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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: All over the place, as is typical for the series.
    • The exact relationship of Aldrich and Sulyvahn is unclear. Depending on your interpretation of their balance of power, Sulyvahn may be a Psycho Supporter, a Dragon-in-Chief, or even The Starscream manipulating Aldrich for his own ends. Since we kill both of them immediately after meeting them, we'll never know.
    • Yuria of Londor comes across as very sinister for wanting to end the First Flame for good and grooming you to become the Lord of Hollows, including having Anri killed so they can be your partner, but within the context of the game her goals are arguably sympathetic, and it's ambiguous as to whether the Age of Dark will be a good thing or a bad thing for humankind.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: As much as FROM Software tried to avert this for the Grand Finale of the franchise, not all the bosses live up to the hype.
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    • Yhorm the Giant, a Lord of Cinder. Yhorm has an incredibly predictable, simplistic move-set that is very easy to dodge, especially for a boss as late in the game as he is. His sole boons are his tremendous health pool and his high damage resistance across most of his body, both of which are negated by the Storm Ruler blade found in the back of his boss room which does massive damage to him as well as stunning him for a bit. If you completed Seigward's sidequest, then he will assist you during the fight with his own Storm Ruler, making the fight even more trivial. The fact that the fight is a Call-Back to Demon's Souls does soften the blow a little, and some players attempting to kill him in one attempt rather than get the sword, die, and equip it back at the bonfire can find a challenge in juggling their inventory while trying to get away from him.
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    • The Ancient Wyvern. Another Call-Back to Demon's Souls, you spend most of the battle running away from the boss until you reach the right spot to kill it in one hit. The enemies along the way are arguably more of a threat than the boss itself. There is also a chance that it will fall down from the arena and die if you ignore it and go hunting the enemies in the area.
    • The Deacons of the Deep are arguably less of a threat than the regular encounters in the Cathedral, especially when you know what you're doing. However, they might become a legitimate threat to sorcerers with low health, the sheer amount of Deacons can eat up all your FP before you enter the second phase.
    • The Spear of the Church can turn into this if the player controlling him happens to suck.
  • Author's Saving Throw: Downplayed, as, while some Dark Souls 2 fans were pleasantly surprised to find more overt references to the game in The Ringed City including revisiting good ole Earthen Peak, several armor sets from the second game, and some more lore connections, the continued trend of Continuity Porn to the first Dark Souls and lack of important closure for lore introduced in 2 still disappoints other fans.
    • Ornstien's armor when worn by the player in the first game lacked the tassel that it had when Ornstien himself wore it. Presumably this was due to technical limitations as many armors that had cloth physics when worn by enemies lacked them when worn by the player, the Silver Knight armor being the most dramatic example. In 3, Ornstien's armor returned, yet still lacked the tassel, despite other armors having proper cloth physics. Eventually however, they patched the armor so it now has the tassel, with Ornstien fans rejoicing.
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  • Awesome Bosses: Some of the best in the series.
  • Awesome Music: As is tradition.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
  • Breather Boss: After the triple whammy of Sulyvahn, Aldrich and the Dancer, the Dragonslayer Armor is fairly easy by comparison, especially if you summon for him. Just don't use both the summon signs. On the other hand, if you resort to Sequence Breaking and fighting him early...
  • Broken Base:
    • The fact that the plot of this game relies so heavy on the first Dark Souls. While some people are happy and think it expands the universe using previously established lore, others think it feels cheap and doesn't bring anything new to the table in terms of the world. Another group — mostly belonging to the second camp — is quite unhappy that references and plot-points from Dark Souls II are few and far between, almost as if the second game never happened.
    • How the PvP, Covenants, and CO-OP of Dark Souls III compares to its predecessors is another area of contention. While some are satisfied with the online experience and mechanics, others find that the mechanics in previous Souls games, especially Dark Souls II, were superior (or, at the very least, less troubled).
    • The overall world design was met with mixed reception as well, with the game being seen by many as extremely linear compared to previous Souls games. Dark Souls I opens up a great deal after Anor Londo, and Dark Souls II gives the player almost complete freedom to explore the world as they choose until slightly after the halfway point; by comparison, Dark Souls III has almost no branching paths. Others, however, believe the game makes up for this with its individual level design, which is generally less linear and more maze-like than in the first two games.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • After two full games of endlessly killing fallen heroes, ancient lords and noble dragons, it's incredibly satisfying to finally get to go up against Pontiff Sulyvahn and Aldrich, two of the most despicable people to ever exist in the Dark Souls universe, and the two who deserve everything you give them more than any other.
    • In The Ringed City, there are three angels known for killing you rather easily while being at least mostly indestructible...until you find the hosts that can't fight back. Killing said hosts means that the angels disappear, and for good.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • There are a number of rings in the game which are considered pretty much mandatory for all builds, such as the Prisoner's Chain (increases Vigor, Endurance, and Vitality by 5 — basically 15 free levels — at the cost of a paltry 4% loss in all defensive stats), Ring of Favor (the old DS 1 favourite that increases health, stamina, and maximum equip load), and the Chloranthy Ring (a series-long favourite that makes stamina regenerate faster). Magic users have it even worse, they have all of the above plus the Sage Ring (faster casting speed) and two rings that boost the damage of their chosen type of magic (sorcery, miracles, or pyromancy) by 15% and 25%. With only four ring slots, this means that magic users have to miss out on two of these rings, leading to some complaints.
    • Straight Swords and Rapiers dominated the PvP section of the game due to how poorly poise was ultimately implemented, making light attack spamming very powerful. The Refined Longsword in particular is extremely easy to make and almost unparalleled in DPS on a "quality" build.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Aldrich, Saint of the Deep and Devourer of Gods, was a cleric who founded the Church of the Deep and took to devouring the flesh of men for power. Turning to devouring the undead, Aldrich grew bloated and mutated into a hideous, slug-like being who continued to devour countless people alive, luxuriating in their screams. Eventually sacrificed to become a Lord of Cinder, Aldrich was revived and housed within the Cathedral of the Deep where he continued to have helpless people fed to him. In his most profane act, Aldrich devoured the god Gwyndolin slowly, keeping him in a state of unending agony. Not even children were safe from Aldrich, and only two, Anri and Horace, ever escaped the Devourer's hunger.
