Dark Souls 3 Bosses Ranked — Easiest to Hardest | Beginners Edition

Dark Souls 3 Bosses Ranked — Easiest to Hardest | Beginners Edition

Includes Ashes of Ariandel DLC and The Ringed City DLC bosses

Image for postDark Souls 3 ? Uh is this Easy Mode??

Dark Souls 3 is a difficult game. It?s fun and rewarding for sure, but in a frustrating kind of way. It requires a very specific temperament and play style.

In the Dark Souls 3 experience, bosses vary in terms of difficulty and engagement. Some bosses serve as skill tests, while others advance the story. Some are puzzles, while others test your endurance. Each are fun in their own way, and what you?ll like and dislike about each fight will be determined largely by, like I said earlier, your temperament.

This rank is therefore aimed at NEW players to the series. Noobs and beginners. Not for the pro gamers and speedrunners, who play on dancepads and bananas.

For some context, this is the 2nd From Software game I?ve ever played, with the first being Bloodborne. This will also be the LAST Dark Souls game I will ever play.

Details on why, after the ranking.

This boss rank comes in 2 parts:

1. Dark Souls 3 Bosses Ranked from Easiest to Hardest (For Beginners)

This list ranks each boss in difficulty for beginners, from:

Meh ? Hey, it?s alrightChallenging ? Now that?s more like it!Fun ? More please!Frustrating ? What the hell?Brutal ? Fuck this game

2. Dark Souls 3 Game Mechanics and Analysis

Some quick context on how the game plays, how I approached it, as well as what?s overrated, underrated and nonsense.

* SPOILERS AHEAD! *

Dark Souls 3 Bosses Ranked from Easiest to Hardest | Beginners Edition

Meh Bosses

None.

Unlike Bloodborne which sometimes presented normal enemies with boss size health bars, all of Dark Souls 3 bosses have been exceptional.

Challenging

24. Iudex Gundyr

Image for postIudex Gundyr

Gatekeeper boss. Prevents new players from accessing the rest of the game, unless you understand the basic game mechanics and controls. Halfway through this fight, his torso transforms into a giant snake demon.

The erratic phase 2 isn?t great for new players to the series, and you will come to realise that:

The camera and controls in Dark Souls 3 is your biggest enemy in the game.

The snake demon torso is so big it overwhelms the camera, and you can?t tell which body part is attacking you: the giant arm, the bardiche, the snake tail or the snake face.

Then, you think aha! maybe you just have to use the environment to fight bosses in Dark Souls 3! And you look to the precarious giant stone coffin for something to interact with? But nope, it does nothing.

And you realise this game isn?t as creative or genius as people make it out to be.

23. Deacons of the Deep

Image for postDeacons of the Deep

Puzzle boss. NOT a skill test boss. If you get the difference and know what to expect, then it?s a fun fight.

You quickly realise your attacks on the mob don?t do any damage to the boss health bar, so you go for the obvious glowing deacon. Then it becomes a race against time ? the longer you fight, the more likely you will die from curse.

Fun for what it is!

It?s also in a giant empty arena for no discernible reason. After the fight you go around looking for something interesting. Nope. Nothing.

22. Curse Rotted Greatwood

Image for postCurse Rotted Greatwood

Puzzle boss. You damage it by hitting the flapping white pus sacks, and the boss will flinch in pain as they explode like zits! Halfway through, the floor caves in and now you?re in a ditch fighting a pus hand that grew from it?s vagina.

Yup.

Game mechanic is interesting, but it doesn?t make sense that the vagina pus sacks are dragged, smacked and jumped onto by the bosses own actions without taking any damage. It literally rolls onto the pus sacks without any averse effects. And some of the pus sacks don?t pop even if you stab them ? because you see they?re PHASE 2 ONLY pus sacks and are therefore invulnerable.

And how do you survive that drop when gravity kills you every other time? Nonsense.

Also the pretty courtyard with pink flowers with all the doors? Go nowhere. It?s just set dressing for the boss arena.

21. Crystal Sage

Image for postCrystal Sage

Interesting fight against your first magic caster. Just keep whacking the Crystal Sage until it teleports, then repeat. Phase 2 introduces clones which don?t count to the health bar, and just get in the way.

But when all the clone Crystal Sages cast their magic beams all at once in the same direction, you will instantly die every time.

