After a week-long vacation in Lordran, I’m back with some impressions on Bandai Namco’s latest (re)release, Dark Souls Remastered. So chug that estus and take a seat by the bonfire, as I walk you through what’s new.
While most die-hard fans have already picked up their copy of Dark Souls Remastered, there’s still plenty of Souls fans and newcomers who are wondering if this game is worth diving back into after nearly 7 years. What’s my answer to that question?
Dark Souls Remastered is essentially an ironed-out version of the original game we played back in 2011. When most people hear the word remaster, their minds immediately jump to the visual aspect of a game. Well, texture quality still varies from beautiful to muddy, but the bump in resolution makes the game look undeniably sharp. While a visual boost is much appreciated, the biggest improvement in Dark Souls Remastered is without a doubt the frame-rate.
Dark Souls has always been a game that’s relied on quick reaction times, and to be honest with y’all, that was a hell of a challenge when playing the game at 20-30 FPS back in 2011. If you’re a fan of the franchise who’s never had the pleasure of playing a Souls game in 60 FPS before, then Dark Souls Remastered will blow you away. Seriously, it’s a night and day difference, especially when fighting bosses that require you to anticipate their moves.
Other improvements include a boost to the online player cap (6), and some much-needed fixes to the matchmaking. Online play feels smoother, summoning works faster than ever, and you can even set passwords that make it easier to pair up with your friends for some jolly cooperation.
For those who were expecting a Scholar of the First Sin type revamp, I’m sorry to say you might be disappointed. Enemy placement is the same, weapon/armor stats remain unchanged, and there’s still no way to respec (a feature present in both Dark Souls 2 and 3). While it’s a bit of a bummer that Bandai Namco didn’t add anything new to the game, I still think it’s worth purchasing just for the experience.
You see, I believe a Dark Souls game is at its best during the initials months upon release. Plenty of folks are invading, but there’s also an abundance of friendly players who can help you on your journey. It’s also a blast to interact with the community, and playing this game has really brought back some of that beautiful 2011 nostalgia into my life. Seriously, if you have fond memories of playing Dark Souls way back when, then Dark Souls Remastered is worth the price of admission.
For those of you who have never played a Souls game before and are wondering if Dark Souls Remastered is a good place to start, well, it really depends. The first Dark Souls is, in my opinion, more unforgiving than 3 and maybe 2 (which despite its simplified boss fights, features an interesting HP mechanic that punishes repeated deaths). Souls games are all about patience, and I find that the first entry does the best job at easing in new players. However, that isn’t to say that the other games will feel like a cakewalk after playing Dark Souls Remastered.
Oh, and if I haven’t said it enough times, remember that Dark Souls is a game from 2011. So keep in mind that it can feel a bit clunky and outdated at times. It also isn’t always pretty to look at (seriously, player characters in Dark Souls 1 look ugly no matter how much time you spend customizing them).
To put it simply, if you’re okay with older games, then start with Dark Souls Remastered as soon as you can to partake in the community. If you want to play Souls, but want to experience something more current-gen, then start with Dark Souls 3 and work your way back. Sure, you might miss out on some lore references, but it really doesn’t make that big a difference.
So, those are my thoughts on Dark Souls Remastered. While I personally adore this game, I understand that it isn’t for everyone. Hell, I was almost one of those people. When I first played Dark Souls back in 2011, I got about halfway through before giving up. A few months (and a new PS3) later, I was somehow enchanted back into playing the game and ended up putting about a thousand hours into it.
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So if you feel frustrated, or want to walk away for a bit, by all means do so. But do give this franchise a chance or two because despite all the faults, it’s truly something special.
A fan of all things storytelling, Brandon is a simple dude who just wishes he had more time to finish his backlog. Considers himself a scholar on all things Kingdom Hearts, and maybe (definitely) talks about it way too often.