The epic conclusion to the Dark Souls franchise is on everyone’s mind. The Ringed City promised to be the most intense journey for players, but does it live up to the hype? Upon entering the DLC area, the magnificent view took my breath away, which was a common theme within this piece of content. The Ringed City completely surpassed my expectations of what could be done in a Dark Souls game, and managed to bring an incredibly satisfying end to one of my favourite series.
The Ringed City takes place after the events of Ashes Of Ariandel, and like all other Dark Souls DLC’s, you can only access it by getting to a certain area of the game. To start the DLC, players will need to get to the final level, where a bonfire will transport them to the Dreg Heap. This sets the scene, letting players know that they will need to have a mastery of the game before they can even think about accomplishing this new adventure.
The first thing I noticed about The Ringed City is that it looks a lot more impressive than the rest of the game. All different continents converge at the end of the world, so the architecture seems impossible, with buildings being toppled over and upside-down, there’s a real sense of verticality when traveling through the area. It’s incredibly gorgeous to look at the ruins of previous worlds while fighting grotesque enemies. Speaking of the enemies, almost all of them are new and original designs that look either very intimidating, or rather disgusting. The enemies all seem really fit with the area, especially the Ringed Knights who guard the elegant Ringed City. The one design element I’m not too fond of is the bosses, I feel like they were created just because they liked the idea of them, and not because they fit into the world.
The Ringed City is the hardest piece of Dark Souls content I have played. I have hundreds upon hundreds of hours between all the FromSoftware games of this style, so I would say I am pretty good at them. The enemies in the DLC use new tactics to mix up players, and it forced me to think outside of the box to deal with them. One part that particularly stood out to me was a swamp area, where an enemy summoned ghostly archers to fire at me while i fought giant bugs. Having to find cover while managing to fight the bugs in close-combat was a new challenge that I wasn’t really used to. There’s a lot more scenarios where you need to distance yourself from enemies to give yourself an advantage, really forcing players to pick their fights wisely. The new array of weapons, items, and armour also help accommodate for that. Many of them have special properties that can help players isolate enemies and damage them from a distance. For example, I have been using the Ring Knight Paired Greatswords, which are two greatswords that excel at flinging groups of enemies away in order for me to regroup, heal, and compose myself.
One of the most important aspects of Dark Souls is the bosses, and The Ringed City has bosses that seem familiar, but are refined to a point where they are enjoyable and feel only slightly nostalgic. While I don’t want to spoil the incredibly memorable moments, all four bosses were reminiscent of bosses from Dark Souls and Demons’ Souls, however their attacks are a lot more unforgiving. The mid-boss is quite cool, as it as a re imagining of That Boss in Demons’ Souls. If you played Demons’ Souls and did 3-3, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I also wanted to mention the final boss of the DLC, as this is also in a way the final boss of Dark Souls as a story, at least that we know of. This boss is an interesting choice, and was very unexpected. While I would not have thought that this enemy would be the final boss of the DLC, actually fighting it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The music was perfect, the setting was glorious, and the way the attacks looked and collided within the environment really made me feel like this was the final battle. After everything was said and done, I really felt like I had completed a phenomenal feat.
The Ringed City brings out all the best of Dark Souls 3. Fantastic design accompanied with brutal gameplay, a score of new items, and an incredibly chilling atmosphere, this DLC is the perfect sendoff to one of the most memorable franchises of all time.