The release for Dark Souls III’s final DLC, The Ringed City, is imminent, but Siliconera got a chance to check out five minutes of its first area, The Dreg Heap, a few days early at PAX East.
The Dreg Heap opens up to a vast city of ice, reminiscent of Frozen Eleum Loyce from Dark Souls II. Broken and bent towers abound, surrounding the player in a place that seems to be falling in on itself. That falling aspect is key, as the player will be making a few tumbles down in order to get down to the city’s first areas.
A set of stone stairs awaited after an uncomfortably long, yet safe, drop, leading into a courtyard that appeared empty. In traditional fashion, this was only to lure the player out into the open where tall, gangly creatures wielding glowing staves could summon a group of skeletal, humanoid creatures that crawled on the ground. These creatures used numbers and a surprising mobility to attack, and could easily chew through a player’s health. Having the staff-wielding creatures begin to fling fireballs only added to the danger.
Further up the stone walkway and up some broken stairs, a huge, headless creature that appeared to be covered in roots charged forward, wielding a curved sword. Its attack seemed slow and predictable at first, but it could switch to a highly-aggressive series of short chopping attacks at will, easily punishing players who tried to outlast its attacks with their shield. A nearby set of stairs could be used to trick the creature into following the player around, though.
More ruined courtyards awaited after the extended fight with the tough monster, each offering a spectacular view of the rest of the city, should the player have time to take it in when not being attacked. Players can see the place spilling downward for miles, seeming as if the whole city is toppling into the same abyss the players are moving toward.
While admiring this vista, players may take another long tumble, falling through a large window into another peaceful area. Naturally, things are not as safe as they appear, and with danger coming from an unexpected direction, and a brutal attack from an angel-like monster that peppered the area with burning white energy beams, the time with the demo ended.
The Dreg Heap is striking in its collapse, showing yet again the beauty the development team creates in its destroyed worlds. Its enemies seem as aggressive and surprising as ever, and with some frightening falls to create tension as the player follows the city down into the frozen pits, it seems like The Ringed City is shaping up to be a beautiful, challenging end to Dark Souls III.