Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Category: Action, Adventure, RPG & Multiplayer
Release Date: October 18, 2018 (JP) / October 19, 2018 (EU & NA)
I’ve been a die-hard Souls fan ever since Demon Souls, and in fact, I purchased Demon Souls only after a few weeks after launch when the amazing reviews started pouring in. Demon Souls quickly became one of my favorite games of all time, so when Dark Souls was first announced, it’s safe to say I was very excited. I won’t go into detail about what Dark Souls is, how it plays, and how special it was to myself and so many other gamers, but here we are in 2018 with Dark Souls Remastered by developer From Software, and not only is it on current gen consoles, but the Nintendo Switch as well! While it probably isn’t in the upper echelon of remasters, it still is a great place to experience one of the greatest action RPGs of all time.
At its core, Dark Souls Remastered is still the same game that was released seven years ago. A significant change this time around is its framerate, which has been drastically improved from barely being able to maintain 30 frames-per-second to maintaining 30 fps easily playing on my Switch in docked or handheld. It maintains 720P resolution in handheld and 1080P in docked, although the remaster on PS4 upscales to 4K. From playing on my PS3 back in the day to now on the Switch, I noticed a crisper picture with some beautiful vistas and boss designs. It’s easy to say that Dark Souls Remastered is the best way to play this game on any of the current gen consoles.
This graphical and framerate improvements makes DARK SOULS: REMASTERED the definitive version for those new to the series and those who never got to play the PC modded version. These changes also making slogging through Blighttown and Lost Izalith easier to manage rather than fighting the constant lag more than the enemies themselves. Dark Souls Remastered now feels more like Dark Souls 3 on some other quality of life changes made to the game. More than anything though, being able to play on the go wherever I am, is incredible to think about.
Graphically, visual changes to soul items now have more of a radiant bluish tint to them and bonfires have considerably more smoke and ember particle effects spouting from the flames, while fog gates actually have a fog-like appearance versus the original version. Some changes to its mechanics have also been made, such as allowing players to now use multiple soul items at once, rather than the slow one at a time use that the original implemented.
Another change to DARK SOULS: REMASTERED is allowing players to switch up their control scheme, meaning that you can switch out your jump/dash button similar to a control layout in Dark Souls 3. DARK SOULS: REMASTERED is pretty much just Dark Souls from point A to point B and anyone expecting any major changes similar to the Scholar of the First Sin from Dark Souls 2 may be disappointed. It felt almost just like playing the improved PC version only on the Switch with a higher framerate and improved graphics.
Bonfires also received great changes as well, with the most obvious being your ability to change your covenant at any time once you have found one of the nine leaders. I also appreciated how they placed one of the bonfires closer to the main blacksmith, allowing you to bypass the pinwheel skeletons each time. As you can tell, DARK SOULS: REMASTERED doesn’t add much new to the main campaign, other than being a smoother and more polished experience.
Before the time of this review, I was not able to delve into the online component as it was not implemented during my playthrough. Being an experienced Dark Souls player, I had the advantage of knowing where to go, where most of the hidden areas were, and how to defeat most of the enemies. The online component is promised on the Switch version at launch and will be a life-saver as you can call in other online players to help you tackle a boss or read messages giving hints to secret areas laid on the ground from fellow travelers. I can’t comment on the implementation of this service, but I hope Nintendo is able to capture the essence of what makes PvP and PvE multiplayer great in Dark Souls.
My one major gripe with DARK SOULS: REMASTERED is from comparing this to Scholar of the First Sin from Dark Souls 2. Dark Souls 2 wasn’t perfect, but Scholar came in and overhauled much of the gameplay experience by moving enemy and item locations around, adding some new lore, and even a new final boss. I’m slightly disappointed, because after two sequels there was so much more they could have added. But, maybe that was a good thing to preserve everything that made the original Dark Souls fantastic in the first place.
Lastly, one thing you should not miss out on is the wonderful Artorias of the Abyss DLC, the sole add-on for Dark Souls that many people skipped over the first time. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on this content. Artorias manages to hit a lot of highs, with lore-heavy bosses that rank among some of the strongest in the series, and it never overstays its welcome. It is still some of the best DLC content ever released and is how DLC should be implemented for many games.
Overall, I was hoping FromSoftware would have put more into remastering DARK SOULS: REMASTERED, however, there’s no denying that it’s still extremely fun to play and a memorable achievement in game design. Whether it be when you face off against Smough and Ornstein, two of the best bosses of all time at once for the first time, or its unique approach to storytelling through NPC’s and descriptive assessments of all items detailing the lore. Dark Souls, in my opinion, still remains the best entry in the series and something both new and returning players should definitely add to their gaming collections.
The Verdict: 9/10
*Review Key Provided by Bandai Namco
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This post was written by minusthebrant