Dark Souls III - Ashes of Ariandel
Top Critic Average
The Ashes of Ariandel breathed new life into a game that was already strong and vital, and set the stage for the final chapter in its dark saga.
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.
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.
Ashes of Ariandel offers more Dark Souls III, which can only ever be a good thing in my book.
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.