Seeing that Nintendo Switch was a massive commercial success it’s not a shock that so many games have switched to Nintendo’s hybrid platform. The latest game to do so is the harrowing, dark fantasy masterpiece Dark Souls Remastered. It’s undoubtedly a great game, but is it a good game for the Switch?
For those who don’t know Dark Souls is a tough but fair action-RPG, famous for its difficulty and excellent level design. It’s almost a perfect game, which gets nothing but praise from fans and critics alike. Yet does it really fit on a handheld system? Well, the simplest answer is…that it absolutely does!
Switch to Switch has made Dark Souls Remastered lose some of the graphical fidelity it had gained coming to current-gen platforms, and it’s also obvious that it has shed more than few FPS along the way too. Overall it’s not a bad looking port. The 30FPS that it has, run almost entirely smoothly, with only one or a few hiccups along the way. The resolution seems to be constantly on 750p, which dips only for few seconds when you sit down at a bonfire.
Also, the formula of Dark Souls works really well in a handheld environment. Dark Souls Remastered has an amazing gameplay loop. It’s all about killing enemies and gaining their souls so that you can level up so you can kill harder enemies. It’s great, it’s simple, and it’s perfect for quick, short bursts. Grinding for souls felt a bit repetitive to me on other systems, but on Switch it’s a great quick game session. You can play it when you’re on a bus or at work on a break. For me being able to do much of the more tedious grind at those times was a blessing. Once I finally had time to sit down and dedicate serious time to the game, I was all leveled up and ready to make some progress.
I’m also quite happy that if you hit the sleep button on the console that the game pauses. This means that if you are in the middle of a fight and your about to get off the bus you don’t need to choose between being late to work or losing progress. I heard lots of rumors that this is not the case before release, so seeing it there is a nice surprise.
It is a great game in handheld mode, in the docked mode, however, Dark Souls Remastered is not too hot. It looks and feels more like an Xbox 360 game which is not what you want from what supposed to be a Remaster. It’s not horrific by any means, but if you really want to play this game on a TV you are better off choosing one of the other versions.
The handheld mode is certainly the best way to play this game, but it’s by no means flawless. The biggest issues I encountered is the battery life. Dark Souls Remastered drains battery almost as fast as Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which means on longer voyages you will need a portable battery pack.
Also, Joy-Cons work great for this game, but I found one particular problem with the way they are spaced out. In Dark Souls to run you need to hold an A button. On other controllers, be it DualShock or Xbox One controller there are multiple ways of holding the controller so that you can still control your camera movement with the right stick. On the DualShock, I find it quite easy to use my left thumb to control the right stick during these sections. With Joy-Cons this is impossible. The only way to hold the button on the Joy-Con is with your right thumb. There is no way to position your hand in any other way so that you hold the button with a different finger. Also between the Joy-Cons, you have the screen, so there is no way of using the other hand either. This might be a little bit of a nitpick but it frustrated me a bit.
Overall Dark Souls Remastered Switch to Switch was quite successful. It might not be the most graphically or performance impressive version of the game to date, and there are few minor issues which certainly are a little bit annoying, but the ability to dive deep into the grim world of Dark Souls where ever you go, certainly makes it all worth it. This is for sure one of Nintendo Switch’s must-buy games.