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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dark Souls 3 Ashes of Ariandel DLC Xbox One Review - 7/10

The Good:
As always the game looks very nice. There's a variety when it comes to the various areas given in the new DLC. First a frosty forest then a Lovecraftian village. Basically you're getting some fair variety, as far as a piece of content is concerned.
The enemies are unique and interesting save for the wolves which are actually just reskins of the regular undead dogs and the larger dogs are copy pasted versions of the Royal Rat Authority fight from Dark Souls 2. Though that's not the absolute worst thing and I don't think it detracts from the game in really anyway.
There's some unique weapons that have been added, which I will explain a bit more on later. For now they're varied and different from the vanilla game and I can definitely see them being useful for other gameplays as well as PvP. There's also been some new armor added, however, I see that as purely cosmetic. While some of them may have differing effects and uses they all seem to just be window dressing as far as I'm concerned.

The Bad:
While I do like the weapons there are far too little clocking in around just 12 conventional, one pyromancy flame, one torch and two shields (technically three but I tied it in with the conventional). While that may seem like a decent number the problem is that magic users have been given the shaft again. Miracles and pyromancers get at least one thing while there seems to be no staves. This problem seems to have been pulled over from the main game seeing as how at launch, and still currently, conventional magic is still terrible without severely crippling yourself. The best I can say is they've added in a new spear that can be thrown and its damage is best when having Focus Points and dips down significantly without them but that isn't really much of anything. They have added a few new spells but I doubt two spells will make up for its uselessness in PvP as well as the PvE game.
There are only two bosses in this DLC. Compared to other DLC under From Software's games this is paltry at best. The first is a generic gank fight that pits you against an NPC and wolves. Its definitely interesting but the problem comes when the real challenge is simply just avoiding the hordes of wolves nipping at your heels rather than an actual fight. The final boss is a decent fight, forcing you to use your healing items sensibly while also going through different phases. Though if I had to say I'd rather have a fight like Sif's where the boss gets weaker through the match. It doesn't really make sense for you to kill a boss and have them revive only to be even stronger. If anything they should be strong at first, forcing you to waste your healing, only to mirror the player's strength as the fight drags on. Though that's more of a personal feeling than anything. The fight is interesting but really ends up being a let down as From Soft ruined the surprise by showing her in the trailer. So when you first meet her as a friendly there's no surprise later. I personally don't care about having the game spoiled but others do and putting the twist reveal in the trailer just takes away from the experience.
If I had to lay my biggest criticism its with the enemies though this is more of a general From Soft thing that has been going on. Whenever they try to amp up the difficulty it comes off shallow almost every time. Giving the enemy more health, limitless stamina, an aggressive behavior combined with the fact they can chip off your health by half with a single hit does make the game harder but this is how it keeps going. There's these new knights that fit this criteria to a T. They hit harder, don't seem to falter and use really annoying tracking attacks far too often. The first encounter I had with one of them they used the same running jump attack buff three times in a row, each hitting significantly hard with my level 80 quality build. If you don't know what a quality build is its basically very balanced stats so I can take a decent amount of punishment while dishing it out as well without sacrificing maneuverability and staying away from magic completely. I like to call this artificial difficulty kind of like a kid saying "No! You can't do that because of this thing I just invented!" Having a few of these enemies every once and a while isn't bad but populating almost an entire area of them is not. Which really doesn't make sense because not more than an hour later into the next area and you face these powerful crow enemies who are fast, hit hard and their attacks are hard to telegraph but they're less of a test of endurance and more of an event. They have unique weapons and moves and are a genuine challenge. I wish there were more like them than the forest knights.
From a technical stand point this DLC does have a far ways to go to make it better. If you're walking from a foggy area to a non foggy one you'll notice that the FPS dips SIGNIFICANTLY. It seems to go from 60 down to 20. I would also like to reiterate that I am playing on my Xbox One and not my PC so this shouldn't be a technical problem on my end. If you really want to see how bad it is, in the crow village you're supposed to run and jump onto this roof after coming to a locked gate to progress further. I've tried to jump and every single time the frames dip without fail. Just saying the game needs a patch just to fix the bugs of this DLC.

I personally think the price is too much for this DLC, though if you're reading this you're probably a fan of the games and have already purchased it. Buy it if you want more out of the game. If you haven't bought the initial game this won't pull you in to the rest of it.

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