    • Pontiff Sulyvahn, the leader of the Church of the Deep and Aldrich's right-hand man and Psycho Supporter, was driven by jealousy and hatred towards the Gods and joined with Aldrich to exact his vengeance. Desiring power above all others after he discovered the Profaned Flame, Sulyvahn eliminated potential problems by forming the Outrider Knights and gifting them with rings that turned them into feral beasts with their minds twisted and destroyed, leaving nothing but rage. As the Pontiff of the Church of the Deep, Sulyvahn had Anor Londo devastated, with countless people rounded up to be fed to Aldrich, and even imprisoned Gwyndolin in the Cathedral to feed him to Aldrich. Unlike the majority of the series's villains, Sulyvahn is entirely sane and, driven by nothing more than hatred, cruelty, and an insatiable thirst for power, has no regard for who or what he must destroy.
  • Contested Sequel: While Dark Souls III has been generally well-received, there isn't much of a consensus on how the game stacks up to its predecessors. On one hand, gripes about its lack of individuality, combat more reminiscent of Bloodborne than the other two Dark Souls games, and callbacks to Dark Souls are common. Praise, on the other hand, for its detailed world, balanced difficulty curve, and numerous and varied bossess is just as common.
    • To say nothing of the response to the DLC, with it ranging from people feeling it was the best send-off for the series to people feeling it inferior to previous DLC for a number of reasons.
  • Crazy Awesome: Much like their founder Artorias, the Abyss Watchers have a thing for incorporating front flips and other odd displays of acrobatical skills into their swordsmanship — and they're all the more beloved for it.
    • The endgame and DLC weapons crank this up to comical levels. Many of the boss weapons become insane displays of flips and weapons swipes at impossible angles. Notable examples include Freide's Greatscythe, which causes the user to attack like the boss herself, flipping around and shooting out ice, the Demon's Scar, a falchion made of pure fire that can shoot pyromancies, and the Ringed Knight Paired Greatswords, which are two greatswords that cause the user to spin and flip around with a greatsword in each hand.
  • Creepy Awesome: The Locust Priests in The Ringed City, mainly for their cryptic, ominous dialogue.
  • Demonic Spiders: Welcome to Lothric! Please enjoy your stay, as FROM has made certain that the enemies are difficult and the mercy is out of stock.
    • The Jailers of the Irithyll Dungeon, of all the deadly things trying to kill you in Lothric, stand out due to their single worst trait: they literally cause your health bar to shrink by looking at you. This will take the bar to 10% of its total within six to eight seconds. You can't heal the damage until your health bar recovers, and it lasts at least twenty seconds. This gets exaggerated near the end of the Dungeon, as there's at least 12 patrolling the ground floor of the place.
    • The Pontiff Knights are Lightning Bruisers through-and-through — they can catch up with you and perform different types of multi-hit combos that can kill you if you fail to block or dodge any, and one of them includes extending their range (and slowing the delay) and damage of their next attack by imbuing it with magic. On top of that, they can fire homing projectiles from afar and are content to do just that as long as you're far away, making even dragging them out a chore as they can very suddenly change their mind and rush you. And just to make it worse, they always come in pairs or threes, sometimes accompanied by the Fire Witches. The only way to reliably beat them is stunlock them and pray that they'll be dead before your stamina runs out.
    • The Lothric Knights. Both in the High Wall and Lothric Castle. If any enemy shows off the new and improved AI, it's them. For starters, they'll shield bash you if you get behind them and keep track of you very well. If you try to rush them, they can stunlock you to death before you get the first hit. There's also a second version that carries a greatshield and a spear, and those get all the qualities mentioned, plus the ability to hide behind their shields as they poke you to death. Did we mention this is one of the first enemies introduced in the game?
    • The Hollow Slave is an imp-like enemy that carries an axe, or Flamberge and are really great at appearing out of nowhere. They're annoying but manageable in the undead settlement but hit Demonic Spider status in the Cathedral of the Deep, often showing high up on ledges where falling to your death is a constant danger. They also love to ambush and dogpile you!
    • The Cathedral Knights are like Lothric Knights on crack. The greatsword ones are bad enough with their huge damage output and a delay between attacks that makes dodging a bit tricky plus a kick to break down your guard. The mace and greatshield ones are even worse however as they have not one but THREE different types of buff: one that reduces the damage they take, one that increases the damage they deal (and leaves glowing spots on the floor that explode after a while) and a heal spell. Nothing stops them from using all three at once and they'll almost always use at least one type of buff when they see you. On top of that they hit hard and have a incredibly fast shield-bash that will break your guard and open you up for their hard-hitting combos (again with a delay). They are also one of the first enemy whose guard you can't break by kicking just once. The only saving grace is that they are open to backstabs during their buffing animation.
    • Ringed Knights from The Ringed City DLC are Lightning Bruisers through and through. Aside from the fast sword, shield and spear combos Knight enemies are typically known for, these are capable of Souls of Cinder-like special moves, where they ignite their weapons and come at you with devastating attack sequences. The spear ones can shield bash you, while the sword variant has a shield that can breathe fire! The latter will occasionally attempt to obscure your vision with flames before suddenly leaping at you. Finally, they are often accompanied by other Knights or enemies.
    • Silver Knights make a return and learned a few new moves along the way - they can now dodge too (in a Bloodborne-sidestep way), can charge up their weapons with lightning, got quite a lot of HP, and don't stagger easily unless you're packing a heavy weapon. Ironically enough, these changes can make them harder to some players than the Black Knights.
    • The giant Elder Ghrus in Farron Keep have a nasty habit of hiding in the parts of the swamp where the muck is too thick to run away. Every single attack with the trees they carry creates a burst of flaming skulls, meaning there's no safe time to try stabbing them. And since being poisoned, getting hit by a magic tree and then getting hit by 15 magic skulls really hurts, they make it even easier to die in this hellhole.
