‘Dark Souls: Remastered’ from an absolute newbie’s perspective

Kyle Chua
‘Dark Souls: Remastered’ from an absolute newbie’s perspective
Even with an improved and smoother frame rate, the genre-defining second entry into the 'Souls' series can still be brutally unforgiving – just the way some gamers like it

Early reviews have said that Dark Souls: Remastered is the best way to first experience the brutally unforgiving and punishingly difficult world of the popular franchise. While I was reluctant to give my second playthrough of God of War a sudden rest, I was definitely excited to try out my first Souls game.

Following the creation of my character and the opening cutscenes, I took some time to read each tutorial prompt and got acquainted with the game’s controls by killing the first few undead who didn’t even fight back. So far, so good; until I met the first boss, the Asylum Demon, where excitement soon turned to apprehension. A part of me knew that no amount of preparation could save me from the hours of frustration that awaited.

The Asylum Demon made quick work of my character and handed me my first death. I knew it was going to be the first of many. A couple of attempts later, I figured out that I was really meant to escape the fight, get to higher ground, and strike the beast while falling from the high perch. Connecting with the attack took away half of its health but the fight wasn’t over. I circled the boss while rolling away from its slam attack.

When I learned its attack pattern, it became easy to anticipate its attacks. I took every opportunity to chip away at its health with light attacks before finally slaying it.

With progress came even tougher enemies and more deaths. Although frequent deaths may seem frustrating in some games, I realized that dying in Dark Souls made the game feel more rewarding. This is because the game never feels unfair. Veterans of the game would say that all enemies, even those who can kill the player with a single hit can be defeated.

These enemies follow an attack pattern that the player can learn and uncover. And the only way a player can do that is by fighting enemies, dying, and learning from past mistakes. It’s this repetitive process of trial and error that made it hard for players to put down the controller. I was always just “one attempt” away from beating the boss or making it to the next bonfire.

Here’s a short montage of some of my deaths:

One of the biggest improvements of the remaster is that it runs at a constant 60 frames per second compared to the original that could barely keep 30 and took huge dips whenever there were multiple enemies on-screen.

Because of this, players can now better time dodge, rolls, and attacks in a game where timing means life and death. Even with an improved and smoother frame rate, the genre-defining second entry into the Souls series is still brutally unforgiving, especially for a newbie like me.

On top of improvements to performance, the game got a graphical upgrade with some noticeable lighting enhancements and sharper textures. The remaster just looks a lot better in full 1080p on the PS4 and at native 1080p scaled to 4K on the PS4 Pro which is a far cry from the original’s 720p. There were still instances when my character clipped through walls and corpses. Thankfully, these visual hiccups were never game-breaking.

Here’s one instance when a corpse clipped through my character’s body:

Despite being a slightly more refined experience and including the DLC, there’s not a lot of reason for those who already own the original to double-dip and get the remaster at full price – unless you’re a huge, huge fan and you want to see its definitive edition. For those new to the series, Dark Souls: Remastered is the perfect entry-point to first experience the highly-celebrated series. – Rappler.com

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