So recently I had the opportunity to head down to the Bandai Namco HQ in London and play Dark Souls 3 in a pretty much completed state for about 3 – 4 hours and for as far as I could go. The entire day was recorded and vlogged, so if you would rather watch that than read my ramblings for the next 10 – 15 minutes then you can check the video out at the bottom of this page, but otherwise I’m going to share my thoughts and feelings on the day and on the few hours of game that I managed to squeeze in to the afternoon. First off, the people over at Bandai Namco are fantastic, they were very welcoming and friendly, and very easy to talk to from the get go. Their offices are also so damn cool. I’ll post some pictures throughout this article, but I will also post a gallery at the bottom with all other photos I took that day. It was an early start to the day, setting a 4am alarm in order to catch my flight to London was pretty soul destroying, but the opportunity that was presented to me was too good to pass up. I landed in London about 9am, got the bus then the underground to Hammersmith, and finally made it to their offices at about 12:30pm.
Like I said, their offices were so cool, filled with memorabilia from many of the games that they produce, ranging from arcade machines, life size statues, figurines, games themselves, and posters covering each wall. They had couches with pacman cushions, and huge banners with images of Dark Souls 3 dotted from place to place, but you’re not really reading this to find out how Bandai Namco decorate, no matter how cool, you’re here to find out about Dark Souls 3, and from the first few hours that I managed to play, I absolutely loved it.
The game plays so well and so smooth, and feels like a beautiful amalgamation of all the Dark Souls games and Bloodborne rolled into one to create the perfect entry into the Souls franchise. In terms of just Souls games, it’s definitely somewhere in between Dark Souls 1 and 2, which for me is absolutely perfect. The game runs very well and also looks absolutely stunning, from the detail in the armour and enemies, to the massive locations, buildings and backdrops. There are plenty of enemies and variations in the first few hours of the game, some have the classic Dark Souls feel to them, while others are a lot more humanoid and have a Bloodborne feel to them, and each bring a new way they can hurt you or make you hurt them. The enemy design is also fantastic and very eerie, with none feeling rehashed or lazy. The 3 bosses that I also managed to face were very different from one another, and brought a new level of difficulty that required you to switch up your tactics for each one. The three bosses I fought were the same as the press events, Ludex Gundyr, Vordt of the Boreal Valley, and the Curse-Rotted Greatwood. Each one played well and were very different from each other, as well as the locations they were in and the arenas that you fought them in. I am proud to say that I did not beat any of the bosses on my first try, and the most difficult was definitely Vordt of the Boreal Valley, although the Curse-Rotted Greatwood I must have gotten down to literally 1 hp on my first try before he swiped away my last bit of health with no estus left.
As far as I remember, previous press events stopped players from venturing any further than this, but the folk at Bandai said we could go as far as we could in the time we had, and venturing past the Curse-Rotted Greatwood was awesome. There were even more variations of enemies and ways to kill them, a lot of areas of the world and a lot more ways to get lost. Sadly though I didn’t get much further, and didn’t meet any new bosses after this, but it left me wanting to much more and only cemented my excitement for this game even more than I thought it could be. The hub world is very akin to Demon’s Souls, in which you venture your way there, which has a very familiar name, and then from there to travel to different areas of the world using the central bonfire. There are also a few familiar faces from previous games than raises the question of when this game happens in the timeline, which I am sure will be answered with the full release in a few weeks time.
The fine people from GAME were also present at the event, documenting the afternoon with pictures, game play and footage of the actual event as well. They also sat me down for an interview about the game, my initial thoughts and feelings, and just general Dark Souls questions, so a link to that video will be in this article when it becomes available. To sum up, the day at Bandai Namco was fantastic, it was great to meet new people and network with not only the company, but with other gamers and the people from GAME. Dark Souls 3 itself is shaping up to be the best in the series, and left me with a pleasant after taste in my mouth that only made me want some more of it’s sweet, sweet nectar. Again, please check out the rest of the photos in the gallery below this, and let me know what you think about Dark Souls 3 and the series as a whole, either in the comments below, or hit me up on Twitter.
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