When i reviewed Dark Souls III (sorry, it was Russian-only) a year ago, I described it as a best of compilation of everything that worked in all «Souls» games, aimed at creating the best possible adventure in a dark interesting world. Which suffered from being a compilation, however, at not really feeling that interesting or defined in terms of it’s own voice. And not really feeling like a new interesting chapter in the strange world created back in Dark Souls 1. So me, along with many others, hoped that DLCs will fix this issue and bring a very interesting story, expand on fantastic ideas of the game world and bring closure to the series.
The first DLC didn’t really do that. So how about the second one?
If you ever needed a good example of a «more of the same» DLC, two Dark Souls III DLCs are just that. Both Ashes of Ariandel and now The Ringed City add new locations with new cute side-stories to explore and more content, enemies, items, bosses and all the stuff. The Ringed City is more interesting as a whole, having very curious locations and more of the «world lore» explored that was only hinted upon previously. And it feel less unbalanced as the first DLC was, having pretty difficult parts at times, but never really completely out of the blue.
It’s just that… Maybe I missed something, or maybe I’m just too used to «Souls» by now, but it never felt truly… creative. The expansion DLC to the first Dark Souls was really big, both in story and it’s implications, and in things that were introduced. And Dark Souls II DLCs, while not amazing, really did some interesting creative and surprising things. With how NPC invaders were handled, with how gameplay was focusing on very different elements, with how some boss battles went. And the updated version of the game even added a new story layer on top of things.
And both Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City lack this. The locations are new, but constantly feel like «been there» places. Encounters are new and some interactions too, but there’s still a lot of «done that» that is hard to shake off. And the story, while nice in it’s own thematic way, is just… another story in the world that needed more exploration but got none. Perhaps, they wanted to play it safe since it would’ve been impossible to live up to all the amazing stories and explanations fans came up with through years, but they could’ve done something. Something that would feel like a send off to the series, an epilogue, an ending. But there’s none.
If Dark Souls III is a «Best of compilation», buying Season Pass gets you the Deluxe Edition of that compilation. You get bonus tracks, which are very good, but, as the compilation they’re part of, nothing really fresh. Nothing really new. Just nice solid Dark Souls that you might as well play, since the game is so great. But nothing to really miss out if you buy the standard edition.