Top Critic Average
The overall level design is, unfortunately, a bit more hit and miss than the enemy work. Ashes of Ariendal thrives on putting you into tight corridors filled with enemies, and it’s rarely a good time. The overall structure of the world is branching and open-ended, which provides the player with plenty to explore, but with the environments all looking so samey with their rocks and snow, it’s hard to tell where you are sometimes.
To me, Dark Souls 3 was a good curtain call. Ariandel, however, feels like perhaps the series has come out for one round of applause too many, and my hands are starting to hurt now from the perpetual clapping. The combat and visual design are fantastic – that was never in question – and I enjoyed Ariandel for its short runtime of four hours, but it’s engulfed in the shadow of its predecessors’ far meatier expansions.
This full-fledged expansion is no less than amazing and has delivered on many occasions through it’s addictingly raw gameplay. It holds some of the best boss fights in Souls history and the level design has improved from previous DLC entries. While I managed to gain a positive experience from Ashes of Ariandel, there were a few things that bothered me such as the lack of additional boss fights or the single arena given with Undead Match. I hope this is a taste of what’s to come with the second Dark Souls 3 DLC expansion, which is currently set to arrive early next year. For now, there’s plenty of reason to dive into the Painted World and face the challenges ahead.
From Software plays to its strengths with Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel giving players more difficult content to progress through in a big new area to explore. While a little light on big boss fights, the new multiplayer Arena mode has the potential to keep the fun going long after players have mastered and discovered all the new secrets and items this content has to offer.
The new Painted World looks gorgeous at times and exploration feels rewarding as you discover more shortcuts and pathways. The multiplayer arena seems unusual at first, but it is an interesting take on the game's PvP. Only hardcore fans will stick around for the long haul, though, so the DLC's main appeal comes from an awe inspiring boss fight at the end.
With Dark Souls' formidable reputation undisputed, other characteristics slip into transparency. Humor, long rumbling under the surface, receives a more stable focus in Ashes of Ariandel. Expectations are bent, defied, and destroyed in ways that are designed to simultaneously humiliate and impress series veterans. After five games and six pieces of downloadable content, it's hard to imagine a more suitable approach.
A piece of content that falls short of past expansions in length but makes up for it by adding a well designed assortment of weapons and spells as well as some memorable boss fights. The addition of the arena adds longevity for PvP fans or those just looking for a rumble with friends.
Ariandel is a gorgeous land and it’s a shame that there isn’t a whole lot to really explore, but it’s an enjoyable romp that lasts for a few hours and should please those who are itching for more Dark Souls. One of the strongest games of 2016 has just gotten better.
From Software once again serves up a solid piece of DLC with Ashes of Ariandel, even if it is a tad short. It's full of beautiful vistas and interesting levels, and the boss fight at the end is a good challenge for high-level players. But those looking for something new and innovative are apt to be disappointed, as this is all familiar territory for the series. Still, From Software's execution is strong in this first piece of Dark Souls 3 DLC.
The final boss fight of the DLC is one of the best in the series. We're talking Sir Alonne and Lady Maria levels of awesomeness. The quality is here, but Ashes of Ariandel's shorter nature would be completely offset by the new PvP options, if the arena weren't so laggy.
"I was looking forward to the Dark Souls III DLC season and while Ashes of Ariandel has a fairly high content density, it is somewhat lacking in terms of length and environment variety. One of the bosses is among the more interestingly designed in terms of combat in the series, but for both the bosses and the general content I didn’t get the same sense of tightly-designed, polished challenge that I usually got from Souls DLCs. It looks gorgeous and the enemies have very cool designs both visually and in terms of moves and mechanics. The addition of PVP matchmaking and custom matches will also probably excite a lot of players that are in it strictly for the competitive aspect. Overall I found Ashes of Ariandel enjoyable and interesting, but I was expecting a lot more and there was definitely a lot of precedent for a lot more. So come on, From. It’s the conclusion to your crowning achievement series. Do us and yourselves proud for the next DLC, ok? Thank you."
The Painted World of Ariandel presents a land that’s both enticing and dangerous, and there’s plenty of challenges to face even if you won’t have to face them too many times. However, unless you really love dueling in PvP arenas and can find sustained interest there, this adventure may serve as more of an appetizer than a full course meal.
