Dark Souls 3 just released a couple of days ago, and the hype is real! One of the best things about Dark Souls series is that it gives you lots of options of how you want to play the game. Do you want to be quick and agile, or would you prefer a more calculated and balanced approach?
Do you want to cheese your way out of tough situations, or would you opt to be the aggressor with your awesome twin blades?
Whichever way you decide to play ultimately depends on you, but some styles are simply more fun than others. After having played countless hours of both Dark Souls games (as well as Bloodborne), I’ve come up with what I believe are the 5 most fun and effective ways to play the game.
Note that these aren’t builds, but simply styles of play that you should base your builds on.
Five Best Ways To Play Dark Souls 3
The Hyperactive Man
One of the most fun ways to play Dark Souls 3 is to use a Parrying Shield along with a fast weapon (a dagger or other one-handed Dexterity weapon) to cut down foes.
Parrying shields are great as they make it a tad easier to parry attacks by humanoid enemies, which lets you perform a riposte against the hapless foe. It’s not an easy way to play the game, but it’s one of the most rewarding, and certainly makes you ‘git good’ for some PvP action if you’re being invaded quite a bit.
Just expect to get beaten the crap out of for the first few hours of the game if this is the way you want to go, especially if you’re a beginner. You’ll have to dress up light, use fast weapons, roll around like a maniac, and time your parries to perfection. Once you get the hang of it though, you’ll have more fun than you ever would with a fat-rolling Havel build.
The Classic Knight
If you’re an experienced Soulsborne player but don’t want to try anything new during your first playthrough, the classic knight is really the best way to play the game. A simple sword and shield combination with some good armor should suffice to give you a balanced and complete experience.
The popular build associated with this style of play is often termed the ‘Quality Build’ because it lets you use a wide array of weapons yet at the same time works best with a knight’s straight sword and a reliable 100% damage block shield.
It’s fun, it makes you look cool when you get your hands on several knight-styled armor, and it gives for a complete experience. Personally, my first character in Soulsborne is almost always the classic knight, who I eventually develop near the end into a slight hybrid.
The Magic-Melee Dude/Dudess
Magic isn’t something that works well exclusively in Dark Souls games, so it’s best to combine it with melee. Believe you me, you can make some awesome builds by combining a type of magic with a good, relevant weapon.
One of my favorite (and first) builds in Dark Souls 2 was a Faith/Strength one. This dude could launch lightning spears from one hand while slashing at foes with a lightning-infused Drake sword in the other. It was fun, reliable, and gave me lots of ways to tackle enemies.
Of course, I eventually ditched it because lightning was admittedly overpowered in DS2 and I wanted a new challenge, but there are lots of other ways to build a magic-melee character who you can have great fun with.
Try something like pyromancy plus a magic-imbued sword (you’ll likely find such weapons in the mid-stages of the game), or perhaps a cool lance and pure magic combo that utilizes Intelligence and Dexterity. It has an advantage over the classic knight style of play as it gives you more options during fights, though it does take a bit more time and effort to build.
The Heavy Hitter
Okay, I personally hate the Havel builds everyone loved to abuse in DS1 and 2, and I still will hate anything that resembles such crap in Dark Souls 3. You guys need to understand that any skilled player can destroy your supposedly rock-solid character build with just a dagger in his/her hand.
Havel builds are not cool, and they generally don’t work well in PvP or PvE. More importantly, being able to hit heavy does not mean you have to make a Havel build. Yes, Strength is important if you want to use weapons three times your size, but do so with some light armor and good Endurance to really give yourself some movement.
With a Heavy Hitter style of play, you can use massive greatswords like the Zweihander or gigantic maces/clubs paired with some light armor. Move around like a maniac and land devastating blows on enemies when there’s an opening. You’ll be dishing out tons of damage, and it’s going to make you feel powerful without having to fat-roll like a stooge.
Dual-wielding was absolutely awesome in Dark Souls 2 because of the Power Stance mechanic. It seems like Power Stance will be abandoned in Dark Souls 3, but you still get to acquire some awesome ‘paired’ weapons in the game.
Paired weapons are Dexterity-based weapons that you can in twos. An example are the two Scimitars you’ll find early on the in the game. You can use a single Scimitar with a shield if you wish, or dual-wield them.
With Weapon Arts, Power Stance shouldn’t be missed, as dual-wielding paired weapons is going to be awesome. It’s certainly one of the tougher ways to play the game, but if you’re a PvP maniac and love to roll around without having to rely on heavy weapons, then dual-wielding will get you quite far.
It’s a fun and challenging way to play the game. Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend it to beginners because, well, it’s tough and you need shields against certain enemies if you’re not great at roll-dodging, but it’s a great way to dish out insane damage in PvP and also take out multiple enemies in PvE. Have fun.