Review: Dark Souls 3 – Ashes of Ariandel DLC


Halloween is just around the corner and with winter short to follow, From Software have released the first of two DLC packs for Dark Souls 3. If you have not seen the review of the main game check it out here. Ashes of Ariandel has been released just at the right time of the year given the snow-covered frost biting area and the deadliest creatures I have encountered yet in the game.

First off to get to the Ashes of Ariandel you will need to have already unlocked the bonfire at the Cleaning Chapel in the Cathedral of the Deep section in the main game. Once there you will see an NPC praying, go up and talk to him and a short cut scene will follow ending with you being transported in to the painted world and thus where your deadly adventure in Ashes of Ariandel begins. I say deadly because this is one tough piece of DLC introducing new creatures, weapons, armour and so forth. Let’s just mention a little thing on character level, Dark Souls 3 recommend that you basically complete the main game before attempting the DLC. I can confirm that this DLC presents a nice challenge for those even with a high-level character, but I dare you to try it with a low level one.

As you start the area you are greeted with an NPC basically telling you, you will not make it through this world alive and all that have gone before you have become consumed by the frosty environment harbouring deadly challenges. You know you should turn back but as you exit the narrow cave you are presented with a snow storm in a large open area. Do not be fooled by this as you will soon be thrown in to battle within seconds. You will be hit with the slightly weaker enemies first with each having their own attack. The first is a javelin throwing dude, then you will be hit with a standard shield and sword fellow looking to slice and dice you. Not far behind him you have a dude with a fire touch who uses this to make you all toasty.


In fact, I must applaud the new foes From Software they have included with the DLC. My favourite though is the Wolves, on their own they are fine but when they start calling for backup you won’t want to stand about and pet them. The combat with the wolves are also satisfying as they will circle around you ready to pounce one after the other. There is also a surprise waiting for you early on as well but I won’t mention exactly what it is. As you get further into the game you come across large knights but like a house and if you are a low character level these will feel like mini-bosses. Things aren’t always covered in snow as you come across a small village that hides even more deadly creatures. There is a bird like creature that I can only describe as the love child between Freddy Kruger and Big Bird. There are two bosses to be found in Ashes of Ariandel with one of them being an optional boss, but it must be defeated to unlock the new PvP event.

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The painted world may not be the largest area compared to the base game, but the way the level has been designed is ingenious as it makes it feel larger than it is. The ground beneath your feet will crumble away early on revealing more areas. What’s great though is that there are paths that loop back to certain areas. The DLC may have a lot of open areas, but this just means that there are even tougher ambushes that await you. You can run through some of the DLC, if some bits provide to be a little tough but then you would be missing a fair chunk. You are maybe looking at around 3-4 hours’ worth of gameplay time if you are going to hunt out every inch of the area and kill every enemy.

Graphically Ashes of Ariandel looks just as stunning, if not more so than the base game. The whole snow filled cliffs setting is just amazing to explore with your eyes. As ever, there are plenty of vantage points to overlook where you are heading to next. I also like the fact that the whole level is not snow covered which obviously allows for the variety of different foes without looking out of place.

The Good Things

  • This DLC provides quite a tough challenge after beating the main game.
  • Digging the snow theme and just in time for Christmas.
  • Loving the new creatures you will come across, especially the wolves.

And The Bad

  • You will need a fairly high level character to look out everything.
  • It is a little on the short side, but it does leave you wanting more.

My Verdict…

    The Ashes of Ariandel is the first of two DLC packs to land introducing a new challenge for those that can’t get enough of Dark Souls 3. While accessing the painted world does not require you to have completed the main game to access it, you are recommended to have a high-level character. The new creatures on offer are truly challenging and can deal some amount of damage. I especially love the wolves and the way you can see them working together to surround you before they attack. It is a short area but it is made fun and challenging to explore every inch.

Wrap up because its cold and deadly outside this winter.

About no1phil

PR Manager & Editor for XLC Gaming Network. I have been gaming since the ZX Spectrum days growing up through many generations of consoles. A bit of a jack of all trades when it comes to gaming genres. When I'm not either being shot at, dancing, scoring for the other team or racing I am trying to become a guitar God with Rocksmith 2014.