PAX East 2018: Hands On With Dark Souls: Remastered On The Nintendo Switch

Dark Souls on the go runs better than I expected

Once I arrived at PAX East and was able to make it to the exhibition floor, I made a beeline over to the Nintendo area. I was only really there to get hands-on with just one game. Yes, you know which game I’m talking about; Dark Souls: Remastered.

Oddly enough, the Nintendo booth was the only place to get some play time with the title. It was absent from the Bandai Namco booth as they were showcasing Code Vein (loved it), Soul Calibur VI and Naruto to Boruto: Shinboi Striker. And due to the lack of space at PAX East, there was no room, but plenty of love for Dark Souls. Which was fine for me, as I really wanted to see how the game played on the Nintendo Switch.

After finally making my way inside of the Nintendo area and after a short wait, I got a chance to play the game. This was the full game and not a demo. Everyone who got a chance to play the game got 20 minutes. Which was plenty of time for me as I know my way around Lordran. 

At the start, there were several preset characters to choose from. I opted on making my own, though I could have shaved off a minute if I had taken the preset. Oh well, I wanted those black firebombs, so it was worth it. Making my way through the game, nothing had been changed. As such, I was able to make it to the gates of the Undead Parish. Yes, this is the very same Dark Souls that you’re already familiar with. If you were looking for changes such as enemy placement or item location changes, similar to Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. Then prepare for some disappointment.

The controls were the same, while there were subtle changes to the graphics. Some extra lighting in some places and more textures were also noticed. The Switch was running in docked mode and was running at 30 frames per second. I can’t tell you if it was either 1080p as Bandai Namco had stated or not, as no one was able to tell me. Still, for being on the Switch it ran decently. Similarly to a mid-range PC. One thing is for sure, it definitely ran better than Dark Souls did one the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Zero framerate drop was also really impressive. Sadly, I did encounter some really ugly jaggies, mostly around doorways and along the walls. Whether or not that will be improved prior to release is anyone’s guess.

The loads were also pretty long for a cartridge, about 5-6 seconds in-between loads. Hopefully, that gets addressed as well. Outside of that, my only regret is not being able to play it in the Switch’s portable mode. I asked multiple times to try it out but was told it wasn’t allowed. Perhaps the bigger websites will have that chance to do so.

Still, my overall impression of the game is very high. I really didn’t expect the Switch version to look or run this well. I know this is definitely going to be good news for those waiting to take the game for a spin on the Switch. To those folks, they won’t be disappointed.

Yes, the game felt like, well like Dark Souls. The placements are the same. There’s no change in game’s timing, everything is similar. Except this version does so much more as it will be playable on the go. And while I doubt I’ll be picking up the game on the Switch, I know this game will sell well on the playable. Mainly to do with the portable aspect of the game. I can already see friends sitting around a bonfire at the park or in their backyard.

This is where the game is going to shine and I can’t wait to hear about the experiences from both veterans of the game, as well as those who will take their first step into the Undead Asylum.

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Available for podcasts upon request.