Parents' Guide to

Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel

By Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Tough, bloody expansion to hard game tests gamer patience.

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Now even the trees are trying to kill us in this difficult, brutal expansion to an already challenging role-playing game.. Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel begins in a snowy forest where wolves, giant bugs, zombie-like people, and yes, even towering trees, attempt to snuff out our lives. But while they will often succeed, this expansion isn't quite as formidable as the game upon which it builds. This is partly due to a surprisingly liberal sprinkling of flaming swords (the game's version of a checkpoint), but also several areas where enemies are either infrequent or weaker than expected. The bosses are still devilishly challenging and will likely take multiple attempts to defeat, but getting to them isn't quite as hard as it was in Dark Souls III.

This allows players to take time to appreciate the sights, which -- much as they were in the base game --are bleak yet beautiful. The snowy forest that players start in eventually empties in branching paths to evidence of civilization, including towers and a labyrinthine village. Here, players need to be wary of rocky precipices and narrow bridges, while climbing ladders and running across roofs. This all has to be done while remaining vigilant and prepared for whatever may or may not be waiting around the next corner or hanging from a secluded ledge. Ashes of Ariandel doesn't really alter or add much to Dark Souls III's murky story or daunting challenge, but it does give players who didn't want the original to come to an end an additional five or six hours of the game they so enjoyed.

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