Dark Souls III Now Available on PC

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Dark Souls III, the highly anticipated, third-person action-RPG sequel to Dark Souls II, is now available on the PC. Like the game before it, you're an undead avenger, and you're immediately tossed into a deadly mix of enemies; getting murdered by them in just a few minutes is a very real possibility. Of course, dying in Dark Souls is a recurring theme of the series, and you can expect to shuffle your semi-mortal coil over and over in your attempts to complete the adventure. But that doesn't mean you're a defenseless push-over—far from it. Before charging out swords-blazing, you'll have the opportunity to create a personalized character, choosing from one of ten unique classes, including Knight, Mercenary, Warrior, Thief, Pyromancer, Deprived, and others. Each of the classes specialize in certain areas. For example, the Pyromancer can cast fiery destruction from afar, and the Knight is an up-close, damage-dealing powerhouse. In addition, just about every facet of your character is tweakable. If you like, you can spend hours fine-tuning attributes such as their voice, hair type, gender, age, physique, skin color, and plenty more. You can also choose a special burial gift, which grants various bonus effects depending on the item.

After you're satisfied with your character build, you'll spawn into the Cemetery of Ash, where angry creatures and vicious beasts are primed to massacre you. Unlike real-life, fighting is usually the solution to all your problems, but you'll also want to explore the landscape for bonfires—critical resting spots that serve as checkpoints and respawn areas. Bonfires also allow you to take a load off and recover vitals. But when you're not kicking your feet back next to the flames, you'll be introducing skulls to some of your finely honed steel. To be effective in combat, you'll need to parry and block your opponents' blows, roll around the ground frantically to get out of sticky situations, and flank adversaries to stab them in their cushy backs. You can even search for the high ground and drop in from above, giving those bad guys a nasty surprise. You'll need to be careful while you're somersaulting and running though, because extended usage will drain your stamina, leaving you slow and vulnerable to attack. There are also Weapon Arts, a new addition to combat in the Dark Souls series. These are based off specific armaments, and they're hyper-strong moves, but most of them need Focus Points to operate at their peak efficiency.

Speaking of Focus Points, these are another new addition to the Dark Souls realm. They can be used to activate spells as well as the Weapon Arts, and they're represented by a blue gauge between your health and stamina. You can guzzle flasks of tasty Ashen Estus to recover Focus Points, but your supply of these concoctions is typically limited, so it's a good idea to ration them out over time. When it comes to combat, dual-wielding will be an enticing option, but harnessing a shield presents a lot of benefits too, including the aforementioned parrying skill (for some), as well as the infinitely satisfying shield-bash maneuver. You'll eventually get your grimy hands on some fabulous boss weapons too, which as you might expect, can be downright deadly. It's a good thing you've got such a wide arsenal of gadgets and tricks up your sleeves, because Dark Souls III contains more enemies on-screen than ever before. Not only that, they're faster than in the previous games, and the AI is notably crafty. You'll need brains as well as brawn to keep your extremities attached to your body; charging into a tight-knit group of opponents and just hacking away blindly is a spectacular way to revisit a bonfire.

After cutting down your enemies, you'll collect their souls, which are used as a morbid kind of currency to purchase equipment and obtain higher levels (boosting your character's stats). Another way to gain an advantage over your foes is by exploring for secret areas, which can reveal items, shortcuts, and other valuable rewards. It's well worth your time to do this, because Dark Souls III is chock-full of some amazing surprises for intrepid treasure-hunters (including some very interesting NPC subplots). Regardless of how many hidden tidbits you unveil, you'll eventually encounter Embers, which grant Lord of Cinder powers, effectively buffing your health and allowing you the ability to teleport other real-life players in to help you. This is especially handy when you're getting repeatedly trounced by a certain boss, or when you'd really like to lay the smack down on a horde of tougher enemies. Beware though, while you can summon for help, you can also be invaded by other online players as well. Plus, Embers are limited, so you won't want to trigger them haphazardly.

On top of the satisfying gameplay and deep, engrossing combat, Dark Souls III looks gorgeous on the PC, especially with a speedy graphics card such as a GeForce GTX 970, GTX 980, or GTX 980 Ti (Dark Souls III developer From Software recommends the GTX 970 for the smoothest playing experience). There are lots of visual settings to play with too, including texture quality, shadow quality, shader quality, reflection quality, antialiasing, and more. Plus, by using an NVIDIA GeForce GPU, you can take comfort in knowing that the most recent game-ready drivers will always be available from GeForce Experience, as well as one-click graphics optimizations.

System requirements for Dark Souls III are below:

Minimum:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, or Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2500 3.1GHz or AMD FX-6300 3.5GHz
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 20GB available space

Recommended:

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, or Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz or AMD FX-8350 4.0GHz
  • Memory: 8GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 20GB or more available space

For more information on Dark Souls III, there are loads of quality reviews available from sites such as PC Gamer, IGN, Polygon, RockPaperShotgun, and Eurogamer. And the praise for the game so far is overwhelming, earning a 4.5 out of 5 on Games Radar and a 9.5 out of 10 on IGN. PC Gamer states in their review: “Dark Souls III is one of the most engrossing, cohesive games I've ever played, and the most focused, potent game in the series.” You can pick the game up right now on Steam or from the Dark Souls III website.

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