“Only, in the ancient legends it is stated, that one day an undead shall be chosen to leave the undead asylum, in pilgrimage, to the land of ancient lords, Lordran.”
Naturally, my first thought upon waking this morning was “Praise the sun!” A Dark Souls remaster that I can play in 60 frames-per-second on PS4 and Xbox One and in 4K resolution on my PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. A remaster that I can play on PC without having to use DSFix to make it even remotely playable. A remaster I can play on the go because it’s also coming to the Nintendo Switch…
Some really cool stuff about the remaster that goes beyond HD textures and a higher frame-rate:
- The password matchmaking system from Dark Souls III is being implemented in the Dark Souls remaster.
- This time around up to six players can be in the same online instance at once, either in PvE or PvP, up from 4 players.
- Better still, for the first time the game will use dedicated servers rather than peer-to-peer, which should make summoning and invading far smoother.
Here are the resolutions for the various platforms the game is releasing on:
- Xbox One (1080p, 60 fps)
- PlayStation 4 (1080p, 60 fps)
- Xbox One X (Upscaled 4K, 60 fps)
- PlayStation 4 Pro (Upscaled 4K, 60 fps)
- PC (Native 4K, all textures 2K unconverted, 60 fps)
- Nintendo Switch (TV mode: 1080p, 30 fps; Handheld mode: 720p 30 fps)
- 60 frames-per-second on PC, Xbox One and PS4 is fantastic news, but I do hope they fix the various issues that 60 fps causes currently when using a modded version of the game. It can make certain jumps virtually impossible and cause various other glitches. Recall, Dark Souls II had a weapon durability issue caused by 60 fps and that had to be patched later. Mostly, though, this is fantastic news.
- Blighttown may not be such a blight on the game now, praise the sun! I always liked that level, but good lord the frame-rate was bad.
- Since this is just a remaster, I doubt there will be much done to fix the game’s second half. Areas like Lost Izalith will still be a blight on the game, making everything past Anor Londo something of a slog. (Well not everything, but I often quit my Dark Souls replays after Anor Londo and the DLC.)
- I’m honestly not sure I’d want this half of the game fixed for a remaster, though. If it had been a full remake that might be another question entirely, but there’s something to be said for staying true to the original. New players will have to just suffer alongside veterans and ‘git gud’ as the saying goes.
- Also, I’m really not sure how this will work on the Switch, at least when you’re on the go. Think about it: You can’t pause Dark Souls. If you’re playing on a bus and have to get up at your stop in the middle of a fight, well, you’ll just have to miss your stop. Or die.
- Speaking of which…how many people are going to throw their Switch out of frustration? Many people, I suspect.
- New players: Definitely choose the Pendant as your starting item. You’ll thank me later.
- A part of me wishes we’d seen more of the game in action in this trailer, but knowing Bandai Namco and how its marketing department works we’ll probably get five more trailers for the game before its release on May 25th of this year.
- This is making me want to play the game again but I won’t simply because now I need to wait for the remaster.
- Maybe I’ll play Demon’s Souls instead. The last time I played that game I made it through the first four bosses without dying once. I doubt that’s a trick I’ll be able to repeat.
Demon’s Souls Remaster Next, Please
Perhaps the only thing more exciting than a remaster of Dark Souls for modern consoles would be a remaster of Demon’s Souls, From Software’s first game in the ‘Soulsborne’ series.
Then again, Demon’s Souls would be confined to the PlayStation 4, while the Dark Souls remaster is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC. That’s always been the advantage of the Dark Souls series over its predecessor.
Of course, Demon’s Souls is truly in a league of its own. I can’t say it’s the best game in the series but I do think it’s the most unique and special, in part because it was the first though there are other reasons.
Certainly the later games made progress in many ways and ditched aspects of Demon’s Souls that didn’t work, but none of them—not even Bloodborne—capture the magic of Demon’s Souls. The levels are sprawling and bereft of any check-points save at the beginning and after the boss fight. Shortcuts actually matter in Demon’s Souls, and the game is strong from start to finish (give or take a boss fight or two and the usual issues this series has with swamps) and isn’t bogged down by a rushed second half like Dark Souls. It has some of the best level design (Boleteria Palace is a triumph of modern game design; the Prison of Hope remains one of the creepiest levels ever made) and some of the best boss fights in the series (Maiden Astrea, Maneater, etc.)
I will say this: A remaster of Dark Souls makes me more hopeful than ever that a remaster of Demon’s Souls is on the way. That was one of the first things that crossed my mind this morning when I woke up to the surprise news.
So I’m pretty excited about all of this obviously. Dark Souls remains one of my favorite games of all time, and ranks neck and neck with Demon’s Souls and Bloodborne as my favorite in the series. I can’t wait for May 25th.