The greatsword was shown shortly after with another encounter with the knight. A weighty lunge felt like it moved with true mass and determination behind the motion. Miyazaki-san said that with the inspiration of Berserk, he wanted it to feel like the player is playing as Guts. While the knight was a fast and formidable opponent, a few moves with the greatsword made quick work of him; namely the two-handed lunge that followed up with an upswing that lifted the enemy knight into the air and to its death.
An important part of Dark Souls III is environmental awareness and learning to work with the tools given to subvert encounters. One interesting way to take out enemies that’s returned from previous games is to throw firebombs at exploding barrels, a move that could just as easily take out the player if they aren’t careful.
Two other weapons that got creative overhauls in Dark Souls III were the scimitar and short bow. The newly added Legion Scimitar can be used either one-handed with a shield or by using the Ready Stance, dual-wielded not unlike the Blades of Mercy from Bloodborne. Miyazaki-san said that his inspiration for these weapons was that of Legolas from Lord of the Rings. The short bow was made to be more mobile and versatile than in previous games. A rapid fire can unleash more arrows in a short amount of time. After performing a quick roll, players can also fire an arrow then cancel it into another roll and continue, assuming they have enough stamina to keep going.
The Dark Souls III demonstration ended with a boss fight against the Dancer of Frigid Valley, a phantasmal silhouette with a curvy, feminine build surrounded in wispy clothes. Her weapon was a flaming blade of mercy, a distorted fire sword that shared a similar structure to the weapon of similar name from Bloodborne. Her attacks varied amongst overhead swings, sideways swipes and a combination of the two. Halfway through the fight, she produced an ash sword and began to spin like a dervish, rotating around with visceral slashes that could easily drop an unsuspecting character from full health to near death.
Overall, it was easy to see that Dark Souls III played faster than its predecessors. For those worried about the multiplayer, From Software will be operating dedicated multiplayer servers, summoning signs, and a six-player multiplayer. Connecting to other players will use soul levels (rather than soul memory) as a benchmark.
It’s been two years since production began on Dark Souls III and Miyazaki-san joined about halfway through the prototype production, serving as director on both Bloodborne and Dark Souls III. While it was difficult to really say for sure, the story level claimed to be comparable to Bloodborne. Whether this was through conversations with NPC’s or delivered through cryptic item descriptions left to be discovered.
Dark Souls III looks to capture Miyazaki’s gothic charm and elaborate environments just like his previous works. If this brief demonstration showed me anything, it’s that “Early 2016” can’t come soon enough.