Dark Souls has created one of the most dedicated facets of gaming culture ever since it came out. It provided an experience of challenging situations for the player to overcome through calculated decisions and sheer endurance. It didn’t set out to entertain, but to challenge.
With the Remastered edition, you can relive those moments of dying over and over again, but this time with the fidelity and performance of the current generation. It has all the bells and whistles you’ve burned into your muscle memory, without changing or removing the things you’ve grown to love. It’s the classic Dark Souls you know and love, but now you won’t have to worry about the frame rate chugging as you roll away from that behemoth of a hammer swing.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (TBA)
Developer: FromSoftware, QLOC, Virtuos
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: May 24, 2018
This review is based on a review code provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment.
One of the first things to hit you as you enter the world of Dark Souls Remastered is just how smooth everything looks. Gone are the jagged edges of the 720p models during the Xbox 360/PS3 generation. Of course one of the other things you’ll notice is just how dated the models and faces look up close, but this doesn’t take away from the mastering done on the game. Things have been smoothened out and been transitioned to a higher pixel count as best as possible. It retains the original look and aesthetic the game was going for and foregoes any updated models, so returning fans will be happy to see some old friends just as they were back in 2011, as they get their brains bashed in.
A nice, and welcome, addition to the game’s visuals is the new lighting. It’s a subtle addition, but one that does wonders and adds that bit more atmospheric detail. You’ll find that corridors and hallway entrances aren’t as dark or dim as they once were. You’ll still feel the tension of what could possibly lurking around the next corner, but at least this time you won’t be squinting your eyes or upping the brightness all the way just to grasp a proper visual of your surroundings. Along with brighter visuals comes volumetric lighting in certain areas, which, in terms of gameplay, really doesn’t add anything, but is a welcome aesthetic that adds more to the overall atmosphere in the world of Dark Souls.
Gameplay is still the same methodic, calculated gameplay that we’ve all grown to adapt to since 2011. Attacking enemies is still a committed decision, where you’ll know that the swing of your weapon is going to connect or pray it will, at least. It still feels great to counter enemies with a parry and impale them in the back for an instant kill. Aside from combat, roaming around and exploring the familiar world of Dark Souls is like revisiting an old family house. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to still know the locations and enemies as if they’re the back of your hand. Now, you can mix up your adventure and just leisurely explore the lands, while still looking over your shoulder, of course.
As for the online, there’s been a slight upgrade, where a before only a party of four can be formed, now six people can form a party. Also, it’s a lot easier to party up with friends as the party systems in the current Dark Souls games are being used. You can host private parties, and if there’s a disparity between levels amongst your party, stats will adjust accordingly to the strongest player. For other online elements within the main game, you’re still beholden to a stable connection. So, if you’re one of those people that are having net trouble and your connection tends to disconnect a lot, then be prepared for some hard cuts as you’ll be brought back to the title screen straight away. None of your progress will be lost, of course, but it’s a shame that they didn’t decide for a quality of life improvement and just give a prompt that you’re now in offline mode instead.
Dark Souls Remastered is now the definitive way to experience the game, especially on console. It contains all the DLC and online functionality from the original title, with some added quality of life improvements. The game has never looked cleaner and crisper than it does now. You can finally put away your PS3 and Xbox 360, if the original Dark Souls was your only tether to the consoles. Now you can die once again over and over, but in a smooth 60fps and 1080p.