A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Sensationalizes brutal, bloody medieval-style combat. But it also rewards tenacity and strategic thinking while encouraging cooperation.
Positive Role Models
Player's customizable avatar is silent throughout. His/her motivations or quality of character are unknown save through the player's actions (you can choose to assist, ignore, or even murder both the avatars of other players and non-player characters).
Ease of Play
Extremely challenging combat and gameplay, with little beyond the most basic instructions. Players must exercise patience as they slowly learn the game's rules, patterns, and secrets through repeated failure.
Violence & Scariness
Players use magic, melee, and ranged weapons to fight fantastical creatures -- including skeletons, dragons, demons, and undead knights -- from a third-person perspective. Thrusts and slashes often result in sprays of dark crimson blood. Some settings are littered with splayed, impaled, and decomposing corpses.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A handful of female characters have exaggerated bosoms, and some are topless, their breasts obscured only by long hair.
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Products & Purchases
The original Dark Souls is part of a popular and difficult franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dark Souls Remastered is an updated rerelease of a violent and challenging role-playing game originally released in 2011, and is available for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. Players assume the role of a customizable warrior armed with swords and sorcery who engages in bloody battle with fantastical creatures such as skeletons and demons. The obscure story provides little in the way of character background or motivation, leaving the player to develop the hero's personality through his or her actions -- helping or hindering other players online, and assisting, ignoring, or attacking non-player characters. Some of the game's female characters are scantily clad, with exaggerated bosoms hidden only by dangling strands of hair. Parents should be aware that this is an extraordinarily challenging game that demands practice, patience, and a willingness to fail multiple times before succeeding.
Is It Any Good?
It's pricey for a remastered game from a previous generation -- even if it includes a few hours of DLC that once cost extra -- but this is clearly the definitive version of this classic action RPG. While no match for modern graphical masterpieces, Dark Souls Remastered looks noticeably better than the original thanks to its higher resolution and steadier frame rate. The Switch version does have some darker, more blurry textures than the other systems because it's not as visually powerful as other systems, but it's still visually striking. Although no new content's been added, its collection of small improvements -- such as an extra bonfire and earlier access to the Dried Finger item (for people who want to focus on player-versus-player action) -- helps smooth over some of the original game's rougher edges. And what made the original game so memorable stands the test of time. Its challenging combat system -- which penalizes death by respawning all enemies and robbing you of souls collected (essentially experience points) -- remains tough but fair, encouraging caution, strategy, and play style experimentation. The beautiful and complexly designed world is still satisfying to explore, with secrets around nearly every corner. And untangling the game's dense knot of mysterious items and elaborate mechanics is as deeply rewarding as ever. If it doesn't feel quite as fresh as it did when it originally launched, that's only because so many other developers have taken pages from this game's book since its release.
All of this said, there's some missed opportunities for improving the Dark Souls experience even further. Many known glitches and cheats remain. The occasionally finicky camera is still problematic in some areas, especially in tight corridors or when locked onto enemies on narrow precipices. Plus, the continuing inability to pause when playing offline remains perplexing, and is bound to cause friction for players whose family members don't understand that they can't simply stop playing on command without potentially losing a lot of their hard-earned progress. It's frustrating, too, that finishing the game automatically starts a New Game + file, overwriting your current save and prohibiting access to all of the areas you've unlocked until you've played through the entire game again. Still, it's a treat to be able to revisit this classic and influential role-playing game on current generation hardware. If you fancy a serious test of your gaming skills (and patience), Dark Souls Remastered won't disappoint.
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