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The painted world of ‘Dark Souls III – Ashes of Ariandel’ is no ‘Super Mario 64’

Dark Souls III - Ashes of Ariandel Launch Trailer | PS4, XB1, PC
Dark Souls III – Ashes of Ariandel, the first expansion to From Software’s excellent action-RPG, is out today, and with its launch comes a trailer to get you in the mood to die over and over again. But while this game takes players to a “painted world,” the colors aren’t so cheerful.

“If you truly are ash, then it must be fire that you seek,” a voice says in a pleading voice. “You don’t know how long I’ve searched. Go on, touch it.”

The Ashen One — that’s you, in case you haven’t played the main game — takes his advice and reaches for a small piece of a painting, only to be sucked into a mysterious new world. We’re sure there are plenty of stars to collect and Goombas to squash inside.

The world of Ashes of Ariandel bears some resemblance to the Irithyll area from Dark Souls III, with its snowy hills and bare trees, but its buildings are in varying states of decay and the enemies are grotesque. One lanky monster almost looks like Lovecraft’s take on the Slenderman, and enormous worms cover even inorganic surfaces.

“I need you to show her flame that will burn the rot away,” the voice continues.

Early reviews for Dark Souls III – Ashes of Ariandel are, as one may expect from a developer of From Software’s pedigree, positive, but the expansion’s short length has been the subject of criticism. IGN’s Brendan Graeber says that it “may serve as more of an appetizer than a full course meal” unless players are interested in playing the player-versus-player component extensively. Destructoid’s Chris Carter, meanwhile, said that the experience can be finished in about five hours and “doesn’t really go anywhere we haven’t seen before.”

Dark Souls III – Ashes of Ariandel is now available for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It’s also included in the main game’s season pass.

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