    • In the same area (and later in The Demon Ruins) there's the Leaping Ghru. While their HP isn't too high, they can escape out of your stunlock and do one of two things — a highly damaging and fast jumping attack that they'll usually follow up with another one — either killing you or leaving you at low HP. The other one is even worse, as it's a running grab with huge range — they'll leap onto you and claw at your face, which apparently buffs them up. Oh, and once you're lying on the ground they'll probably start another grab as soon as you start getting up. Fortunately, they don't show up a lot, but when they do, be ready for a bad time.
      • Whats significant is that the first Leaping Ghru the player is likely to encounter is designed to catch you off-guard, not by creeping up on you but by playing off your arrogance. The first Leaping Ghru the player finds is static and has its back to the player, it looks no different from the easily managable standard ghru. If the Leaping Ghru surviving the players backstab doesn't tip you off to it being a stronger enemy, then its sudden brutally ferocious moveset will. Return visits to the Farren Keep tend to have players circle in the opposite direction...
    • Another swamp-only enemy is the Giant Crab — boatloads of HP, chained damaging attacks that knock you down, a ranged attack and a grab that'll literally squeeze the life out of you. They're also incredibly fast and have large aggro range. The icing on the cake is that once they lose a lot of HP they can burrow themselves into ground and come up at their spawn point with full HP. If you want to get that pyromancy-boosting ring, get ready for some frustration. You can face several more of them in the Smoldering lake, all of which have beefed up HP pools and damage, though they do lose the ability to burrow underground.
    • In Archdragon Peak, you can meet the giant Greataxe-wielding Snakemen. It's bad enough that their HP, damage and defense is high - they also are hard to stun and cannot be backstabbed. In fact they have a specific grab for those who are trying to backstab them. A rarer variant has a chain attached to the Greataxe and uses it to attack you from a distance, and the animation when they drag the axe back to them can also hit you. Oh and if you though you could hide from them to heal, forget it - the chain-axe clips through walls meaning they can hit you through them or even when you're standing above on a platform. To complete the package they are rarely met alone, usually accompanied by smaller faster snakemen - who are minor Demonic Spiders on their own - that can pelt you with homing fireballs while you're getting your ass handed to you by the big one. They do have a dazed state that allows you to riposte them but it requires either whittling their HP or just attacking them non-stop which is hard with their high poise and constant damaging attacks.
    • Likewise in Archdragon Peak, the rock lizards. They look deceptively slow and weak, but can actually take reasonable amount of punishment, are more than capable of shoving you off ledges, and can roll over you worse than a wheel skeleton. Oh, and they breathe fire. Even one can be an incredible pain in a narrow space, but two or more can become pure insanity.
    • The Skeleton Swordsmen in the Catacombs of Carthus are absolute bastards to deal with. They're Lightning Bruisers to the core that can dash, sidestep, and teleport-roll as fast as Hunters in Bloodborne and hit like freight trains, all their weapons do some form of bleed damage, they often are equipped with Carthus Curved Swords that can get around your shield for Scratch Damage, they throw Kukris at range that do bleed damage and can stun-lock (as well as occasionally throwing out 3 at a time), and they have deceptively high health. Even worse is the fact that they are almost always encountered in pairs so that you have to worry about where one is while trying to kill the other. They're so bad that most people would prefer to deal with the Bonewheel Skeletons, the other skeletal Demonic Spider of the series, rather than try and take these walking Cuisinarts on.
    • The Pus of Man, a.k.a. those giant black gooey snake things that erupt out of certain rare Hollows. They have impressive health, as well as powerful and fast attacks with wide coverage that makes them near-impossible to dodge, and seemingly infinite stamina. The easiest way to deal with them is to kill their host before they manifest, but failing that, their only real weakness is to fire, which grants a roughly 1.5 second opening for you to do damage unimpeded before they start fighting back again. And in the Consumed King's Garden, there are three of them wandering around the same small area, which also includes a swamp that Toxifies you populated by poison-spitting slugs. To make matters worse, the camera also has no idea how to handle them; if you end up in close quarters with one, you may as well accept death now, because you're not even going to be able to see what's going on, let alone how to fight back.
    • The Corvians first encountered in the Road of Sacrifices don't look like much of a threat at first, but approaching one causes them to sprout wings and go berserk, savaging the player with relentless, confusing attacks that drain your stamina in seconds and leave almost no time to react. What makes these feathered fiends truly nightmarish is that they are always accompanied by Corvian Storytellers. These shamans will emit a piercing screech the moment they spot you, causing all the Corvians nearby to sprout wings, charge straight for you and mob you to death. What's worse than a screeching savage beast that never lets up its attack? A whole murder of the feathered lizards!
    • The Corvian Knights in the Painted World of Ariandel. Extremely fast, durable, and mobile, they can stunlock you to death using either a rapier or their Wolverine Claws, both of which can rapidly break your guard and then inflict bleed on you for a near instant kill. Despite their size, they're also surprisingly difficult to land a good hit on due to their tendency to leap out of the way just as your weapon is about to connect, throwing a set of kukris at you as they do so just to add insult to injury. It really doesn't help that they have a ton of health and it's possible to agro as many as 3 of them at once if you aren't careful.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Every Lord of Cinder has become hugely popular among the fanbase for various reasons, including; Aldrich, Ludleth, The Abyss Watchers, The Twin Princes, and Yhorm the Giant.
    • Pontiff Sulyvahn has gathered quite a fanbase, mostly stemming from his excellent boss fight, Manipulative Bastard and Chessmaster tendencies, and his resemblance to a Sith Lord.
    • The Dancer of the Boreal Valley has managed to earn quite a surprising fanbase, both for generally being an excellent boss battle, and for her impressive ass (and how she shows it off as she fights).
    • The Nameless King garnered a massive fanbase quickly, for his interesting lore, awesome design and one absolutely unforgettable battle that proves he's a concentrated, industrial-grade badass that's routinely lauded as the best boss battle in the game and one of the best in the series.
