So with the oldest- turned- newest entry of the souls games out of the way, We turn our sights onto the first Souls game that shoved the series into popularity, and started spewing out the 'Souls-Like' Genre. You guessed it, at #4 We have Dark Souls 1/ Dark Souls Remastered. Unlike Demon Souls where the remake was a magical release for many, the Remaster of Dark Souls could of honestly been a patch. Adding 60FPS gameplay, rebalancing online, a few QOL changes and swapping two item locations round and adding a layer of HD, and includes the excellent DLC. It's not really worth the upgrade if you already own the original release, unless you want a new batch of people to invade (Or its your first time playing of course) so unlike my Demon Souls review where I referenced the remake a couple of times, here I will treat them like the exact same game.
So firstly lets start with the good as I LOVE this game. This is the game that got me hooked onto this series and there is a hell of a lot to love.
Firstly, the world- In my opinion this is the best world of any of these games. Each area interconnects and crosses every other area in amazing and surprising ways. While this is technically an Open World game, it's a small world with no map and the game cleverly funnels to the 'correct' route with its clever enemy placement (If you go the 'wrong' way the enemies hit like a truck). This also serves are a reward to players who have learned attack patterns and have 'gotten good' as they can do the game in a slightly faster order, grab weapons/ armor sooner to make your preferred build etc. Its such an elegant system and a lot of fun to explore.
The bosses are also brilliant, pretty much throughout >! Ornstein and Smough flatten me time and time again, Fighting Artorias and Sif is heartbreaking, making them some of the most memorable bosses throughout the game !< Even the easier bosses designed are seared into my head, >! The gaping dragon is a pushover, it god it looks terrifying !<
Death is harsh but fair, the fact you have limited humanity (which allows you to summon help) makes you not want to ask for help, as you fear you will run out, when in reality you have more than enough to last you throughout the game, but makes the stakes FEEL higher.
The story is also one of my favorites of the series. As if you dig deep enough it explains the plot and motivations for every character of the entire trilogy, and my god is the lore tragic and phenomenal, made better by the games heavy oppressive atmosphere.
The DLC is amazing, expanding on the story of Knight Artorias (who himself is one of the best fights in the series) However, while the base game is better than Dark Souls 2 I don't think the DLC quite hit the quality of the crown trilogy. Maybe it's because the leap in quality was so surprising in two, so I wasn't expecting it.
So, if I have nothing but good to say about the game, why is it only hitting the #4 spot? Because other than world building, most other games nail every aspect of this too, but more… fluidly. The combat is amazing in Dark souls, but going back to it after the more modern games, it almost feels clunky, as it lacks Omnidirectional rolling. If you start with this game, you wont notice it as a problem, but if you play any other game, it becomes apparently really fast. You adapt quickly, but I died to an early boss (the Gargoyles) so many times as I couldn't roll where I wanted to. They may have nailed pixel Perfect hitboxes, but that means if you roll direction is off by even a millimeter, your going to get hit. and in Dark Souls you get hit hard.
I love this game and would happily replay it again and again (I have already finished it 5 times I think?) and other than a pretty poor remaster and dated rolling mechanics, the game still a masterpiece, which I would rather play over 90% of the souls like series (E.g. Nioh, the Surge, Lords of the fallen are all more modern souls like games that pale in comparison to Dark Souls) But, the other games in this series are just better. So while it might be one of my top ten games of all time, in this list, it doesn't even hit the podium, but it still scores a great 8/10
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