General overview: As the name alludes to, it is a decaying cemetery from which our hero emerges. It is, for the most part, a short, winding path with a few short branches coming off it. With only a few basic enemy types to contend with on the main path, this functions as the tutorial area, a compressed, naturally-designed version of the one found in DS2's Things Betwixt.

Nitpick: Nothing much, really, because it’s mostly a pretty short, uncomplicated area. I guess I kind of got annoyed by the multiple attempts I had to make to jump to get that item off the top of the coffin, but that’s really more a nitpick about the general jumping mechanic in the Souls games. Distance /angle of approach are sometimes hard to judge; I think the designers are aware of this and use this fact to troll players. I do like the current control scheme much better than the original’s run-and-then-press-the-run-button-a-second-time scheme, but I still can’t help wishing there was a way to implement a dedicated jump button without screwing over the other control functions. There are many times when I’m running for my life and I end up making an unnecessary jump because I accidentally pressed down too hard in my panic to extract myself from a bad situation.

Very speculative lore notes: In the intro cinematic, they say your character is awakened from their coffin as “unkindled”, which I guess means someone who died before the curse of hollowing was in fashion? I don’t know, but it gives me a chance to use this slightly relevant clip:

The Tourism Board recommends: I’ve noticed the areas I’ve traversed in DS3 seem to contain branches/enemies/whatever that are set as non-essential bits for first-time players to come back to some point. I like this idea, as it helps to alleviate the problem that crops up when players can just warp early in the game: the feeling that the game is just a series of disconnected “levels”.

In this area, the main reasons for new players to come back is the Giant Crystal Lizard sleeping in a branch off the main path—”Turn back”, the developer notes helpfully advise—and that crazy Uchigatana (sp?) swordsman protecting one of two doors you can’t get into at this point. And what’s up with the stuff on the roof of Firelink Shrine? Oh, hey, there’s a ladder...that’s folded up so I can’t reach it.

The Misanthrope’s Pro-tip: Umm...don’t die! Unless you square off against the two challenges I mention in the above section, you’ll probably make it to the boss just fine.