    • The Mimic and the skeletons in the Catacombs of Carthas (aka MVP Ledge Mimic and the Skeleton Gank Squad are extremely well-liked for the mechanic that lets you cooperate with them to kill the much larger nearby Fire Demon, which both of them can do without hardly breaking a sweat.
    • The Catacomb Crab, a mysterious baby crab that inexplicably spawns after destroying one of the skeleton boulders in the Catacombs of Carthus. The sheer oddness of the crab has elevated it to legendary status, and countless, fruitless hours have been devoted to discovering the potential secrets of what may simply be a very weird joke.
    • Ocelotte never even appears on screen and is most likely already dead, and yet the sheer amount of fan theories speaks volumes on what players think of him. It got to the point where people assumed that one of the two DLCs would have focused on him prior to their release, simply because fans wanted answers.
    • The Final Boss, the Soul of Cinder, is not even hinted at until you meet him at The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, the Kiln of the First Flame, and yet he easily provides one of, if not the absolute greatest boss fights in the series. This is coupled by the fact that he is an amalgamation of every Lord who has linked the flame, including the final boss of I, Lord Gwyn, and potentially even the Player Characters of I and II. This is further compounded by the fact that his second phase is a new, improved redo of Gwyn's boss fight, even down to the music.
  • Evil Is Cool: Aldrich and Sulyvahn are two of the most unambiguously evil characters in the whole series and are responsible for countless atrocities, but their memorable design and challenging boss battles have led to them becoming very popular.
  • Fanon: Fan artists in general believe Pickle Pee, Pump-a-Rum Crow not a talking crow, but a cute harpy girl with short black hair and a rag bikini even though there's nothing to support it.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The item description for the broken straight sword as well as its weapon art can come off as much less humorous given one of Anri's endings in their questline involves attacking you with said weapon as a hollow.
    A weapon with no exceptional qualities. Only a mad Hollow would choose to fight with this.
    While in stance, use normal attack to break a foe's guard from below, and strong attack to slash upwards with a forward lunge. Only, neither move will appear very impressive with a broken sword.
  • Game-Breaker: It wouldn't be Dark Souls without some.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • In classic Souls fashion, dogs are one of the most annoying enemy types in the game, perhaps even moreso than before - melee characters will find that hitting the dog hard enough will launch it away from you and usually out of your attack range making fighting them even more annoying. They have gotten better at dodging attacks, and can run fast enough to attack you in the back despite you swinging around to block.
    • The Hollows up on the High Wall and in Castle Lothric can also turn into this due to their better A.I. making it harder to beat them like in previous games, as well as the spear and great axe wielding ones having deceptively high health and hitting like a freight train (especially in the early game). And, as is tradition, their flailing stun-lock combo comes back with a vengeance and can still catch unaware players with a bad case of the You Dieds.
    • The Pygmy Hollows in The Ringed City have behaviour designed to frustrate you. Thrall-like ambushes? Check. Mobbing you out of nowhere? Check. Interfering in battles with or accompanying tough enemies? Check. To add to the annoyance, they're capable of casting the lightning spear and stake miracles and can cast the former from quite a distance. A special variety does not attack but has curse crystals on its back, rapidly building up your curse meter, while the Hollow itself plays dead or is difficult to spot. Finally, they have one of the most annoying and pathetic attacks in the entire game: a push that does no damage and only serves to interrupt your attack animation so that they can retreat and fling lightning spears from a safe distance. Due to their low health and melee attack power, it will only delay their death by a few seconds and further test your patience.
    • Rats return and are just as annoying as ever. Low HP, come in swarms, and have an annoying jumping attack? A classic example of this trope. It gets even more pronounced if you decide to take on the Giant in Irithyll Dungeon - the game starts to spawn them infinitely until you kill the giant.
    • The Rotting Flesh are one of the most annoying enemies in the game - they have incredibly huge resistance to just about any damage type besides fire, have a long-range poke attack and can drop on you from above when you're picking up an item, resulting in a lengthy, unblockable grab attack that can take out half of your health. The ones found in the Smouldering Lake add fire damage to their attacks and also lose the weakness to fire, but become weak to lightning. They are absolutely unsatisfying to kill too and barely drop any souls.
    • Wolves in the Painted World of Ariandel aren't very tough on their own, being somewhat similar to the undead dog enemies. If not killed immediatley, however, they will howl, drawing wolves from within a considerable range to you, which on their turn will howl to summon more wolves. Their realistic AI of surrounding you and baiting your attacks can make them very frustrating to fight. If the pack grows too large, this easily crosses over into demonic spider territory, as they will attempt to overwhelm you when you fail an attack.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • Deacons of the Deep. Not the most unique idea of a boss (read: its a room full of mooks, with one being the King Mook), but good god, the fat bastards of a clerics will make life hell trying to kill the head pope in the room just by ganging up on you.
    • The Crystal Sage is an excellent example: while he starts the fight immobile, he soon starts teleporting everywhere while spamming massively dangerous spells, meaning your stamina is going to be basically drained as soon as you get into range due to all the running and dodging. It's even worse when he starting bringing his illusory doubles into play, who have 1 health each but spam out dangerous spells of their own!
    • Aldrich, Saint of the Deep, as part of his That One Boss status, due to sinking in an out of the deep regularly, as well as being able to move while spamming dark soul masses that don't hit terribly hard, but nevertheless are numerous enough to make them annoying to dodge and impossible to ignore.
  • Guide Dang It!: Some sidequests or covenants are easily either missed, or locked until your next playthrough.
    • If you defeat the Curse-Rotted Greatwood before you managed to join the Mound-Makers covenant, it becomes unavailable until late in the game. And then if you miss that and decide to join Rosaria's Fingers you then lock yourself out of the covenant until your next play through if you didn't get it already.
    • Curing your Dark Sigil, either out of curiosity or because you want to cure your Hollowing? Great job, you just locked yourself out from the third, secret ending.
    • The mechanics of Yoel giving you free levels and upgrading the Dark Sigil are counter-intuitive; as opposed to avoiding death like the series has taught from day one, Yoel will only be able to give you another one for every two deaths the player has. He will also die of his own accord if you defeat the Deacons of the Deep or get through the Catacombs. If you don't know this, you get locked out of the questline that follows his, just for not dying as much in the early game as you're expected to.
