|Dark Souls III|
|System(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One|
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Dark Souls III is an action role-playing video game developed by From Software and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The fourth entry in the Souls series, Dark Souls III was released in Japan in March 2016, and worldwide in April 2016.
Dark Souls III was critically and commercially successful, with critics calling it a worthy and fitting conclusion to the series. It was the fastest-selling game in Bandai Namco's history, selling over three million copies worldwide within the first two months after release. Dark Souls III: The Fire Fades, a complete version containing the base game and both downloadable content expansions, was released in April 2017.
Dark Souls III is an action role-playing game played in a third-person perspective, similar to previous games in the series. According to lead director and series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game's gameplay design followed "closely from Dark Souls II". Players are equipped with a variety of weapons to fight against enemies, such as bows, throwable projectiles, and swords. Shields can act as secondary weapons but they are mainly used to deflect enemies' attacks and protect the player from suffering damage. Each weapon has two basic types of attacks, one being a standard attack, and the other being slightly more powerful that can be charged up, similar to From Software's previous game, Bloodborne. In addition, attacks can be evaded through dodge-rolling. Bonfires, which serve as checkpoints, return from previous installments. Ashes, according to Miyazaki, play an important role in the game. Magic is featured in the game, with a returning magic system from Demon's Souls, now known as "focus points" (FP). When performing spells, the players' focus points are consumed. There are two separate types of Estus Flasks in the game, which can be allotted to fit a players' particular play style. One of them refills hit points like previous games in the series, while another, newly introduced in Dark Souls III, refills focus points. Combat and movements were made faster and more fluid in Dark Souls III, with several players' movements, such as backstepping and swinging heavy weapons, able to be performed more rapidly, allowing players to deal more damage in a short period of time.
Throughout the game, players encounter different types of enemies, each with different behaviors. Some of them change their combat pattern during battles. New combat features are introduced in Dark Souls III, including weapon and shield "Skills", which are special abilities that vary from weapon to weapon that enable unique attacks and features, at the cost of focus points. The game places more focus on role-playing, in which the character builder is expanded and weapons are improved to provide more tactical options to players. The game features fewer overall maps than its predecessor Dark Souls II, but they are larger and more detailed, which encourages exploration. The adaptability stat from Dark Souls II was removed in Dark Souls III, with other stats being adjusted. The game features multiplayer elements, like the previous games in the series.
Set in the Kingdom of Lothric, a bell has rung to signal that the First Flame, responsible for maintaining the Age of Fire, is dying out. As has happened many times before, the coming of the Age of Dark produces the undead, cursed beings that rise up after death. The Age of Fire can be prolonged with the linking of the fires, a ritual in which great lords and heroes sacrifice their souls to rekindle the First Flame. However, Prince Lothric, the chosen linker for this age, has abandoned his duty and instead chooses to watch the flame die from afar. The bell is the last hope for the Age of Fire, resurrecting previous Lords of Cinder (heroes who linked the flame in past ages) to attempt to link the fire again, but all but one Lord shirk their duty.
The Ashen One, an Undead who failed to become a Lord of Cinder called an Unkindled, rises and must link the fire by returning Prince Lothric and the defiant Lords of Cinder to their thrones in the Firelink Shrine. The Lords include the Abyss Watchers, a group of warriors sworn to protect the land from the abyss and linked by a single soul; Yhorm the Giant, who was once a conqueror of the very people for whom he then sacrificed his life; and Saint Aldrich of the Deep, who became a Lord of Cinder despite his ravenous appetite for both men and gods.