I am not sure if my love for the Dark Souls series is going to be a pro or a con for this review, but I am going to be reviewing it regardless. The series has been packed with unique enemies, numerous different character builds and some of the best level design you will see in an action/adventure game.
When it was announced that the original Dark Souls game was going to be remastered by original creator From Software, I was unsure about how I felt. Do not misunderstand me; I was thrilled, I was just unsure as to what was going to be remastered exactly. When announcements of steady frame rates and ungraded visuals were announced you could understand why, then an overhaul to the online multiplayer/matchmaking seemed like a nice nod to Dark Souls 3 as well.
The game mechanics that were tweaked or upgraded for this release are extremely well done; nothing feels clunky or thrown together. There is a satisfying feeling when players can actually team up with friends and not have to party chat to come up with a location and hope your summon sign appears. The password system gives players a much easier time to team up and battle the hollow filled lands of Lordaeron.
At this point I would usually give some kind of wrap up of the main storyline of the game, though with Dark Souls I feel like we have covered this is many different articles and reviews. I did love to see the opening cinematic, where the lords fight the timeless dragons for supremacy. The slaughtering where Lord Gwyn throwing lightning bolts to sheer the stone scales off the dragons, the sister of chaos burning the dragons and Nito causing death through a miasma of his creation. Then away in the annex of lore you find the furtive pygmy, the insignificant creature born from the flame, who’s very soul goes on to birth humanity and end the age of lords.
It was watching this opening that I realised how much of a let-down the 2 sequels to this game actually are in terms of story. Dark Souls has a story that it so in depth and that has sparked so much discussion, debate, theories and argument. People have made a living off of creating YouTube channels dedicated to the shrouded history of this series, just to give others a better understanding of how vast and deep the game actually is.
One of the excellent inclusions is that the original Artorias of the Abyss DLC is now included as standard within the game. Players can travel back in time to the land of Oolacile, learn the true history of fan favourite Artorias and battle the father of the Abyss that is Manus.
This is a great inclusion as this is where the games dedicated PVP arena was also included, the true proving ground for players who wished to “get gud”, and birthed an incredible amount of memes.
When booting the game up you are greeted with a very familiar tutorial, if you are a seasoned player then you may be able to beat this in a matter of minutes. Players who are coming into this game fresh and have never played a Souls game before, I envy you. The first time you encounter the asylum demon and the music kicks in, you are in for a thrill, a scare and a moment of being overwhelmed.
The base game is no different from before, the overall experience is a lot tighter. I am referring to a steady frame rate, the trademark control scheme that may seem overwhelming; though there is a place for everything on the controller and everything has a place. The game is designed extremely well; the level design where the majority of areas in the game are built upon each other creates a level of depth I have failed to see in any other game deliver.
The opening of short cuts allows players to bypass much more dangerous paths in favour of more direct routes back to Firelink Shrine. Though the games new visuals may still underwhelm a lot of people, it keeps the atheistic of the original games personality. There is a disturbing beauty in the games harrowing and overwhelming feeling of dread and despair.
To witter on would probably end up more of a love letter to this game than I have already delivered. This is a remaster completed correctly; the base games essence has not changed. The control mechanics are large in part exactly the same, with a few tweaks to create ease for players in a series not known for making things easier.
The same outstanding gameplay is front and centre, where the players focus should be without the distraction of side quest menus and endless fetch quests.
I am just going to round up this review by recommending you purchase this game with its excellent mechanics, gorgeous level design, harrowing sound track and one of a kind feeling. The one of a kind feeling to the Souls series has been one of the biggest changes to the gaming genre in recent years, and no doubt that Demons Souls was the first of its kind, Dark Souls gave us non PlayStation playing gamers a change to get a much more refined version of From Software’s vision.
I just wonder how it will play when it releases on Nintendo Switch later in the year.
- Unique game mechanics
- Excellent world design
- Epic Soundtrack
- Original DLC now included in base game
- You Died Screen
- Not being able to import existing charcaters