"Are You Prepared?"
Dark Souls, along with its (spiritual) predecessor Demon Souls, inspire a nostalgic kind of fear in gamers like me. The fear of exploration, the sense of dread that takes hold of your stomach and wrenches it, all while you take the first steps into a new area. This game offers no real guidance, just the ever looming threat of death hanging on your shoulders.
I'll admit, just like in Demon Souls before it, I found myself visited by the death screen on more than one occasion, and it only convicted me to push further and deeper into the game. Symmetries in difficulty aside, what all has changed in Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition? The short answer, outside of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, which is also available on consoles, is nothing at all.
If you're playing the game for the first time and you have a sufficiently powerful PC, then this is definitely the best purchase available to you. However, keep in mind that Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is a port and thus, it suffers from some inherent but easy-to-fix issues.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is a game meant to be played with a gamepad, there is no question about that. Some games manage to traverse the gap from gamepad to keyboard & mouse with little to no hassle. Dark Souls, however, wasn't that fortunate. In truth, the keyboard & mouse configuration renders the game entirely unplayable. You spend just as much time fighting the unforgiving cruelty as you do trying to aim an attack correctly. This particular issue is the first and largest entry barrier associated with this port. If you don't own a gamepad, I would recommend looking into purchasing one first if this is your only method of experiencing the game.
The next major issue in Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is the visual quality. While I've never been one to laud over the quality of a game's graphics as a direct and proportionate measurement for the quality of the experience, the visuals shouldn't make the experience difficult to enjoy. The game comes locked at a resolution of 1280x800 and, like many PC users, my monitor is bigger than that. It leaves the game looking bloated, and it draws attention to the handful of ugly textures normally hidden in the environment; it also hides some of the interface. For instance, I couldn't see how many Estus Flasks I had until I installed the day one mod, which allowed me to render the game in my monitor's native resolution. Again, this is a simple fix. However, I can't deny that it's another barrier for the potentially inexperienced PC user to overcome.
Outside of these issues, the expansion content is worth the asking price. Artorias of the Abyss offers a handful of areas, bosses, and items for players to enjoy, and it's a worthy addition to a high level adventurer. Be warned, the Abyss isn't a low level add-on that can be accessed anytime; be prepared with plenty of healing flasks, the best gear you've collected thus far, and a willingness to relearn a brand new slew of enemies in their entirety because the Abyss is unforgiving.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition brings a great addition to an already lengthy and entertaining experience. However, with the PC being the primary reasoning behind this port, it's hard to overlook the several entry barriers before an enjoyable experience can be had. While it's nothing new to require a gamepad of PC gamers, the keyboard & mouse option is unwieldy and strangulates the gaming experience. In addition, those unfamiliar with the concept of modding, however few and far they may be, may also find themselves dissatisfied with having to modify an already purchased game to receive an enjoyable experience. If you're willing to wade in past the murky waters of a poorly assembled port, you'll find an excellent game waiting underneath.
GameDynamo's Score for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (PC)
|Joey Blackwell II
Avid gamer who's more passionate about writing. Hopes to be a renowned writing voice in the world someday, while still being addicted to games.
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