At the tail end of March, the final DLC addition to Dark Souls III was released, and 20-plus hours of play later (but with a boss or two still to be defeated), this reviewer is more than pleased with it. Entitled The Ringed City, the DLC follows the previous release, Ashes of Ariandel, but unlike that add-on, this one is described as being “late game” content.
Now please remember that Dark Souls is already a franchise that exists in no small part to challenge the player. Consequently, describing a new area in the title as being “late game”—and in fact one can only access it by beating the previous DLC or by travelling to it from near the end of the main game—is telling about what one can expect here. The Ringed City is difficult and the recommendation is that players be at about level 125 for it.
Even those who have played the game—and clearly no one is playing this DLC without having been heavily invested in the main title—will still find The Ringed City to be tricky at times. It is full of big, bad, ugly monsters who are all out there to destroy the player. And they will. Repeatedly.
This is of course the point, for just as The Ringed City is difficult, it offers up the same sense of accomplishment as its predecessors. Every step of ground that is traversed without dying, every monster defeated and area (temporarily) cleared of baddies makes one feel successful.
The wonder and greatness of The Ringed City, just as with Ashes of Ariandel and the main title, does not stop there. The monsters may be ugly and the deaths they offer may be brutal, but they can also be impressive to see take place (frustrating, yes, but impressive). Additionally, the decrepit areas one must traverse in the DLC are beautiful, offering a level of detail that can at times be distracting (and which therefore allows enemies to take advantage of the player).
In fact, the only unfortunate part of The Ringed City is that it is, seemingly, the end. Yes, there is always a chance that FromSoftware will realize that they have one last bit of story they have to tell with Dark Souls III, but with this being billed as the last of the DLC, the odds are not particularly good. Even so, those looking for one final challenge, or to revisit the universe one last time, shouldn’t skip out on this bit of DLC. It is a perfect fit with all that has come before.
Dark Souls III is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood and Violence. This game can also be found on: Xbox One and Windows PC.