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    Dark Souls III

    Game » consists of 10 releases. Released Mar 24, 2016

    This game melds elements from all previous Souls games and concludes the Dark Souls trilogy.

    What do you make of all the references/fan-service?

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    emfromthesea

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    I'm going to try and keep this vague for the sake of not spoiling the game. I think the referential nature of Dark Souls 3 becomes apparent quite early on anyway.

    Having recently finished Dark Souls 3, one thing that stood out to me is how heavily it leans into its callbacks to past entries in the series. Not only does the game have no misgivings about referencing the previously established lore found Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, the influence of Demon's Souls and Bloodborne is on full display. Dark Souls 2 was also no stranger to standing on the shoulders of its predecessors, though I feel Dark Souls 3 is far more overt in the ways it alludes to past themes, locations and characters. And I'm torn on whether or not I like this fact.

    I've heard some people refer to Dark Souls 3 as a "best hits" collection of the Souls series and I think this comparison is apt. Though I'm undecided on whether or not I feel Dark Souls 3 does enough to stand on its own, I did still greatly enjoy my time with the game. It's another good Souls game, after all. And I'm not above enjoying some of the blatant fan-service the game includes. Be it the inclusion of an old favourite armour set of mine, or the design of a particular boss. I guess what I'm most curious about is what the community will make of this game as time passes. I'm already starting to see some people roll their eyes at the references. I wonder if it'll be another case of Dark Souls 2 syndrome, where a significant part of the series fanbase writes it off after the honeymoon period ends.

    As an aside, I think there's an interesting comparison to be made between the Souls series and the Bioshock series. The original Bioshock and Dark Souls are still revered by many as the most significant entry in their respective series', despite both being spiral successors to a previous game in which the director became known (Demon's Souls & System Shock 2). The sequel to the first entry is the most controversial but has their die-hard fans, and both were lacking the first game's director in the lead position during development. The finale entry to both games was well received initially and features a somewhat ambiguous but fan-pleasing ending.

    Anyway, for those of you playing the game, what do you think of all the references in Dark Souls 3?

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    flaminghobo

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    I've had little to no problems with the callbacks to the previous titles. I'm the type of player to read the description of every item I pick up, whether it be something as insignificant as Rubbish or Dung Pie or as seemingly important as the items you gain from defeating bosses, and the majority of references that have been made have had some kind of lore-based justification.

    In terms of DS3 being able to stand on its own merit, I believe that it does. Similar to The Witcher 3, I believe that the game stands perfectly well on its own merits but those that have invested time in the series's previous titles will have a comparatively enhanced experience.

    As you've said, still early days, I could be wrong. However, as of right now, that's where I stand.

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    Sterling

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    I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other. But I do keep finding myself saying, "oh nice" or "right on", when I see a callback. And one in particular I was shouted "Are fucking kidding me". So overall I'm good with it. It doesn't feel heavy handed or anything. And for those that didn't play those, its not a call back for them, and there is no real hint that it is.

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    Rafaelfc

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    There is one HUGE moment in this game that blew my mind.

    So I guess i'm an easy mark for fan service in the souls games.

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    redyoshi

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    I think I'm about halfway in, I've seen some familiar environments changed to show the passage of time. Stuff like that, and even direct references in item descriptions, I don't mind at all. I'm actually very fascinated by it and find myself wanting to rush through to see what it could all be building to. One thing that does bother me though is a certain knight being pretty much exactly the same as his countryman from the first Dark Souls. It's not as thought there's no precedent for that in Souls, with Patches showing up the same way every time, but this time it did bother me for whatever reason. Unfortunately I'm pretty sure I've broken his quest line somewhere so I may have to wait for a new cycle to see how that plays out.

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    TheBlue

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    #6  Edited By TheBlue

    I love it. I'm a big fan of continuity and continuation in any series that I love. And if it comes with sweet armor sets that totally don't make any sense being there, then that's even better.

    The thing about this game is that it's very much a direct sequel to 1 and 2 whereas 2 was only vague with its connections. So I question how much of this game is simply fanservice. Though some of the level design callbacks, such as an area being a pretty blatant callback to 3-1, are fanservice-y design choices that I'm totally okay with.

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    obcdexter

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    I'm absolutely loving it.

