Despite being the third game in the series, it’s possible Dark Souls 3 is your first Dark Souls game! Though Bloodborne was built from Dark Souls’ DNA, it’s pretty different. Here’s what might surprise you.
Dark Souls 3 is fast compared to previous Souls games, but it’s got nothing on Bloodborne. There’s a reason most Dark Souls screen shots have dudes and ladies running around in chunky armor with big ass swords and shields! You can approach Dark Souls 3 a little like Bloodborne, however, if you build your character in a way that emphasizes being nimble and light.
This isn’t entirely true, as it somewhat depends on your character, but it’s a useful shorthand. In Bloodborne, since shields aren’t part of the equation and it rewards counterattacks with additional health, the game trains players to be more aggressive. Dark Souls 3 requires a more measured calculation, as there’s nothing to gain by being greedy and attacking too often. In fact, several bosses are specifically designed to punish such tactics.
Your mileage may vary on this point, but as Bloodborne rewards aggression, it’s more in line with other action games. If you play Devil May Cry, for example, you’re not going to think twice about jumping into the action and going nuts with attacks. Being reckless isn’t a path to success in Bloodborne (or Dark Souls!), but it’s more survivable while exploring Yharnam. In Dark Souls 3, there are simply more bosses who will kill you in one or two hits until you begin to understand what the strategy is for taking them down.
The usefulness of magic in Dark Souls depends on which game you’re talking about—it was basically broken in Demon’s Souls—but Bloodborne’s equivalent of magic, hunter tools, weren’t viable until much later in the game. It’s why they never became a big part of my Bloodborne character. It’s much different in Dark Souls 3, where you can pick a character class with fire magic right off the bat. If you’re having trouble with the game, it’s one way to give you an early upper hand; said magic is super powerful.
In Bloodborne, you shot enemies at certain points in their animation cycle—usually right before they hit you—to stagger them for a powerful “visceral” attack. The equivalent in Dark Souls 3 is called “parrying,” and it’s not possible with every weapon. In fact, you’re usually parrying with a shield. (Each shield has a different attribute, but many default to parrying.) It works similarly, though. You time the parry to a certain point in their attack—again, usually right before they hit you—and it staggers them. Then, there’s an opportunity to walk up the body and really tear into them.
Though The Old Hunters expansion for Bloodborne introduced bows to the game, you might not have used it very much. Even if you’re a lumbering giant with huge armor in Dark Souls 3, keep a bow and arrow on you. It’s very useful for getting the attention of enemies, luring individuals out of groups, and executing cheesy attacks from a distance. It’s vital.
From Software basically nerfed the concept of invasions in Bloodborne, as you only had to deal with other people jumping into your game when you were seeking co-op partners. It’s a more punishing affair in Dark Souls 3, with its own set of risks and rewards. Now, whenever you beat a boss and get imbued with an ember or use an ember item, you’re susceptible to invasions. Embers wear off as soon as you die, but embers are super useful, as they allow you to summon friends to fight with and boost total health. If you don’t want to deal with it, either play offline or die ASAP after a boss.