Dark Souls: Remastered (Switch) Review

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Dark Souls: Remastered had its release early this year on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Now, on a system known for its lesser power, the game has its go on the Switch. Can it hold up to the original, let alone the other consoles who received Dark Souls: Remastered back in the summer.

Gameplay and Visuals

Technically speaking, the Switch version of Dark Souls: Remastered is inferior to the other modern consoles. The Switch version supports up to 1080p in TV mode, dynamically switching resolution depending on the action, which is an improvement on the original, and locked 720p in handheld mode. Both run at 30 FPS.

The 60 FPS, 4K experience available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC is obviously better, but handheld mode has been a game changer for these third-party titans ported over to the Nintendo hybrid console. The game looks great in handheld mode, and even in TV mode looks like an improvement over the original, something I was a little scared about seeing for the first time. What I found was an experience that was improved, and expanded, thanks to the fact that Dark Souls: Remastered includes the exceptional Artorias of the Abyss expansion.

The gameplay on the Switch is great, minus one thing I couldn’t stand: Joy-Con responsiveness. If you’ve played Dark Soulsyou know the slightest movements matter, and the Joy-Cons leave much to be desired in those moments where you need precision the most. Other than that, motion controls are included to invoke emotes. Something I found to be a little tough was finding a real reason to use them, rendering them, in my eyes, useless. The gameplay speaks for itself. I died countless times running through the game, and within the first minutes of playing, if you are new to the Dark Souls experience, you’ll know if you have what it takes to push forward.

Sound and Style

The visuals of Dark Souls: Remastered are improved, thanks to texture bumps and improved graphics. It’s nice, and a lot of times I forgot I was playing on the Switch instead of feeling like it was a diluted experience. Like Skyrim, Wolfenstein, and Doom, it’s just nice to have these gaming experiences on the Switch for home play and on-the-go options. That’s a huge draw for me, and why I picked up a copy on Switch. You don’t get the 4K experience, but if that’s not crucial to you, then the portability and more than adequate presentation of Dark Souls: Remastered on the Switch is enough of a reason to go Nintendo with this trying adventure game.

The sound issues I saw surrounding Dark Souls: Remastered on the Switch weren’t something I noticed unless playing in handheld with an obviously lower quality coming from the tablet speakers. Other than that, I ran into no issues with sound or music. In fact, none of the frame rate drops, fragmenting, or other issues some have reported happened to me while playing. That being said, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. It’s just my experience. For a game with such intense gameplay, it’s surprising how much sound is actually noticeable and important. Even when focused on the gameplay, I still found myself drawn into the music or sword clashing sounds.

Conclusion

I consider Dark Souls to be a must-play. I don’t feel that way about many games in the past 10-15 years, but no series has influenced the entirety of video gaming quite like Dark Souls. Dark Souls: Remastered is great for newcomers and seasoned Souls fans alike. Pick it up on the Switch, and while you don’t have the same 4K experience as PS4, Xbox One, or PC, you do get a great game that looks fantastic and goes where you go. This is a pickup everyone should consider if there ever was one in the adventure-action genre.

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Dark Souls: Remastered

9.3

Score

9.3/10

Pros

  • Great port of classic game
  • Impressive visuals for the "underpowered" Switch
  • On-the-go Souls is magical

Cons

  • Not as pristine as Xbox, PS, and PC experience
  • Joy-Cons are limited in responsiveness
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