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Are There Difficulties in Dark Souls 3?

Are There Difficulties in Dark Souls 3?

Traditionally games have had difficulty settings that players could tweak to make the experience more bearable and in some cases make it even more challenging. There is always a debate present amongst gamers where some deem it integral to their decision to play a game while others just want to be able to pick up any game and easily indulge in the art of the game itself and not be bogged down by the difficulty.

From Software is well-known for their rather inaccessible games with the birth of the SoulsBorne genre they so sadistically created. Their iconic “YOU DIED” screen is synonymous with the pinnacle of hardship in the world of gaming and has become a meme where every difficult game is given the title of or compared using these expressions; “The Dark Souls of X” or “It’s just like Dark Souls”.

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This difficulty fact alone has led many players to fend off any urge to play any of From Software’s creations and not be bothered by the grueling journey of these games.

The same goes for Dark Souls 3 where you are given a single default difficulty to play through with the game getting harder with each new game+, there is no option in the settings that can change the difficulty. There are ways with which you could augment the difficulty which we will discuss below.

Dark Souls 3 And Difficulty

An uninitiated player might glance at this game and can easily label it as difficult but to the actual players and fans, this game is just perfect. Unlike most developers From Software designs their games with the least amount of hand-holding possible, with most of their games don’t even have a proper tutorial to understand each mechanic.

You are thrown into a desolate world and the first thing you experience is death (for casual players) by some introductory enemies. After that initial struggle, you get the feeling that it’s not your run-of-the-mill hack and slash game but rather a methodical and tactical experience where every input maters, and reading your opponent’s attack patterns is crucial to the way you deal with them.

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Granted most games are essentially built with this back and forth in mind but the penalty of sloppiness in Dark Souls 3 is major where many stronger enemies can one or two-shot you easily, hence the infamous term “Git Gud” came into existence which demands you to be patient and deal with the problem a calculated approach rather than mindless swinging of the weapon.

Difficulty In Dark Souls 3

The difficulty settings here are present in a myriad of ways that are not obvious but if applied can change the way you consume this brutal game. To change up the game according to your difficulty you could use the following methods to greatly impact the gameplay:

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  • Homework: If you are a curious player you probably will do your homework and research this game before diving headfirst into this proverbial deep end of gaming. With proper knowledge you will know what to do and how to do it beforehand taking away much of the surprise, this can lead to spoilers too so not recommended. On the flip side going in blind will tickle the challenge-appreciating bone.
  • Co-Op: Enlist the help of the community or friends to share the burden of the punishment. Most of this game can be played side by side with other players. The community is filled with amazing players and you could use their expertise to demolish the challenge. On the other hand, you could solo it in its entirety to have the bragging rights of such an arduous journey.
    • Summons: There are NPC summons signs before many bosses that could help you out as well. Employ them for a similar co-op experience.
  • Farming: Souls are your primary currency to level up and if you want you could potentially farm them repeatedly from easier enemies and level up substantially to make most encounters rather trivial. You could also play the game as intended and upgrade with natural progression for normal difficulty. Or you could just ignore leveling up and give yourself the extra challenge of staying underpowered throughout the adventure.
  • Builds: The way you set up your character is most important. From your weapon and shield choice or going for spells primarily. All of these should synergize with your character stats and upgrades for the best damage output. The internet is filled with build suggestions and you could easily follow them to create one. Builds with shields are easier to play with while Parry/Dexterity is for the players looking for an added layer of challenge. There is a sub-set of challenge builds that you could use to turn up the hardness.
  • Mods: If you are comfortable with altering your game then you can use community-created mods that can make the game harder or easier.

The choice of difficulty given to the player will defeat the purpose and vision the developers are going for in Dark Souls 3. The game is purposely designed to rely on skill rather than steamrolling as most action-adventure games do. So you could use the tools the game provides you or the muscle memory you have accumulated while playing to make the experience easier or difficult depending on your taste.