Dark Souls Prepare to Die Edition Review
Prepare to Die all over again.
Nearly every time a game is released to consoles without a corresponding PC release there is a collective cry of the age old question; why no PC version? From Software answered that question shortly after the release of Dark Souls. They let us know that they had received a huge number of requests for a Dark Souls PC release, and that one was in the works. Just eight months later we have Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition; a full PC release with a ton of new content. I guess write-in campaigns do work.
I’m not going to go into great detail about the basics of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition because this is a direct port and, if you’re using a gamepad, feels exactly like it does on consoles. If you want to know more about Dark Souls in general, you can read our review from when the game was originally released. For now, I’d like to focus on the new content and PC specific aspects of this new version. Whether you’re new to the game, or grabbing the PC version for a chance to see some new content, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is still one of the most difficult, and creepy, games out there.
The original content from Dark Souls remains largely untouched, for better or worse, in the Prepare to Die Edition. This also means that, somehow, you can still see framerate dips in certain places like you could on the console versions. It never gets bad enough to ruin the game, but it is noticeable and one would just expect that to have been fixed considering you’re most likely running hardware that is much more powerful than your console of choice. This also means that the online system is still as shaky as it was in the console version though, surprisingly, no more or less shaky than its predecessors. You’ll usually be able to join a co-op partner without any issues, but you will still run into plenty of “Failed to Summon” messages.
What you’re really here for is the new content though, right? Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition includes a large new section of territory for you to explore, but you won’t be able to jump right in. This is with good reason, as this new section is possibly the hardest in the game. To access the new content you’ll have to have completed about half of the main story, up to the point where you defeat Ornstein and Smough and receive the Lordvessel. After placing the Lordvessel you’ll be able to access the areas that were previously blocked by the gold fog. Go through Anor Londo to the newly opened Duke’s Archives and you will find a Crystal Golem near the top of the first elevator. Kill it to receive the Broken Pendant, then head to the shallow lake in Darkroot Basin. You’ll have to defeat the Hydra that lives there if you haven’t already, then head all the way to the far end where a portal will appear. This portal will take you back in time to Oolacile and the new areas.
The new content starts off in true Dark Souls fashion; with the hardest boss you’ve ever faced. I’m not kidding, you appear next to a Bonfire (checkpoint), walk a few steps and fight a boss. I should mention that just because you can now access the new content does not mean that your character is ready. I started the new stuff at Soul Level 60 and simply could not beat that first boss. If you haven’t played Dark Souls before, it’s a hard game in that it’s unforgiving. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it and this new section doesn’t let you forget that.
After this boss you’ll proceed to a wooded area, and on to Oolacile and more from there. In keeping with the Dark Souls theme, the new Prepare to Die Edition areas are some of the most treacherous and the new enemies are even more creepy than those in the original game. As always, the difficulty is high but never impossible. The bosses are great and the atmosphere is fantastic. From the precarious walkways of Oolacile Township, to the hordes of apparitions in the Abyss, these new areas are exactly what I wanted. A run through the new content will take an experienced player, with a geared up character, around eight hours. If you’re new to the game it could take you much longer.
From Software have also added a new player versus player arena within the new area, called the Battle of Stoicism. Once you defeat the second boss in the new section you’ll have access to a hallway that houses links to one on one, two on two, and four player free-for-all arenas. This new section is a great way for PVP minded individuals to meet up and see who’s the best, instead of just invading the worlds of hapless adventurers.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, of course, still offers co-op play for up to four players. The same system, of summoning players who have set down their marker withing their world, and vice versa.
While From Software didn’t really take any time to patch up the small issues that Dark Souls had before, the PC release is still the same fantastic game. Fans of the series will love the new areas and the addition of the PVP arena modes is great for those that are into that side of the game. PC gamers are in luck with this one, as the $39.99 price tag includes the full original game, as well as a substantial amount of additional content. I would be embarrassed to tell you just exactly how many hours I’ve spent on Dark Souls, across both editions.