And there?s a ramp off to the side of the arena that goes nowhere and does nothing. I thought it was for a plunging attack or something cool. No such luck I?m afraid.

Fun

20. Oceiros, the Consumed King

Image for postOceiros, the Consumed King

Erratic and hectic boss that doesn?t shut up about an invisible cat baby. Also I can?t tell if it is blind or not. Does ice magic, charges and spins like a tornado, and flies.

Technically an annoying and frustrating fight, but at this point in the game everything was so insane I couldn?t stop laughing.

19. Yhorm the Giant

Image for postYhorm the Giant

Puzzle boss. Hardcore players will always complain about puzzle bosses, because puzzles are solved once and don?t test progression in skill. So if you don?t get the purpose of this boss, you probably go through real life confused and frustrated.

See there?s this special sword in the room, and you have to learn how to use it to beat the boss with it ? and only this boss. I didn?t know how to use any Weapon Arts in my first run through, so this fight gave me a lot of grief. Attacks did bugger all damage. But when I figured out the mechanic and the result from that mechanic, it was awesome!

I do agree that it?s really dumb this special move doesn?t apply to the rest of the game and is therefore gimmicky, but the first time you charge up and use Storm Ruler, phwar?

18. Ancient Wyvern

Image for postAncient Wyvern

Puzzle boss. Like the Yhorm lesson, you quickly realise your attacks are the equivalent of smashing your head against a brick wall in the hopes it?ll eventually crumble. And that could be either because you?re too under level for this part of the game, or there?s a different mechanic to the fight?

A clue on the ground leads you in the right (left) direction and as you climb through the castle the conclusion is so satisfying! Not to hardcore gamers, oh no, they want the option to head butt the dragon until it dies.

Their fancy will still be tickled to satisfaction later (See #1 on this list).

I also don?t understand why you?re teleported after the fight.

I?m sure it?s in the item description lore.

17. High Lord Wolnir

Image for postHigh Lord Wolnir

Puzzle boss. Old school video game logic where you attack the super obvious weakness. Hit the hands? Useless. Go for the ribs? You die from poison gas.

But when you hit the obvious gold bracelets, they do no damage… BUT they make a very distinct sound! Enough for you to keep going at it, and when they finally break the aha! moment is fun!

Less fun is ? much like Yhorm the Giant & Ancient Wyvern ? this gimmick exists NOWHERE else in the game.

16. Vordt of the Boreal Valley

Image for postVordt of the Boreal Valley

Skill test boss. Teaches new players to get in close to attack, and not hesitate. I?m not kidding about getting intimate ? to win you have to hold forward until you?re literally INSIDE Vordt, hitting it?s stomach and butthole to victory.

Vordt can?t attack you if you?re inside it?s anus.

Weird lesson, but okay. Thank you Dark Souls 3.

Frustrating

15. Aldrich Devourer of Gods

Image for postAldrich Devourer of Gods

A great upgrade to your fight with Crystal Sage! The many one shot magic attacks require solid dodge timing and spatial awareness of the room. It?s fun, but more frustrating than fun.

The pillars break, but I don?t know how it affects the fight. In Dark Souls 3, enemy attacks often hit you through walls and floors, whereas your weapon usually bounces off with a clink.

Dumb and unpolished combat system.

14. Old Demon King

Image for postOld Demon King

The boss room just kinda sitting there by the Smouldering Lake, like a rural caravan park. Like Curse-Rotted Greatwood, this room doesn?t even lead anywhere even though it feels like it should. I thought maybe it was a puzzle boss, with the giant ballister and giant electric worm outside as clues? Nope.

It?s another whack it and dodge fireballs until it dies boss.

As you play Dark Souls 3, you?ll come to realised the idealised game in your head is way more interesting and fun than what actually got made.

13. Champion Gundyr

Image for postChampion Gundyr

The best duel in the base game! Coming from Bloodborne I don?t like this whole Dark Souls shield fight thing, which makes this bardiche only boss fun as hell. Unrelenting to the point that you can?t even heal, with lots of spin moves and punishing combos.

Awesome fight!

My only problem is the hit boxes can be a little unfair, and will often catch you with invisible bullshit. But Champion Gundyr?s hit boxes aren?t as bad as further down this list?

