Dark Souls Remastered Review — Switching Perspective
Dark Souls Remastered on the Nintendo Switch brings a new kind of revelry to the moment-to-moment victories like finding a bonfire or killing a boss.
If you talk to me for any amount of time you’ll likely learn that I’m a huge Dark Souls fan. I could be wearing a Dark Souls T-shirt, or sporting my PSN name “Chloranthy Ring.” I’ve played through Dark Souls 3 more times than I can remember in order to get the ROFAP +3 on all of my characters. I watch every single one of Vaatividya’s YouTube videos pertaining to lore. If you can’t already tell, I really like the Souls games. The fact that I love Dark Souls on the Nintendo Switch then, should come as no surprise.
Seeing the game that has transcended the medium to becoming a pop-culture reference of its own being added to Nintendo’s lineup is, in itself, a victory. If you’d of told me that the gritty, dark, gothic, unrelenting, and unforgiving experience that is a Souls game would appear as part of a Nintendo console’s library back in 2014, I’d of laughed out loud. But seeing it become a reality is a testament not only to how revered the original Dark Souls is, but also to the Switch’s ability to run a game that pushed the hardware of 2011 to its limits.
Dark Souls on Switch certainly isn’t the most graphically astounding version of the game. If you’re looking to experience the game as a truly “remasted” version then you’d better be left to playing it on PC, Xbox One, or PS4 in 4K at 60 FPS. The word “remastered” that appears in the title for the Switch version moreso represents a remastered approach to playing a Souls game. While the console has many pop-in-pop-out titles that are designed for short gameplay sessions, Dark Souls fits in just fine. The bonfires, which once existed as my only hope of salvation, now serve as convenient stopping points for when I’m forced to get off of the train or I’ve been sitting in a coffee shop for an awkwardly long amount of time.
Once again, the Switch is only capable of running the game at 30 FPS which is the same as when it originally launched more than 7 years ago. Oh, and it’s the same resolution too at 720p. While you can get to 1080p docked, you’re better off playing the game on any other platform if you’re committed to staying in one place. That’s fine for me since I keep different character builds on different platforms, but for someone who is experiencing the game for the first time, they’d likely be more comfortable on their couch playing the game with some more attractive resolution and framerate. After all, Blighttown is frustrating enough your first time through. There’s truly no reason to have to put yourself through that at 30 FPS when “we have the technology!” That being said, the Switch still handles the nefarious and notorious region of the game well enough.
Players do have access to Dark Souls Remastered‘s benefits when in online mode, featuring up to six player co-op / being ganked to high hell by Giant Dads, though as mentioned previously, you’re much more likely to be playing the game in offline mode. Whether I was playing docked or handheld, however; I was frustrated by the all-too-common button layout mismatch between Nintendo and the consoles the game was originally developed for. I play all Dark Souls games with “the claw,” and when the “A” and “B” buttons are reversed on the Switch, it really took me out of my element. In addition, the mental gymnastics of having to switch between the two buttons during character creation alone frustrated me enough to close out the game. I don’t understand why the Switch can’t just bite the bullet and have the same button layout as every other console. Nevertheless, I digress.
Dark Souls Remastered on the Nintendo Switch is a tribute to the Souls series and everything it stands for. Playing the game on the go allows you to really revel in the moment to moment successes amid seemingly hundreds of failures. While I love everything this port stands for, I’d be hard pressed to recommend it as an entry point for players getting into the series, or even as a remastered version of the game that people don’t plan on playing on a commute or outside of their home in general. It is, despite all of this, capable of creating a brand-new way to play Dark Souls, and for someone as invested in the series as I am, that’s more than enough.