    • Even joining a covenant just to see what it's about can lock you out of questlines without prior warning. Joining the Rosaria's Fingers covenant will make Sirris show up at Firelink to give you a courtesy call saying you're her enemy, preventing you from finishing her quest until next playthrough. She only tells you that the Fingers are her enemies after you help her in Irithyll; for reference, you can join the Fingers as soon as you find them in the Cathedral of the Deep, whereas even getting to Irithyll means clearing the Cathedral and the Catacombs.
    • Getting to Archdragon Peak requires you to kill Bonus Boss Oceiros, the Consumed King, pick up a gesture from a corpse in the room past his boss chamber, then use said gesture in one very specific spot in a completely different part of the world. The one hint you're given is a corpse/statue performing the gesture where you're supposed to do it.
      • The Twinkling Dragon Torso Stone is obtained in a similar manner.
    • The Ringed City has another instance: to get to the Purging Monument and finish Lapp's questline, you're told to 'show your humanity' to a wall. What this actually means is to go out of the building, stand in the swamp outside, and use Chameleon or a Young White Branch, which will turn you into a Humanity sprite and cause a ladder to drop when you approach the wall. Missing this means losing both Lapp's armor set and the ability to reset the Spear of the Church boss fight.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Here's a meta one. If you do (female) Anri of Astora's quest line, depending on your playthrough, it's possible for Yuria of Londor to order an assassin to kill her in Irithyll/Anor Londo, and you later find her body in the Darkmoon Tomb. She becomes your "bride" and you have to stab her corpse during your "wedding". Anri is voiced by Lucy Briggs-Owen, and Yuria is voiced by Pooky Quesnel, a.k.a. Sister Adella and Arianna from Bloodborne, respectively. Looks like Arianna finally got back at Adella.
    • Oceiros The Consumed King has a son named Ocelotte, whose Japanese name is literally "Ocelot". And when he can't find Ocelotte, he yells "OCELOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTTT!!" More than enough players can't help but shout back "SNAAAAAKKKKKKEEEEE!!" when they hear that.
    • Shortly after the release of Dark Souls 3, prolific animator ThePruld released this video, featuring someone swinging around a greatsword as if it were weightless, before comically splitting it in two and flapping them to fly. And then the Ringed City DLC came out, with Gael's Greatsword that comes with exactly the same moveset, alongside the infamous Paired Greatswords... "NOT affected by Bloodborne" indeed.
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: Phase 2 of Soul of Cinder's boss fight has two of these depending on whether you played Dark Souls 1 or not. If you didn't, then the juggle combo will likely earn this response. If you did, then all it will take are 3 piano notes to make any seasoned Dark Souls veteran drop their jaw in shock, revealing just who you're fighting for the game's final stretch: Gwyn, the Lord of Sunlight.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Ashes of Ariandel got this reaction from some quarters, in particular because it only has two bosses, one of whom is very difficult to find and generally considered to be somewhat underwhelming anyway. To put this in perspective, Dark Souls 1 had four DLC bosses and Dark Souls 2 had three bosses per DLC. One of the things FROM made sure to mention when advertising The Ringed City was its increased length and greater number of bosses (4).
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: A somewhat common criticism is that Dark Souls III borrows too much from previous games (such as Dark Souls I's plot and Bloodborne's combat style) and feels more like a stagnant "Greatest Hits" entry than a meaningful evolution of the series. The large amount of Call Backs and Continuity Porn doesn't help, as some view this as little more than Fanservice that keeps III from making its own unique mark.
  • Love to Hate: Aldrich and Sulyvahn have this in spades. Both are the most unambiguously evil characters in the whole series with a list of atrocities that would make one lose sleep at night, yet whenever discussions are made about them it would be on how cool they look as bosses and how hard they are to defeat. Dark Souls veterans love them for putting on such a challenge that they can't wait to face them again and again, while newcomers hate their difficulty but can't help respecting their power and try to improve their skills just to beat them. One thing's for sure: both parties will be very satisfied once they finally defeat them.
  • Magnificent Bitch: The soft-spoken and enigmatic Yuria of Londor is the potential architect of the Age of Dark, pledging her loyalty to the Ashen One once they obtain 5 Dark Sigils from the pilgrim Yoel. Set on making you into a Dark Lord, Yuria uses a proxy to manipulate Anri of Astora into joining you in wedlock, granting the Ashen One the remaining Dark Sigils they need to become the Lord of Hollows. Instructing them to usurp the First Flame, one of the potential endings of the game sees the Ashen One bringing forth a new world of darkness, one where mankind can potentially thrive, just as Yuria desires.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Knight Slayer Tsorig. Clad in Tarkus' armor and wielding Raime's BFS, on top of being a ridiculously hard NPC invader, there's little wonder veterans of the series shat their pants when they encountered him for the first time.
    • Holy Knight Hodrick, otherwise known as "The Parry King" . This gets hilarious within the Souls community, which pegged either YouTubers OroboTheNinja or PeevePeeverson for the title of "Parry King".
  • Misaimed Marketing:
    • Funko Pop released the Red Knight figure from the cover box, while it is cool to finally have a knight figure in a cutesy, chibi form, the description in the official blog may lead to a Mood Whiplash if you actually completed the game. The Red Knight is everything but the hope of humanity. Specifically, he's the Final Boss and the manifestation of every last unfortunate Lords of Cinder doomed to live inside an Animated Armor for eternity. To their credit, however, the description on the figure was correct for most of development. The red knight armor was originally intended to be this games version of the elite knight set, heavily featured in marketing and something the player could get quite easily. In the alpha and beta builds of the game, that was still true. It wasn't until very late that that was changed, making this a case of outdated marketing more than anything else.
  • Narm: There are some who feel that the multiple title-drops featured throughout The Ringed City come across as forced and awkward.
