How's Dark Souls Looking On Xbox 360?

I've spent a good 40 hours or so with Demon's Souls spiritual sequel Dark Souls over the two weeks, almost all of it on the PlayStation 3. It's been hard to tear myself away from the game as I slowly inch toward progress and gains in power.

But I did manage to rip myself away from my main character and invested a few hours with the Xbox 360 version, which did not ship in Japan. How does Dark Souls on Microsoft's console hold up? Pretty good so far.

I've advanced far enough in Dark Souls for the Xbox 360 to battle its dual Belfry Gargoyles and been happy with the game's performance. Save for a few, unexpected frame rate hitches in the game's opening level set in the Undead Asylum, Dark Souls for Xbox 360 appears near-identical to its PS3 counterpart.

(If you're wondering why this is even a topic of discussion, we've seen little of Dark Souls on the Xbox 360 outside of the recent Tokyo Game Show. Potential Dark Souls players have expressed some concern about the Xbox 360 version's technical performance, seemingly based on the developer's obvious familiarity with the PlayStation 3.)

But Dark Souls early-game moments are not the most console-taxing. It's when the game moves into more open areas, like a large forest and a swampy shantytown, that even the PlayStation 3 version has some trouble keeping up with the complex geometry and long draw distances.

Demon's Souls players are likely familiar with that game's notorious dips in frame rate in areas like the Valley of Defilement and portions of Stonefang Tunnel. There are equivalent areas in Dark Souls. It will take some time to get to those areas (again), and we'll have a full rundown of any performance hiccups in Dark Souls' full review.

Curious players have also wondered about how Dark Souls on Xbox 360 will handle Party Chat and Private Chat functionality. Well, the game does not support player-to-player voice chat over Xbox Live. No real surprises there. However, if players engage a Party Chat session, Dark Souls will instantly kick you out of your current game and boot you to the main menu.

"Cannot continue game while you are in party chat. Returning to title screen..." reads on on-screen prompt. It's similar to the way Dark/Demon's Souls handles network connection interruptions for players who take those games online.

Control-wise, switching from a DualShock to an Xbox 360 controller was no issue. The game controls just fine with Microsoft's standard pad, with only the consistently poorly performing d-pad on the Xbox 360 controller giving me any trouble.

On a personal note, one oversight in the Xbox 360 version that bummed me out was -- from what I've seen -- the lack of Avatar awards. No "Onion Knight" armour or Gargoyle pet accessories, From? Come on, guys!

Outside of that one complaint, the Xbox 360 version seems to hold up quite well in early testing. We'll have a more comprehensive look at both versions as we get closer to Dark Souls' launch.

For a longer look at the PlayStation 3 version of the game, read my Dark Souls impressions from last week.


Comments

    I'd wondered how they were going to handle party chat on the 360. Good to see they're on top of it. Strange as it may sound, lack of voice chat was one of the (many) things that made Demon's Souls so great - it really helped reinforce that sense of loneliness and isolation... even when you have other people with you, you're still alone.

      Throw a rock at me if you must, but I think I'll be making use of the cheap calls on my phone plan to circumvent this.

      I may be alone in this but the infamous difficulty of this game is not a drawcard. I like the look of the game in every other way and am hoping they have a "pansy" mode so I can enjoy it.

        You probably are alone on this because for most if not all it is the draw card since we have played Demon's Souls. It's old school learn from your death and get a bit further hard. This is why it is popular. It doesn't hand hold, it punishes brutally for screwing up and you LEARN!

        Casual mode would honestly ruin the game. The only way the game should get easier is because you learn how to play properly.

          +1. If this game were easy, it'd fall by the wayside, for most people the difficulty is the biggest drawcard. I have a feeling a lot of younger gamers might not have their nostalgia-bits tickled so much, because it throws back to a time when games weren't technical masterpieces, they were just plain hard.

          I finished Demon's Souls once and got about 2/3 through a second playthrough, and by God I haven't wanted to throw my controller at something so much on several occasions for longer than I can remember.

          But, when you stopped and realised the reason you were dying was purely because you weren't learning from your lessons or you were rushing things - the satisfaction of beating a boss or clearing a particularly difficult section is indescribable. This game will not hold your hand, and if you die, it' because you're not learning from your mistakes, pure and simple.

          I cannot wait for this. Want, want, want.

            Yeah... it's hard, but it's never unfair. If you die it's your own fault and you KNOW it's your own fault. Usually you die because you're rushing or you get complacent about some basic "grunt" enemies and pay the price.

              So true, you'd end up rushing because you were complacently overconfident, or just so pissed off at having to do it AGAIN. Then, after dying a couple of times more and raging, you'd stop and silently chastise yourself for being impatient and childish.

              Then strangely enough, progression followed shortly after.

              My housemate used to be completely puzzled at me sitting there for hours on end, repeating the same bits over and over and over again.

              Can't wait to do it all over again. =D

                I was gutted when my PS3 died and I lost my save game :( Had finished it once and just started New Game + and lost it all :(

                As much as I loved the game, I just couldn't bring myself to go right back and start over again from 0.

