Dark Souls Remastered On Switch Is Rough But Worth Playing

Dark Souls Remastered released on most consoles back in May, giving players a chance to relive (or finally experience) the game that inspired countless imitators. The Nintendo Switch version will finally arrive this Friday. It’s an impressive technical achievement that, while not as robust as other versions, is still worth exploring.

Dark Souls Remastered is a very successful translation of the classic exploration RPG to modern consoles. In my review, I called it a kind of “technical necromancy.”

The remaster feels like a ritual, a rekindling of the flame for a game that was slowly fading. Bringing it to the Switch has some downsides - it’s not as pretty to look at as other versions - but mostly captures everything great about the source material. Here’s a clip of me heading from Firelink Shrine to Blighttown, if you want to see it in action.

Handheld mode is the game’s biggest trick. There’s no denying that the ability to play Dark Souls in bed or on the subway is incredibly cool. The Switch has been cementing itself as something of an exploration RPG paradise, with games like Hollow Knight and Salt and Sanctuary offering gorgeous worlds that fit in your hands.

Dark Souls is the progenitor that makes those games possible, and the land of Lordran translates well on a portable console. My only minor complaint so far is that the Joy-Con analogue sticks have always been bad for fine movement, which means that camera control and dodging can be a little more difficult when playing in handheld mode.

It’s not a dealbreaker, but you might find yourself dying a little more often than you’re used to.

Transporting the remaster to the Switch comes at the cost of some visual crispness and performance. Players eager for 60 frames per second won’t find it here. The Nintendo Switch version caps at 30, and features some more jagged graphics than the other remastered versions.

In many ways, these technical limitations make the gameplay experience feel more faithful to the original version. Dark Souls was always a clumsy and muddy game, defined just as much by its rough edges as its difficult mechanics. The remaster arguably changed the core experience in certain areas, like the once notorious framerate-hogging Blighttown.

The Nintendo Switch version doesn’t revert to those dogged days, but it doesn’t soar as high as other versions either. As a result, you have something that feels authentic but which might not live up to the ever-increasing standards of modern players.

I don’t know if the Switch version would be my go-to recommendation for someone looking to experience Dark Souls, but it’s a solid port and an impressive technical achievement. There’s something remarkable about having one of gaming’s best world available to you wherever you go, and the game continues to hold up even as the genre it birthed grows larger and larger.

And now that I’ve started, I guess I’m just going to have to play the whole damn thing again.


Comments

    Sure, Dark Souls Remastered on the Nintendo Switch is rough and worth playing but you should know Heather that Dark Souls Remastered will not have Cloud Save support because all the other games that don't have Cloud Save support include Splatoon 2, Tencent Games Arena of Valor, Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let's Go Eevee, EA SPORTS FIFA 19, Dead Cells, and NBA 2K19.

      I can never tell if this account is a bot or just an idiot. This account always posts the most inane thing on articles related to the switch.

    I originally wanted this version, but once it got delayed I hopped to the Xbox One and PC editions (later getting it on ps4 as well... Dark Souls addict). I purchased the Switch version this morning, gave it a go over my lunch break and I am really impressed. I will probably notice the visual downgrade more when I give it a go in docked mode.... but hand held Dark Souls is everything I imagined it to be.... REALLY REALLY REALLY happy with it thus far :-).

    My only complaint is that it's not a game to play with the joycons, dying to give it a go with my pro controller.

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