When Dark Souls III released earlier this year, I praised it for it’s interesting narrative, immersive world, intense combat, and strong RPG elements. I’ve invested around 110 hours into Dark Souls III since release, so naturally I was very much so looking forward to the first expansion, Ashes of Ariandel. It seemed fairly interesting, and very much so like Bloodborne, which I absolutely love. I’ve spent a good amount of time with Ashes of Ariandel, and I can say that it’s definitely worth getting if you’re craving more Souls, just don’t expect hour after hour more of playtime if you aren’t a PVP player.
An Imperfect Painting
Ashes of Ariandel is set in the painted world of Ariandel, and much like Dark Souls, it’s quite cryptic with its narrative, and exploring the world is key in order to find out what’s going on. I found what was going on in the Painted World of Ariandel was fairly interesting, and I became genuinely invested in some of the characters I interacted with, and I’m even further interested to see where the characters go from here. I don’t want to talk about the narrative simply to avoid spoilers, but if you liked Bloodborne, you’ll like Ariandel too. Ariandel as an open world is also very interesting, it manages to have open stretches of area without it feeling sparse and under populated. It’s a snow covered, dark land, and that’s conveyed extremely well through it’s inhabitants. I thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring Ariandel, and some of the new weapons I found were extremely fun to use, and they manage to separate themselves from the weapons of Dark Souls III, and the same goes for the armour sets. Ashes of Ariandel has two brand new bosses and neither of them are let downs. Without spoiling anything, nostalgia is truly played on with the optional boss, and while it’s fairly challenging it wasn’t too difficult. The mandatory DLC boss on the other hand is one of the most unique, difficult, and fun fights I have ever had in a souls game. It surprised me not once, but twice with it’s mechanics and phases, it’s truly epic, truly challenging, and truly worthy of being called a souls boss. Most of the PVE content was fairly difficult, but there were some areas in the base game that gave me more trouble than most of Ariandel. PVP definitely wasn’t left out when Ashes of Ariandel was being designed, in fact, it was taken into consideration in a big way. Once you obtain a certain item, you can queue up for Undead Matches, which are essentially PVP fights in an arena, whether they be 1v1, 2v2, or an all out 3v3. The arena is incredibly well designed for PVP content, so it never got boring to play in. There’s so much time that can be invested into Ashes of Ariandel if you’re a PVP player, but unfortunately the same can’t be said if you aren’t. Ashes of Ariandel’s main content took me about 6 hours to finish and explore completely, which compared to the main campaign is fairly short. I feel like Ashes of Ariandel should’ve been a bit longer but there’s plenty here for PVP players. Lastly, Ashes of Ariandel’s environments are truly beautiful, with snow capped peaks, rot consumed buildings, decaying villages, and violent yet beautiful snowstorms cover the screen. There are some environments in Ashes of Ariandel that I absolutely loved, and I enjoyed exploring every bit of it.
Ashes of Ariandel is an okay start for Dark Souls III’s expansion packs. It’s definitely not bad, in fact it’s very much worth it if you crave more souls. Ariandel is a beautiful world, and the narrative it follows is definitely interesting, I just wish it could’ve been a bit longer for those who don’t play PVE.
-Ariandel is unique and beautiful
-Fantastic, challenging boss fights
-Undead Matches are a solid addition
-Lacking content for PVE players
Thanks for reading guys! That might be it for tonight, but i’ll put Batman up if I get the opportunity to. Thanks again, Harry 🙂