Dark Souls III - Ashes of Ariandel
Top Critic Average
Evocative and visually inspired, Ashes of Ariandel is a brief but masterful amalgamation of the Dark Souls series' greatest strengths.
A decent enough expansion, but it doesn't reach the great heights of previous post-launch outings.
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.
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.
A new painted world serves as the setting for the first Dark Souls III DLC--with a new host of goals, enemies, and loot, but not much else.
Ashes of Ariandel is the best Dark Souls 3 has ever been
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.
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.
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 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.