Video Games

Dark Souls III new DLC “Ashes of Ariandel” revealed

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Dark Souls 3 was released in April this year and proved to be the critical and commercial success both fans and Sony hoped it would be. The Souls series – and its spiritual spinoff Bloodborne – have always drawn players in with the challenging gameplay and then kept them there with a world and lore filled with mysteries that the player is left to discover for themselves. And though Dark Souls 3 is due to be the final entry in the Souls series, it isn’t quite finished with players yet as FromSoftware has announced the first new DLC to be added to the game, Ashes of Ariandel.

FromSoftware announced this month that they would have an official announcement regarding the highly anticipated DLC for Dark Souls 3 on August 24. Where would players go next? What new armor and weapons would be added to the game? Would more light be shed upon the lingering questions players still have about Dark Souls 3 world and story? After a minor leak revealing the title of the DLC and the release date later this fall on the North American Sony Twitter account, which was promptly deleted, the full trailer was released to fans today.

The Souls games have always been first about providing one of the most thoroughly challenging – if not downright punishingly difficult – gameplay experiences of all time, rewarding players for thoughtful and strategic management of resources while punishing those who blindly rushed in. For many that is all they come to Dark Souls for, and Ashes of Ariandel looks to deliver fun new ways to be left cursing at your screen judging by the brutal new enemies showcased in the trailer. Giant Vikings, Giant Packs of Giant Wolves, Giant Undead Monster-Man (Manster?) smashing you with a bowl filled with lava. Yep, that’s the good ‘ol Dark Souls “F*ck you, players” we know and love.

But for others, what keeps players coming back to Dark Souls again and again is the beautiful world that FromSoftware has created and its many secrets. For them, Ashes of Ariandel isn’t about the gameplay as much as it is about the chance to learn more and gather new clues. After Dark Souls 3 players were left speculating where the two DLC promised in the Season Pass would go. Would we be exploring Aldrich’s vision of the Deep? Or perhaps returning to Londor of the first game? Could we learn more about Angel cult that tore apart the Kingdom of Lothric? And where the hell are those damn Primordial Serpents?

Ashes of Ariandel appears to take place in a snowy vista reminiscent of Eleum Loyce from Dark Souls 2 DLC and even more so Dark Souls‘ the Painted World of Aramis, which just so happens to be the first level ever designed for Dark Souls. The architecture of the tower atop the snowy summit is much like that seen within the Cathedral of the Deep, and the self-flagellation demonstrated by  its monstrous caretaker seems to be in line with that religion’s self-destructive and cannibalistic tendencies. Perhaps most interesting is the possible return of the Lordvessel, a golden bowl of much importance in the first Dark Souls, being wielded by a creature that looks much like Gravelord Nito.

Speculating on the mysteries of the Souls series has always been an effort in futility, so I will not attempt to offer any theories on what any of these things might mean or even if Ariandel is the name of a person or place. All that needs to be said is that Ashes of Ariandel looks to be just as difficult, have just as much interesting gameplay, and be filled with just as many mysteries to uncover as any other a Souls game as we would want. But honestly, at this point, what else would you expect out of FromSoftware.

Ashes of Ariandel will be released on October 25.

Justin, or as his friends call him, Justin, is a content provider at 301 Digital Media and a student at Middle Tennessee State University. He loves to read, use big words, and is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is.

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