Farewell, Dark Souls 3. You were loved by most but definitely not all (some dared call you worse than DS2), and even I too flip-flopped on my feelings. They were mostly strong but sometimes, like with the Nameless King, you made me waver. It’s hard not to get a little sentimental whenever the final DLC of a series you’ve sunk so much time into comes out, but here we are, with The Ringed City.
I spoke about this game in length, or at least up until the first boss of it at least, in my preview. Truth be told, whilst previews can often be a gamble I feel like I was fairly on the money with this one. It’s experimental, it’s a little frustrating and yet it’s still totally Dark Souls. This is very much a DLC where you need to take all the lessons you’ve learned throughout the entire series and really push them aside so you can learn some new stuff. You’re still gonna need those old lessons too, but the new ones are the most important.
The first lesson is to keep moving. Right from the get-go there will be a mob of Murkmen that want to kill you, and they’re a pain to kill and give barely any souls. If you don’t keep moving, you quickly get overwhelmed, even by the basic enemies. Realistically, you need to sprint past all these guys and be lead directly into the second lesson.
The second lessons is simple: falling is key. You’re gonna make some big falls, and you’re not going to take damage from them, as long as you’re landing on snow. This lesson is actually hammered in super quickly because you need to learn this to progress, and then it’s repeated quite a few times. Make sure to stop and spend some time and look at the vistas, because The Ringed City has some of the best of the game. The verticality of it actually reminds me of that very cool Dark Souls poster with the entire map shown vertically.
The third lesson is actually a bit of a strange one, but it’s that you need to follow the developer’s path. Angels will have physical forms, there’s only one path through quite a bit of the DLC, with the exception of a bit of sidetracking. Where Ashes of Ariandel used the snow to feel a little lost, a little desolate, The Ringed City has purpose, and dammit if it won’t kill you to make sure you’re going to follow that path, even if you have to die to ranged attacks or other hazards a few times to get it through your thick skull.
On the whole the DLC is very tough. I was 120 (hah, meta) when I went in, and I got my ass kicked thoroughly. Bosses will test your mettle to the fullest, as if to say “You’ve been here before, you’ve fought tough bosses, let’s see how good you really are.” Spoilers: I am average, to maybe slightly above average. Still no summons though, I’ll always have that. One of the bosses in particular is a standout, and ends up being I think one of my favourites in the entire game.
I had a tonne of fun with The Ringed City. It’s very different on the most part, but it sort of feels like an homage to the series as a whole; borrowing mechanics and environments from other parts. This is fine, I have absolutely no issue with it. This feels like a very suitable farewell to the series, in the same way that the Citadel DLC was for Mass Effect 3. It’s a celebration, and you know what? Rest easy, Dark Souls. You’ve earned it.
Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City was provided as a review code from the publisher for review purposes. The whole DLC was played before review.