Provided by FromSoftware

“Dark Souls III,” FromSoftware’s final installment of the “Dark Souls” trilogy, was released on Monday. As the dark and chilling opening ends, fans hear the words they’ve been waiting for: “And so it is, that ash seeketh embers.”

“Dark Souls III” raises the player-character from ashes so they can seek great souls and powerful embers as they labor through apocalyptic landscapes and explore ancient castles. The character awakens in the land of Lothric, at a time when the Lords of Cinder have abandoned their thrones and the fire has begun to fade. Even now, only embers remain.

As the Unkindled, your mission is to restore the Lords of Cinder to their rightful thrones and link the flame. In the end, however, the choice is yours. Will you fulfill the prophecy and link the flame, hopelessly prolonging the age of fire? Or will you turn your back on the Lords and embrace the darkness?

Released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, “Dark Souls III” offers one of most challenging and rewarding gaming experiences available to play now.

The beauty of this series is how much the game leaves to one’s interpretation. The storytelling is indirect and vague, but the lore is ubiquitous throughout the games. This has inspired an active online community with many incredibly interesting discussion videos online. This makes it easy for someone who has never played a “Dark Souls” game to jump in without feeling confused or left out.

As a capstone to the series, “Dark Souls III” stays true to its predecessor titles, while expanding on the story in a surprisingly original and profound way. The inclusion of references to previous games don’t come off as cheap fan service, but rather insert themselves cleverly to expand upon and make suggestions about the previous games. Furthermore, the gameplay is definitely the best in the series thus far.

Combat in the “Dark Souls” games has come a long way since the 2009 PlayStation-exclusive “Demon’s Souls.” Still technical and relentlessly challenging, “Dark Souls III” is a testament to FromSoftware’s dedication to innovation and improving game mechanics. Although fundamentally different in their approach to combat, “Dark Souls III” borrows some of the best mechanics from “Bloodborne,” FromSoftware’s 2015 PlayStation exclusive.

Introducing quicker combat and character movement has had the effect of creating a smoother and more exciting gameplay experience. Some would even argue that they could have borrowed more from “Bloodborne” in terms of its fast-paced, bloody and offensive play style.

“Dark Souls III” is a carefully constructed game with a host of breathtaking scenes. It presents compelling areas to explore and fight through, with exciting loot dispersed throughout the world. The game provides the player with diverse gameplay options by offering a variety of different weapons to be found or bought early on in the game. This allows players to try out different combat styles and tailor their gameplay styles.

For fans of the series, “Dark Souls III” is a welcome return to the realm that the series has explored for the past five years. While the game’s director, Hidetaka Miyazaki, has stated that this would be the last “Dark Souls” game, fans of FromSoftware are already eagerly awaiting whatever game the company develops next.

But, should you choose to play, a friendly last piece of advice: prepare to die, a lot.