The Dark Souls series has always been about careful, tactical combat. Even the fastest classes in previous games would still have to tread careful against bosses, or even multiple enemies at once. It wasn’t until the introduction of Dark Souls off-shoot, Bloodborne, that the series started to gain a more action-like, aggressive combat system. We’ve discussed how Bloodborne and Dark Souls are similar, but with a new look at what is essentially the final build of the game, we have even more insight into what the combat system of Dark Souls 3 has to offer.

No Hollow Form

In Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, dying meant that you became a Hollow. Your appearance would change slightly, and in Dark Souls you could no longer summon friends to help you. In Dark Souls 2 your maximum health could be cut by up to 50 percent if you died too many times and drew closer and closer into becoming a Hollow. There were always items you could use to reverse the effects, but from what we’ve seen of Dark Souls 3 nothing of the sort exists. It’s still possible some form of Hollow could be in the game, but it wasn’t in the build we were privy to.

Classes

There has always been a number of character builds in Dark Souls games and Dark Souls 3 will be no different. The new title includes a variety of classes that players can choose from when they first begin their journey. This determines the stats that your character starts with, as well as any potential items your character will have when the game begins. We have a list of classes that are presently available, but there may be more in the final game.

  • Knight 
  • Mercenary
  • Warrior
  • Herald of White
  • Thief
  • Assassin
  • Cleric 
  • Deprived

Tutorial Area

Dark Souls 2 players should have fond memories of Things Betwixt and Majula. Things Betwixt was the tutorial area where you probably died a few times as you began to understand how the game works. Majula was the travel hub where you would generally travel back to in order to visit the blacksmith, chat with NPCs that you interacted with, and level up your character.

In Dark Souls 3 your journey begins in The Cemetery of Ash. Seasoned Dark Souls veterans should note that Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 both end in areas that are covered in ash. In Dark Souls 3 the game begins in an area covered in ash. This is the tutorial area of Dark Souls 3 where you’ll learn some basics about playing the game, then face off against a boss character.

Fear not, the boss in The Cemetery of Ash isn’t the werewolf from the first area of Bloodborne that killed 90 percent of the player base. Any seasoned Dark Souls veteran will breeze through this boss with no problem (if the preview build is the same difficulty as the final). A newcomer to the series may have to take this fight seriously, but they should still be able to best the boss without dying.

Travel Hub

Taking the place of Majula in Dark Souls 2 is Firelink Shrine. The original Dark Souls also featured a travel hub known as Firelink Shrine, but as far as we can tell this is not the same place. If it is the same area, things have changed enough to make it feel new.

Taking a page from Bloodborne, Firelink Shrine allows you to teleport to any bonfires you’ve ignited across the land of Lothric. Dark Souls 2 players will remember that you had to travel quite a distance to get anywhere from Majula, but with Firelink Shrine feeling more like Hunter’s Dream in Bloodborne, it’s much easier to travel to new areas.

More Than Meets The Eye

Some enemies have had multiple forms in previous Dark Souls games. However, it was Bloodborne that really took this gameplay mechanic to the next level. It was common to see enemies take on a different form as you got closer to reduced their health. While this was mainly limited to bosses, there were a few normal enemies that would do this as well.

In Dark Souls 3 you’ll see a transformation in normal enemies and bosses alike. When some enemies reach approximately 50 percent health they transform and become much stronger. This new ability makes normal fights almost feel like small boss encounters and will keep players on their toes as they progress through the game.

Prima Games will have a full walkthough and guide for Dark Souls 3 when the game releases on April 12, 2016. In the meantime be sure to check out the new FP System in Dark Souls 3 so you’re ready for combat when the game releases.