12. Abyss Watchers

Image for postAbyss Watchers

Frustrating? Yup. Cool and stylish, yet difficult and fair? Absolutely! The chaotic fight-anything-that-moves vibe for phase 1 is just brilliant! Such an amazing set up to the 2nd phase duel too, making this ? along with Champion Gundyr ? one of the best fights I?ve ever played in any video game!

11. Champions Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf DLC

Image for postChampions Gravetender & Gravetender Greatwolf

Fighting wolves in video games suck. They don?t behave anything like you would expect. The wolves in Ashes of Ariandel will often strafe me right off a cliff.

Fighting an AI PvP NPC with a large wolf summon is even worse. It?s so boring. Only frustrating when the wolf spams it?s unrelenting bites, shoulder slams and tornado charges.

10. Dancer of the Boreal Valley

Image for postDancer of the Boreal Valley

I enjoyed this boss fight so much ? the fighting style, dodge timing and atmosphere is so very different from every other enemy in the game! Every other enemy in Dark Souls 3 is like a bass or drum line ? rhythmic and simple to follow.

Fighting the Dancer is like a melody ? more difficult to follow, but the pattern is there if you can see it. Punishing long combos.

This fight made me long for a Rematch or Challenge mode for boss fights, which Dark Souls 3 doesn?t have.

9. Dragonslayer Armour

Image for postDragonslayer Armour

Coming from Bloodborne where dodging and parrying are king, I dislike shield enemies the most. Dodging with poking back and forth sucks. Breaking poise sucks. Stun locking whacks sucks. Not fun to play at all, and I used an NPC for help. The 2nd phase projectiles were more annoying than anything else.

8. Lorian, Elder Prince & Lothric, Younger Prince

Image for postLorian, Elder Prince & Lothric, Younger Prince

Hectic and unrelenting fight! Phase 2 is just a drawn out phase 1, which sees you going toe to toe with a teleporting fire sword.

It was the first real fight where you have to roll into attacks and use the iframe mechanic. I disliked iframes in Bloodborne too, because it?s so unintuitive to me… Rolling into an attack? What the hell kind of sense does that make?!

Still, a fun boss to take on.

Really forces you to judge wind up animations, and time your dodges. And do you attack once, twice or three times in retaliation? Can?t get greedy in Dark Souls 3, because the crippled prince giant just dropped his KNEES into your face.

Honorable Mentions

Outrider Knights

Image for postOutrider Knights

To a new player these guys are incredibly difficult to take on! Like Prince Lorian, they have very specific dodge timings and roll combinations you have to learn.

Halflight, Spear of the Church DLC

Image for postHalflight, Spear of the Church

Technically a boss. But also technically a PvP invasion with an assist heal and AoE attack. Boring.

Dishonourable mention.

Brutal

7. Pontiff Sulyvhan

Image for postPontiff Sulyvahn

This boss made me feel shame for not wanting to get better at the game.

But not by a lot, because fuck Pontiff Sulyvahn.

In Bloodborne I was a parry pro ? my timing was on point. It took some time to learn, but the timing eventually clicked. But Dark Souls 3 has a much less precise parry mechanic with awkward attack and counter animations, which made the game harder to get better at parrying with:

  1. The timing for the enemy attack animation is really awkward. For example, you can parry even with your back to the enemy! Just didn?t make any sense.
  2. The parry and backstab animation is awkward ? the enemy freezes, and everything just gets teleported into place. Sometimes.
  3. You lose health on successful parries! And unlike Bloodborne, you don?t earn your health back.
  4. If you miss a parry, with a tough enemy you?re pretty much stunlocked into a combo until you?re dead.

That last point got me every time with Pontiff Sulyvahn. I couldn?t consistently practice parrying him, and was killed at every attempt. Some of his attacks and combos have no wind up animation, and the camera flips around and just goes berserk. A lot of the time you can?t even see what?s going on! Especially when he summons his purple clone.

I had to resort to 2 NPC summons to beat him. Not my finest moment.

To beat Pontiff Sulyvahn like a pro requires endurance, and an intimate knowledge of every attack animation and nuance of the jumpy camera:

In that YouTube tutorial linked above I know what?s going on and yet I STILL can?t see what?s happening! Can?t see shit, let alone react to it? Pontiff Sulyvahn was where I stopped learning to get better at the game.

Bit of shame there, but shame nonetheless.

6. Soul of Cinder

Image for postSoul of Cinder

The final boss of the base game. I like how Soul of Cinder cycles through different fighting styles to keep you on your toes. Really atmospheric setting too! I?m less a fan of the cheap awkward bits though.

