Remember those bits in Demon’s Souls when you finally overcame a tough stage or defeated a boss that had been smashing your broken body into the ground every time you scrambled through hell on earth just to get to him? Felt good, yes? Well, it’s a good thing you probably still have plenty to do in Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, because despite Strength of the Sword 3 proudly wearing its tough difficulty badge with honour, it’s amateur hour when it steps into the arena with its rivals.
I like to think I have a fairly sound knowledge of games released in the last ten years, so it was with a mild sense of shame I accepted the task of reviewing part three of a series I’d never heard of. After my first hour with the game though, I was convinced something was amiss. How the hell had this monster managed to escape from a dev kit beforehand? Had it always been like this?
Well, no. This is the first game in the series. With the developers skipping to number 3 to emphasize how this would include all the good parts and a culmination of efforts as if it was riding the strong momentum of two previous games. Sequels are not a part of the developers’ plan as DLC will be the only way of expanding. Maybe they didn’t think of all the gamers that haven’t heard this reasoning and won’t bother with the game because they think there’s no point coming into a series having ‘missed’ the last two games.
To focus on gameplay, the story is down to the barest of minimums. You’re a knight, fending off the forces of evil in a medieval fantasy setting. Goblins, phantom knights, wraith-like creatures. The usual sword fodder. Graphically it has a reasonably colourful art-style with nicely animated opponents, although there’s not much room for variety as opponent types don’t vary much and you don’t face many at once. The latter being a good thing as it turns out.