Dark Souls: Remastered Review – PlayStation 4

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Chances are if you’re reading this you have at least some level of understanding/familiarity with the Souls games. While not the first entry in the long-running series (that honor belongs to Demon’s Souls), Dark Souls is perhaps the best (and fan favorite) representation of the series’ formula: obtuse narrative, twisting complex world, precise controls and timing, steep difficulty, and an exceptional sense for world and character design.

It may seem hard to believe, but the game is close to a decade old at this point. In today’s market of re-releases, ultimate editions, and remasters, I’m surprised it took so long for us to see Dark Souls Remastered rear its head. With these games, you’re either a fan, or you’re not. If you are, then there’s little doubt that you’ve played this game already. So, the question becomes, is this edition of the game worth double-dipping? Short answer no, long answer yes with a but. Let’s get into it…

Right out the gate, the main attraction of Remastered is being able to play Dark Souls at a solid 60 fps on consoles. Blight Town is still the absolute worst, but at least now you can trudge through it without a frame rate of 5 (an exaggeration… but just barely) hampering your ability to even play through the area. If you don’t have access to the game on PC and have only experienced it on 360 or PS3, the smooth-as-butter camera will be a shock to your system. There are some minor upgraded textures to go along with that frame rate, but honestly, that’s about it. This is still Dark Souls through and through. How much that means to you will obviously vary from person to person. The high points of the game are incredibly high, but there are still low points to contend with that keep it from being a near-perfect game. Is it the best of the entire franchise? I’d say it’s definitely neck and neck with Bloodborne.

What I can relate to you is that I found the experience of playing the game far more enjoyable this time around thanks to the improved frame rate. I know that sounds absurd on the surface, but when you’re dealing with split-second timing during encounters, or the camera movement catching up to your thumb movement a moment too late to avoid a trap, it really does make a huge difference. Playing through Remastered, you no longer have to compensate for the original release’s many technical issues. That’s a huge plus. After playing this, going back to the original release is not something I’d ever consider doing; it would be a huge step-down, and I don’t think I’d be able to look at the game the same way as I did previously.

And this is where “your mileage may vary” comes into play. Is the game enjoyable? Of course- perhaps now more than ever. Is it worth picking up Remastered, even at the reduced price of $40? Well, how long has it been since you’ve played through Dark Souls, and will experiencing the game at a high frame rate mean a world of difference to you? If that sounds like a solid proposition to you, or if you’ve somehow managed to never play the game at all over the years, then I can easily say this is a must-play. If, however, you’re happy with your memories of playing through the original release and pop in the old edition once every year or two, there’s nothing really here to warrant an entirely new purchase.

It’s Dark Souls. It’s great. It runs better than ever before, save for PC. The cryptic lore is still enticing, the world beautiful and dangerous to explore in equal measure, and the combat some of the most challenging and rewarding you’ll find in all of video games. If you’re a diehard fan of the franchise, or if you’re interested in playing through it for the very first time, this is the version you’ve been waiting for. Prepare to die…