Upon arriving on consoles in 2011, a video game that began as a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls quickly gained the traction necessary to solidify its own niche in the industry.
Dark Souls is now revered as a classic and has demonstrated the ability to supply obtuse gameplay elements through a nuanced exploration of failure to the mainstream.
Arriving during a time in the industry when theatrical releases were abundant, and RPGs were rampant, Dark Souls stood out due to its punishing difficulty and reverent level-design. Dark Souls required players to engage with the world methodically and granted them autonomy in exchange. The game does not at any point hold your hand, and blockades very little, expecting players to contain the proper judgment to turn back if they’ve stumbled upon an area that may outsize them.
The respect and independence that the game granted players, the rich environment and the myriad punishing deaths would come together to form the term “souls-like”, which now defines a genre of gaming on its own.
Dark Souls Remastered presents a worthwhile reason to step back into the madness of Lordran but offers few monumental changes. During an epoch of upcoming remakes and re-releases, ranging from Shadow of the Colossus to Street Fighter, Dark Souls Remastered demonstrates that a little can go a long way. The central gameplay mechanics have gone untouched, with the majority of improvements tending to visual fidelity.
A native 60 frames-per-second grants a sharp progression over the previous 30 frames-per-second capacity, giving players a more confident feel when rolling or performing visceral attacks.
The baseline resolution and textures have been improved to give Lordran a more life-like aura, with Taurus Demon’s hair now ruffling in the wind, and the fog doors appear cool to the touch. The magic flung by mages is now crisp, and the Bonfires more luminescent in the wind.
The multiplayer additions stand as the most prominent changes, with players able to utilize Estus Flasks during PvP, resulting in longer battles. Additionally, players may, for the first time, join password-protected dedicated servers to recruit their friends for co-op, and may turn global matchmaking on or off, as they please.
Apart from an added Bonfire next to Vamos, the ability to use multiples of items at once, the addition of covenant options at Bonfires, and a questionable change to the font, Dark Souls Remastered doesn’t differentiate itself much from the original.
Deep down, it’s still the same game from 2011, operating on the same engine, and containing the same small issues. Some exploit bugs have been removed, but others have sprung up in their place.
Nitpicking aside, Dark Souls Remastered stands on its own as an improved version of an exemplary game, and that’s difficult to accomplish, as there wasn’t a whole lot that needed to be changed about Dark Souls in the first place.
Dark Souls Remastered takes the aspects of the original that were rough around the edges and smooths them out to feel as lively as ever. The original, simply, was not in need of a reinvention or remake, as some may have hoped for, despite its reputation as an ambitious classic.
A delve into Dark Souls Remastered reminds players of an experience that deserves its place on the gaming throne. The sigh of relief upon slaying Ornstein and Smough, alongside the pangs of regret upon murdering Priscilla, never seem to grow old, standing as a testament to a world drenched in endless allure.
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