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    Humanity

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    I think depending on how big of a fan you are or how much you dig the lore it can either be seen as awesome callbacks or slightly lazy and devoid of creativity. I fall somewhere in the middle. On one hand it's fun to see the continuity. On the other some of it is a little too on the nose where it doesn't feel like DS3 is it's own game, but rather an amalgamation of all the games that came before it. Instead of a greatest hits I would call it the great big ol' stew of the Dark Souls franchise.

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    ajamafalous

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    #9  Edited By ajamafalous

    It seems weird to spin 'references to past lore' as just 'lazy references/fan service.' Isn't that just called continuity?

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    emfromthesea

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    It seems weird to spin 'references to past lore' as just 'lazy references/fan service.' Isn't that just called continuity?

    I certainly don't think all the callbacks are lazy but there's definitely a handful of instances that feel like they were only included because they would please fans, or that they pulled a name out of the Dark Souls lexicon to slap onto something as opposed to designing something new. Continuity gets a little weird in this series with how it deals with space and time. As I said, I'm not entirely opposed to or in favour of the amount of referential stuff in Dark Souls 3. As the community digs deeper into the lore I may very well come around to many of the choices made by the developers. But at face value I think it's slightly disappointing that Dark Souls 3 plays it safe in some regards and treads much of the same ground that the previous entries did.

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    Shadow

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    They do all take place in the same world. The games take occur centuries apart from each other, but it only makes sense for some locations, themes, names (assuming family names) to still be there between titles one to the next

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    Redhotchilimist

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    I love it, but I'm not sure why. I remember being disappointed when I went back to Demon's Souls after Dark Souls and discovered that they reused so many themes and details. Dark Souls 2's reincarnation/cycle plot completely fell flat for me too. It's probably because they are very overt, and very cool. The first Siegmeyer "reference" results in such a great part not a minute after it happens, for instance. But also, it's lowered expectation and the publicity about it being the final game. It feels like a party with all your friends more than it feels like lazy rehashing because of that. I don't think there is going to be much of a lore explanation besides "time and space is weird for some reason(the reason is this is a spiritual sequel to demon's souls where it made sense)". But I'm fine with that. It's just nice to revisit old places and characters again, instead of meeting their "reincarnated" versions or shit like that.

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    thomasnash

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    If we're talking about like, items, characters and such like, then whatever. I like to believe there's a narrative in these games, and why would I get worked up about continuing a narrative?

    But I do see what people mean about like, the dragon appearing and suchlike being fan-servicey.

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    GordonDaniels

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    I haven't beaten the game yet, so it is possible that the game will correct some of my issues, but so far I feel like the callbacks hit and miss at the same time. Without spoiling anything, there is a moment about halfway through the game (I'm guessing) that is fantastic. The introduction, setup, and reveal are all done so well that I actually had to put my controller down for a moment just to appreciate what From had done. But then, some of the callbacks do just feel lazy. Andre I'm looking at you. So far I feel like its a mixed bag, and only time will tell if I eventually think it hits more than misses.

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    zombievac

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    @rafaelfc said:

    There is one HUGE moment in this game that blew my mind.

    So I guess i'm an easy mark for fan service in the souls games.

    Was it an "Amazing chest ahead! Tongue but hole"? I KNEW IT. I've had the lore figured out since day one!

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    FrostyRyan

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    It makes me happy, especially one particular weapon you get that blew my mind.

    But anyway, the statue of Solaire in Dark Souls 2 is stupider than any callback in this game. Much much stupider.

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    Alucitary

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    #17  Edited By Alucitary

    I'm fine with them bringing back a lot of characters, and referencing the old games, but the crazy amounts of copy/pasta of enemies and item descriptions is kind of getting on my nerves. Whenever I see an enemy from the old games it's cool for like half a second until I realize that I know exactly how to beat it and realize that it poses absolutely no threat to me. Also bringing back old items was a chance to flesh out the lore more and make those old items seem even more mystical, but almost every classic item I have found has the exact same text as in DS1. I read item descriptions religiously, it's probably my favorite part of the game honestly, but now every time I see an old item I feel bummed that I wont be getting more lore rather than excited for seeing an old friend, and that is definitely a bad thing.

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    emfromthesea

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    It makes me happy, especially one particular weapon you get that blew my mind.

    But anyway, the statue of Solaire in Dark Souls 2 is stupider than any callback in this game. Much much stupider.