For example, the hitbox of the 5 hit combo is unfair ? you can be behind Soul of Cinder and nowhere near the sword and the sword will swing 540 degrees around and STILL catch you in the full animation! This is just one of many cheap, cruel endurance fights.

I?m not a fan of endurance fights, but they?re very popular with the hardcore gamers. Soul of Cinder has punishing difficulty, but it?s doable ?Worth it!? difficulty.

5. King of the Storm/Nameless King

Image for postKing of the Storm/Nameless King

Cool as hell and the hidden boss of the base game! Phase 1 gives every noob trouble: in this phase the camera is your true enemy. The dragon bird flies around you AND over you, so you can?t see what?s happening. You can?t see shit.

Then you go aha! and realise it?s because your fingers are in the wrong place?

So you hold the controller differently. With a thumb on each analog stick ? you simultaneously strafe and control both the player and camera ? that?s normal. But now you have a curled forefinger on [O] ready to dodge the lightning bolt and dive attack. My right hand felt like a swamp crab claw, but it worked!

Then you hit the dragon bird head enough times, and you get a Phase 1 ending riposte. Sick!

Phase 2 is just as cool, but when you inevitably fuck up learning all of Nameless King?s attack animations, you have to fight the dragon bird phase again. And again and again. That endurance part is exhausting.

And the Nameless King switches attacks between slow AND quick, both requiring knowledgeable reads of timing and reaction speed. Brutal but fair fight, and a great way to end the game!

Which I can?t say about the DLC bosses, and the Top 4 in this list?

4. Demon in Pain & Demon from Below / Demon Prince DLC

Image for postDemon in Pain, Demon from Below / Demon Prince

Endurance fight: You fight 2 fire/toxic demons simultaneously. And then in Phase 2 you fight a giant pimped up combo version. Really wore my resolve down, this boss fight. Again, fuck the camera ? it can?t handle large erratic enemies.

I used an NPC summon to help take the heat off me while I swung at it from behind.

Shame.

3. Sister Friede & Father Ariandel/Blackflame Friede DLC

Image for postSister Friede & Father Ariandel

Endurance fight. You fight Sister Friede and she goes invisible and knocks you out you with a punishing grab from the shadows! Then you learn how that works, so now you?re ready for her by listening and watching the environment? It?s cool as hell!

Then in Phase 2 Father Ariandel joins in and they both share this massive health bar, so now you?re juggling the camera between a small NPC enemy and a giant screen filling enemy. You can?t see Sister Friede behind the big guy until she executes you with her scythe. Then she heals, and the big guys covers her with a wave of unavoidable fire at the same time, and they usually get full health back because you can?t attack shit in the fire without dying? That sucks, but you deal with it.

And when you beat finally them both you get a Titanite Slab as your reward! But then you spill your drink because it?s a ?fuck you? fake out and there?s a PHASE 3 with Sister Friede coming back as a zombie that goes invisible and everything is cold even though everything is also on fire.

Cool as shit.

Then, everything SUCKS.

Learning the attacks of phase 3 gets tedious, because you have to go through Phase 1 and 2 EVERY SINGLE DAMN TIME. It was such a slog to play this boss, and I didn?t have the endurance to play it again and again. In terms of difficulty, why this wasn?t the end game boss of the series instead of Slave Knight Gael, I have no idea?

I had to summon an NPC for help. Again, shame.

2. Slave Knight Gael DLC

Image for postSlave Knight Gael

The true final boss of the Dark Souls series, fought at the end of the world. So epic and so damn cool!

I would?ve ranked Sister Friede and Father Ariandel as #2 instead if it wasn?t for one thing ? no NPC summons. I had to go at it solo.

Fuck.

Fun, epic and heart pounding fight. Also an endurance fight, but unlike the other DLC fights in the top 4 I enjoyed this one the most: it reminded of the Orphan of Kos fight in Bloodborne, which I love so much. Slave Knight Gael bounces around the arena like a gorilla, tears into you with wide sweeping moves like Dancer of the Boreal Valley, and doesn?t leave you any breathing room. Then in Phase 2 he powers up and goes into his desperate finale berserker mode. Incredibly atmospheric boss fight, and a satisfying conclusion to Dark Souls 3.

Cool as hell, but a fight I had to revisit over multiple days.

