PC Review: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die

Should you prepare to die with Dark Souls once more?

So the PC fans finally have their version of Dark Souls, which contains hours more content to make the console fans envious till the winter, but is this a faithful port or has it lost its charm? Dark Souls: Prepare to Die’s story is the same as the original, you play as one of the Undead across lands of pain and torture, the story itself is minimalist in its presentation and really relies on interpretation of the player, but it does enough to get you through to the end. What makes Dark Souls stand out is its relentless, unforgiving difficulty against some of the biggest and baddest enemies seen in a videogame.

The PC version works with a 360 gamepad so those who played the console version on Xbox will feel right at home using that setup, while the keyboard and mouse controls are well….pretty awful, you feel like you’re fighting another enemy within the setup itself. Using the mouse to move the camera around is an eternal struggle, one that is unwinnable and will cost you victory in battles and navigation, silly things also make the list like using the End button to bring the main menu up instead of Esc and to get the game in the best resolution possible, you need to use a fan-made fix which came out mere hours after the release. The sad thing is that the controls of the PC version are enough to put a person off the game entirely, which is a crime since this is a game that should be played by every hardcore gamer out there.

Dark Souls does little to help you and as a PC version, it still has a few issues like online functionality not being upto scratch and I know that G4WL will surely feel the wrath of the gaming community for it, while the main game itself still plays as good as it did on consoles and looks all the better running on PC. The new areas add hours and hours of new content, a few surprises and more challenging enemies than ever before, the pure design of the enemies is twisted and will take more than once to beat, simply put…you will die repeatedly in Dark Souls, so much so that there’s talk of adding in an Easy mode so that other gamers can play it without being put off by the hard difficulty, which raises several thoughts…

Do difficulty modes ruin games? Should the designers simply put in a standard difficulty and let the gamers just get on with it, or should we be rewarded more for tackling the game on a brutal and unforgiving difficulty like Insanity, Apocalyptic or Veteran? The talk of adding an Easy mode to Dark Souls could be the end of difficult games in general, Dark Souls made its name by being difficult to beat in the first place, its marketing campaign was “You Will Die”, and so if you take that away what do you have? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions…

In terms of presentation, Dark Souls looks a lot better on PC with the help of the fan-made fix, the character models are impressive, the world is great to look at, but still grim and dark in its design, while the voice-acting isn’t too bad and the soundtrack is pretty epic to say the least.

The Verdict

Dark Souls: Prepare to Die adds hours and hours of new content, but it makes the mistake of not optimising the controls for the traditional PC gamer that uses the keyboard and mouse setup, instead making it 10 times more difficult to play, it’s also pretty embarrassing for a fan to release a fix hours after its launch to sort the resolution out. Despite these problems, Prepare to Die is an improvement in quality and content providing you use a controller and the fix and a game that newcomers and veterans should delve into.