The Dark Souls remaster is coming out May 25. It sets to introduce an entire new generation of gamers to the game that made difficulty and getting killed fun, as well as washing longtime veterans in waves of nostalgia. Dark Souls originally came out is 2011, the first foray into the git gud universe we’ve died in countless times. It remains a classic, but with a remaster comes the chance to fix some flaws and give the aged veneer a nice polishing to bring it into 2018.
Here are five of the biggest changes we want to see to the classic series staple.
This goes without saying. A lot of remasters mostly address bugs and graphics. Dark Souls came out a full console generation ago. Seeing the corrupted, decaying world of Lordran redone for the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro, and PC will be like replacing blurry glasses with lasik surgery. Things will look dirtier, more broken, and more alive in a dying land.
2. Every Bug
Just like with graphics, this is to be expected. Dark Souls is a beautiful game, but it does have a number of bugs that never got addressed. Most of the big bugs will be addressed, but hopefully there was enough time to fix the smaller issues as well. It’s the little things that count.
Backstabs are an important combat element. They reward tactical fighting with a satisfying animation and bonus damage. Dark Souls was finicky with backstabs. There are times when it doesn’t register, cheating you out of that sword through a Hollow’s back. It’s even worse with player invaders. Combine the finicky system with connectivity issues and it’s a coin toss whether or not you land that backstab. Dark Souls 3 had a smooth system that registers nearly every time and it also clamped down on the connection issues. The remaster will hopefully include the DS3 system, adding an excellent quality of life improvement.
4. Omni-Directional Rolling
Rolling is a fundamental series combat mechanic. In Dark Souls 2 and 3, the player can roll in any direction, while in the original you’re stuck in the 8 cardinal directions (up, down, left, right, and diagonals). It seems nitpicky, sure. But when hitboxes are hyper-specific and two animation frames can be the difference between half of your health in a swing and dying, the attention is warranted. I could see the enemies being buffed a little to counteract the player character getting this upgrade. And that would be totally fair. In addition, the enemy AI could use better tracking to account for the better roll system.
5. Enemy and Item Placement
After a few playthroughs, any player gets into a rhythm of expectation. You start remembering where everything is, taking away the feeling of discovery and apprehension. Altering enemy placement from the original game will give that same sense of dread, fearing danger around every corner while searching for the next bonfire. Moving items around allows for the sense of discovery to remain intact. This isn’t too much work, and it would let nostalgic veterans and newbies alike feel like they were playing the game for the first time. That Hollow jumping out from the corner only makes your heart jump once. Keeping that feeling alive is integral to a satisfying game experience.
A lot of the enhancements the remaster will see are reflective of Dark Souls 3, itself a refinement of the original game’s systems. The enhancements will give Dark Souls a much-needed facelift without destroying its unique image and appeal. I’m excited to go back to Lordran for another campaign to Gwyn and the First Flame. At only $40, I think it’s a steal for players on their first journey or their fifth. May 25th can’t get here any faster. Order your copy for PS4, Xbox One, or Switch now!