Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel (PC) Review

Justin Celani

Winter is coming… to Dark Souls 3.

Dark Souls is a franchise I’ve grown to both love and hate as I get older. I love the aesthetics, the focus on gameplay mechanics, and the victory of progression. At the same time, I’m growing weary of games that challenge not only my reaction time but my blood pressure. I just don’t have the time as much anymore. Dark Soul as a franchise is a good time for the right players with the right mindset, and the latest DLC is right up there with what makes Dark Souls as a game good, but is it enough to quench the thirst for players looking for new content?

Cold as Ice

The DLC, which can be accessed by talking to a NPC, whisk players away to a new, cold, and dark environment, with a much different look than Dark Souls 3 offered prior. Here players will be tasked with exploring a huge mountain side and small town. It’s visually very pleasing, especially if players are into that winter horror setting. It’s filled with monstrosities such as giant flies that swarm and spit up bloody bile. Huge warriors that remind me of undead Vikings. Packs of wolves that surround in packs. Even these creepy dead like birds roam around, their shrieks causing me to jump a few times by surprise. When it comes to enemy design, Dark Souls DLC still has it.

darksouls3dlc_08

MSRP: $14.99
Would pay $9.99
Multiplayer: Co-op summoning and PVP
How long to beat: 5+ hours

There is a great boss battle as well, but be warned, dying at all during the various stages of it will force players to try again from the beginning phase. A very frustrating element that I wish wasn’t the case (is it that hard to get a checkpoint these days?), but this is obviously something that some players might embrace with others getting upset, and it’s definitely totally Dark Souls.

The new area itself looks good enough, with snow failing and the sound of the winter winds roaring in the background. Yet the design for the level is fairly straight forward. It wasn’t hard to get lost, as the majority takes place outside. I more ran into problems in figuring out how the game wanted me to move forward. At one point I even ran into a seemingly dead end unsure of how to progress, turns out I wasn’t looking in the correct area at all. Dark Souls games are cryptic at times, and it’s no different here. Finding new armor or new weapons is also a perk of the franchise, but it felt limited here, with nothing striking me as interesting or even worth swapping out for what I was already using.

While the DLC offers quality in its single player content, it’s apparent with its duration and length that it’s other focus on the new PvP map and battles took up another chunk of this DLC. It’s good for what it is, but personally it’s not what I play the franchise for so it’s a bit of a miss for me in that regard.

darksouls3dlc_05

Take a gander

Ashes of Ariandel is a good time for those looking to give themselves an excuse to boot up Dark Souls 3 again, as if that is even necessary. It has some great new enemies and a cool location to explore. Those looking for new PVP gameplay will find it here, but overall the package is solid and not extraordinary. Go into the DLC looking for some slightly new yet more of the same Dark Souls and I don’t think players will walk away disappointed. I’m anxious to see what the next set of DLC has in store.

Favorite moment: Exploring the new snow area and the new enemies were really interesting to me.

Worst moment: Dying, which is normal for the franchise, but that boss battle pissed me off.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • PVP additions
  • Snowy environments
  • Enemies

Bad

  • Boss frustration
  • Limited new content
7

Good

Justin Celani

Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.

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