Feature

Visions of hell: Dark Souls’s cultural heritage

It’s the trees; the twisted, whorled trees, their skeletal branches raking the belly of the looming sky. Those are Caspar David Friedrich trees, unmistakably corkscrewed and bent. They rise out of collapsing stonework just like Friedrich’s do, and are touched by the same fading light, decapitated by the same dusk shadow. They crowd like pious pilgrims around ruined churches and abbeys, as if, like Friedreich’s painted forests, they were about to pull those ruins to the ground. Perhaps a few branches are woven here or there between the stone work. Getting a purchase, working their way through a century-long demolition,…

Feature

Dark Souls III and the color purple

You first encounter them in the Undead Settlement. It’s a moment of incongruous reprieve: having rolled and dashed your way through a hail of human-sized arrows and swarms of rake-wielding peasants, you come up a hill and into a dark, somber cathedral that all but invites you to stop and smell its flowers. With their violet hue and soft yellow centers, these delicate beauties scattered around the building seem more unlikely than any of the monstrosities you’ve been busy butchering. Dark Souls III’s kingdom of Lothric has, up to this point, largely displayed the same taste for earth tones favored…

Review

Dark Souls III: Super Dark Souls World

Spoilers for a few Dark Souls III bosses below. /// The hardest Souls game, people say, is the one you played first. That’s where you learned the language, starting with the common nouns: the grunting Hollows who bust through wooden barricades, the poison swamp, the dragon who toasts the same spot forever like a puzzle in an adventure game, the giant whose feet must be pummeled until he loses his balance, the soul-lovin’ lady who has suggestive level-up conversations with you, and so on. But internalizing the games’ finicky grammar is the difficulty. A fluent Souls player follows dozens of…

News

Dark Souls III’s new trailer shows us the face of death

There’s a giant skull fella leering out of the darkness towards a pale light in the new Dark Souls III trailer. As it has no flesh, you can’t tell if the facial expression it might pull as the torch-bearing knight walks up to it would be a sneer of anger, or a less hostile and quizzical one. All we can see is its enormity; it’s as if a colossal icon for death. It’s this that the trailer seems hell-bent on showing us, over and over. This is undoubtedly a post-Bloodborne effort.  We get it: everything is dying in Dark Souls III. “Only…