Dark Souls Remastered is out now and I remember hearing about the original after spending way too long on Demon’s Souls.
When the launch day finally came during September 2011, I was up at my local ASDA picking it up minutes after it was put on the shelf! Little did I know, taking this game home that I was about to endure a four-month love/hate relationship with FROM Software’s new game!!!
Looking back, I am surprised that I didn’t just quit, Dark Souls was – and still is – a different kind of beast in comparison to Demon’s Souls and the earlier King’s Field games. The bosses hit harder and moved faster, environments are all joined together by a few interconnecting doors & tunnels making the whole world a lot more believable and cohesive. Overall, FROM Software had really upped their game.
The PS3 version had a fair few issues with the frame rate (the Xbox 360 wasn’t much better). You are talking major slowdown so things became choppy when in areas like Blighttown. The 30fps cap just couldn’t be sustained with so much going on in the area, and this inevitably ended up contributing to player death.
The game, itself can, be extremely frustrating at times, for example, the placement of enemies alongside some real nasty boss battles – Capra Demon, early in the game, is a great example). Some bonfires can be a fair way apart so I ended up taking a three-month break from it on PS3. I also hit the wall that is Ornstein & Smough, which is what stopped me playing for that time. Hell, even getting to them is a chore with the archers taking pot shots at you while you run up a narrow pathway to get to the next bonfire.
The remaster, itself, is the exact same game that came out in 2011 with the Artorias of the Abyss expansion included, which is known as the Prepare to Die Edition on the PC. All the reviews from 2011 are still as relevant today as they were seven years ago.
For me, the main point with the remaster is the framerate. Thankfully, Blighttown is now running smooth as silk. It is running at a higher 60fps, now (given new hardware), but there are a few minor dips in a few areas still; Nothing that slows the game to a crawl, like it did previously though. Textures haven’t had much work done to them. It looks like the original assets have just been upscaled. The same can be said for the character models. Lighting and effects, on the other hand, have had work done. As an example, the tunnel at the beginning of the game, during the intro, has nice volumetric light coming off the torches on the walls. Spell effects, and your blue light on a bloodstain, now has more vibrancy and just looks so much better than it did.
Matchmaking has now been fixed since, at times on previous generations, it just failed over and over, or you couldn’t find any summons to help you out. Alongside this improvement, you can now have up to 6 players in your world. This can be to help. However, if you have more helping players, you could end up with 2 of the invading red phantoms.
Something that does need bringing to the table here, however, is the remaster on the PC The Prepare to Die Edition is no longer available on Steam (unless bought previously). With that, you could mod the game to up 1080p resolution and, basically, make it look like this remaster. To me, that shows little work has been put into it this.
Don’t get me wrong. The game itself is great, if cheap and frustrating at time, although I do prefer Dark Souls II and Dark Souls III over the first game, while Demon’s Souls is my favourite. I just don’t think they should have said it was a remaster.
A proper remaster is things like Shadow of the Colossus and Crash Bandicoot.
A proper remaster would have looked at player frustration with things like the archers at Anor Londo, or the insanely small area with the Capra Demon boss and his two dogs, and done something about it, thus redoing the enemies and all the textures and so on, and not just sort out the lighting, effects and up the framerate to 60fps. I feel that they just wanted the full trilogy on this generation of consoles. I personally feel the PC version is a bit pointless, except for the dedicated servers, rather than P2P (Peer to Peer).
If you have never played this before, I thoroughly recommend it, even though my last few paragraphs seem quite negative. Revisiting the game after many years away, I found myself enjoying it a lot more than I used to, and I cleared up to Ornstein & Smough pretty quickly over a few days. I do feel, though, that Dark Souls II & Dark Souls III pushed the series ahead and are a lot more enjoyable, with less cheap and frustrating areas/bosses.
Check out my videos on this review, as well as my photo album here.
- Developer: FROM Software
- Publisher: Bandai Namco
- Players: Single (PvE) and Multiplayer (Co-Op & PvP) – Offline play available
Retro at heart and lover of all things ’80s, especially the computers, the music and the awesome movies and TV shows! Crazy huge retro gaming collection spanning the ’80s and ’90s with hundreds of tapes, discs and carts for various machines on top of a 600+ strong Steam library that is ever-growing. No I am not a serial hoarder, just a dedicated retro gamer!