If you haven’t caught on by now, I’m a pretty big fan of 2011’s breakout hit Dark Souls. After naming it my game of the year for 2011 and creating 2 video walkthroughs from different character class perspectives which can by found on my other channel ZGRWhyUDead, I was thrilled to hear that the developers were both working on some additional content and at the same time porting it to the PC. Originally I didn’t have any intention of picking up the new Prepare to Die Edition because the new content is to be released later this fall for the console versions but when I saw the price of the PC version was only $40, I just had to jump on it and I’m glad I did!
First and foremost, since I reviewed this game for the Playstation 3 last October, I’m only going to be covering the differences between the PC and Console version in this review – specifically the new content. If you want to check out the full original review, click here.
The Prepare to Die Edition of Dark Souls is a straight port to the PC. Everything was left intact and most of the options that gamers expect for a “good” port are missing. The graphical settings are slim pickings and out of the box, there isn’t a way to make the game look better than the standard 1024×768 resolution that the console version ran on. The original game had a lot of framerate problems and while some of them appeared to be resolved on the PC version, despite having a beefy gaming rig, I still had a series of serious frame drops here and there. That aside, it didn’t bother me too much on the console version, and it didn’t bother me much on the PC version.
After browsing Reddit for a bit prior to my purchase, I found out that a guy called Durante (pardon my butchering of his name) had created a simple mod that intercepts DirectX 9 API calls and allows you to scale the resolution up to 1080p and greater while providing richer textures, lighting and shadows. Upon installing the game, I installed the mod right away and never turned back. So all footage you see in this review is from the modded version of the game and this is absolutely the way I recommend the game be played. The graphics are quite a bit better than the console version with this modification and they are absolutely beautiful! You can find more information about the mod at PCGamingWiki.com.
I’ve read a lot of complaints about the keyboard/mouse controls for the port and to me; it makes a lot of sense. Having played the console version extensively, I know that this game was designed to be played with a controller. I played and will continue to play the game with a wired Xbox 360 controller and it worked perfectly out of the box. If you are thinking about picking this title up, you should probably make sure you have a working controller to go along with it.
This edition of the game runs on the Games for Windows Live platform, which just blows. If you purchase the game on Steam, you’ll have to sign into both Steam and Windows Live, which is just a waste of resources. But again, once you get past these small “hiccups”, everything gets better.
The new content, which will be made available as DLC to the console versions is titled Artorias of the Abyss and takes you back in time to Oolacile to tell the story of Knight Artorias, the Abysswalker. Several beautiful new zones were added that take you from crop fields, through the city of Oolacile down into the Abyss. 4 new bosses were added as well and I’ll tell you straight up, these bastards were TOUGH! I was able to take down the first one solo but with the dexterity-based build I was sporting throughout the game, I required assistance to take down the rest. Luckily the PC community is booming and it was a breeze to summon additional players into my game to take those fuckers down!
On top of the zones and bosses, a bunch of really cool armor sets, a series of neat new weapons, some new consumables and powerful sorcery and pyromancer spells were added as well. I’m currently in the process of creating 2 new walkthroughs from various character class perspectives that will be posted to ZGRWhyUDead if you’re interested in following me through the new content and testing out all of the new gear.
The new edition of the game also acted as a large patch, which brought forth a series of changes. New teleport locations were made available, several items had their stats changed, various gameplay elements were altered and several bugs and glitches were fixed. You can find more information about this on the Dark Souls Wiki.
My character was roughly level 70 when I entered the new content and I still had a hell of a time. I was able to tackle all of the new zones and monsters in about 5 hours, so it’s a pretty hefty chunk of content. After defeating the second boss, an arena area becomes available for you as well that lets you enter one of two arenas in duals, team fights and deathmatches. I didn’t have a chance test out this functionality at the time of this review, but that was simply because I wasn’t happy with the way my first character turned out and Knew I would get slaughtered. Regardless, it’s there and I’m sure we’ll see some interesting videos start to show up on YouTube from epic team battles!
As I sat here today writing this review, my heart was rapidly beating and I could hardly concentrate, as I just want to get back to the game and play more. The upgraded graphics from the Durante mod, the new content and the active PC gaming community had me at the edge of my seat, yearning to get back in the action. PC gamers, I absolutely recommend you pick up this title if you’re looking for a challenging and in-depth Action RPG. If you own the console version, you’ve got a really tough decision to make as to whether you pick up the PC version for $40 or wait a month or two for the DLC. I hope this review can help you make up your mind.
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Release Date: 8/23/2012
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Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.66ghz
6Gb DDR3 1600mhz
ATI 6970 2gb
2 7200rpm 500gb Hard Drives in Raid 0 – Gameplay
1 7200rpm 1Tb Hard Drive – Fraps
1920×1080 – Maxed Graphics – Vsync On – 30fps Constant