Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition PC review
First, I’ll give you something Dark Souls never does: a warning. Brought to PC by From Software, this port of the Japanese fight-heavy action-RPG is just that: a port. A straight port.
It plays like someone took an Xbox 360, packaged it up small, and slid it into your PC when you weren’t looking. The HUD is huge, the textures muddy, and such luxuries as control over field of view and vsync are nonexistent.
Ask yourself how you pronounce ‘PC game’. If your emphasis is on the ‘PC’, then run. Run far from Dark Souls and don’t look back. There is nothing for you here.
There are many reasons to run. The twisted, shrouded, uneasy medieval fantasy land of Lordran stretches away like the darkest night. Go the wrong way, probe too deeply into the inky depths, and the things that lurk there will get you.
My best analogy: it reminds me of being six years old and hearing a noise downstairs in a dark house.
Dark Souls starts you off, no matter your character class, as a walking corpse in a purgatorial prison, clutching a broken blade. In front of you is darkness.
I get out of bed to discover the source of the noise. In front of me is darkness.
Each step I take elicits rising fear, and rising courage. I can do this. Do I want to do this? I find a sword on the floor. I equip it, and my character weighs it reverentially in her right hand. I find a plastic squeaky hammer on the landing. I pick it up.
Trudging up the stone steps.
Padding down the carpeted stairs.
More darkness. Creeping around a corner, sucking in a breath through clenched teeth. And there it is: the source of the sound, the reason I’m probing the unknown.
A bowl the juddering washing machine knocked into the sink.
A twenty-foot demon with stubby wings and a hammer longer than my character is tall.
Either way, I know my enemy.
Playing as a walking, conscious member of the undead, I was tasked with battling my way out of my prison. On my escape – by medium of giant crow – the game took me to darkened land of Lordran. My job: to bring light to the world, and to fight for my soul.
All players start the game ‘hollow’. Collect ‘humanity’ – little sprites scattered around the game – and clench it between your fingers, and you’ll become human again for a while, injecting colour into your pinched, rotting cheeks – until the next time you die. I fought for these moments, moments that differentiated my character class from the drained and undead creatures stalking the darkness around me. Die, and when you respawn, back at one of the scattered bonfires that serve as safe havens, you look like a monster again.
Dark Souls’ first demon lived behind a door. When that door closed behind me, I was obliged to fight something that could crush my puny body with a swing of its ludicrous hammer, that could flutter a short way into the air and squash me with its bulbous arse. Something truly horrible, just like I’d imagined was downstairs in the dark when I was six years old.