1. Darkeater Midir DLC

Image for postDarkeater Midir

The spiritual final boss of Dark Souls 3, and for the true fans of the series who keep wanting to fight damn dragons for some bloody reason. Why? What?s the appeal of fighting a dragon with a massive health bar?

Bragging rights, and that?s it.

Midir is just a brick wall in the shape of a dragon. Unpopular opinion, but it?s mine to have.

See, Midir is a true endurance fight.

The giant health bar makes the whole thing tedious, but the one shot attacks means that the 30 second commute back to the fight on long ladders and drops is ever so painful. I mean, why doesn?t the drop down to the boss kill you? Is it all ash piles down there? Fuck off, I call bullshit.

Like my other gripes with the massive bosses, Midir is just too big for the camera it just can?t handle Midir moving around and above you.

The camera always locks onto it?s head, which is your first clue to attack the head ? it does double damage compared to the safer arms or legs. But it?s a long, slow, and boring slog. It wasn?t fun or exciting at all. And so when I finally finished this tedious fight, I was exhausted and it wasn?t satisfying at all.

Fuck this boss, and fuck this game. What a waste of time.

I conclude this rank with an unpopular opinion:

Midir isn?t difficult: Midir is just awkward and cheap. And so is much of Dark Souls 3.

Disagree with me? Dark Souls 3 is a good game, but it isn?t for me.

So that?s the end of the boss ranking! If you want to understand why I feel Dark Souls isn?t for me, read on.

2. Gameplay Mechanics and Analysis

I?ve beaten Dark Souls 3 three times: first as a Knight, second in New Game Plus, third in another profile as a Pyromancer.

My problem was because I came from Bloodborne and had no knowledge of Dark Souls 3, I tried to play the game hard and fast with rolling and dodging. So when I finally adjusted and adapted, the contrasting experience made much of Dark Souls 3 feel slow, awkward and cumbersome.

Playthrough 1 ? Knight

Weapons of choice: Long Sword/Black Knight and Grass Crest ShieldClass: Knight80 hours of gameplayEnd Level 150

On my 1st playthrough, I had to learn the game mechanics from scratch. For example, I spent 10 minutes just figuring out the magic attunement spell system! I was always lost, couldn?t comprehend the story and characters, didn?t understand and use many of the consumables, died all the time from ambushes, mobs, falls, etc. I did my best to bash through everything with swords. Slow and frustrating experience.

I was told to expect Dark Souls 3 to be challenging by being hard but fair, but in reality it was just exhausting. Combat was slow, I had no idea where to go or what to do, and I questioned my sanity on whether or not I was wasting my time.

I like Bloodborne, so why didn?t I like Dark Souls 3?

I felt that only certain aspects of the game were fun and satisfying, with the rest being either annoying or tedious. I didn?t mind dying but the deaths that I felt were cheap or unfair through no fault of my own? that really gets me.

Playthrough 2 ? New Game Plus

I feel like you?re forced to play the entire game first as a Knight, before you can explore the rest of the game as another class. Everything felt like it was designed around whacking things with swords.

Second time around, I wanted to do cool shit. I wanted to play around with spells, different weapons, armour and rings, etc. So I reallocated attributes at Rosaria. And in New Game Plus I learnt a lot about Dark Souls 3.

I learnt that you can?t play stealth ? because every boss will tear you a new asshole. And you can?t play at range with a bow. And that you need to use open source spreadsheets to optimise builds…

Yuck.

I don?t care about numbers on a fucking menu screen! I just want to do cool shit. But the game doesn?t let you do that in any meaningful way unless you rummage through vague ring descriptions, buffs, and allocating fucking attribute points?

Yuck.

Hell, the game doesn?t even tell you the fucking story ? you have to read item descriptions of pants and helmets to know what the hell is going on! There are cutscenes, but they don?t explain or advance bugger all. And everyone is always laughing for some reason.

Again, yuck.

A lot of the good and fun gear in Dark Souls 3 require either a very high attribute level, or is only obtainable towards end game and therefore only used in a new play through. You?re FORCED to play New Game Plus. Frustrating, but maybe New Game Plus is worth the price of admission and way more fun? Nope. Same experience, but enemies have more health and hit harder.

Fuck that.

So with my knowledge of Dark Souls 3 and it?s game mechanics in New Game Plus, I started a new profile as a magic caster.