Some will be disappointed by The Ashes of Ariandel, for obvious reasons, but I relished jumping back in to a game I adore, with one of the greatest bosses of the series.
Short but intense, the journey through Ariandel lands will entice longtime fans. Too bad for the very short duration of this (mis)adventure, that goes off in a few hours, voraciously consumed by those who have reached the endgame.
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While the ashen one's journey through the painted world of Ariandel does offer a very memorable finale, other sections come across a bit old hat. The journey is ultimately a satisfying one but it isn't From's best expansion by a long shot.
Splitting half the content between a mode many players won’t be interested in is an odd decision, but short as it is the new area still has that classic Dark Souls appeal.
You don't really need Ashes of Ariandel unless you've squeezed every ounce out of Dark Souls III already or thrive on PVP. I think the concept of splitting up their resources took away from the sum of both parts, but there's still plenty of challenges and surprises to warrant another bloody good time. Or a future Game of the Year version bookended romp.
The final boss fight is challenging and worth the DLC, while the PvP arena will keep fans busy for some time, but ultimately the world of Ariandel is bleakly beautiful if unsatisfying.
Ashes of Ariandel is a well-designed, 4-5 jaunt through another painted realm, with a structured PvP annex that to some may be worth the admission price alone. But it’s missing the superlative spark of previous Souls DLCs.
The Painted World of Ariendel has a bleak beauty that’s begging to be explored, but it’s all over far too quickly. Drilled down to its basic components, this DLC is one great boss fight, some decent items and a PvP arena. Unfortunately, if you don’t care about battling other players online then you're unlikely to get much out of this.
Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel is possibly the weakest of all the Souls-Borne expansions, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. While it doesn’t reach the near perfection of those before it, there is enough variety and good ideas here to support a playthrough.
If Dark Souls 3 is the franchise's greatest hits album, Ashes of Ariandel is its B-side collection – a mostly unremarkable, yet complimentary addition that hides one unmissable gem – in this case, the gloriously climactic final showdown.The bare-bones PvP arena offers a fleeting blast of adrenaline and the painted world's gorgeous wintry landscapes are enchantingly brutal, yet as a whole, Dark Souls 3's first expansion colours within deeply worn lines and falls short of FromSoftware's illustrious history of unforgettable, industry-leading DLC.
It's more great Dark Souls content, but this expansion offers few unique aspects to the tried and true formula. An additional PVP matchmaking system is a nice touch, but it could do with a bit more polish.
Dark Souls 3's Ashes of Ariandel DLC is an odd little piece of content...and little is the operative word. It's fun while it lasts, PvP receives some pretty cool new additions and the environments are gorgeous. Nonetheless, From Software is capable of so much more. This ranks slightly above acceptable.
I appreciate that multiplayer is a big deal in the Souls games, but this is the first time From Software has crafted a piece of DLC content that focuses almost entirely on that multiplayer experience, and I think this will fall flat with plenty of other Souls fans.
High-quality content that doesn’t take long to go through. If you’re a fan of the series, and its competitive (PvP) mode, you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. However, if you’re expecting many additional hours of solo gameplay, then don’t expect much.
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A soulless addition to a phenomenal franchise, which has been seemingly created only for the old guard of the Soulsborne titles. However, even the fanatical fans of the series may find the overwhelming feeling of familiarity to be too strong for its own good.
Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel misses the mark. It fails to fill a large, fresh environment with tangible reasons to stay there any longer than a few hours, and although the new weapons and gear are some of the best in the game, you'll want to play about with them somewhere other than The Painted World. Each boss battle feels generic and produces a dead end, feeling unrelated as a result. The experience constantly builds itself up but never climaxes, falling flat without spectacle leaving you to lug your new arsenal of weapons and gear back to the Firelink Shrine, your work in The Painted World apparently complete. The Arena finally constructs a functional environment for something long curated by the community, but removes something in the process thanks to reward-less matches that fail to emulate the underground fight club feeling found in the main game.
Quality always beats quantity… almost always, because Ashes of Ariandel is surprisingly short for the price tag that it currently comes with. Its desolate, frozen world is majestic, the challenge is high, the bosses are pretty neat, but it's only a small taste, when it could very well be a full meal. Hopefully, Dark Souls III's next (and final) DLC will be way more satisfying than this one.