                I have since implemented a strict policy of weekly backups :P

                  One of the best reasons to have Playstation Plus. The online save storage is a simple but amazing idea. New firmware lets you choose games to auto update your cloud saves every day too.

                  I don't think I could start Demon's Souls again. I finished it once, I have the trophy to prove it, that's good enough for me.

              I've never played Demon's souls, so I am ignorant on how it plays.

              I just assumed "hard" meant "unfair". Your comment, Braaains, has done more to make me look forward to this game than any of their marketing material.

                I can guarantee that when people talk about Demons' Souls being hard, they're talking about it being incredibly punishing but fair.

                You have to earn your victories but you won't be cheated out of them.

                Unless a Black Phantom shows up, because other people are dicks.

                  Well even then it's not cheating, it's just people being dicks and being better than you (which in my book amounts to the same thing :P).

                Yeah I resubscribed PS+ after the initial year, it's not amazing, but I deem it worth the $70 a year. The free games, Minis, PSOne games, discounts, demos and betas all add up.
                The cloud save storage is 150MB, I beleieve, and I just use it for my important saves like Demon's Souls, FFXIII, etc. Stuff that I'd honestly cry if I lost!

                  That reply was actually meant for Braaains. I have achieved +10 to dyslexia.

            For the record, I don't think I'd qualify as a younger player.

            Montezuma's Revenge on C64 was an early frustration fest for me.

        Yeah, my unlimited vodaphone plan will be put to use.

        Nah, I'd like a pansy mode too.

          That's not how Demons' Souls works dangit.

            What confuses me the most is people need phone plans to do this, if I were interested in ruining the immersion for myself I'd do it with skype : /

    I honestly can't remember if I preordered on 360 or PS3 but the more I think about it, the more it seems like the controls for Demons' Souls were really made with the layout of the Dual Shock in mind. The attacking mechanic really favours the way the shoulder buttons are on the Dual Shock so I have to wonder if that will feel weird at first.

    Admittedly, it felt weird at first in Demons' Souls.

      Or maybe it felt weird because you're weird...yeah, think about it.

        Or maybe it felt weird because it is weird!...yeah, think about that.

        That seems like a plausible explanation.

        chazz, what did sony do to rustle your jimmies?

        I thought you were a PC fan and deplored consoles. So I don't understand why you have such a fanboy attitude when it comes to Xbox vs PS3.

          If you're talking to me then you have it all wrong. I don't deplore consoles at all I was raised on them. I still have my SNES and N64, my PS1 and PS2 died so they're gone unfortunately and I own a Wii and 360 and am always on the look out for a good deal on a mega drive 2, saturn, nes etc to get my collection back to what it was.

          Hell my most favourite console franchise is a playstation exclusive; metal gear solid (well save for MGS2 being released on xbox and the HD collection coming to 360)

          If that wasn't directed at me then ignore this little rant.

    No onion knight armour in Onion Souls? Definitely going to buy it for ps3!

    Ok, so no party chat on xbl. But does that mean no private chat as well? Cross game and party chat was one of the main reasons I pre-ordered the 360 version over ps3. I'll be bummed if there's nada. Bought Demon's Souls last year, was awesome but spent half the time playing with my 360 on at the same time talking to mates haha.

    Demon's Souls was difficult at first run through, but second run through using magic attacks / ranged attacks was infinitely easier. There are a ton of "cheap shot" areas with bow attacks for many of the bosses in the game. [Stonefang Tunnel Spider perch, Boletaria Palace Shield Boss, Valley of Defilement bosses, False Idol, etc. etc.] Ranged attacks certainly make the game a bit more palatable once you figure out the games mechanics. Difficulty wise It's not unlike Super Mario platform levels that you had to do 6-7 times before getting to the next world.

    It's odd that after not playing for a year's time and picking Demon's Souls up again in anticipation for Dark Souls, it feels like I remember every single level to a tee. Every single boss, every single item location.

    Demon's Souls MAKES you pay attention. It MAKES you remember. In that way, the true masochists who got through Demon's Souls can not possibly forget that game.

    Kudos to FROM SOFTWARE for coming out with the sequel. [let's stop calling it a "spiritual successor", please]. I really hope this does well and the third installment of the series [not counting King's Field] is not far off.

    No party chat seals the deal for me: buying it on PS3 and exploiting the xbox live chat system to laugh and learn with my friends.

    While I completely understand From Softwares position on this topic, I don't think the game would be any less hard the first time around even with voice chat included. What I suggest is prohibiting voice chat the first play through and then allowing us to all BS with our buddies.

    Dark Souls is the best game Ive played in years. Ive been a gamer since the good old days of the ZX81. These days I find myself moving quickly from game to game, finishing some, and not others. Always chasing something I thought was still there somewhere. Id even forgotten what that something was, until Demon Souls and Dark Souls came along. These two games stopped me in my tracks. If you are like me, and you know what Im talking about, without me having to explain, then you need to play these two games, full stop.
    Everyone should be playing these two games. Two bright shining jewels on top a mountain of turds. The difficulty level is spot on, and I hope the developers keep the difficulty level as is, if they plan on continuing the franchise. Dark Souls literally lays down the gauntlet. The challenge is matched only by the rewards. You WILL live, and you WILL die... in fear!!

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