Playthrough 3 ? Pyromancer

Weapons of choice: Deep Battle Axe/Dragonslayer?s Axe and Pyromancy FlameClass: Pyromancer50 hours of gameplayEnd Level 120

And it was cool as shit running through the game as a Pyromancer! Throw giant fireballs at enemies who can?t hit back because they?re mostly designed for melee? Burn losers burn!

Then, these 3 bosses became next to impossible to deal with as a Pyromancer:

Old Demon King. Soul of Cinder. Demon in Pain/Demon from Below/Demon Prince. Slave Knight Gael. Midir.

Favourite Weapons

Long Sword, Dark Sword, Claymore, Hollowslayer Greatsword, Black Knight Sword, Farron Greatsword, Sellsword Twinblades, Butcher?s Knife

Fun Novelty Weapons

Farron Greatsword, Sellsword Twinblades were the only weapons I enjoyed for the variety in their attacks. Everything else you just tediously swung around and whacked shit with.

My Strengths

Just a few aspects of the game I was good at? timing attacks, back stabs, circle strafing, fighting at range, crowd control, bait and punish.

My Weaknesses

Goddamn INPUT BUFFER (more on that later), timing rolls, parrying, blocking with shields, juggling replenishment items, RPG elements, choosing weapon upgrades, infusion gems, character builds, upgrade paths, farming items, covenant items, consumable items, PvP, reading items descriptions beyond the loading screen, controlling the camera when locked on with big or fast bosses, AoE attacks, switching camera lock modes.

My Frustrations

1. The input buffer is the WORST part of Dark Souls 3. I HATE the combat because of this. I?ll explain.

You fight an enemy. You time and input attacks. That?s fine. Then you get hit, and you?re staggered or you get knocked onto your back .You have to mash [R1], [R2] or [O] buttons to get back up, and it takes FOREVER to get back into the fight.

THEN THOSE FINAL BUTTON PRESSES COUNT AS ACTIONS INPUTS AND YOUR CHARACTER STARTS FUCKING PERFORMING THOSE ACTIONS!

I?m usually yelling at my character during tense boss fights when this happens:

?Get up! Just fucking GET UP! Why are you just lying there?!?

?Move! Just FUCKING MOVE! Get out of stagger!?

?What the hell are you doing?!?

Less insightful seasoned pros will write this off as mere [R1] spamming or panic rolling, but play ANY other game and you?ll understand how frustrating this is in comparison.

2. Camera and controls in relation to the camera when locked on are insane ? it would freak out over fights with big and quick enemies, and you will lose the lock on. But by the time you figure it out you?re already dead or locked into a combo. Notable example being Phase 1 of King of the Storm/Nameless King.

I eventually had to resort to strafing and controlling the camera with the analog sticks, and dodge the lightning bolt and dive attacks with my curled index finger.

3. Why are so many of the spells and miracles only reserved for New Game Plus? I get that it?s meant to be a reward for continuing the journey, so why offer spellcaster classes as a viable option in the beginning at all? I get forcing players into New Game Plus, but what sort of complete experience is this? The game world isn?t even optimised/designed for repeat playthroughs! There?s random teleports everywhere!

4. The iframes mechanic is insane. I get the ducking and weaving aspect of fast action packed fights, but being invulnerable for a split second as an actual game mechanic is incredibly unintuitive. For example, a lot of the time you?ll be rolling INTO flaming sword attacks. Wow, that makes so much sense! What an amazing combat system!

5. The parry and dodge timing is INSANE. The animation for certain enemy attacks is practically instant ? you have no time to react, let alone block or parry. There?s no ?tell? to the next attack. Some pokes are faster than reasonable for a player to react to or even anticipate. I?m looking at you Pontiff Sulyvahn!

For a parry system to make sense, you need to at least see the enemy wind up to get ready for a swing so you can learn the timing. Not so in Dark Souls 3. Less than 15 frames of animation at 60fps in some cases. And if you?re caught in a stun lock into a combo, you?re pretty much dead.

Parrying and backstabbing is inconsistent too ? Bloodborne?s charge attack system worked much better. Really frustrating in Dark Souls 3 when a backstab misses, and the game can?t decide what attack animation to perform, so you get killed with the enemy counter. Genius.

6. All of the hidden locations are impossible to find without interacting with the Dark Souls 3 community or a game wiki. I would never have found Untended Graves without the wiki. And to reach Archdragon Peak required hippy transport bullshit.

