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Dark Souls: Remastered Review – What’s Old Is New Again And Better Than Ever

I love FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series. I’ve played and beaten every title across multiple systems; Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. I own every edition of the games and have amassed over 2000+ hours of playtime. One would think that I’d be burned out with that much time played, and I was. Until I heard about Dark Souls: Remastered was coming out, and I knew I had to play it.

But how is it? The short and simple is that it’s the Dark Souls I remembered, only better.

Game Name: Dark Souls: Remastered
Platform(s): Xbox One (reviewed on Xbox One X), also available on PlayStation 4, PC. Nintendo Switch coming soon
Publisher(s): Bandai Namco
Developer(s): Fromsoftware, QLOC
Release Date: May 25, 2018
Price: $39.99

Since this is a remaster, I’m just going to jump right into the game. It’s Dark Souls; I’m sure we’re all versed in what this game is all about by now.

Why pick up Dark Souls: Remastered?  Well, for starters, the game doesn’t run like crap anymore. Regardless of what system you played it on, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC (with DSfix). The original game ran pretty bad. Anyone who played it would tell you the same. That’s not the case here. Now the game runs at a brisk 1080p@60FPS, which again is something that wasn’t even possible on the PC. As I played the title on the Xbox One X, I was able to play at 4K@60FPS, and it ran very well. Going a step further, I pitted the Xbox One X against my PC, and surprisingly, they looked similar. 

The game looks amazing, thanks to the improved lighting, reflective surfaces, and cleaner textures. Even the bonfire’s flicker has changed, and those with a keen eye will notice the change. The HUD can now be toggled off for those amazing screenshots or videos. Most importantly, areas such as New Londo Ruins and Blighttown no longer turn your experience into a slideshow-like it was in the original game. Load times are also faster. However, there are elements of the game that still looks rough, thanks to some muddled textures. It doesn’t take away from the game, and most won’t even notice. 

Dark Souls: Remastered review header

As far as the single-player experience, not much has changed. While it was rumored that the changes implemented in Dark Souls 3, such as the eight-way dodging, would make it into the remastered game. That didn’t happen. This is the original game with no major changes to the gameplay. That means you’re stuck with drinking an Estus flask and being stuck in place, upgrading armors, slow-ass pyromancer spells chucking, crappy PVP (watch those backstab), and everything else. They did sneak in a few quality of life changes, such as the ability to change between your covenants at the bonfires (once you had joined them already). You can use/consume multiple items at once and hold down on the d-pad to hot switch to your Estus Flask. 

However, the online system returns with a few changes. While the original game only allowed two extra players to join you in your adventures and one invader, this has been boosted. That’s to dedicated server support; you now can have a total of six players in your game at a time. It was pretty amusing to be summoned into fights with three other players taking on a boss. It felt a bit too easy. However, a big game-changer is that you’re able to use the red soapstone to invade a person’s game even after a boss has been defeated. Previously this wasn’t possible, but now it opens up new ganking opportunities. So be careful out there, or happy invading. 

You’re also able to remap the controls and even assign the left analog stick to handle your jump duties. Oh, how I hated using a button to do this, as I usually busted out a roll when I needed to jump. Those headed back to the Undead Asylum know exactly what I mean. As a bonus, the only DLC available for the game, Artorias of the Abyss, is included. Here you get to face off against one of Dark Souls biggest lore personalities, Artorias. Many haven’t experienced this DLC or battle, but thankfully everyone gets this for free now. 

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That all said, is this worth your cash? Well, that really depends on you.

If you’ve never played the original Dark Souls and have only played Dark Souls 3, there’s definitely going to be an adjustment period. Everything had been refined in the trilogy’s final game: the controls, the combat, the mechanics, everything. With Dark Souls: Remastered, outside of the updated graphics, the base game remains the same, and those refinements aren’t here, which could translate into a rough time and discourage those new to the series.  Though, if you can handle the curve, this game will be just as enjoyable.  For those who’ve played Dark Souls until they couldn’t anymore, there’s nothing new here for you. You’ll have to decide if dropping down $39.99 or $19.99 if you already own the game on the PC is worth it.

A timeless classic and a game that many have been asking to have remastered for a while. QLOC, the studio that handled the remaster, has done some amazing work here. Now, let’s see them tackle another beloved title in the Souls series, Demon’s Souls. C’mon Sony; please make that happen!

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Dark Souls: Remastered is an amazing remaster of a timeless classic.

Summary

Dark Souls: Remastered is everything you remember from the original game, with a slicker coat of paint. The same great gameplay, annoying enemies, challenging bosses, now with a higher framerate. If you’ve never played the first or want to dive back into the world of Lordran, then Dark Souls: Remastered is calling your name.

Pros

  • Runs at 1080p@60FPS on the Xbox One / 4K@60FPS on the Xbox One X
  • Improved lighting and textures
  • Still holds up as one of the best Dark Souls games
  • Several QOL changes that better the game

Cons

  • It’s still the original Dark Souls
  • PVP gameplay is still very rough
Overall
4.5