    If you're referring to the Sunlight Altar, then I have some bad news.

    I'm fine with them bringing back a lot of characters, and referencing the old games, but the crazy amounts of copy/pasta of enemies and item descriptions is kind of getting on my nerves. Whenever I see an enemy from the old games it's cool for like half a second until I realize that I know exactly how to beat it and realize that it poses absolutely no threat to me. Also bringing back old items was a chance to flesh out the lore more and make those old items seem even more mystical, but almost every classic item I have found has the exact same text as in DS1. I read item descriptions religiously, it's probably my favorite part of the game honestly, but now every time I see an old item I feel bummed that I wont be getting more lore rather than excited for seeing an old friend, and that is definitely a bad thing.

    This is part of my problem with the callbacks/references. Continuity is good and all but many of the returning items feel less like an attempt to establish continuity and more like a way around creating something new. I'm not really learning anything new by finding these items, they're just giving me character build options that I've seen before.

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    kerse

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    I've been liking it so far except in that almost all the weapons and armor are from the old games. I like some of those armor sets a whole lot, but I would've liked to see some new stuff. I really like all the character/story/area references though. I especially liked stumbling upon Anor Londo and thinking to myself this looks very familiar. Then eventually realizing that this is actually Anor Londo. I think this was really well done as I didn't even realize it until I got to the rotating bridge and saw the giant door on that cathedral.

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    Busto1299

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    I enjoyed it for the most part. Better for a series to end with a bit of fan service that ties the whole series together than to just keep cranking these games out until nobody cares about them.

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    ArbitraryWater

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    I just ran into the certain area that calls back fairly obviously to the first game and I had a big stupid grin on my face the entire time. If nothing else, From Software is aware of the things the fandom latched onto in the first game. There's also a moment that I'm pretty sure is meant to be a Bloodborne reference and I was into that as well.

    That said, I kind of appreciated how sparse Dark Souls 2 was with its callbacks and how it was set in a different corner of that world. Dark Souls 3, by comparison, is a little dense with all the ways it references its predecessors.

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    Wwen

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    Given that this game seems to be leading up to an end to the cycle, it makes more sense.

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    Technician

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    #23  Edited By Technician

    I initially was enjoying it but by the end of the game I was kinda disappointed. It did feel like they were running out of ideas in some cases. There's a moment in this game where they try to do the same "mind fuck" trick that they did in Bloodborne which kinda soured me on the fan service. The moment was great in Bloodborne but felt tacky here.

    I really hope they stick to what they say and don't make another Souls game. They should stop while the games are still good. I could easily see DARK SOULS 4 being a bit stale, although the combat is so good I'd probably still pick it up since nobody else has replicated it.

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    FrostyRyan

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    I could easily see a fourth game being a bit stale

    So did you think Bloodborne was a bit stale then since that was the fourth one :p

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    Technician

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    @frostyryan: Haha you know what I meant, a fourth Dark Souls. Dark Souls 4. I'll make the edit anyway :D

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    PlasmaDuck

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    #26  Edited By PlasmaDuck

    I didn't really like that. They just lifted a whole bunch of stuff from Dark Souls 1. On one hand you could argue that makes for interesting lore and good levels, but I think it's just a creative cop out. It was apparent from Dark Souls 2 that From Soft doesn't have much in the way of talented level designers, and while Dark Souls 3 is better in that regard, a lot is just carbon copies from the first game. Hell the final boss is probably the most egregious example of all, I can't believe they just brought back Gwyn. I get that he's supposed to be the PC from Dark Souls 1, with the ways he switches fighting styles, but it's just a terrible boss fight. Then again, none of the Souls games have good final bosses.

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    mike

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    Just ran into a message when entering a new area that said, "Seems familiar...you bastard!"

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    mordukai

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    Not a big fan of it. I think Dark Souls 2 did it better with it's callbacks and vague connections. Actually I am seeing a shit ton of callbacks to Demon's Souls more then anything else. At the end I think the callbacks are a double edged sword. On one hand it's great seeing all the great ideas and areas from previous games distilled into one. On the other it prevents the game from truly developing an identity of it's own.

    However, if this is truly the last Dark Souls game then it's a very fitting end.

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    Tennmuerti

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    #29  Edited By Tennmuerti

    I really do think of most of it as just you know a natural progression of things/events, they have history and continuity. Especially considering the location of the game.