    • The game will always spawn a bonfire after a bossfight, no matter what happens. In the case of the Dragonrider Armor, his bonfire spawns not more than several meters away from yet another bonfire in front of the Grand Archives, which feels really redundant and can be extremely humorous.
    • The fact that the Champion's Gravetender, if you look closely during his boss fight, is inexplicably not wearing pants.
    • Artorias's armour looks as badass as ever...which means that it retains the tiny legs from the first game.
  • Pandering to the Base: A problem that some had with the game. The sheer amount of references to the previous games, most notably the reappearance of characters from the first game like Andre of Astora, Patches and Siegmeyer (via his nearly identical Expy Siegward) in a way that often seems borderline nonsensical, are seen as being there purely for Fanservice which prevents the game from feeling distinct from its predecessors. Fans of the game would argue that the amount of new interesting lore counters the retread (which many think are tasteful and well-done), but that's disputed. See It's the Same, Now It Sucks! and Broken Base above.
  • Polished Port: The PC version looks amazing, finally has decent mouse and keyboard controls, and runs at a perfect 60 frames per second... on most systems. Some have reported consistent slowness, crashing, and lag despite high-spec machines, with no ability to pin down any kind of unifying cause, though a number of users report that turning "Lighting" to Low quality prevents their crashes. That said...
  • Porting Disaster: The PC port is prone to crashing, and many players are incapable of even completing the tutorial because of it.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Poise has always been a point of contention among fans of the Souls series, but most people agree that it is busted in this game. Poise is the stat that prevents your character from getting staggered by attacks, and is increased by armor (bigger armor, higher poise basically). A good example of how useless poise is in game is the fact that you can stunlock Havel during your duel with him in Archdragon Peak. You heard that right. The memetically mighty, unflinching Havel can be stunlocked with just about any weapon. This is due to the fact that poise has been changed to only affect two-handed attacks and special abilities; otherwise, the check for chance-to-stagger acts as if the target has no poise at all.
    • While some of the community is glad that Dark Souls II's influence hasn't largely affected the story, many are much less happy that the majority of the PvP improvements from that game have been removed.
    • Because elemental infusions lower base damage, (nearly) remove scaling, and have damage subtracted by both the enemy's defenses, they almost universally deal less or barely more damage than Raw or Regular with the bare minimum STR/DEX—even when the infusion scales with INT and/or FTH stats that are extremely high. Additionally, while some weapons innately have elemental damage on them, a ridiculously small amount of them actually scale with intelligence or faith without being infused to do so (which no boss or unique weapons can be because of how infusions work), meaning that their already crippled split damage can't get much higher.
    • Considering that in Dark Souls II the Blue Sentinels just plainly didn't work most of the time, the community is even less happy that they've not only returned but also now share the exact same group of people to defend with the Blade of the Darkmoon, a covenant which never had anything to do with defending the innocent. That, and the Way of the Blue gives no rewards and can once again be swapped out for a better covenant extremely early on.
      • Somewhat mitigated by the fact that having an allied phantom being summoned to protect you from these pesky Dark Spirits, Farron Watchdogs and Aldrich Faithfuls is always useful if you are not actively using another covenant, and being able to switch covenants on the fly is bound to make the Way of the Blue covenant more popular.
    • Offensive magic in general in this game is widely considered to be in need of a buff, because its damage is naturally so low that in order to do somewhat respectable damage you have to dedicate a huge portion of your level upsNumbers , and devote at least two or three out of four of your ring slots entirely to one specific school of magic, thereby leaving yourself with almost no defensive stats, and all to just get damage comparable to using a Raw-infused weapon at base stats.
    • The soft ban system, arguably put in place to stop cheaters, can actually be used against legitimate players BY cheaters. A hacking invader can use hacked throwing knives that give the host "illegal" souls, resulting in that player getting banned from the game. Yes, someone doing nothing wrong can get banned for a hacker's work. The easiest way around this? Kill yourself or disconnect before the hacker can do anything, which requires even knowing that the invader is a hacker ahead of time!
    • The censor check list makes a return in the PC version, in an attempt to cut down on offensive names. It also censors names that even NPCs use! The letter combinations "nig" and "ho" mean that you can't spell the word "Knight" or even just "Howard". If you want to check ahead of time if your character's name is "legal", you can use this website to make sure.
      • Becomes even more stupid (or, perhaps, hilarious?) when you encounter something like this.
  • Squick:
    • The Curse-Rotted Greatwood's pustuled butt-stomp attack is very.... juicy.
    • The respawning undead outside of the Cathedral of the Deep have an attack where they puke maggots at the player. The vomiting sounds they make are almost too good.
    • The Undead Brutes in the Undead Settlement will sometimes start with a different weapon than their giant saws; a giant mortar bowl full of gore! Yech!
    • Large portions of Ariandel are described as "rotting", covered in what appears to be some kind of fungus that "bleeds" blood-like liquid. Many of these areas have giant flies feasting on them. Giant flies who will vomit flesh-eating maggots all over you if given the chance.
  • That One Attack:
    • The Stray Demon's boulder spew does huge damage at a fair distance and it basically impossible to dodge. It's a complete nonissue once you get under or behind the beast, but the issue is getting there.
      • Weirdly, this attack is completely nullified by blocking. The first boulder will break your guard, but others will not even connect.
    • Aldrich can fire a Rain of Arrows that will kill you in a fraction of a second. In his first phase, this is no big deal, as it simply moves in an easy-to-avoid straight line. In his second phase, however, the rain of arrows will follow you for about 10-15 seconds, requiring you to stop paying attention to Aldrich for that amount of time and sprint around the room for dear life, giving him the perfect opening to blast you with his magic from off-screen.
    • Speaking of Aldrich, there's his Lifehunt Scythe attack: It heals him which is bad enough already, it covers a lot of ground since he spins it around, and it hits twice in quick succession which means you have to dodge at the exact moment so you won't come out of your roll too fast.
    • King Oceiros' charge attack has a messy hitbox, deals high damage, is lightning fast, and is infamous for coming out instantly. No telegraphing, no audio cues, not even any time to notice and dodge unless you were on the other end of the boss room.
