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Dark Souls Remastered - Review


Fooled by that toothy serpent, they upturned the grave of primeval man and incited his ornery wrath.


After playing through Dark Souls 3, I was amazed by just how much the game offered in terms of content. After many years of not playing the game due to many distractions, I finally decided to try out the first Dark Souls Remastered (DSR) game. I have to say, I was not disappointed with my experience of this game, it nails what a game should have in terms of being a good game.


Pros and Cons

Pros

- Fun and challenging gameplay, with plenty of builds to do

- Dark fantasy world with very interesting places to explore

- Fun side content for you to do

- A fantastic soundtrack that is nice to listen too

- Beautiful dark fantasy-like setting


Cons

- The early game has a very steep learning curve

- Some of the mechanics in the game are a little rough

- The last few bosses were quite easy


Story

The story for Dark Souls is not exactly told to the player but there are some bits and pieces to it that you can make out. You will understand what your objective is at some point but the game won’t tell you where to go or what to do next. This is completely fine on its own, as you can explore areas of the game to maybe find a hidden item. However, if you must look up a guide that’s not a bad thing as the game can get difficult on occasion on what to do.



I do love the world-building that DS has as it feels like everything is alive but dead at the same time, it really fits a dark fantasy-like setting.


Gameplay

The gameplay for DSR is really fun and challenging. Since I played DS3, I was able to get a grasp on the controls and fit into the game just fine. In terms of mechanics, everything is pretty much the same as it was in the original version. At the start of the game, you can choose your character class and what starting item to get. There are a few interesting items for you to have, like the Master Key. I should mention though that if you pick the Thief class, getting the Master Key is pointless as the class comes with one. So, if you get the Master Key and picked the class, you will get two of those keys.


Every time you defeat an enemy, you will get souls. These souls can be used at bonfires to increase your stats and level up. Although to increase damage, that actually requires you to level up your sword at the blacksmith in the game. There are four blacksmiths that you can find throughout your adventure and they can do various things for you in the game. You do have to visit them on occasion as your weapons can actually break. You will get an icon stating that your weapon is at risk of breaking, it will also do 70% less damage and you must go to a blacksmith to get the weapon repaired. Failure to do so will result in the weapon breaking completely and it does 85% less damage. Shields and armor can also lose their durability and may need repairs as well but I never came across this issue during my playthrough.


I should mention that leveling up your stats in the game will also increase your damage as well, it’s just the blacksmith is the key way of doing it.


There is also a lot of side content for you to do, like doing side quests, fighting hidden bosses, or even doing the DLCs that come with the game. A lot is given to the player when they play the game and with a big world you explore, there is a lot for you to go out and do. The game also rewards you for going out of your way by giving you hidden items, weapons, armor, or even spells.


Although I do have a small warning for those that have come from DS3 or are just starting out. When you try to heal, your character comes to a complete stop, they won’t walk while they are healing. Unlike in DS3, where that is a thing, this is not a con for the game, just a small warning I wanted to give out.


However, I do have a few minor issues that don’t ruin the experience in DS but are at least worth mentioning. The first two issues I have with the game do go together and I should at least talk about the steep learning curve that the game has. As well as the mechanics that the game gives you starting out that are a little rough too. I am going to talk about this status element in the game called Curse, which is a completely unique status element to this game only. The only way for you to get Cursed is by getting inflicted with it by the Basilisk’s mist attack (one other enemy and a Boss can do it to). If the curse meter is full, you are killed instantly, when you respawn at your bonfire, your health is cut in half and you can’t summon player phantoms or the NPC phantoms in the game. This effect is with you permanently until you get it removed.


The only way to cure the Curse is by a Purging Stone, although there is an NPC who will do it for a fee of one humanity but getting to him is a problem. The only way to get these purging stones is by going to the Bell Gargoyle Belltower, you will meet someone named Oswald of Carim, who will sell you these stones for 3000 souls. Although to get to him, you have to travel a little bit, which should take you at least 20 minutes or more because the enemies you have to deal with along the way can be a problem. You also can’t really run past them due to the dogs in that area being very fast and doing bleed damage, plus the other enemies too. Remember, your health is cut in half, meaning a few hits will take you out. The only other way to get a Purging Stone is by finding the Undead Merchant, who is much closer. However, she will sell them to you for 6000 souls. By that point in the game, you may have to grind for a good 20 or so minutes to get those souls, assuming you did not pick any item that gives you them. Also, you can't fast-travel at that point in the game, so you have to either travel or grind.


Now, let that sink in and try telling all of this to a new player who just got cursed. It’s not a good feeling and this mechanic never returned in any other Souls game for a good reason. Snuggly, who is another NPC can also help with Curse as well, so I should mention them too.


The last issue I have is that after a certain point in the game, the bosses actually start to become a little easy. There are a few exceptions to this but a large majority of them are pretty much cake walks, getting to them is more of a challenge than anything.


Graphics, Performance, and Soundtrack

The graphics for DSR are stunning, I loved how the dark fantasy setting was played out in all of the areas. I tested the game on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB, AMD Ryzen 5 1500X Quad-Core Processor 3.50, and 16 GB of RAM. I experienced no issues while I was playing and the game ran smoothly at 60 FPS.



The soundtrack is another thing I should give a small mention to, all the songs in the game were phenomenal and I loved listening to them, especially the final boss theme.


Final Verdict

Dark Souls Remastered is a fantastic game that I highly recommended to those starting out with the Soul series to go out and play, despite the issues I mentioned above. If you are a returning player and have the Prepare To Die Edition, then I recommend you get the Dark Souls fix patch instead. Nothing really changes in terms of gameplay, unless you want to play the game in HD which could be a strong enough reason by itself.


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