The Final Ember: Ringed City Review
Dark Souls series has been one that’s held a special place in my heart. I’ve played all the souls games from Demon’s Souls to Dark Souls III, and I even got the platinum trophy for Bloodborne. So with the Ringed City DLC for Dark Souls III having been out for a while, I feel it’s time to talk about the last new piece of Dark Souls content we may ever get. Spoilers for Ringed City below.
After the lackluster length of Ashes of Ariandel, I am happy to announce that Ringed City is closer to the time for Artorias of the Abyss or the Old Hunters dlc. I would say it is shorter than the two mentioned, but I can’t tell if it’s because of actual length or just more years of Souls games under my belt. It has four bosses, similar to Old Hunters, and all four can prove difficulty, but I will dive into this later.
The entrance to the dlc is rather tame and underwhelming as compared to the Ashes of Ariandel dlc, since you just teleport to the new area. The Dreg Heap is the first area, which starts out white, barren, and quiet. The ash covers the ground like snow with buildings toppled and broken around you. It gives a broken, yet serene feeling to the area. It feels like the game acknowledging it’s the end. However, things get very real very fast.
The first half of the dlc is filled with running, lots of running. Running from the bombardment of what I assume are angels. These things will kill you if you stay still too long. You must run from cover to cover trying to avoid their feathers until you can find the core to kill them. Sadly, though, I didn’t really understand how to kill them until the second one. While the first core is out in the open, I was low on health with no estus so I ran by it without a second glace because I needed a bonfire.
The second half of the Dreg Heap will be familiar to those who played Dark Souls II. It was nice to see a throwback to the game that seemed like it was being swept under the rug. The level design for all of the Dreg Heap is nice, but pretty standard. However, after a difficult boss fight, you are brought to the Ringed City in classic style.
The Ringed City is where everything hits overdrive. The first bonfire of the Ringed City to the second will feel like eternity even though it’s very short. Also, the level design here is classic Dark Souls level design with shortcuts that don’t use impossible space. They make sense with the layout of the area, and that felt amazing. Loved the level design in the Ringed City, specifically.
All of the bosses were phenomenal, except for one. Halflight, Spear of the Church is supposed to be an Old Monk throwback where a human player is summoned, and you have to beat a human. However, the human can easily be ganked, which makes this fight easier, or it becomes one of the easiest in the series if an NPC is summoned as the boss. While this boss tried to be nice throwback, it ended up falling short.
The other three bosses are great though. You have a nice O&S remix, probably my favorite recreation of the fight in the series. A throwback to Kalameet, if Kalameet had a ridiculous amount of health. And a boss that feels like From Software mixed Artorias of the Abyss, Orphan of Kos, and Maria of the Astral Clocktower all into one boss.
The ending to the dlc, however, is a letdown. No cutscene, just a few new lines of dialogue from the painter in Ariandel. While I’m sure the new dialogue means a lot lore wise or even hints at something, I do not feel comfortable theorizing anything. The ending just felt flaccid seeing as it is the ending to the series.
Overall, the Ringed City is worth its asking price if you didn’t get the season pass. However, the season pass does save you $5 so it’s worth it since Ashes of Ariandel is not worth $14.99 but totally worth $10. While this new dlc has a lot to offer, I don’t think it can keep the flame going too much longer. The age without a Souls game is vastly approaching. The age of fire has ended, and without Dark Souls, the age of Dark will soon end. Guess things will end where there all began, an age of Gray.
Overall rating: 4/5