Dark Souls III has had its first DLC released in the form of “Ashes of Ariandel”, paying homage to the painted world of the original Dark Souls. Transported into a strange new world, full of snow and giants to push back our Ashen One. Our goal is to bring about the flame, travelling from snowy mounts to a monastery like building to defeat 2 new bosses.
Travelling to the Cathedral of the Deep, to the Cleansing Church bonfire, we find a new NPC knelt down at the altar. Talking to this NPC reveals little about his plight or background, yet at the end he asks the Ashen One to help him by traveling through the Painted world of Ariandel. Holding out a scrap of a painting, our character reaching out to it, we are pulled within.
Ariandel is rather straightforward in comparison to other zones, with only 1 real location to explore. There are side paths to take, most leading to new gear or challenges to test our might. Along with the new items, 16 new weapons and shields, 5 armour sets, 4 spells. 1 ring and more. Besides the new equipment we have 2 new bosses as well as a PvP exclusive map.
A first run of the DLC will last you between 2-4 hours, depending on how much exploring or dying you do along the way. With a lot of the optional areas containing new enemies or side bosses, you will find yourself low on Estus or needing a rest after the trials.
(If you want a more in-depth look at the mechanics of Dark Souls 3, then read my previous review)
Ashes of Ariandel doesn’t bring much more to the table in terms of mechanics or controls, merely extending the already existing game with a couple hours. The new enemies attack in a rather similar style to previous enemies, with a couple enemy types pretty much being a reskin. The new weapons and armour don’t add too much to the overall experience, looking vastly different in design is the only real appeal to them.
Difficulty wise, the DLC is rather easy in comparison, though there are plenty of traps and ambushes lying in wait ahead. The ending boss is quite interesting in design, but can be countered a bit too easily, vying for my top list of easiest bosses in souls.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
For the first DLC to be released for Dark Souls 3, it didn’t really meet my expectations. The difficulty takes too much of a drop, the level design is rather underplayed with the overall experience feels like an extension rather than any sort of improvement on the already existing game. The idea of the painted world, the bosses and enemies have been implemented before making the whole DLC feel rushed as well as uninventive. The ending is rather anti-climactic to top it off, leaving you feel unfulfilled in a sense without any real reward to finishing off the area.
Overall Ashes of Ariandel gets a 7/10, it extends an already great game but fails to continue the amazing story or its sense of accomplishment. A lot of the DLC felt uninspired, short and all around less compelling then the main story. With little to no form of NPCs or people to take back to the Firelink Shrine you won’t be feeling any sort of attachment to the world of Ariandel or the DLC in general.