Dark Souls: Remastery

The Dark Souls that I’ve been playing is more fully titled DARK SOULS™: Prepare To Die™ Edition. If I understand correctly, this is simply the original PC version of Dark Souls with some DLC bundled in. It’s not the most recent version of the game. That would be DARK SOULS™: REMASTERED, which is the same thing with a facelift. And that makes me think: Does this game really need remastering? Perhaps my aged eyes are behind the times, but the the graphics in the version I’m playing look perfectly fine to me, and the remaster doesn’t look noticeably different — looking at a comparisons, the only really noticeable difference is the bonfires, which got a lot more detailed. (The blurb for the remaster even emphasizes this by staring with the line “Then, there was fire”…) Other than that, I can look at two side-by-side images and have no idea which one is supposed to be the improvement. But perhaps my standards for this sort of thing are higher than those of Kids These Days: in my youth, if a game got remade years after its original release, that usually meant switching from EGA to VGA, which really made a difference to the look of the thing. (And not always an improvement — skilled artists working thoughtfully within constraints can produce effects that are ruined by haphazardly slapping in color gradients.) Remastering Dark Souls seems to be less a matter of updating it to utilize new technology and more just a way to get a new SKU on the market and revitalize sales.

Even though the visuals are mostly up to modern standards in the original, there’s one thing that really strikes me as having aged badly: the ragdolling. That is, the way that fallen enemies wiggle and flop around and tend to get caught on your feet so that they’re dragging behind you as you run about, even if it’s the body of a huge stone knight whose footsteps shook the earth. It’s as if everything gets replaced with a hollow rubber dummy at the moment of its death. Maybe “aged badly” is the wrong way to put it; maybe this came off as ridiculous ten years ago, too. I remember people being very impressed by the ragdolling in Half-Life 2, but the context was different. There, you were picking people up with your physics gun and throwing them around the room, so perhaps the whole situation was bizarre enough to excuse some bizarreness in the visuals. Also, I don’t recall the corpses being nearly as clingy there.

Anyway, I have no idea if the remaster changes the ragdolling at all. It’s hard to tell just from pictures.

2 Comments so far

  1. Katre on 19 Mar 2022

    I haven’t played it directly, but I was watching a Let’s Play or the remastered version, and the ragdolling was definitely over the top and ridiculous.

  2. malkav11 on 19 Mar 2022

    A lot of “remasters” these days are just excuses to rerelease the game on a newer generation console, and then they also port the remastered version to PC because why not. As is likely the case here.

    I gather there are some QOL changes to things like multiplayer. Also it runs at 1920×1080 natively Those are probably a bigger deal than any texture/lighting/etc overhauling that may have been done.

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