    • Even though the Deacons of the Deep are considered one of the easiest bosses (see Anti-Climax Boss), even they get two of this. The first one is a slow moving fireball that can be casted by all of them, and the second one is a huge projectile with area of damage that can be interrupted and takes a while to charge. Why are they here then? Because both attacks have almost perfect tracking AND can go through everything except the floor and make almost no indication that they are close. Trying to hide behind a pillar or the structure in the boss room to heal? You get at best a second to react.
    • As mentioned above, the Soul of Cinder has a four-hit combo string in its second phase that can straight up juggle you like in a Fighting Game, and this is always followed up by a massive AoE that is practically undodgeable if you got caught up in the combo. The kicker? The AoE alone can tear off a good 2/3 of your health bar, so if you got hit in the combo and then blasted by the AoE it's pretty much a guaranteed One-Hit Kill unless you have stupidly high defenses and Vigor. It can also result in a Total Party Wipe if you have Phantom summons in since it can juggle multiple players at once.
    • Champion Gundyr has a lot of them, but special note goes to the deadly charge attack in his second phase. Basically, it's a powerful multi-hitting running attack with long reach.... immediately followed up by an equally strong wide-sweeping slash. Blocking all the hits of the attack is nearly impossible unless you have a greatshield and tons of stamina. Dodging is a bit easier, since it's fairly telegraphed - but only if you're prepared for the follow-up sweep, which first-time players won't be expecting. Oh, and Gundyr can chain this into any of his other extremely powerful attacks pretty much instantly.
    • Due to messy hitboxes, katanas' running and plunging attacks can be extremely annoying, especially the latter since it can happen when someone falls onto you, staggering you and then making you kiss the ground.
    • The Lightning Arrow miracle, most prominently used by Shira at the end of The Ringed City. It's fast, does a lot of damage, and shots can be held like with a real bow to catch you coming out of a roll. The worst part? This attack is practically the only thing she does.
    • Darkeater Midir gets you coming and going with these. If you want to stick close to him and beat him up in melee, you risk getting too far underneath him and prompting him to use his downward fire breath attack, which creates a fast-spreading, high-damage fire blast. Try him at range, and you may get to experience his high-damage, fast-moving, ridiculously accurate laser breath.
  • That One Boss: As to be expected in a Souls game.
  • That One Level: It's Dark Souls. What did you expect? Some particularly arduous levels include:
    • Farron Keep, a poison-filled swamp which makes Blightown and the Valley of Defilement look like SugarBowls in comparison. Imagine a BIG poisonous swamp, filled with Demonic Spiders: feral beasts capable of one-shotting you, giant creatures armed with a tree and regularly releasing a homing magical attack, giant crabs, basilisks, darkwraiths, and a whole covenant of players dedicated to prevent you from reaching the Abyss Walkers. Also, slugs. Making it worse, the majority of the map is covered in swamp water that both slows you down and poisons you, and unlike in Blighttown, there's no item you can find that alleviates this.
      • It is also host to two NPC invasions. One of them has a ring equipped that makes them invisable unless they're just a few feet away from the player. She starts off very far from the player, leaving them wondering just how close she is as they stand in the middle of their dinky island. The other NPC invader is likely to occur when you're busy with the basilisks. It's worth mentioning that these two invaders are each linked to a major faction, but neither is a Watchdog meaning a player Watchdog won't be spared. But hey, at least there's soup.
    • The Catacombs of Carthus, which can best be described as the bastardized, unholy offspring of The Catacombs and Sen's Fortress from Dark Souls I. Lousy with traps, filled with tight corridors that will absolutely ruin any horizontal attacks and make dodging/camera work extremely difficult, and also home of the Skeleton Swordsmen, absolutely nightmarish Lightning Bruisers capable of teleport rolling a la the Old Hunter Bone quickstep from Bloodborne. Oh and one more thing, just to add a cherry on top of the evil cake: the Bonewheel Skeletons are back!
    • The Cathedral of the Deep is where the proverbial gloves come off. The place is absolutely stonking massive and incredibly complex to navigate, forcing the player in and out and through all manner of different pathways and routes. The place is also filled with traps and powerful enemies, and has just about every negative area feature in the series stacked onto one place- it's dark, it's filled with poison that slows you, and it tosses gank squads at you like nobodies business. While running Pyromancy can alleviate this, as many enemies inside the Cathedral are weak to fire and the cramped corridors make it easy to lob Fire Orbs down range, it's still a massive pain in the ass.
    • Irithyll of the Boreal Valley. Oozing with Scenery Porn aside, the standard mooks include acrobatic swordsmen that can and will stunlock the shit out of you, Mad One style enemies that can and will mob the crap out of you (and can turn invisible at the drop of a hat), and Jester Thomas-like pyromancy knights that deal absurd amounts of fire damage. All these enemies come with absurd aggro ranges and devilish ambushes that put the Alonne Knights to shame. And to put the cherry on top of the pain cake, the boss of the area is Pontiff Sulyvahn.
    • Irithyll Dungeon is hair-tearingly frustrating. The standard mooks of the level, the Jailers, can sap your health just by looking at you. Seriously, they reduce your life bar when they look at you, meaning you can't even heal the damage done until you kill them and your bar recovers. The lower part of the Dungeon is filled with absurd enemy concentration, including around a dozen Jailers in the same room and some rather uncomfortable narrow ledges and corridors. Its follow-up area, the Profaned Capital, is also very unpopular; it houses some of the most annoying mobs in the game in the form of the Gargoyles and the Profaned Nobility, and it consists mostly of a Toxic-inducing swamp and a cathedral housing Monstrosities of Sin (which thankfully don't respawn). Fortunately, most of the Capital can be skipped, unless you want to finish Siegward's quest or free Karla to acquire some of the best pyromancies and dark miracles in the game.
