I’m a fan of the souls series, so I love this game. It reminds me more of Demon Souls than the two Dark Souls games, i.e. There’s a central hub instead of an open world, and the stages between checkpoints (lamps instead of bonfires) generally require you to beat a boss.
The graphics and sound are great, and the game mechanics, particularly combat, steps up (no pun intended) from Dark Souls II. Hidetaka Miyazaki is in charge of this game, and once again delivers a punishing world where you will die many more times than you like. There’s a certain sameness to the Gothic setting, but not in a bad way.
I think the multiplayer mechanics are hugely improved. You summon or invade by ringing a bell rather than leaving a sign, and matching occurs by player proximity. The game scales stats for summons to allow wider matching. That’s a big plus, because the multiplayer aspect of this series is one of its best features.
On the downside, for Souls fans at least, there’s less room to customize your build. It’s a fast combat game, so all armour is light and can’t be upgraded. You’re limited to a range of trick weapons and firearms. They’re interesting and fun, but lack the diversity of the Souls games. Combat is focused on attack, so there are no shields—well, there is one shield, but once you’ve carried it around for five minutes, you’ll realise it’s a waste of time.
Overall, still a great game still. Lots of challenges, tough enemies, and mean bosses. I hope Dark Souls III builds on the positive aspects of this game.