Big mood.
Screenshot: Dark Souls Remastered

Playing any of the Soulsborne games is an exercise in frustration. If not with the game itself (if you think the game handles correctly), but with the inevitable fanbase that will insist you’re not playing the game right, often in contradictory statements.

The Greatsword of Artorias in all of its glory.
Screenshot: Dark Souls Remastered

I completed my first playthrough using arguably the dumbest build possible - the Greatsword of Artorias. The reason it is the dumbest build possible is because of the stat scaling on the weapon. It scales off STR/DEX/INT/FTH. That’s right, 4 stats, requiring extremely high SLevels in order to do some good damage. Not only that, but in order to get the non-cursed version (which I was doing), you have to upgrade the Straight Sword Hilt you have at the beginning of the game to +10 (or the broken one the early Hollows drop) and give up the Soul of Sif.

So essentially, I went out of my way to do the most idiotic thing possible and still finished the game somehow.

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I get what the game wants to be - It wants to be a brutal romp through a land filled with unimaginable gods, demons and give you the fantasy that you need to rise up to the challenge. Here’s the problem with that - The game’s challenge lies not in the boss fights, which are learnable by biting it a few times, but in the camera acting up and awkward platforming that require pinpoint precision from a game that gives you the precision of a sledgehammer.

Just hanging on. No big. I’ll fall eventually.
Screenshot: Dark Souls Remastered

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The combat itself is fine - It’s not my cup of tea. I generally prefer faster combat, but the problems were more in PvP, where all visual fidelity flies out the window. You can only get backstabbed from the front so many times before you just wonder why you’re still playing the game.

I also felt that even though I’ve been assured that later games do not have as many efficient builds, that I was limited in what was effective. It may also be a misunderstanding as usually when I talk about builds it has less to do with what is efficient moreso than what is usable. As an example, dualwielding has absolutely no point in DS1. This is simply not something the game wanted to actually handle unless you’re dual wielding specific weapons, and even so, you will still generally have a Parry. as your left-hand strong attack. Granted, DS1 parry windows are so large that you can parry AFTER getting hit, or parry a hit that clang on the walls. Yes, I have seen both these situations happen.

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Perhaps I’d not find the experience as tedious if I’d selected a better weapon? I doubt that - other than Ornstein and Smough, I did not have difficulty with any of the bosses or the fights in the game. Hell, the weapon choice trivialized the Catacombs and the Tomb of the Giants since the Greatsword of Artorias counts as a divine weapon. Even Seath wasn’t much of an issue when I stopped gunning for his tail. Bed of Chaos was Bed of Chaos - that fight will always suck regardless of what you do.

Skeleton ahead...?
Screenshot: Dark Souls Remastered

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Still, I can understand why people wanted to come back to this game and why people are fascinated by it. I wrote a whole article on what is even a bad game and showed how obsessed I was with a crude Polish beat-’em-up. Obsession comes in all forms. The lore of the game itself is attracting and doubly so when you consider that it’s not “given” to you and that you have to piece together your own conclusions about it.

Remastered fixes a lot of problems with the Prepare to Die edition on PC at least - 60 FPS makes the game palatable, and not having to deal with DSFix’s notorious sliding ladder clipping issues makes for a better experience overall. I just wish I had a better time with the game.

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All I know is you’ll not be catching me in Lordran for a while - I’ll be in Drangleic for Dark Souls 2 against my better judgement. I need to go punch some things.

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(Why not have some interaction folks - Air some sour grapes about games you’d get roasted on but do it with understanding? Questions on the Greatsword of Artorias? I’m open to all sortsa things.)