    • Archdragon Peak's snakemen alone send it into That One Level territory. They're extremely fast, can stunlock anyone regardless of build or shield, have huge range with their long necks, and can breathe homing fireballs with tremendous range (the larger variation with the chain axe can hit you with the axe for huge damage outside of your character's lock-on range, for added fun). Just to make matters worse, there's a dragon that blocks the main path you have to kill, rock lizards that breathe fire and can roll you right off a cliff, and summoners that can summon Havel Clones. Going after the Dragon Stones means having to fight at least 30 of the snakemen, small and huge, while hoping you don't draw more of them down on you or fall off the narrow path. And if you manage to struggle through all of that, you get to fight the area's boss, who may be the hardest boss in the game. Have fun!
    • Every goddamned area in The Ringed City. From Software made sure that the series managed to go out with a huge bang, and hoo boy, they made sure that the last DLC will not be a walk in the park. The enemies alone are a major factor to this, such as the Murkmen that tend to appear in rather seemingly empty areas, the Harald Knights that have massive amounts of HP and can one-shot a player with 40 vigor or more in a single combo, the Angels that, unless the Pupa spawning them is killed, will rain light beams at you, Desert Pyromancer Zoey who can surprisingly use a whip very well along with devastating pyromancies, Hollow Clerics that will abuse their long-range miracles and will hide in the lump of stone they carry to heal unless kicked (which is a pain for curved sword users), The Pygmy Paladins that can push you off near narrow bridges or edges and use Lightning Spears and Stakes, The Ringed Knights that can manage to rollcatch you with a lot of their attacks, along with the ability to buff their weapons with fire, the large Locusts who will partake in eating you, and most frustratingly, the Judicator Giants that will summon ruin Phantoms to bombard you with arrows, and even getting close will either have them summon Ledo to pound you to the ground, and speaking of him, if you go down the wrong path, you may even encounter him as a dark spirit. And oh, it gets worse. Going too far down the swamp will result in you eventually encountering the Dragonslayer Armour, though thankfully, you should have been leveled up well for the encounter. Finally, the last stretch has you dodging Midir's dragon breath, and trying to get to cover without thinking will either get you pushed by a Pygmy Paladin into the fire, or end up falling right into your doom. Thankfully, after all that, the difficulty appears to drop, though going down the wrong path will result the Moaning Knight invading. There's a reason why if you don't have the Ashes of Ariandel DLC, the only way to access it is during the Klin of the First Flame.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The rot (the black sludge that corrupts Iudex Gundyr and other enemies) is almost completely ignored. Almost no lore even mentions it and only a few enemies including the Iudex are affected by it. Considering how much lore is taken from previous games, some fans are annoyed that one of the game's unique lore points is dropped past the first area. All There in the Manual reveals that they're called the Pus of Man, and are a result of being corrupted by the Abyss. Their Humanity has gone wild and turned them into twisted monsters as a result. However, it doesn't explain how wyverns have been infected by it, or how specifically the Abyss was able to affect them. They're also somehow tied to the Ancient Serpents.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • The Frostbite status effect introduced in this game. An enemy affected by Frostbite will have their stamina regeneration reduced for a moment and take a bit of damage. It's a decent idea, and only a handful of your opponents, whether a player or a boss, can actually resist it. The issue is that only 5 weapons in the base game are even capable of inflicting it, one of which is a greathammer that will kill most of its targets before it even inflicts the effect, and its function of reducing stamina regeneration only applies to players, making it inferior to Bleed for boss killing. Ashes of Ariandel somewhat mitigated Frostbite's underuse, adding two dedicated spells for it, as well as another weapon with the effect attached; it was also buffed with the introduction of The Ringed City, which made it much easier to apply on both enemies and actual players.
    • Weapon and armor durability has also become this, since bonfires restore the durability of all non-broken equipment for free. They did this in Dark Souls II as well, but it was offset by having weapon durability decrease extremely quickly. In this game, even the most delicate weapons will probably last long enough to get to the next bonfire, so you pretty much have to be either fighting enemies with acid or other equipment-breaking attacks or doing a No-Bonfire Run for durability to be a factor.
  • The Woobie:
    • Even if you buy the idea that he was motivated entirely by selfishness in the first game, Gwyndolin in this one has not only the sheer suck of his childhood and abandonment by the other gods, but compounds that with the fact he is now the primary victim and body of Aldrich, all because he wanted to save his sister.
    • Lothric and Lorian. The two were implied to be unwilling as Lords of Cinder. The way Lothric was raised implied he was soon disillusioned about the First Flame going on, going so far to reject his duty. His brother Lorian didn't fare any better, as the flame burnt away his mind to the point he can no longer use his legs properly.
    • Anri of Astora. Just another Unkindled trying to reunite the Lords of Cinder, and being protected by a large and imposing but ultimately gentle Blue Sentinel. As their questline progresses Anri can lose Horace, be forced to continue on ahead, have Horace get killed without their knowing, be told that you were the one that killed their beloved traveling companion, and be murdered by either you, a Hollowed Horace, or a Londor assassin on Yuria's orders. Sure, the Usurpation of Fire ending gives them a happy-(ish) ending, but Anri has to go through a lot of shit to get there.
    • The Abyss Watchers also have a pretty sorry lot. A Band of Brothers who decided to link the First Flame together, they unfortunately started to slowly give way to their madness to the point where the player finds out that the reason that the sane members can't go back to the Firelink Shrine is because they are busy killing off their mad brethren, which happens even during the fight with them, which becomes even more painful when you consider their founder Artorias suffered a similar fate. The only consolation is that in death, the group can finally be at peace together.
    • With the release of Ashes of Ariandel we have Father Ariandel himself. A massive Corvian, he has been constantly flagellating himself for ages to use his blood to restore the painting of his Painted World. He's also surprisingly cordial to you when you first meet him, asking you politely to fetch his flail for him. Then it's made abundantly apparent that he is under the thumb of Sister Freide a.k.a. Elfreide, elder sister to Yuria and one of the founders of the Sable Church of Londor, and he does nothing to help you as Friede wails on you. Then heaven help you if you beat her, 'cause then Ariandel goes absolutely mad with grief and proceeds to revive Freide and pound you into the dirt for daring to kill the woman he faithfully serves despite her actions actively preventing his restoration of the Painted World (a fact he seems completely unaware of.)

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