    Someone mentioned item descriptions here, and I would vehemently disagree that most of them are just recycled, when they are constantly different descriptions that do exactly that, give extra pieces of history of what happened to certain items or characters since the past games and how the world now views them or forgot them (and i've been super diligent collecting and reading all of them) or how new inhabitants interact with them. They close off arcs from DS1 and DS2.

    If you want new items, this game is shitting new weapons out it's ass, there is more variety in them then there's ever been and more then anyone could hope to use.

    Yea there a few pure fan service moments, but again I see 90% of them as shit that makes sense in the world and it's history and I get to know more about it.

    The exceptions would be the Demon's Souls references. But hey that game started this boom, it deserves it's.

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    Marz

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    I just feel like it's more of a sequel to the first game(though dark souls 2 is referenced and some items are brought back as well but that is some different country or continent), you are basically in the same areas as the first game but it's thousands of years in the future or something like that, so there's some familiar things brought back into light which are fitting.

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    Teddie

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    Just finished the game, and I feel fine with it. It felt like there was more new stuff than old, enough that the "big" moments they wanted to hit still hit.

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    Rodin

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    #32  Edited By Rodin

    I'm mostly fine with it, I've probably missed or ignored a bunch of them anyway.

    But the one that got the biggest reaction from me was when you find that one pyro tomb. Positively speaking

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    TheHT

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    @tennmuerti: So it's really more of a regular sequel than some unrelated thing that happens to be filled with fan service? The stuff I've seen with Anor Londo, Gwyndolin, and the final boss (not to mention the launch trailer) all make it seem like it's filled with stuff that's fair game for a proper sequel, and stuff that's more substantial than just a bunch of detached references.

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    TheManWithNoPlan

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    I haven't played the game yet, but hearing this makes me want to.

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    geirr

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    #35  Edited By geirr

    As it's supposedly the last Souls game I feel it's fine and deserved and really fascinating from a pseudo-lore perspective.

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    Tennmuerti

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    #36  Edited By Tennmuerti

    @theht: Yes it's basically just a direct sequel.

    But people were not sure at fist, as it is slowly revealed to you over the first half of the game. Also even just saying "yo dog it's a direct chronological sequel" can be considered a massive spoiler by a lot of people, since it's a thing you come to realise over the course of the game and is not super explicit at the start. So this issue was dodged a lot in DS3 discussions.

    So all these "fanservice" talks doesn't really hold much water to me in that light (especially when mentioned in the Bombcast). As it only becomes applicable to a rare few Demon's Souls and Bloodborne nods.

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    csl316

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    I like when a series ends with everything getting thrown in there. MGS 4 and Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void come to mind.

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    LegalBagel

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    I think it was weirder in DS2 to have some oblique references to things in DS1 and themes that matched the original, but be otherwise disconnected in terms of lore. This game actually feels like it's trying to tell a complete story that ties together the previous games. I don't really think it's "fanservice" to have continuity between the games.

    It's refreshing, as I've loved the environmental / item storytelling of the Souls games, but I don't think it's necessary for the game to be intentionally obscure in terms of the storytelling to the point where there are no direct connections. We can actually piece together a chronology and overall structure of the world and cycles from this game.

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    MeierTheRed

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    I think its safe to call it pandering, and im not sure i like it. Personally i have not been amazed by anything in the game yet, and im about to fight the last boss. As many others have stated, Dark Souls 3 feels like a "best of" or even a remix album. It really doesn't do anything new, but its good at what it does.

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    ProfessorK

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    It feel's like DS: Greatest Hits and I love it. Personally with all the people trying to still dig into the lore and make connections it comes off as more forced this time around. No more B-team excuses. This game feels as if Miyazaki is doing what he does best, retell the same story over and over again through time. Meaning it's literally creating it's history and the farther we get away from Dark Souls time wise, the more it feels like it really is a fable or rather the history of that world.

    I equate it to the legends we still have today i.e. Zeus and his ilk, Odin and the norse Gods, etc. These stories are told over and over again as history progresses and are never truly forgotten.

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    Jinoru

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    The onion knight reveal was freaking stupid. I laughed out loud at that point.

    I'm definitely enjoying the connections. I'm just hoping the depth of meaning that DS1 had is retained here. I've just beaten the crystal wizard thing. That was a fun fight.

