There are a couple of gaming memories that I’ll always cherish; the speech from Dracula in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the first time I discovered special moves in Street Fighter, clearing Black Temple for the first time in World of Warcraft and last, but certainly not least, clearing Dark Souls for the first time. Dark Souls challenged me and asked a lot from me as a young player. I’ll be honest, I almost gave up a couple of times, but I’m so proud of the fact that I kept going. Sure, at first it was a pharic victory, but the catharsis that came from overcoming what I considered to be one of the hardest games at the time was second to nothing. From Software blessed and cursed us all with a return of Dark Souls Remastered.
If Dark Souls Remastered if your first foray into the Souls games, don’t expect the red carpet when it comes to the story. The starting cinematic gives a basic outline, but most of the story and lore for the game is hidden throughout the game through NPCs and item description. Enough is told to the player to give them an inkling of what to do and where to head, but don’t look for a massive saga and epic tale that’ll rival most JRPG.
Players are a chosen undead tasked with helping Lord Gwyn rekindle the flame and in their path are a number of bosses that they have slay in order to get to there. The biggest pull for most players is the combat in Dark Souls Remastered. Dark Souls doesn’t care if it’s a player’s first time. It doesn’t care if it’s their millionth. It doesn’t care if they’ve had a bad day. It doesn’t care if they’ve had a good day. Dark Souls doesn’t care about the player, and for that reason alone it’s one of the most rewarding gaming experiences ever. Beyond the basic tutorial the game just throws you in. It doesn’t slowly ease players into everything. They’re thrusted in an asylum where everything wants them dead and they either figure it out and come out on top or die. Repeatedly.
Without a doubt Dark Souls Remastered is still difficult, but the combat is so robust and fulfilling that the difficulty becomes fun in a masochistic sort of way. If players want to hide behind a shield and poke enemies for hours, they can do that. If they want to hurl massive fireballs or send magical bolts of actual lightning bolts at foes, they can certainly do that. If they want their enemies to bleed or if they want to wear the heaviest armor and laugh as swings bounce off of them, Dark Souls let’s players do so. There is no wrong way to play Dark Souls Remastered. Every single method is viable. If players think they can do something and they have the skill to back it up, then do it. There are plenty of weapon types for each play style and an equal amount of armor styles to back that up.
With Dark Souls Remastered comes new multiplayer servers and allowances. Players can now have up to six players in one world, and in my testing the multiplayer was smooth and easy to use. So far in my travels, I haven’t had any issues with connecting or finding players to connect with. Invasions are plentiful and offer a nice addition to the slew of demons and undead that stand between players and the next boss or bonfire. Other small quality of life changes are included in this remaster, such as being able to select how many of a certain item players want to use. Graphically, an improved lightning engine makes the world look beautiful in a smooth 60 frames per second.
As with everything shiny and new, there are always a few kinks along the way. There were several times where the game would just crash randomly. I would lose some progress, but it was still worrisome that it would happen in the middle of a boss fight and I would lose everything. But beyond that, I can’t find any faults with Dark Souls Remastered. If you’re a longtime fan of the Souls series, you need to get your hands on this. Dark Souls Remastered is good fun, it runs like a dream, and for those first experiencing it, I say welcome. Dark Souls has become a meme in recent years, but it’s almost impossible to deny the impact Dark Souls has had on the gaming community and scene. If you’ve ever thought about trying it, please pick it up. Figure out what everyone’s talking about. Figure out why we praise the sun. Pick up Dark Souls Remastered and start dying over and over and over and over with us.