Amazing world, but serious boss issues

User Rating: 6 | Dark Souls III PC

The good first: Dark Souls 3 is a gorgeous-looking game with a lot of variety, whether we are talking about environments, enemies, or skills and items. It is a world that makes you want to explore it, no matter how hard it gets — and it does get hard, to the point of sadistic, but it makes the reward for reaching a new location, or obtaining a new item, all the greater.

However, the game has a huge problem, and that is the bosses. First off, a boss is never next to a bonfire (respawn point). Every time you die in a boss fight, you have to backtrack to the boss's location, which often involves avoiding lesser enemies and never takes less than a minute. This is stupid. It's not challenging, it's not "hardcore", it is a waste of my time, period. The second part is farming. I have spent over 60 hours playing this game, and I can confidently say that at least 50% of this time was spent on farming, because, at the outset, the damage a boss did to me, and I to it, were ridiculous, in the opposite senses of the word. Clearly, this is also a huge waste of time that points to a serious balance issue. The third, and most important part, is the boss behavior. In a game that has bosses, a boss's attacks are usually clearly telegraphed and difficult, but always possible to avoid. In this game, your typical boss’s attacks are so fast, and their hitboxes so huge, that they are physically impossible to dodge — and many of them will kill you in one hit. Beating a boss in Dark Souls 3 is thus about 20% skill and 80% catching a lucky break where it doesn’t use its most devastating attacks, or you happen to be out of range when it does. I had fully realized this by the time I faced the Dancer, and beating her gave me no satisfaction. I hadn’t outsmarted her, hadn’t learned her attack patterns — I had been doing the same things I had done an hour earlier, except, this time, I had gotten lucky, and she hadn’t. I dropped the game on Dragonslayer Armor. Having spent about three hours fighting it, I asked myself, “Why am I even doing this? Surely I have better things to do with my time?” The answers were “Beats me” and “Definitely, yes”, respectively. To be clear: I didn’t rage quit. I wasn’t angry or frustrated, I was bored. I had been doing the same thing over and over, in the full knowledge that my efforts contributed very little toward the final result, which I knew would not make me any happier, and it was mind-numbing. Games are supposed to be fun, and there is a lot of fun to be had in this one, but the price had become too steep.