Dark Souls III Collectors Edition is packed to the brim0 Comments
I’ve never had an opportunity to get my hands on a Dark Souls Collector’s Edition before. I snagged one of the Limited Editions for the console release of the first game, but was relegated to a regular edition of Dark Souls II when it released. For these reasons, as soon as the Dark Souls III Collector’s Edition was announced, I knew that it was something that I had to include in my Nerd Cave.
I unboxed Dark Souls III as I was waiting for the 1.2GB patch to install, and there were a few things that instantly stood out as exceptions to the typical Collector’s Edition, namely the amount of content that was crammed into the box. As I dug through the contents I concluded that there were both things that should become an industry standard, as well as a couple small things that publishers should perhaps shy away from. Overall, I’m thoroughly impressed with the Dark Souls III CE that I picked up, even if the game is slowly chipping away at my sanity.
The first thing that I noticed when I pulled out the steelbook to retrieve the game was that the metal case was empty. Games that are released with a steelbook nowadays are often packaged within it, but in this case there was a sealed Xbox One case slotted in beside the collector’s case in the box. This is a small but fantastic move in two ways. First, it saves gamers from the hassle of having to carefully pry their precious games out of the steelbook case every time they want to play. Steelbooks are notorious for having an inner ring that causes games to stick instead of easily popping out.
Secondly, it allows collectors like me to display our steelbook cases instead of having their primary function being a game receptacle. It’s a small move, but one that I was immediately appreciative of. They even included a game case sleeve at the bottom of the box for people that like to have a nice “bookjacket” for their cases.
Once I opened the game there was a digital copy of Dark Souls waiting for me, which is exclusive to the Xbox One version through backwards compatibility. More developers are including digital copies of their older games these days, especially now that backwards compatibility has expanded to encompass a large portion of the Xbox 360 catalog, and I’m definitely not complaining about having a second game included.
Underneath the game disc was a CD soundtrack, which is another thing that some publishers have started to turn away from. I will almost always prefer a hard copy of something, whether it’s a game, a movie, or a CD, and digital soundtracks have become a much more common occurrence in recent years because of their accessibility. I’m not arguing their usefulness, but having a CD to pop into your PC or car is a welcome boon.
The art book is becoming another staple of every limited and collector’s edition alongside the soundtrack, but the quality of these books ranges from mediocre to fantastic. Luckily, the Dark Souls III art book is on the higher end of the spectrum, and includes 200 pages of gorgeous art encompassing all three of the Dark Souls games. The faux-leather hardcover book is packed with concept art, character models, weapons, and full detailed environments from the entire series. As someone who doesn’t even like to peruse artbooks for certain games in case of visual spoilers, this gave me a chance to enjoy the artwork without stumbling across a new weapon or enemy before I’d seen it in game.
Next up we have the cloth map detailing the Kingdom of Lothric artistically. The map is made of a nice cloth instead of the cheaper paper maps that are more common, and has a really nice feel to it. Contrary to many other maps that you get with games, this map is more of an artistic piece rather than a guide to lead you through the world of Dark Souls 3. Right, because that sounds like something From Software would do.
Last, but most certainly not least, I reached the 10 inch statue of the Red Knight, posed in mid attack, wielding his dual blades. The statue is made out of a solid plastic and has a nice weight to it, which is something I’m always looking for in CE statues. While Dark Souls III didn’t go too outside the box with their centerpiece, opting to go with the typical figure, it’s an exceptionally detailed model with a felt base and removable weapons.
The only thing that really irked me in the Collector’s Edition was the Prima Official Starter Guide. This was, in essence, an over-glorified instruction booklet that reiterated information that we used to receive with every game over three years old, before manuals went digital. There were one or two useful tips for people starting out with the Dark Souls series, but the majority of its pages contained long-winded explanations about the controller buttons. While it didn’t necessarily detract from anything else, I feel like how it was advertised was a tad misleading. Perhaps the “Prima Official Instruction Manual” would have been a little more accurate.
While I’m on the topic, I have to throw some props out to the Prima Games’ Dark Souls III Estus Flask Edition Guide, that may or may not be on its way to my house as well (I have a problem). While it tipped a bit towards the pricey end, the inclusion of a resin molded Estus Flask, a metal Wolf’s Knight Greatsword bookmark, and a 192-page Dark Sign Journal for taking notes as you play through the game, really complete the package. The only downside is that the Estus Flask isn't really as nice as it looks in the image, and you can't fill it up at your nearest Bonfire.
From Software has put together some fantastic collector’s editions for both the game and guide for Dark Souls III, which are both packed with extra items that Souls fans will be dying to get their hands on. They haven’t stepped too far outside the mold of traditional collector’s editions with their game, but the combination of the wealth of content and the different way it was presented, make these editions instant winners in my books.