Dark Souls: Remastered Review (Nintendo Switch)

Published on February 28th, 2020 by Munawar Y.

Dark Souls: Remastered Review (Nintendo Switch)
“And then, there was fire…”

Praise the Sun once again and then some more! Dark Souls: Remastered for the Nintendo Switch marks the return of the critically acclaimed 2011 game, Dark Souls, developed by FromSoftware, which had originally been released for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Dark Souls: Remastered is now on the Nintendo Switch, ready to be explored by the cursed undead who roamed the world of Lordran once again either at home on docked mode, or on-the-go in handheld mode.

Story

Dark Souls: Remastered’s story is very minimalistic, and isn’t really the main focus of the game, however, the story goes as follows: You are a cursed undead being, trapped in the undead asylum, left alone to rot away in a cell, until a mysterious being throws down a key, left alone to explore the world of Lordran and ring the two Bells of Awakening in order to find out the truth of your kind.

dark souls bird lordran
The undead flying away with the Bird.

Whilst standing on top of a cliff away from the Asylum, a mysterious bird takes you to Firelink Shrine, to finally begin your journey throughout the world of Lordran to find out the truth of your kind. Even if Dark Souls narrative is slim, there are two endings to the game, and to spoil them wouldn’t allow you to enjoy the game in its entirety.

Gameplay

Dark Souls: Remastered is both a punishing, yet rewarding experience. By punishing, it really is punishing if you’re unable to keep up with its mechanics and controls. Once you’ve got it all down, Dark Souls: Remastered becomes an enjoyable experience with many things to do, such as destroying a lot of bosses, customizing your character’s armor, weaponry, and how they look alongside many areas to explore in the game! The game’s main currency is in the form of souls, which you collect from consuming specific in-game items, or simply by defeating an enemy or NPC. Dark Souls offers a lot of content that mainly features you, the player, fighting a large number of bosses, most of which are indeed mandatory, but some are optional, with a total of 26 bosses to kill, and it takes roughly 43 hours to beat the game in its main plot and the side bosses included.

The Beginning

The game has checkpoints which are called bonfires, and you will thank the heavens every time you’ve seen one, even right at the beginning, as the game throws you right into your first boss as soon as you enter through a gate, leaving you with the thought of whether it’s time to fight or flight. If you end up running away, you can choose to pick up a given weapon based on your class, and plunge right into the face of the Asylum Demon. You’re left with no choice but to end up slaughtering the great beast, leaving you with immense hard-earned satisfaction, and now have a taste of what’s going to come next. Afterward, you move onto a cliff, and whilst looking into the distance, you stand there in shock when you end up being grasped upon by the flying beast, that stalks the Undead Asylum, but worry not, as the Bird takes you to Firelink Shrine, to begin your journey of the truth for your undead kind in Lordran.

asylum demon dark souls boss
The undead chose to fight the Asylum Dragon.

Combat

dark souls class selection
Players are able to choose their class, and can upgrade their character based on how they want to play and beat the game differently each time they create a build.

There are classes the player can choose from to aid them in destroying the dark souls that roam Lordran, such as the Pyromancer class which gives your Undead the ability to blast away the other undead among your surroundings with various fire abilities that you can pick up and upgrade to become stronger throughout the game.

The basic combat system includes locking onto, attacking, blocking, parrying the target you want to destroy, using your items, and switching to different weapons quickly.

dark souls enemy lock on
Player locking onto the enemy shown above.

The game runs smoothly with little-to-no framerate drops while attacking almost every enemy/boss in the game, calculating into a very smooth experience, leaving you with only yourself to blame for if you ever die to anything, which includes falling off of a ledge with no support.

Multiplayer

The Undead players can either help one another clear areas and bosses with the usage of White Soapstones to gain souls or they are able to attack other players and invade their worlds to hinder their progress to gain items and souls as well. PvP arenas were also added to the game, among new changes such as maximizing the player count from 4 players to 6 players in multiplayer and changing the servers from P2P (Peer to Peer) to Dedicated Servers run by FromSoftware. The average amount of people who actually play the multiplayer on the Switch version are quite slim, as while you are able to join a few online PvP matches with little-to-no lag and do perfectly fine, not many people may invade you while roaming the other areas in not only the early but also the late game, and there aren’t many people who place white soapstones down for you to aid them in battle, so if you’re looking for a deep multiplayer experience on the Switch version of the game, as of writing this review, make sure you bring a few buddies with a copy of the game along for the ride!

Changes

Dark Souls and its remastered versions don’t have many differences, as the core gameplay hasn’t been changed, however, the major changes that were made were mainly multiplayer-focused in order to balance the game out, and Dark Souls: Remastered now includes the Artorias of the Abyss DLC in its Remastered version.

dark souls item selection screen
Using more than one of the consumable item: Humanity.

One of the core changes that were brought to the game which old and new players alike will love to hear would be that you are now able to use a consumable item more than once if you hold more than two of the same item in your inventory.

Presentation

Dark Souls: Remastered on the Nintendo Switch is a very well-optimized game. It runs at a stable 1080p at 30fps on docked mode alongside a 720p at 30fps while running on handheld mode. When comparing it to the other versions of the game on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, it struggles to keep up. The other consoles can run the game at 1080p at 60fps, or higher resolutions based on whether you’re using a PS4 Pro, or an Xbox One X. The overall experience from the Switch version of the game isn’t taken away due to the framerate, as the game feels more than playable at all times even while locked at 30 frames per second. The fact that you can take the game on-the-go already makes up for the lack of frame rate while comparing the Switch version against the other consoles.

dark souls undead parish background
Taking a break to admire the surroundings, while enjoying the sunset bathing the environment.

Dark Souls Remastered on the Switch is still a beautiful game while playing it in either handheld mode or docked mode, and you can’t notice a difference in the degradation of textures until you pair the Switch version side by side between the PS4, PC, and Xbox One versions of the game.

Replay Value

Dark Souls: Remastered is a long game, but it does have its fair share of replay value in it. As mentioned before, there are different routes and many paths to balance and level up your character’s build. You can either become a mage, a pyromancer, a full-on knight that tanks their way through the opposition, among many other combinations can be done to your build, and you can use different save files to customize your different characters and builds.

Conclusion

Dark Souls: Remastered is a very difficult, yet rewarding experience that players who start the game will either get hooked onto or will give up on completely. The Action-RPG is not meant for everyone, but the players who end up giving the game a shot will have an unforgettable experience, either it be good or bad.

The Nintendo Switch version of the game may not be perfect in every aspect, but it does have parts where it excels, such as its smooth experience on either docked or handheld mode. If you aren’t into challenging games that will make your blood boil for making one mistake such as attacking too early, then Dark Souls: Remastered isn’t meant for you, but if you’re into challenging games that don’t dwell too much on the story and mainly focuses on the gameplay, then Dark Souls: Remastered on the Nintendo Switch is meant for you! The fire fades depending on your actions, undead one.

The game gets a solid 8/10.

Munawar Y.

About Munawar Y.

Munawar's usually stressed out over school and work, but when he finds free time, he chooses to delve himself in games to explore many worlds beyond our own to relieve himself from stress, and he loves gyros.