'Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition' - review

Wednesday, 12 September 2012 10:45 PM Written by 

“Dark Souls” is an enigma. The acclaim it receives is baffling to me.  I’ll give it a few points for style, but with almost every other aspect of the game barely approaching average, I fail to understand the praise. I get it, it’s a hyper-difficult game in a land of cakewalks, but it takes more than a challenge to impress me.

That was the problem I had when I first played “Dark Souls” for console. Now that it received the PC re-release treatment in the “Prepare to Die” edition, I thought it may have been improved in some way and revisiting it would show me what I was missing. Unfortunately, this port is a sloppy mess that reaffirmed my distaste for the game.

Since “Dark Souls” is old news, I’ll just give you the bullet points of why I’ve never liked the game:

 

- The controls. They are as stiff as they are complicated. Even the action of moving your character feels like a chore.

- The graphics. While containing a healthy layer of artistic value in the enemy and environemtn designs, the graphics hinder the art style. Dull colors like muted grays cover messy textures. Nothing ever really pops off the screen, unless it’s a massive boss. 

- The story, or lack thereof. The game gives me no reason to care about my character or his journey. “Dark Souls” doesn’t give you a plot that is open to interpretation. It gives you nothing at all.

- The presentation is inexcusable. The voice acting is sub-par, and characters you meet along the way sit motionless while they spout dull dialog, making it difficult to become immersed in the world.

 

I hoped a port to PC would add a layer of polish, at least graphically, but it made the experience worse. PC games are always supposed to have superior graphics when compared to consoles, but “PTD’s” graphics aren’t any better. The game’s resolution is locked, and suffers from horrendous frame rate. There’s a third-party mod to make graphics to HD, but there shouldn’t need to be. That should be included in a port that is coming out so long after the original game.

As I said, I found the controls to be unintuitive on a controller and porting them to a keyboard didn’t help. They were so confusing that I switched to a Logitech gamepad, but the game even struggled with that. There aren’t presets for controller play, and I was absolutely stunned to find that it wouldn’t even let me remap the buttons on the controller. The port lacks even basic features like controller mapping.

“PTD” comes at a cheaper price of $40 and includes DLC that features new areas and abilities, but none of this is going to sweeten the deal if you never liked the game to begin with. I know that “Dark Souls” has its following, and if you’re part of it, chances are you’ll still like the “PTE.” Regardless of what you think of the game, this is still an inexcusably lazy port. It provides nothing that the console versions don’t already have, and in some cases, provides an even more dissatisfying experience.

 

3 out of 10

 

Pros:

Includes DLC at the $40 price

 

Cons:

Same troublesome “Dark Souls”
Provides nothing that the console version doesn’t
No controller support
Locked resolution

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