Intro and Gameplay
Unless you've been living under a rock in the gaming world, you may have noticed that the Dark Souls series has gone from a small, cult following into a huge following and almost universal appraise. Yes, the game can be extremely challenging, frustrating, yet rewarding with the first DLC for Dark Souls III, Ashes of Ariandel, is the pinnacle of said frustration/reward. With thrusting players into the icy world of Ariandel via an old painting, this world is especially punishing. Packs of wolves, huge rapier wielding baddies, and a few bosses await..
Overall, the DLC ranges from flashes of pure brilliance to areas that are so cluttered with enemies, it seems more like an experiment of level design versus a fully fleshed out and play tested game. Yes, I still love the solid and slick gameplay but it feels like the brilliant enemy design is marred by quantity and where they are placed.
Graphics and Sound
Dark Souls III was filled some dozens of fantastic vistas and artistry ranging from old crypts, dusty villages, and huge castles. Ashes of Ariandel definitely sports some of the fantastic vistas and awe-inspiring wonders but they seem further in-between due to the mentioned cramped feelings of claustrophobic level design and some small buildings you have to maneuver. Still though, this is a gorgeous game overall.
The sound and voice acting is nearly spot on from the full game and besides some terrifying new screams from the ghastly enemies, much hasn't changed in this regard.
Fun and Conclusion
Well, is Ashes any fun? Sure, just not as much as the original game that I absolutely adored. Why? The few shortcomings of the full game are on full display here. The cramped areas of certain levels, the frustrating mechanics of multiple enemies surrounding you, etc. Now, not all is bad in the land of Ariandel, in fact, highly skilled Souls players will probably thrive in this icy land of extremely tough (cheap?) enemies and more content to whet your appetite. While I loved diving back into the series, it just left me a little... (bad pun incoming) cold. Still, if you loved the original, it's still worth your gaming dollar until the next DLC hits.