Challenging but consistently compelling, FromSoftware’s new “Dark Souls 3” will have you fighting adversaries for hours while telling yourself "this will be the one!” The latest installment in the “Dark Souls” series continues the great impression created by its predecessors.

The game takes its “Unkindled Ash” protagonist off on an epic journey to collect the four souls of the Lords of Cinder. Killing them and returning their souls to their thrones will link the fire to the shrine and restore humanity to the world. 

Pros

Atmosphere

From the sweeping landscapes viewed from the High Wall of Lothric to the Catacombs of Carthus, the scenery and backdrops of “Dark Souls 3” are impressive. The Kingdom of Lothric depicted in the game is both beautiful and dangerous.

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Bosses

Gamers face off against a host of adversaries, or “bosses” in “Dark Souls 3”. Each fight with a boss had me admiring the game’s unique and impressive character design.  You really can't trust anything in this game. After fighting zombie-like creatures with a passion, you discover that the tree you have been standing next to the whole time, is the real threat in the room. Clearly, each boss has its own unique way of killing you, testing the limits of your sanity. Normally these antagonists are at least five times your character’s height, have flashy weapons and a seemingly never-ending “health bar”. These massive creatures are the main attraction to Dark Souls, and ending their misery has never felt more satisfying as a player.

Customization

After creating your character in “Dark Souls 3,” you can choose from a wide variety of weapons and armor. Developing a personal style of play and making adjustments to fine-tune the experience is one of the most addictive aspects of the game. You can be anything from a spell caster with a katana Japanese sword, to a massive wall of armor.  The love of customization in “Dark Souls” offers plenty of opportunity for gamers to test their skills.

Soundtrack

The “Dark Souls 3” soundtrack really adds to the unique atmosphere of the game. For example, the first boss you encounter, who is massive in size, with larger-than-life weapons, starts the fight by totally intimidating you. A few seconds into the action you hear the overwhelming sound of an orchestra, supporting and motivating you, reminding you that you are the game's main protagonist. You are meant to win this battle and kill this unnecessary evil that has crossed your path! This may have been one of the first times that a game has made me stop and realize what an incredible soundtrack I'm listening to ... even while being beaten to a pulp. It’s also cool that the pre-ordered version gives you the soundtrack CD with the game.

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Cons

Frame Rate

I found that the frame rate dropped every now and then, bringing me back to the reality that this is just a game. Not enough to ruin the experience, but enough me to take notice.

Overall

“Dark Souls 3” is a beautifully-created game that you will be talking about for years afterward, or at least until its sequel comes along.  This game may be more difficult than most, but it will reward you with a sense of accomplishment and bragging rights galore.

Grade: 9.2/10