Die, die and die again in Dark Souls: Remastered [This week in Gaming]

Those who have played a ‘Soulsborne’ genre game know all too much that death is a common experience. While I’m not a newcomer to the genre — I’ve played Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, Dark Souls III, Bloodborne and Nioh —  this was my first time tackling the original Dark Souls, instead of simply watching one of my friends play through the game. And I have to say, the definitely kicked my butt.

Up-scaled of the pass

While Dark Souls: Remastered isn’t the complete re-make that we saw with a remaster like Shadow of the Colossus, it does play at a smooth 60 frames per second (FPS) at 1080p on the original PlayStation 4 and 60FPS at up to 4K on the PlayStation 4 Pro, which makes the game much more playable and enjoyable than its 720p 30FPS original.

Even the poison and toxic-filled Blighttown, an area in the original game that caused many frame rate drops. plays smoothly,

Moreover, while I noticed several glitches during my playthrough, such as enemies getting stuck in the floor, there was nothing that made the game feel broken or unplayable.

In terms of tone, atmosphere and gameplay feel, Dark Souls: Remastered is closest to Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin, the 2015 re-release of 2014’s Dark Souls II. 

What is Dark Souls

As for actual gameplay, I definitely had a difficult experience with the title. Perhaps it was the placement of the bonfires — the only place the player can save their progress and spend their Souls to upgrade their character in Dark Souls — or the difficulty of the enemies, this was, for me at least, the most challenging entry in the series.

For newcomers, Dark Souls is an action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco. The game allows players to pick a class such as warrior, mage, cleric, or bandit. From there, you travel the world of Lordran, killing the undead, finding new weapons, slaying dragons, learning new spells and discovering more of the world. With each enemy you overcome, you collect souls, allowing you to level up your character’s stats, which in turn raises their level.

Quite the challenge

FromSoftware doesn’t help the player at all. There are no maps, the game doesn’t supply hints if you’re lost and if you die all of your souls are at least momentarily gone. Like many of the other Soulsborne games, the player can trek back to where they died to regain their souls. However, if they die again before this point, their souls are gone forever.

While the game is excruciatingly difficult, other players can leave messages on the ground which mostly offer hints and clues. There are also bloodstains that can be left by other players. If you’re playing online, that will let you see how another player died, offering more hints.

Getting lost in the game, missing out on crucial merchants or passing by major shortcuts are not the only way the game is incredibly challenging. Simple one versus one combat is difficult and players need to be, figuratively, one with their controllers. Dodging, blocking, parrying, stabbing, slashing, flame throwing, praying and taking advantage of prone attacks, are all things you have to keep in mind while playing Dark Souls. Further, the title is filled with all sorts of enemy types, traps and a crazy amount of bosses that are both exhilarating and well, a pain.

Definitely recommend

Dark Souls: Remastered is a fun game that I enjoyed thoroughly. Like I previously mentioned, this was my first time playing the title, and I definitely found it challenging enough that I needed to look for help. For those who are returning to the series, the game should feel like home and your deaths will feel worth it.

If you’re completely new to the series and want to give it a shot, I’d definitely recommend it. It may not be beautiful, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget.

Dark Souls: Remastered is available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and is coming this summer to the Nintendo Switch.