For better or for worse, Dark Souls has been one of the most influential games of modern time, with everything from Triple A publishers to one-man bands hitting the ‘Souls Like’ trend. And with From Software being a small studio to a prominent figure in the industry, working with any publisher they like and leaving their old pal ‘Bandai Namco’ to milk the breast of the Souls franchise until the very last drop, leaving a fleshy excess of skin dangling from the chest like a carrier bag lugging an acorn. However, like myself, we are curious to know ‘Will Dark Souls work on the Switch?’
Well fear not, as the moderately sexy man -that is I- managed to get a hands-on experience with the switch version, in portable mode and I’m here writing this to let you know, yes you, the person staring at these words typed by fingers and digitized for your awakened eyes to observe.
So, start-up your bonfire with an aerosol can and a lighter and ‘Prepare to Read’.
Firstly, the demo I got to play was only the tutorial and I was asked to end the game -as did everyone else- as soon as you reached Firelink Shrine.
As someone who has completed every Souls game, I found it very recognizable, even after these years I knew exactly every beat, trap and surprise of that first section taking away that element of surprise which is a fundamental part of the experience. I know people complete them over, and over, and over again but nothing ever beats that first time.
Visually the switch port kind of looks more like the original version with some particle effects seeming smoother and more dynamic lighting used. Unlike the PlayStation 4, XBONE or PC versions of the remaster, it still has that darkness the first Dark Souls is commonly known for but now it just feels easier on the eyes -for someone like me whose eyes are that bad they have been operated on- stopping unnecessary squinting and potential for generating headaches.
In portable mode the game looked great though, the textures and the little details on the Asylum Demon were all visible. Both the particle effects and dynamic lighting changes are welcome especially in portable mode as everything just stands out a little more. There didn’t seem to be much of a difference on how the game ran from the original version, so if it maintains that same optimization -looking at you Blighttown- then fans should be happy.
I do have a concern and it’s in the right bumper on the joy con. I believe many switch users who are Dark Souls fans have clicked on. You see, the right bumper is your main attack in the Souls games and that bumper on the switch is extremely tiny and doesn’t have that much action when you press it. The left bumper feel shield is fine because you simply hold it, however for the right bumper is used for attacks and it didn’t feel satisfying to use. But I am hoping you can customize the controls, so the right trigger is the main attack and the bumper is the heavy attack.
A strange annoyance was found when writing my character’s name. As any switch user will know is that the buttons are map to how the Japanese have their buttons mapped, so A button (main button used for selecting) being to the right on the controller instead of down. This isn’t a problem as you simply get use to the controls, but here in this port they have just mapped it as we are use too, so B is like the X button a PS4 controller etc. etc. Again, great, it’s the controls everyone has been used to and what From Software have kept through their games. The annoyance is in the fact that ‘B’ whilst in keyboard mode is cancel and A is select -due to the operating systems controls mapping- finding myself coming in and out of the keyboard system and not writing a word.
Look, the game is a remaster of a modern classic and one of the greatest games ever made, therefore we know it’s a great game. It’s plainly on the circumstances on how you play games. If you are going to play this game on a big screen then go and buy it for a PS4 or XBONE, it runs better and will look better. However, if you are someone who is in a relationship and doesn’t want to watch Love Island or Catfish, the ability to play in portable so you can still sit with your significate is the way for you. Same can be said if you travel a lot or do a lot of city beaks, this is a great buy because its Dark Souls on the go; this is for people who want that portable experience.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.