For many of us who are fans of From Software's work, the last thing that we'll have played from their oeuvre before picking up Dark Souls 3 in April will have been Bloodborne. This exceptional title - which I really think should have won Game of the Year - shares a lot of similarities with the gameplay of the Souls series. Surely this will impact on our reception of Dark Souls 3.
Personally, if I was to compare the gameplay of Bloodborne and Dark Souls, I'd have to pick the former. In saying that, I'd still rank Dark Souls higher on my list of favorite games. But there's something about Bloodborne's gameplay that had me riveted. But Bloodborne actually improved towards the end of 2015 thanks to the release of its first DLC expansion, The Old Hunters.
Bloodborne DLC & Its Impact On Dark Souls 3
The Old Hunters is masterful. The way in which Miyazaki and his team expanded upon what the original package gave us and managed to improve upon it in almost every way is exceptional. The Old Hunters is a seriously difficult expansion. The challenge that awaits you is far more difficult than any other section of Bloodborne. Additionally, the expansion introduces some weapons that are probably the best in the game. For any fan of Bloodborne, The Old Hunters is a must-play.
But then I look at Dark Souls 3 and how similar it is to what we experienced with Demon's Souls, Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2. After having played half an hour of the game at Gamescom, I can certainly say that its gameplay is familiar. Will this familiarity negatively impact on our enjoyment of the game if Bloodborne has better gameplay mechanics?
From Software have certainly added elements of Bloodborne into the gameplay of Dark Souls 3. It's faster, we have a new stance, and even some of the areas are reminiscent of Bloodborne's Gothic vibes. But could it still feel like a step back to engage with traditional Souls gameplay after the breath of fresh air that is Bloodborne? While I am slightly worried, I also have complete and utter faith in one man: Hidetaka Miyazaki.
The president of From Software realized that there was an untapped niche in modern gaming. There was the potential to make a Triple A RPG that would test your skills and drive you mad with its difficulty. Now From Software have released 3 additional games since the release of Demon's Souls which have proved this theory time and time again. We love the challenge of these games, but Miyazaki also understands that this formula can become too familiar.
Thus, he's stated that Dark Souls 3 will be the last of its kind. From Software are moving on to a new IP after its release date in order to ensure that the series' legacy is maintained and that fans don't become too familiar with its design. Therefore, I have faith that Dark Souls 3 can still surprise us in ways we can't imagine. It'll still captivate the way every other installment has, and while I have doubts that it'll be able to compete with Bloodborne's DLC, I'm sure we're still in for one of the best games of 2016.