Welcome back to the second installment of the Versus Series, which will be pitting Dark Souls and Dark Souls III head-to-head to determine the superior Souls experience. Unlike the first entry in this series, today’s competition is more difficult to point to a clear winner. To make a proper comparison, I started both games with the Thief class before pivoting to magic casting. I did this to get access to the Bandit’s Knife, a dagger that does bleeding damage and is so fast that it can get in three attacks before most enemies and players have a chance to react. As for using magic, I mostly didn’t until well into the mid-game runs, when I finally got access to the real heavy hitting pew-pew. That’s the sweet spot where the saying “magic casting is Dark Souls on Easy Mode” actually becomes true. Before that, playing as a magic caster is like asking for a handicap in both PVE and PVP.
Before I start, I’ll answer the inevitable question: Why did I not include Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin? The simple answer is, I just don’t like it as much as the first and third entries. I’ve racked up over 600 hours playing it on PC and PS4, so I’m not saying I hate it. It’s just that I’ve logged thousands of hours in the first and third entries, and I just keep coming back for more. That claim isn’t hyperbole, either. My Steam copy of Dark Souls Remastered has 922 hours logged. Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition has 451, and that’s not including my time on the Xbox 360 version. My PC version of Dark Souls III has 1,117 hours logged, and I played almost as many hours on PS4. By comparison, Dark Souls II has only 347 hours on Steam, and maybe half that for the PS4. Again, I don’t hate it. I just don’t love it the way I do the first and third games.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I played the series in reverse order, being initially intimidated by all the discourse about how hard FromSoftware’s games are. I avoided Dark Souls and the second entry because I didn’t feel like being abused for being a mediocre gamer, but I was convinced to try the third thanks to a video by James Stephanie Sterling. In it, they argued that the games weren’t as hard as the hype made them out to be, and what’s more they were incredibly fun and rewarding. So I bought the game the day after that, going into it blind just to see who was right. Continue reading