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?