Nintendo semi-surprised everyone today with a Mini Nintendo Direct announcing a slew of new games coming to the Switch in 1H 2018. One of the notable inclusions in that set of announcements was that Dark Souls Remastered would be coming to Switch.
All we have confirmed at this stage is that the release date for the game is May 25th this year, and that the game will come with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, and that it will have improved framerate and resolution from the original.
But that is all we know, and that leaves some very important and burning questions about what that means for Dark Souls on Nintendo Switch, I have collated my key questions below.
Is the Switch online setup going to be fixed before the game launches?
Right, let’s start with a biggie right off the bat. Dark Souls is all about the online experience, whether that is PVP or working together in jolly cooperation. Whilst I have fewer reservations about PVP working OK as this tends to be random matchups and invasions that players have little control over, my bigger gripe is going to be when partying up to take down, say, the Capra Demon.
The Nintendo Switch currently has a pretty ropey system of online matchmaking with friends, and the voice chat via an app is far from ideal. I dearly hope it improves because a game like Dark Souls needs a seamless online structure to perform, and whilst I think finally getting Dark Souls in any form on a Nintendo machine is a massive coup for the Big N, the game is in danger of highlighting the glaring flaw in online functionality that the Switch has. Especially when you compare it to the level of functionality and ease of use that it’s competition can boast in spades. I hope things improve and there is an announcement from Nintendo soon on an improved online proposition before May.
How will sleep mode work?
One of the best things for me about the Nintendo Switch is the flexibility in play. You can play on the main TV, play on the go, and stop and start as you please. The Sleep Mode function on the Switch is excellent and it works perfectly with the portable nature of the Switch.
If someone else needs to use the TV or you need to stop playing for whatever reason, you can. With a quick hold of the Home Button you can pause the game and return to it whenever suits you. Dark Souls as most people know doesn’t allow you to pause the game, as part of the challenge of the game is not being able to pause the action, it’s a game that is in the moment, try, fail, try again etc. So I wonder how well a game that cannot be paused will transfer to a portable machine – which is what the Switch is remember.
I’m assuming that for the Switch remaster, any move to Sleep Mode disconnects you from the game world, as if your online connection had dropped when playing Dark Souls originally. This isn’t a deal-breaker obviously, people can still play and enjoy Dark Souls with planned stints on the Switch like any other console. However I can’t help but wonder if a game that cannot be paused fits well will the ethos of a truly portable machine.
I’m sure we all want to be battling Ceaseless Discharge on the toilet, it’s just a shame we will have to plan ahead for such endeavours.
How will the Switch versions compare to PS4 / XboxOne?
Aside from a lack of 3rd party confidence in the Nintendo Switch up until now, the other main reason for fewer 3rd party titles on the machine than fans would like, is because of the capabilities of the machine itself compared to its console rivals. It’s no secret that the Switch has less grunt under its shell than the other home consoles and some developers have been very vocal about their lack of support for the Switch because it would require completely remaking titles to make them run on the Switch adequately.
So now we have a remastered version of a game being released simultaneously across all console platforms, the question has to be just how will the Nintendo Switch version stack up? My gut on this one says the Switch version will be inferior, it almost has to be to make the other versions credible. What the Switch has had going for it on other 3rd party titles, like say Skyrim, is that the pull of portability of these games made people want to buy them, despite being old games, or inferior versions. My concern for Dark Souls is that as mentioned in the previous question, I’m not sure how much of a pull portability is going to be for Dark Souls, so maybe people will avoid an inferior Switch version on this occasion.
What I hope is that the experience of the versions is not too dissimilar, so people aren’t swayed away from the Switch version, but at the moment I’m not 100% convinced.
Will there be an Easy Mode?
I’ve seen a lot of jokes and memes about this concept on Twitter the last couple of days as rumours of this game started to surface. And whilst it seems laughable that a game such as Dark Souls – a game whose success and fan-base is built upon the idea of challenge and trial and error – would have an Easy Mode, just remember for one moment who we’re dealing with in Nintendo.
This is a company who when they launched Super Mario Galaxy 2 (I remind you a game presumably aimed at people who have played Galaxy 1 successfully) they packaged it off with a manual, a separate document detailing Mario’s basic moves, a DVD reiterating all this, and no joke, an extra piece of paper pretty much explaining how to insert a disc into the Wii. Now ask yourself if a company that feels the need to do that on the launch of a sequel to a Mario game wouldn’t get uncomfortable launching a title who’s very premise is to get confused and frustrated to the point of ceremonial controller breaking?
Of course Nintendo probably don’t have complete authority over such a decision, but the sad fact of the matter is, it wouldn’t surprise me or a lot of fans if this ended up being true – as disappointing as that would be. For me Dark Souls needs to be as challenging as it was originally designed to be. Anything else cheapens the experience.
Does this Mean More Dark Souls on Switch in the Future?
Perhaps the most exciting thing about this reveal, is what this could mean for Nintendo moving forward. As a company its struggled to shake the casual, kiddy image, adjectives which were only reinforced with the Wii and Wii U. Linking up with From Software is a real step in the right direction to try to reverse these negative connotations from otherwise potential future customers.
But not only that, if Dark Souls Remastered proves successful on Nintendo Switch that does at least put some credence and realism around the understandable rumours already surfacing around ports of Dark Souls 2 and 3 to Nintendo’s system. I doubt that will be confirmed until the dust has settled on the launch and its success can be measured against the competition, but if it does prove a success and enough people choose the Switch as their version of choice for the remaster, From Software will have to consider expanding their library on the machine.
And that is only going to make more developers take note of the potential of Nintendo Switch.
So that’s my 5 key questions around the Nintendo Switch version of Dark Souls Remastered. Let me know in the comments if you agree or if there are any other questions you feel need answering.