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    Turambar

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    While there is a lot that can be considered fan service, very little of it is lazy or cheap.

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    John_Wiswell

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    #43  Edited By John_Wiswell

    I'm not very far into the game, but the explicit things I've seen feel intentional and surreal, like all the From games are collapsing in on each other. Why would a Black Knight be behind this swamp? How is someone who behaves and looks so much like Siegmeyer (and with such a similar name) over here? Why does the Firelink Shrine look like the Nexus? Why does this miniboss in the middle of nowhere look so much like a Dark Souls 1 boss?

    If it's all on purpose, then it could amount to some really rad lore about the ages bleeding together, perhaps the breaking of cycles. I figure the Lords of Cinder are the result of damage to the Cycle of Fire anyway. And if it's all random fan service, then some diehard fans will probably piece together batshit theories that I'll enjoy anyway.

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    NTM

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    #44  Edited By NTM

    Is the issue because the call backs are so blatant, like you can tell the developers meant for it to be? While I understand the distasteful feeling, I don't think it's necessary. I haven't played it, but honestly, it sounds like a guilty pleasure, that shouldn't be a guilty pleasure, just a pleasure. I just finished Dark Souls, and will go onto Dark Souls 2 when I get the chance (hopefully tomorrow). Right now, I can say that I'll welcome all those things. If this is really the final Dark Souls game, I'll be happy to be getting to the end of it all, and see all these things that remind me of the previous experiences. That kind of thing is definitely just a pleasure to me.

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    pkmango7

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    I enjoyed the references. They don't come across as haphazard or irreverent and sometimes even play with your expectations, you can tell FromSoft had fun with it. I think their explicit inclusion and the nature of Lothric are justified with DS3 as the last entry, it's a good way to send things off while also tying into the themes established in previous games (cycle of rebirth, balance, power of will). These worlds have always been murky and unclear so I found the whole combination of things spanning the entire series to be not all that farfetched, and in fact a real treat.

    Also, I've kind of mellowed out on these games over the years so I didn't really mind some of the repeat items, level design, and boss animations. It's funny because if DS2 was as directly referential, I probably would've absolutely hated it! In this case, it was actually really interesting for me to see how they tried to make certain level or boss gimmicks less tedious, and the items mentioning the fates of certain characters both new and old were enough to keep me hooked.

    I just think it's cool that the events of and preceding DS1 were so powerful that they act as anchors and continue to exert their influence across space and time. It's ridiculous and abstract like an anime and I love it being used here. I would say it's almost meta considering the fandom that exploded out of DS1... that may be going a bridge too far. But it's a fun thing to ponder, which fits right in with the series.

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    JosephKnows

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    I honestly don't see how a game that's meant to be the finale to the trilogy referencing the previous games' plot points, characters, and themes is being "fan-servicey". And yes, there are legit connections to be made to the previous games that make perfect sense story-wise. Like all the other games in the entire Soulsborne franchise, you'll have to look up item descriptions and finish NPC questlines to fully understand what's going on in the world.

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    paulmako

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    There is one area that is a direct homage to an area in Demon's Souls, down to the location of a set of gear. That I found too much.

    I've not finished the game yet, but I hope it ties things together. I really liked the murky and indirect continuity in Dark Souls II and will feel kinda let down if they don't have a good reason for the callbacks in this game being so much more specific.

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    rubberluffy

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    For every "ooh, I remember that/them/" moment there's been more than enough new shit to kick my ass or leave me in awe. Hell, Irithyll is the big castle we've seen in previous entries but its art design is fucking gorgeous. And the Nameless King boss fight is fucking cool as hell.

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    kasaioni

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    @ajamafalous: No, according to MGS4 criticizers that's fanservice.

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    emfromthesea

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    I said it on Brad's stream yesterday but I'm warming to the referential nature of Dark Souls 3. Digging into some of the lore surrounding the Cathedral of the Deep and Lothric Castle has opened my eyes to some of the interesting ways Dark Souls 3 changes your perception of lore that existed in the original game, giving credence to the idea that game isn't simply calling back to past lore but also making an effort to shape it into a grander narrative. I still think there's plenty of instances of pure fanservice in the game but as I said before, I'm not above enjoying that stuff on occasion.

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