The gross pink gargoyles don?t even fly you there! Pink gargoyles? Yeah, two gargoyles pop up a few times like Uber drivers when you literally flag them down and carry you by your arms to random new places. It?s fucking dumb.

7. Grabs. Grabs from bosses like Soul of Cinder and Champion Gundyr will nab you even if you?re nowhere near them ? even if you?re rolling away from them! The grab frame and animation of the grab is bizarre and arbitrary. It makes the game feel cheap and unpolished.

8. Trial and error character builds. I dislike RPG games for this very reason, but there are even hidden game mechanics that I will never understand ? like Hyper Armour. Poise. Dark Sign. Bonus damage to Demons/ Abyss/ Hollows/ Undead. Equip load. Left and Right Hand Weapons. AR and attack power. And what the fuck does the Luck attribute meaningfully do with gameplay?

9. The world of Dark Souls 3 was mostly designed to be experienced as a Knight build. Not assassin, spellcaster, or summoner. And even then, you have to beat the game first to even benefit from any of these builds. Spells, upgrade materials, weapons, equipment ? these are all located in the game progression to be used in New Game Plus. And with attributes you can only re-spec at Rosaria, but only a few of times.

10. The coal upgrade system is an artificial limiter and doesn?t make sense to have.

Dark Souls 3 Features I Don?t Understand

Waist Deep Water?

Why? How does slowly walking through water add to the game experience?

Illusory Walls?

Some walls make sense: In Ashes of Ariandel the fly enemies stare at an illusory wall. Secret! In Ringed City you get a clue about the knight without the sword to acess Midir. Bonus!

But every other illusory wall requires you to whack random walls and archways. In Irithyll of the Boreal Valley, there?s even an illusory HANDRAIL! And it?s the only one in the game. Are you expected to just randomly whack shit for fun and exploration?

Invisible?

Pickle Pee and Pump a Rum ? why and how are they invisible birds? And why are the jailers guarding the Jailer?s Key in Irithyll Dungeon invisible? What incomprehensible bullshit is this?

Exploration Rewards?

In Ashes of Ariandel, why does killing the Tree Woman enemies drop a fucking ladder? What?s the cause and effect there?

In the Ringed City, how does the White Branch show your HUMANITY puzzle drop a ladder? What the fuck kind of puzzle is that?

Miyazaki?

Why THE FUCK does the Dark Souls community refer to the Dark Souls and Dark Souls 3 game director so intimately by name?? Is he some sort of video game director genius? Then why doesn?t anyone talk about SHIBUYA or TANIMURA for Dark Souls 2 in the same way?

I?ll go one more with your obvious retort against Dark Souls 2:

No one bangs on and on about BARLOG for God of War, DRUCKMANN for Uncharted and The Last of Us or HOWARD for Elder Scrolls, do they?

And no one?s got shit to say about Deracine?

I?ve got more, but my point is when soulsborne players tell you to check out Sekiro Shadows Die Twice, Nioh, Code Vein, The Surge, etc. it?s just some dumb treatise on difficult gameplay versus being a gamer.

That?s it.

Conclusion

I prefer Bloodborne, but I don?t mind Dark Souls 3.

That might seem strange given I pointed out so many flaws, but that?s critical thinking for you. Play a good game, and identify the flaws which prevent it from being a GREAT game.

Here?s how I know Dark Souls 3 is a good but not great game: I?ve seen what Dark Souls 3 should?ve been. It?s called Bloodborne.

But also if you truly want the best Dark Souls 3 experience, then you have no choice but to play the free Cinders Mod on PC. It addresses a LOT of the Quality of Life aspects of the game. Check out what Dark Souls 3 should?ve been here:

I want to end by saying that Dark Souls 3 does a lot right: Level design and exploration is fun. World is fun. Enemy design is fun. Legit good times!

But when players say it?s ?Tough but Fair? and just tell new players to Git Gud? Geez we get it, you play Dark Souls. Whatever. Nobody cares.

So admit it: the combat sucks. Otherwise, the developers would have used it in Bloodborne and Sekiro Shadows Die Twice.

Disagree with me? Whatever. Don?t get your knickers in a twist.

So what?s next?

I?ll probably give Hollow Knight a go.

But more likely Assassin?s Creed IV: Black Flag.

If that doesn?t tell you my video game preferences, I just don?t know what will.

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