Dark Souls Trilogy - Xbox One

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Dark Souls Trilogy (Xbox One)
Also for: PS4
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Adventure: Role Playing
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: From Software Soft. Co.: From Software
Publishers: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment UK (GB)
Released: 1 Mar 2019 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+
Connectivity: Online Multiplayer, Online co-op


A new generation of gamers is getting the opportunity to grit their teeth and test their mettle against the trilogy that spawned a wave of tough-as-nails RPGs and action games, along with all its punishing DLC.

Dark Souls
The spiritual follow-up to Demon Souls, one of the hardest games ever made, Dark Souls has the finest tag line you will ever read: "Prepare To Die". Taking place in an open world environment, this is console-based dungeon crawling at its finest. With a range of monsters great and small to face, your skills will be tested from the very beginning of Dark Souls. Everything in this world is a potential threat.

Though you may feel alone, you can actually visit other players' games to assist or hinder their adventures and they can do the same. You must always be on your toes and ready to defend yourself. Death is always around the corner.

If you are feeling kind, you can leave messages for others to pick up on the floor to advise them of possible dangers or bonuses. Of course, you can lie and make people jump off bridges if you like that's the level of freedom that Dark Souls offers. It's truly the definition of 'one more go' gaming you will never be punished by Dark Souls just because the game hates you. You'll be punished because YOU messed up. Realise where you make your mistakes, return and do better. That is all you can hope for in Dark Souls. Treat it lightly and the game will destroy you. Treat it with the necessary respect and you'll have an incredible gaming experience.

Dark Souls II
The second in the series game features a new world, new storyline and an unfamiliar world steeped in death and despair. Expect the same uncompromising difficulty, the same epic boss battles and the same incredible sense of empowerment that comes with triumphing against the odds as the first game. Don't, however, expect something quite so straightforward as a re-skinned version of Dark Souls.

The game's online is a little more approachable. Voice chat is supported and by aligning yourself with certain in-game gods you'll be able to summon friends to help you lay waste to whatever particular beast is challenging your will to live.

You can also travel between bonfires right from the outset of the game and the health system is a little more forgiving, with life gems complementing the flasks of the last game. Don't despair that FromSoftware has gone soft, however, as you'll lose a little more of your life bar every time you die.

The world is perhaps not quite so bleak as those of prior games, but it does offer up its own sights to bear witness to. An eerie village sits at the sea shore, with desperate locals trying to pedal their wares, while a tangled, ruined castle lurks at the heart of the forest.

Dark Souls III
While the Dark Souls III feels instantly familiar, it does much to turn the series on its head. The ruined castle ramparts and monstrous dragons are still present and accounted for, as is the atmosphere of impending doom.

But where the games typically see the player ascending ever higher as the game progresses, here the player begins by sinking ever deeper into the world. The role of non-player characters is subverted, with them initially coming off as kind and friendly but the player coming to realise that all is not as it seems. Similarly, the design of the world begins straightforwardly, before branching out to ever-greater levels of complexity. In short, Dark Souls III is all about lulling the player into a false sense of security...

Another element of this is the boss phase system. Now, just as a player is getting a grasp on the patterns and methods of one of the ever-inventive bosses, something will change and take them back to square one, be it an unexpected resurrection or a brand new health bar to madden you.

That's all part of Dark Souls' appeal, though - it's a game that's all about tough, intense confrontations and that sweet feeling of catharsis that comes from overcoming a challenge. Think of it as a very twisted form of stress relief...