Disclaimer: This preview of Dark Souls 3 is based on a PlayStation 4 preview build of the game and is not representative final version of the game.
Dark Souls 3 combines the glisteningly polished visuals of Bloodborne with the sense of world-building and combat of the earlier Dark Souls games. I was recently invited by Namco Bandai to preview the game, experiencing the first area the player explores and a newly revealed boss, Iudex Gundyr.One of the most noticeable changes to the Souls series and the new build of the game is how breathtakingly beautiful the world is. Players begin their quest in the Cemetery of Ash, awaking from within a coffin to a snowy mountain landscape. The area is surrounded in ash and tree roots, creating unique paths and hidden areas. I spent several moments in my short hour with the game panning the camera to see the grand winter mountains and castles in the distance that you can no doubt explore in a later part of the game. The fact that blood stains equipment and cannot be removed until the player visits a bonfire was a nice visual touch as well, despite not causing any changes to the player’s stats.
It’s clear that From Software have drawn upon their time spent creating Bloodborne as the game’s lighting effects feel reminiscent of it. Rays of sunlight glistened against my character cladded in steel armour; while ripples in puddles of water became a mesmerising sight to see. The game no doubt looks more impressive than when I played it during the network test beta, rivalling some of the most visually astounding games on the PlayStation 4. The enemy designs are also quite impressive, including the boss of the Cemetery of Ash, Iudex Gundyr. The various undead assassins cloaked in cloth felt more a kin to Bloodborne than Dark Souls, but the undead soldiers and peasants in the following area found in the test beta, the High Wall of Lodric, were docile and slow like the early enemies in earlier Souls games; although some enemies coarsely transformed into grotesque parasitical creatures which felt more like Bloodborne than anything else.