Dark Souls Remastered Review: It’s Dark Souls, But Better

When it comes to giving a game the remaster treatment, no one can win.

If too much is changed, you can bet a contingent of fans won’t be happy. If too little is changed, another contingent of fans won’t be happy. Dark Souls Remastered sits somewhere in between. There are genuine improvements that bring it up to date and make it a more enjoyable experience, but at the same time it’s simply the same old Dark Souls. You’re going to have a nicer time playing it, but you’re not going to be surprised by anything.

Look at the shiny!

The game’s visuals are the first thing that have obviously been tinkered with. Many textures are crisper, and the game now runs at a minimum of 1080p on consoles, with 60 frames per second to boot. Unless you’re a PC gamer, Dark Souls has never looked or played so good. It’s a game that greatly benefits from a silky smooth framerate, and even problematic areas like the infamous Blighttown no longer cause issue.

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Something about the visuals just seems little bit off, though. In some instances they seem too clean and shiny. Start as a knight and it’s instantly apparent; their armour looks like someone has given it a good buffing. Walls too often look overly shiny. And there’s there’s the lighting; it may still be Dark Souls, but everything seems brighter. They’re minor issues, no doubt, but you always have that weird thought that’s something is off in the back of your mind. Though you can always turn the brightness down a bit which helps.

Other, more meaningful changes become apparent as you play, and thankfully, they’re all rather welcome. Being able to consume more than one item at a time is a godsend, and being able to change Covenants at Bonfires sure is handy. Also, those who haven’t already got the traditional Dark Souls control scheme etched into their minds will be thankful that they can now configure it to their liking. It’ll be those who like to make use of the series’ online features that will get the most out of Dark Souls Remastered, however.

Multiplayer goodness

A whole host of multiplayer changes have been introduced, and while I haven’t been able to fully make use of them all as yet, they’re clear to see. Up to six players can now join in on the action, with the Dried Finger item that’s required to do so being sold by a vendor you encounter early in the game. Arena matches have also been introduced, allowing team-based and everyone for themselves death matches. And there’s more, including the option to turn off global matchmaking. Suffice to say, Dark Souls Remastered‘s online features feel bang up to date.

So, if you’re reading this, I guess you’re wondering if you should buy Dark Souls Remastered, and the answer is yes. Probably.

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A classic, remastered

If you’ve never played the game before, this is easily the best version of it. While the graphics haven’t been touched up that much, it’s still a good looking game with some brilliant enemy design. And what’s more, it plays like a dream. Loading times are fairly brisk, and the smooth frame rate really allows the gameplay to shine. Newcomers to the series would be foolish to start anywhere else to be honest.

For series veterans, however, it’s a case of how much do you like Dark Souls? Bar the technical improvements and additional online functionality, there’s nothing else new here. If you’ve not played the game’s expansion, Artorias of the Abyss, that’s included though. As such, for most fans I think it’s worth a purchase, especially for its budget price. It’s simply the best version of a great game, and even if the changes are marginal, that still stands.

Dark Souls Remastered is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the PS4 version.