Dark Souls III is an action role-playing game played in a third-person perspective, similar to previous games in the series. According to lead director and series creator Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game's gameplay design followed "closely from Dark Souls II". Players are equipped with a variety of weapons to fight against enemies, such as bows, throwable projectiles, and swords. Shields can act as secondary weapons but they are mainly used to deflect enemies' attacks and protect the player from suffering damage. Each weapon has two basic types of attack, one being a standard attack, and the other being slightly more powerful that can be charged up, similar to FromSoftware's previous game, Bloodborne. In addition, attacks can be evaded through dodge-rolling. Bonfires, which serve as checkpoints, return from previous installments. Magic is featured in the game, with a returning magic system from Demon's Souls, now known as "focus points" (FP). When performing spells, the player's focus points are consumed. There are two separate types of Estus Flasks in the game, which can be allotted to fit a players' particular play style. One of them refills hit points like previous games in the series, while another, newly introduced in Dark Souls III, refills focus points. Combat and movements are faster and more fluid in Dark Souls III; several player movements (such as backstepping and swinging heavy weapons) can now be performed more rapidly, allowing players to deal more damage in a short period of time.
Throughout the game, players encounter different types of enemies, each with different behaviors. Some of them change their combat pattern during battles. New combat features are introduced in Dark Souls III, including weapon and shield "Skills", which are special abilities that vary from weapon to weapon that enable unique attacks and features at the cost of focus points. The game places more focus on role-playing; the expanded character builder and improved weapons provide the player with more tactical options. The game features fewer overall maps than its predecessor Dark Souls II, but they are larger and more detailed, which encourages exploration. The adaptability stat from Dark Souls II was removed in Dark Souls III, with other stats being adjusted. The game features multiplayer elements like the previous games in the series.
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