Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City delivers a fantastic finale to one of the best game series out there. The Ringed City comes with a good amount of cool new weapons, shields, spells, and most importantly, a set of new and interesting bosses to fight in a carefully crafted world.
Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City DLC review
As sad as it is, this may very well be the end of Dark Souls. The Ringed City, while short, comes packed with a great amount of lore to answer some important questions before the grand finale and conclusion.
Our journey begins in the Dreg Heap, an ash-covered ruin that looks like a set of kingdoms folding into themselves. This is also where we have our first chance to enjoy the first of many to come breath-taking landscapes in a rough world. But our path is not forward: it is downwards. We will fall many ledges and stories while meeting several of our new enemies: consumed and desperate monsters weak and fragile only in appearance. The surreal architecture is messy and disorienting but not convoluted and dense like most of the areas in the series. It is there to function as a vertical highway to The Ringed City that seems to be in the end of the world.
On our journey we will discover remnants of Lordran and Drangleic. Some will be waiting for you right in the open and others will be hidden and buried deeply enough to only be discovered by the most hardcore fans. The title never takes the easy route to refresh something old neither. While most places will look familiar, they are changed enough to feel new and vastly different. Nonetheless, it may be one of the most linear DLCs in the series, so don’t expect to find many secrets out there. There will be a few, the typical shortcuts of t he series and a few illusory walls, NPC invaders, but that’s it. The main path is as linear as it gets.
You can expect anything from 6 to 10 hours of gameplay depending on how good you are and how badly you want to taste everything the DLC has to offer. The game never forces you to fight anything but the main bosses, so you can wrap it up really quickly if that’s your thing. On the other hand, finding all the new gear, fighting all the optional bosses and mini bosses, optional routes and quests will take you a bit more. The new weapons are specially good, vastly different from what we have seen so far. And all the prizes go to The Giat Door Shield, a set of dual greatshields that lock together to create a massive double door, which you can plant in place to absorb hard hits or charge into crowds of enemies like a battering ram.
Once in The Ringed City, you will meet some visceral Hollow-eyed insect men around a marsh of sunken churches, Ringed Knights who patrol the streets with dragon-headed greatshields, a dragon, and some really interesting foes that will make you think more than the usual to get past them.
If there is any flaw, it may be something inherited from Dark Souls 2. Sometimes, it throws way too many enemies at you at once instead of setting up more interesting and fair encounters. You will even travel back to a certain familiar swamp area, which introduces an element of stealth not typical to the Souls series. There is room for 1 on 1 encounters tho, and there is even a special boss that you can be summoned to help instead of fighting against if you so desire, much like the Looking Glass Knight fight in Dark Souls 2. I can see how this cool mechanic will increase the life span of The Ringed City.
The four bosses you’ll encounter are unique and different and take some elements from my personal favorites of the previous DLC. Some of them have different phases, huge open arenas and interesting mechanics. Unfortunately, if you are playing with a NG+ character, or even if you don’t but are at least Soul Level 100, it won’t take you much to finish them off, even playing solo. None of them took me more than a few tries each, and I’m not one to brag: It took me hours to beat the final boss in the Ashes of Ariandel.
Dark Souls 3: The Ringed City has found a way to wrap up the story of Dark Souls in a way that will be satisfying for both fans and first timers. It features a short but exciting journey, mixed with cool boss fights.