Ok, I’m going to start this review with a different approach than I’ve ever done before.  I won’t pretend that I’m all that familiar with the Dark Souls series and I won’t pretend that I ventured far into the story nearing completion.  In fact, I’ll pretty much begin my review by saying that I’m a Dark Souls n00b and that I absolutely suck at the game, but I love it!

So with all that in mind, this a n00b’s review as I quickly learned that the “Prepare to Die” slogan is no mere gimmick, as I died on a continue basis more times than I can count and that was just within the first hour or two of playing.  Yet despite this, the game kept me intrigued, as I wanted to go that just little bit further, to see what’s around the next corner, what secrets could be discovered and challenging myself to nervously approach that big ass boss, that I know will kill me almost instantly with a mere swift backhand to the face.

I could have easily had been put off within the first hour, but despite my continued failings, I just couldn’t put this game down.  It’s purposely cruel, but yet just about every death was by my error, the key in most cases is to die, experiment, learn, die and hopefully progress.  For a game that offers little back-story in a traditional sense, you learn more about this intimidating world as you encounter each boss, speak to each NPC and every bit of clues scattered throughout the world as you gradually piece information together.  This in a sense, other than from a gameplay and presentation standpoint, is one of the key lures that keeps you playing on as you urge yourself to learn more.

Although being a total n00b to the Dark Souls series, I had played and loved the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne.  However because of this, I had to adjust my approach to how I played this game.  In Bloodborne I relied heavily on countering, dodging and rolling.  While you can do much of this in Dark Souls, there seems to be much more of an emphasis on the sword and shield.  This adjustment took a while to get used to (and still does), but the sooner that I could adjust, the sooner I’d be able to embrace further the Dark Souls combat mechanics.  Also at the beginning of the game, you’ll have the bog standard weapons and armour, and as you progress in the game, you’ll pick up better gear and then it’s the case of equipping the gear that suits your style and the enemies at hand.

From a visual standpoint, Dark Souls Remastered is a mixed bag of tricks, but then from what I see and hear, the original release was not always that much to look at in 2011 from what I can see.  However, even in this remastered version (not a remake), some of the textures up-close such as grass, bricks and so forth, doesn’t look all that and certainly nothing to the level perhaps seen in Bloodborne.  But on the other hand, there are moments that the game looks beautiful, especially with its impressive lighting system shining down upon a gothic castle.  The enemy design has to be said also, features some of the best I’ve ever seen, so I can see what all the fuss was about when fans spoke of the many memorable bosses encountered in the game.

In terms of resolution, on standard PS4’s and Xbox One’s, Dark Souls Remastered will run at 1080p/60fps, while the PS4 Pro and Xbox One versions will have a 4K resolution with compatible TV’s, upscaling to 4K, while running at 60fps, the PC version will be native 4K.  Improvements have also been made to the multiplayer, increasing the player count from 4 to 6 and bringing a smoother matchmaking experience when being paired with other players.

There is also password matchmaking if you wish, giving you greater control and you can even prevent Red Phantoms from invading your game, putting a stop to those invading just to make them your victim (this feature is optional).  However, in my experience, the odds are that you’ll be paired with someone that wants to help you, rather than kill you.  I did also attempt the PvP, but I soon discovered that I was worse than that, then I was at the singleplayer, so I’ll need much more practice before I venture into that world again.

In all in, Dark Souls Remastered is about as gruelling as they said it would be, to quote the great Han Solo “it’s true, all of it”, but perhaps it’s actually more gruelling then I thought it would be, especially as I was already used somewhat to how Bloodborne plays.  Yet, despite the rage and the urge to quit, Dark Souls Remastered is about a tougher game to stop playing then I have experienced in recent times.  I suppose in some ways, by giving up, I’d feel like I’d be cheating myself.  Don’t get me wrong, I have given up plenty of times after being stuck in a certain area or against a certain boss, but when the controller has been put down and I’m away from the game, I’m often thinking about how I can beat it when I return.

I’m sure many of the Dark Souls vets will say the game is not that tough, but for an n00b to the series such as myself, it’s about as challenging as it gets.  Which is why in a nutshell, Dark Souls Remastered can be one of the most challenging, yet fulfilling and rewarding games I’ll ever play.  If like me, you missed the initial release of Dark Souls and want to really test yourself, then Dark Souls Remastered is certainly a game you should consider picking up, whether it’s on PS4 and Xbox One or the Nintendo Switch version which is set to release this coming summer.  Now if you excuse me, I need to try to “git gud”.



Author

Richard Lee Breslin
Richard Lee Breslin

Gamimg has been my life for 30+ years and will always be my passion. I have a BDes Hons Games Development and Digital Media, and I hope to one day turn my passion for gaming and writing into a living. My favourite gaming series are Resi Evil, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and The Last of Us. I collect gaming merchandise, comics and movies. I love football (namely Aston Villa) and WWE. I can also often be found wondering the outskirts of Raccoon City. Follow me on Twitter @Solidus5nake