Dark Souls is a series that I’m all too familiar with. My first experience with a Souls game came back on the PlayStation 3 with Demon’s Souls. It was one of those games that just made you feel like doing anything was an accomplishment. It wasn’t my first experience with a FromSoftware game, I had played King’s Field and Evergrace way back in the day, but Demon’s Souls just felt like an entirely different experience. And that’s where I would say that Dark Souls comes into play.
It had been seven years since I had last played Dark Souls on the PlayStation 3. Admittedly, I kind of forgot about the Dark Souls: Remaster until I was reminded of it around November. I was a little interested in seeing how it played out, I mean…I honestly used to feel that this was the easiest Souls game back when I was younger. I guess that I think my opinion has changed a bit replaying it. I still feel that the difficulty is a bit lenient compared to the later Souls games, but, I still feel that it was relatively fair. Once you picked up on the learning curve, everything else just felt like it fell right into place.
In Dark Souls you play as an undead character, with multiple options of customization. There isn’t a whole lot to say about the story. The game takes place during what the intro says is during the Age of Fire, which is soon to fade and bring only darkness. The main purpose you have in the game is to rekindle that flame. I would say that for the most part Dark Souls is essentially about the journey to the First Flame.
In terms of the gameplay of Dark Souls, to those who do not know, it is a relatively hardcore action RPG. By hardcore, I mean it has a distinct challenge compared to typical role-playing games. In most role-playing games these days, your hand is kind of held through the story. In Dark Souls, they remove the shackles and kind of throw you out there to fend for yourself. There isn’t much hand holding in the game, you are left to explore and learn as you go with trial and error. I would say that the game is mostly about personal preference and playstyle. For example: A mage may have to strategize fighting a boss differently than someone who is primarily playing as a melee. It’s all situational, but, I feel that it creates a bit of diversity in terms of character building.
Things like being able to effectively parry and perform a riposte attack, or rolling around an enemy to stab them in the back provide a form of strategy to combat. Learning how to block and dodge become a necessity, with each enemy having their own different ways of going about attacking. It is something that you learn as you go. There is most certainly a feeling of satisfaction when you are able to defeat a boss, or even progress through a relatively difficult area. The game rewards players with the feeling of accomplishment when you can finally make good progress.
Even if you do run into any form of difficulty roadblock in the game, there are multiple things that you can do to give yourself an easier time in the game. Defeating enemies is essentially the main way that you grow stronger in Dark Souls. Instead of gaining experience points after defeating enemies, however, you gain souls. These souls can be used to strengthen your character’s statistics. Boosting up stats can power-up your character to make surviving easier. But, it is also worth noting that dying will cause you to lose your souls. They can be recovered by running back to the area that you had died, but if you die again before recovering them…you permanently lose them. Outside of that, you will eventually come across blacksmith’s who can upgrade your gear. Upgrading gear is another good thing, since upgrading your weapon will make your damage output a lot higher. And upgrading your armor will increase defensive stats. It’s all worth it, taking the time to beef up your character will make progression feel a lot easier.
Since I mentioned the blacksmith, I figure I should also mention that there is a certain degree of customization. Outside of the initial character creator at the start of the game, there are a lot of weapons and gear sets that you can come across Just about everything can be upgraded as well, with certain upgrades becoming available after obtaining boss souls. For instance: upgrading a weapon to a certain point may allow you to use a boss soul in the weapon to create a unique and powerful weapon. As I stated earlier, it is good to upgrade your gear in this game since the better your gear is the easier time you’ll have it in this game, but, you may find yourself trying out different weapons to see what is most suited for you.
Getting into the world and a bit of the technical side of Dark Souls: Remastered, the game is relatively big. There is much to explore, with much more to uncover as you progress through the game. I wouldn’t say that the world is completely open, but, it isn’t linear either. There are plenty of things available to uncover with a little exploration. The design of everything in the world is quite nice. Areas still feel as though they are designed well, even if graphically wise things are a little dated. The enemies in each area also seem to fit for the most part, everything is pretty unique in design. And overall, I would say that for the most part, the remaster is well done on the technical side too. I didn’t really have any problems with any framerate issues, everything felt fluent. It was a positive experience for me on this front.
So playing the Nintendo Switch version of Dark Souls: Remastered, I do feel there are some things worth talking about before getting to my closing statements. So…I did try the multiplayer as much as I could. It felt pretty desolate. In the 40 hours of playing Dark Souls: Remastered I had only come across a handful of other players. There just didn’t seem to be a whole lot of people playing this online. I did happen to be invaded twice, but even then…that was uncommon too. I’m not really sure what to make of this, it could just be that there aren’t many people with a Nintendo Switch online subscription. I guess it doesn’t completely take away from the experience, Dark Souls: Remaster is still good on the Switch. But, this version does feel a little empty compared to what I remembered.
So in closing, what do I think about Dark Souls: Remastered on the Nintendo Switch? Well…I like it. It’s definitely fun to revisit something like this, and I honestly think I’ll probably go back to revisiting a few more random Nintendo Switch ports. Dark Souls was already a fantastic game – I didn’t need to tell anyone this. Playing it again brought back some good memories. Honestly, it was a good time. I had fun going back and playing this game again. I spent a lot of my time playing docked, which I normally don’t do. But, the time that I did spend playing the game undocked felt good too. Everything ran great, and I didn’t experience any sort of problems. It all felt very fluent on the Switch, so I’d say that’s all you can really ask for. I do hope that FromSoftware will eventually port over Dark Souls II and III, I think those would be great games for the Nintendo Switch. But I guess until then, at least there is Dark Souls: Remastered. And that in itself, is quite fine indeed. I would definitely recommend this game for anyone familiar with the series. And I would definitely say that I could recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging role-playing game. It’s still a solid game, and one that has definitely aged pretty darn good.