In just over a month, we’ll all be dying in Dark Souls 3. A bunch of media people have played the first four hours, and came back with footage and new details to get us through the next few weeks.

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Kotaku UK’s Keza Macdonald was one of those people, and wrote up two different pieces, including a look at the gameplay and a look at the lore.

Keza, who’s about to publish a dang book on Dark Souls, had this to say about the player’s role in the story:

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There are references in Dark Souls 3 to the fact that you are “unfit to become a Lord.” This interests me, because at the end of the first Dark Souls you did become a Lord: you could either offer yourself to the flame, like Gwyn, or walk away and become the Lord of Darkness. This seems to be contrasting you directly with the Chosen Undead of the first Dark Souls game: you’re not here to save the world. You’re not worthy for that. But, it seems, you are worthy of defeating the Lords of Cinder in their various realms.

If there’s a definitive Dark Souls source, it’s VaatiVidya, and he’s produced a slick 18-minute commentary about his hours with Dark Souls 3. I watched about half of it before I decided to try and contain myself for the full game.

Over at Polygon, they have a video straight up showing the first 30 minutes.

I’ve also read a bunch of the previews—IGN, Polygon, Eurogamer—and these are the nitty gritty tidbits I found interesting for longtime fans:

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  • The game no longer punishes you for dying, outside of losing collected souls. In other words, the “hollowing” mechanic has disappeared.
  • There’s a new Firelink Shrine, ala Dark Souls, but it’s level-based, ala Demon’s Souls. (The two series are not connected narratively.)
  • It appears characters are returning from the original Dark Souls, such as Andre the blacksmith, suggesting From Software is laying down explicit links between games.
  • Don’t worry, there’s even a reference to Dark Souls 2.
  • The quantity of each estus flask—one for HP, one for MP—can be altered, based on your playstyle. Not a magic user? No problem.
  • Bow ‘n arrows look kick ass. Check it out:

Video Credit: VaatiVidya

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Is it April 12 yet?

You can reach the author of this post at patrick.klepek@kotaku.com or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.