Dark Souls PC – Prepare to Die Edition – Test.

Unlovely or just incompetent? Dark Souls shows that Japan is not a PC country.

It didn’t come as bad as announced. The reports from Japan until shortly before the end didn’t really promise much good, there was talk of a performance under the already graphically not always glorious console version of Dark Souls and that on much stronger systems. Now you can’t say that the aging 360 and PS3 is far outdone here, but 30 frames are stable as far as possible, which only tend a little downwards in very few exceptional moments and are good enough to enjoy the best game of recent years on the PC.

So far the all-clear, but that hardly means a technical victory, but rather shows that Japan is not a PC country. No new details, no new animations, no general polish. If you’re a graphic enthusiast and want to blaspheme, there’s more than enough reason here, but let’s be honest: the graphics were never the game’s greatest strength anyway. The design of the world is still impressive in its gigantomania and what survived the path undamaged is the gameplay.

At least with a pad it plays itself thanks to the rarer Framerate misses even in areas like the Schandstadt, an underground slum, smoother and rounder. You can get used to the mouse and keyboard – freely configurable -, the online connection is apparently unspectacularly stable right from the start, which you can easily see from the many player characters and other PC-specific features you simply shouldn’t expect.

These are limited to the area with their new bosses, which are so optional that you can miss them if you want. What you shouldn’t do, of course, is that depending on your talent, it’s a day to many weeks extra, depending on how fast you can knock down the new and sometimes murderously hard bosses. It offers a deeper insight into the cryptic world of Dark Souls, but it’s still an Enigma hiding behind a mystery. None of this touches or outdoes the content of the main game, but more of something so good is always welcome.

As far as the known bugs are concerned, they all seem to relate to the graphics and the most embarrassing might be the one that appears on modern 120Hz monitors. For dark reasons it could be that the resolution is fixed at 720540 and that with a fantastic 15 Hz. There’s probably no official patch for this yet, but one that someone at NeoGAF screwed together – albeit not in the legendary 23 minutes.

Another one seems to concern ATI cards – but not all, as my own 6850 occupies. After a few minutes everything starts to jolt more and more until it reaches unplayability. If you then lower the resolution from 1080p to 16501050 everything runs perfectly and honestly doesn’t look so much different.

The Prepare-to-Die edition itself is once again a sign from Namco that cheap DVD cases with an online code as the only supplement don’t have to be. Even if the paper wrapping should have been a bit more stable, the small artbook, a poster, some postcards, the soundtrack and an interesting DVD making-of make up for it. Reminds you a little of before, when there were things in the game packs that you were happy about.

You can summarize that this port might not be the worst in the world, but it’s only a glorious achievement to the extent that it exists. Nevertheless, PC players alone should be thankful for this, even if they don’t just have to do without the graphics boost they’ve been accustomed to over the past few years, but may also have to struggle with a few weird bugs.

But since all of them concern the optics and are solvable – not always thanks to FromSoftware… – nothing has to be changed here at the valuation and statement. Dark Souls is THE game of the last years and why you can read the following in last year’s console test.

Test Dark Souls

Note: Dark Souls is not a walk in the park, so you can get the right help from us. Take a look at the complete Dark Souls solution with all boss battles and learn more about items, merchants, maps and enemies in our tips and tricks for Dark Souls.

Man, I love this game!

It’s not everyday at Games that we talk about a love that needs to grow. Where the first encounter is a bit rough, you look at each other and think “what’s that?”. The modern industry has understood that you usually progress with love at first sight and practices new levels of presentation and accessibility so that the player is carried on hands into the experience. Dark Souls, on the other hand, lets you run against the hard, cold shoulder.

Not necessarily a shy wallflower, more of a hardened diva, self-confident and knowing that she doesn’t need attention. You yourself would like to get closer, but you get rejected for a while. Then you have to be persistent, it’s worth the effort. Promised.

When I talk about Dark Souls and why I love this game and consider it to be one of the best on the market at the moment, I can’t help but talk about a few things for which I would punish practically any other game. Things that Dark Souls transforms into an intelligent element of the game system so that they are a good part of the fun.

For example, the eternal repetition of individual sections. The stubborn high leveling in the sweat of his face to have a few more dots when the end boss eats you up again. The ever lurking danger of losing virtually every relevant game progress of the last few hours. These are things you can’t let go of. You have to punish them. Or just not.

I will spontaneously try to fathom the mindset of the developers of Dark Souls. It seems quite clear that they were big fans of the 16 and 8 bit era when hardly any games, especially the action titles, offered memory levels for every level.

When the console was turned off, you had to start all over again, every single time. Even three to five lives, sometimes enriched with continuities, were not endless. The end often came fast and hard and the game progress as well as the highscore were gone. Every single time. From a supposedly modern point of view: Who would do that?

It’s simple. Each of these game rounds must be fun and this fun must give the player room to grow. It doesn’t have to overtax its skills over and over again, but it has to push them to the limit every time. This limit then shifts over time as you progress to high levels or even to the credits.

At the same time, the really good games always offered room to play out your own increased Pad skills on the familiar levels and perhaps catch an extra that seemed impossible to achieve in the beginning. That’s why the new run is fun. A mixture of “Ownage” and the hitherto untried creates new joy each time during a new run. And another one. And one more.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that you wouldn’t move on continuously in this epic Dark Souls. It’s not an early Castlevania, you don’t always start from scratch. You collect experience points – here in the form of the universal currency souls – and there are storage and reset points with the campfires. But the way of exploring a new area, the discovery of the next boss and his final coping is very often taken.

Partly to grind a little. Partly because the path is very dangerous until you know your way around and have learned to react appropriately to the new dangers that each section offers. But it’s also partly because with increased knowledge, dexterity, and character values, you look again at what you haven’t mastered before. There was this optional death knight, let’s see if he’s still so tough.

What always resonates is the danger of losing the course of the game for quite a while, if you are careless, even for several hours. Not because the saving wouldn’t work, in more than 100 hours I couldn’t complain about even one bug, neither online nor offline. No, you’re happily collecting souls, you’ve already got a lot together, the next level ascents or weapon purchases – which are preserved, blesses the time – firmly in front of your eyes, and then you do something stupid in the float.

Just as you want to be too casual in a Shoot’em’Up and then crash into a wall, here you strut a little further than you should dare and are threshed into the sand by a seven-headed Hydra. Or you run into a group of opponents who had been defeated a thousand times before, but this time without the caution they had shown until then. Four, five blows from all directions and that was it.