A disappointing remaster of a beloved game.
gameplay 81 / story 99 / graphics 44 / sound 95
A golden Ember
There’s not much to say about the remaster of Dark Souls that hasn’t been said in reviews that are nearly a decade old describing the original. It is a solid game, one with an amazing atmosphere of hopelessness, and tight yet clunky gameplay that rewards the player, punishes the mistakes, and sometimes infuriates even the most patient. As a young man who’s been raised on every Soulsborne title since middle school, I’ve had favorites and of course I’ve had some absolute hated moments of each game. For the original Dark Souls, I hated the glitches, I hated the PVP and I even hated the uncooperative cooperatives I’d encounter would serve as only a troll, yet I loved the game, I loved each boss’s design and fighting them made me feel like the fabled David versus multiple Goliath’s until I had the strength of a god at one point.
Obviously, there’s some good’s and bad’s about the game, and one might wonder why I’m talking about the old game instead of the remaster. Well that’s easy, valued reader and viewer. Because the remaster isn’t a remaster, it’s an upgrade. With every remaster, it’s assumed that the game is being essentially reworked, or rather made anew for whatever platform it is being released. Yet the Dark Souls Remastered or DSR from here on out feels too much like the original, as if it was a nearly finished version of the game with many more bugs inside of it. Which is completely baffling. Let’s talk about what I love, in more detail, before I rip into this lazy remaster.
A Golden Pile of Ruins
`If there is one thing that the Soulsborne series gets immensely right, it is the atmosphere of the story, every area is unique and memorable enough to either be loved or hated but nonetheless inside every Soulsborne player’s head. Dark Souls does this well, and it is improved upon with the graphical upgrade the remaster’s known for. Every area looks nice, and it is pleasant to run through them once more. However, it must be noted that some textures look obviously dated and untouched in the remaster, which is a shame. However, in the known areas that are beautiful such as the Sunlight Shrine or the Duke’s Archives are somewhat stunning. While the subtle telling of the story continues to be something masterfully done by just experiencing the world.
The combat, and movement, are still clunky yet tight. It feels heavy, unlike Dark Souls 3 or Bloodborne, the later titles that focused more on maneuverability. There is nothing wrong with this, as I mentioned before, the game still feels tight. If you dodge, you dodge, it’s all in the timing. If you strike, your character is, like always, committed to the strike. As in the original, the game is one that punishes you for your mistakes, and forces you to learn, to adapt. That is… MOST of the time.
A Rusted Remaster
The main problem that most people have, whether it’s a mild disappointment or a huge betrayal, is that the remaster, DSR, doesn’t feel like it has improved the game at all, rather for a time it felt more like the game was even worse off than before. Unexplainable glitches, exploits being used in PVP constantly, and even hackers finding their way back in from time to time. Some glitches include but are not limited to
- Backstabbing, but then dying
- Falling Through the World
- Bodies not ragdolling in Coop
- Enemies Lag backstabbing
- NPC’s unexplainable deaths during Boss fights
- Being pushed out of the world during Boss fights
As of this writing, it is unknown if these glitches have been patched but it made my revisit of Lordran a rocky and angering one. If From Software is to care for one of it’s most recognized titles, I would wish that they would do it in a way that shows compassion, instead of caution.
DSR suffers from what looks like lack of effort or even just a lack of experimentation. As many other reviewers have put it, From Software looked at DSR and thought, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Which is shameful. Either way, I enjoyed the game however I’m disappointed in the lack of improvements in the game. As much as I would love to say that the game is a masterpiece, it comes off as a flawed one. Obviously it carries every mistake the original had, and worsens it by refusing to improve upon it. That’s why I’m going to only recommend this game if you’re already a fan of the Soulsborne series anyway.
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