Dark Souls: Remastered brought pain to FromSoftware fans all over again just before summer this year, but with the Switch version delayed, it's only now that we're getting the game for Nintendo's console. Of course that has a few implications, but more than anything it means that for the first time ever you can take a Dark Souls game with you on the go, so you can face Capra Demons on the train (something we actually did) or tackle Nito on the toilet. It's a truly brilliant game, as we reiterated in our original review, but this review will take a closer look at the Switch version specifically.
As much as taking it on the go is a nice option, we wouldn't recommend playing it in portable mode if you're using the Joy-Cons attached to the side of the device. In fact, the Joy-Cons are probably the worst control method for the game, which is only heightened by holding them on the side of the screen. This is because the crucial shoulders buttons are just a touch harder to access when playing the game this way, and if you know Dark Souls, you'll know just how important they are since they control attack and defence.
That said, taking the game with you in handheld still lets you experience smooth performance, as both the docked and undocked game run at 30 FPS, except it's 720p in handheld and 1080p on the big screen. The improved performance is definitely worth it over the original 2011 release, and on the big screen it actually looks very shiny and polished, like the base PS4 and Xbox One versions before it. The area known as Blighttown was notorious for having severe frame-rate issues back in 2011 too, but this has also been fixed and runs smoothly on Switch. That said, the game did make our Switch very loud at times, especially in handheld mode.
There are also the same number of online players supported - between one to six - except at the time of writing the game isn't out yet, so we haven't been able to test this feature fully. It's worth making clear that you do need a Switch Online subscription to access this feature though, which will then help you summon and get invaded by other players. As a side note, it's also worth mentioning that pressing the Switch home button doesn't pause the game (which it does with every other Switch title we can think of) - you won't get off that easy.
With Joy-Cons being such a pain we'd certainly advise using a Pro Controller to get the most out of Dark Souls: Remastered for Switch, because it provides easy access to the shoulder buttons and more precision in general during those tense boss fights. Across all controls methods though, HD Rumble got incredibly annoying because of its severity, and trust us when we say this is a game that makes a lot of vibrations.
Speaking of controls, if you're coming from other Switch titles you might confuse your brain as you try to get to grips with the fact that B is confirm and not A (like it is in the other console versions), and if you've worked hard to remember the Zelda control scheme you're definitely going to need some adjustment time.
All in all though we went in expecting more of the same Dark Souls as we had reviewed on PS4, and that's exactly what we got on Switch. It's one of the best action-RPGs ever made and a cultural landmark of gaming, so the chance to take it out and about with you to play it in tabletop mode is incredible (not handheld, though). It's the same superb game it was back in 2011, except this time it's shinier, smoother, and more polished. Apart from a couple of issues with the Joy-Cons, it offers the same content without compromise, and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters.
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