Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel Preview

What’s more nerve-wracking than tackling a brand new area in Dark Souls III which is capped off with a grand battle against the boss? Having to do that in a room full of people and, due to some preview save file limits, have to do it within ten tries or that’s it – you aren’t fighting that boss again until it’s officially released!
Before I talk about the boss though, I want to talk about the new, chilling area that is Ariandel. Ariandel has snow as far as the eye can see and it’s absolutely gorgeous – I love snow in video games, and it’s a perfect fit for Dark Souls as now the area is as goosebumps-worthy as the fearsome foes that’ll send you to that familiar ‘You Died’ screen more than a couple of times. Ariandel is haunting and it can sometimes be difficult to see ahead due to the masses of snow and, you guessed it, things are hiding in that snow that definitely want to give you a bad time. Despite the many traps and murderous beings, Ariandel proves to be a beautiful location with gorgeous nature and pure, white snow covering fallen buildings – it’s a very gorgeous area, but I’d be wary from taking a pleasant stroll and sightseeing.
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Ariandel has snow as far as the eye can see and it’s absolutely gorgeous.

Most of the new enemies consists of groups of agile wolves and viking-like, hulking men with extraordinary strength that had me running for the hills, and insects which were easy to kill but disgusting to look at. The area I played was cut off by a bridge (which Bandai Namco insisted we did not cross, and one player had their controller briefly removed whilst a staff member slashed the bridge apart so that they would fall to their death) and so I didn’t even set foot on it – trust me, I wanted to but apparently there are ‘Miyazaki secrets’ beyond that bridge. Dark Souls III has interesting and grand lore that’ll only be expanded with Ashes of Ariandel, and I’m excited to see more.
I died a few times, mostly against the boss and a giant wolf which managed to catch me off-guard, but in the end I managed to conquer the area despite it’s best efforts to not let me continue – one enemy throwing giant spears from the top of a tall building was certainly giving me trouble! Well, it was until I went up there and knocked him off. Whilst the first area is dominated by the speedy and overwhelming wolves, it’s the viking-like men who populate the second area and they loom over you from above with high defence and strength – they’re faster than they look too, and you’ll want to do some quick parrying to get hits in.
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If you aren’t quick enough to dodge, parry or block, then you’ll see your life fall within 2-3 hits.

However, what you really want to know is this – will the bosses give you sweaty palms and an adrenaline-fuelled, heart-racing battle? And yes, yes they will! I won’t keep you on tenterhooks very long. You all know of me and my gaming prowess (it’s there, I swear!) and I managed to annihilate the boss. Okay, I was on my final go and another attendee recommended I try another sword as it was able to easily stagger the boss but hey, it’s not like I handed the controller over and took all the credit, alright?!
The featured boss is not the hardest boss in Dark Souls III by any means (not whilst Nameless King is still in the game!) and I won’t go too far into it, but it’s a fight against two enemies who’ll keep you on your toes and if you aren’t quick enough to dodge, parry or block, then you’ll see your life fall within 2-3 hits. The character build I was given isn’t quite like the one I’ve built in my game but it was still a powerful level 100 and yet I still fell quickly when attacked. However, if you do wish to know a little more (if not, avert your gaze from this paragraph) then know that the first part of the fight is against another human but mid-way through everything changes with the arrival of a familiar enemy from earlier in the demo, and then it becomes a fight where the human favours magic whilst his ally is aggressive and gives you very little reprieve.
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My small taste with it definitely has me hungry for more!

My Ashes of Ariandel preview may be brief, but it’s an expansion I’m really excited for when it releases on 25th October, and you can bet we’ll be covering the entire journey once it releases. My small taste with it definitely has me hungry for more!

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