or too far. And no, the demon area is supposed to be after this area. I lead a bunch of people who summoned me to this area and they cleaned house.
All of what was said before may seem like a bit of nit picking and to be honest it kind of is. Though my points are solid as far as I'm concerned. However, the one thing I cannot give way on are the press release copies of the game. Like I said before, I wasn't able to get a review copy since this site isn't too well known. A few people did and what they got is anything short of unusual and almost infuriating. They got a massive wooden box that not only game with the game but also a bunch of 'free' items that any major fan of the game would shell out at least two hundred dollars for in a special collectors edition. Is it available to the public? Not through the legitimate sources, no. If you want it, you'll have to look on Ebay and shell out about six hundred dollars for it. That is if you're lucky. The whole thing seems like some sort of bribing idea to get reviewers to give better scores. The only way I found out about this was via a YouTuber I've been subscribed to telling a bunch of people. Their response was about as 'positive' as was mine above and they have said they will be sending the items back. Honestly, I would have done the same thing. I'm not entirely sure what possessed Bandai Namco to make this decision, but I think it was the same mindset that made them release the game two weeks in advance in another country without any sensible reason, and the same mindset that made them use the excuse that "the game wasn't completely finished" to be a sensible option in their eyes.
Its a good game, don't get me wrong, but this is beyond Bethesda levels of beginning game glitches. Especially when they begin cutting into the pace of the game, ruining it for a lot of people.

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