When Dark Souls was originally released back in 2011, it was met with global critical acclaim. It went onto become not only a huge commercial success but spawned an incredibly loyal fanbase. Now 7 years later, Dark Souls is back, it’s remastered and it’s on Nintendo Switch.
For those of you unaware of Dark Souls, it’s a third person action role-playing game that sees you in a huge open world where darkness reigns. The undead (known as hollows) roam the vast lands where the key to the game is equal measures exploration and survival.
As someone who skipped Dark Souls the first time around, I was quite intrigued to see what all the fuss was about. And after a few hours roaming around the various locations, I can understand why some people are so drawn into this title.
First of all, I’d like to point out is that Dark Souls is a very story intensive game and you really need to pay as much attention to the story as you do the gameplay. If you’re looking for a light and fluffy game then Dark Souls isn’t going to be the game for you.
The first thing you do when you start the game is create your character. Your character can be customised quite extensively including gender, weight, hair colour and of course your class. From a bandit to a pyromancer, the class you choose is pretty important.
You begin the game in the Undead Asylum, a dark and dank dungeon which you need to escape. It gives you a chance to get to grips with the controls which can be a little bit overwhelming at first. ZL and ZR are your attack buttons but you start off with a damaged sword hilt so the damage you can do is limited. Holding down the R stick allows you to lock onto enemies but if you’re playing in handheld mode, it can be a little tricky to keep this held down and attack at the same time.
At this point, it’s time to talk about the biggest component of Dark Souls Remastered – the difficulty. This is a very difficult and unforgiving game. A couple of well-placed shots from an enemy and you could be seeing the infamous ‘You Have Died’ screen. I saw this screen more times than I cared to count and this was only in the initial opening level. This is not a game for the light hearted, that’s for sure. There are bonfires dotted around the game which essentially act as checkpoints which restore you to full health. But it also re-spawns all of the enemies you’ve defeated. As it giveth, it also taketh.
Graphically, Dark Souls Remastered is decent. The initial Undead Asylum area is not a great indicator of the graphical capabilities of this title. The textures looked flat and unfinished and the lighting only helped to show these up. But once you progress in the game and out into greener pastures, the game looks a lot better. Weirdly, the sound effects in the game can sound tinny and compressed, particularly when you are splashing through water.
Playing in docked mode, there were a few noticeable frame rate dips here and then but nothing that affects your overall experience of the game. But of course the big draw of Dark Souls Remastered on Nintendo Switch is that you can play the game in handheld mode absolutely anywhere. A game of this magnitude being playable on the go is honestly mind-blowing.
The fact that a game as huge as Dark Souls Remastered can be played on the go with Nintendo Switch is a feat in itself. The developers have taken an universally loved game, polished it up and given them the ultimate Dark Souls experience. It might not have the graphical polish of it’s console counterparts but when you can take this game anywhere with you on Switch, it makes it the ideal console for it.
- While difficult, you feel like you’ve truly accomplished something
- Stable online play
- Vast and varied worlds
- Gameplay can be very unforgiving
- Sound effects can sound a little tinny in places
VERDICT:This soup might be a little too hardcore for some players but for long time fans, it’s the perfect temperature
A review code for Dark Souls Remastered was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.