Dark Souls: Prepare To Die edition – Preview

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After a feverish internet campaign to bring the critically acclaimed Dark Souls to the PC market, last week saw an official announcement, much to the delight of its considerable fanbase.

Promising all new areas, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die hits stores on August 24, so if you’re a glutton for punishment but don’t have a console, the masochist in you will rejoice – probably before headbutting a hard surface with considerable force.

That’s not too say all fans are happy with the announcement with developers From Software already taking flak after revealing the fact that the game will use notoriously irritating ‘Games for Windows Live’ service. Yep, you guessed it, there’s a petition against that too now. Make up your minds guys, are you really ready for the pain or just pretending?

When we queried the decision with From Software director Hidetaka Miyazaki, he pointed out that they already use Xbox live, and going for Games for Windows for the home computer release seemed the natural succession – seems a reasonable argument to us.

Though tempered with the exciting promise of new areas to explore and more bosses to fight (as if there aren’t already enough) Dark Souls on PC is in all aspects a relatively straight forward port of the console version.

When pressed for details, Miyazaki admitted that his team’s inexperience in dealing with PC games had led to some of their less than ambitious development decisions. For example, don’t expect to see Skyrim-style modding, with Miyazaki stating that they had an ‘interest in the potential’, but were not planning to implement it for this title.

Recommending the use of a gamepad for the PC version might also be interpreted as a reluctance to tinker (though that said, Dark Souls does have an excellent control system on console). However, offering only minimal keyboard support seems a little odd for a game that PC gamers have been clamouring for now for some time, and in impressive numbers.

In addition, the lack of modding mentioned previously, and Miyazaki’s reticence to be drawn on PC specific features or options such as anti-aliasing, could be seen as indicators of perhaps not laziness, but a little lack of ambition amongst the producers of the PC conversion.

Fans can at least take heart that Dark Souls will be something of a test case for From Software, and if all goes well then more of their future titles may be released on PC, which can only be good news from one of the gaming industry’s most radical developers.

There was eerie silence when we pressed for answers on whether the extra content, which looks like consisting of three or four areas, NPCs, enemies and armour, will be made available to Xbox 360 or PS3 players too, so console gamers will have to wait and see. Here’s hoping for somekind of downloadable extra rather than the content becoming exclusive to some kind of repackaged special edition.

It also seems that those anticipating a release for spiritual predecessor Demon’s Souls on PC will have to wait ever longer, with a licensing issue – it seems Sony hold the rights as SCE were the title’s exclusive publisher – preventing From Software from taking the necessary steps.

For: PC
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Namco Bandai
When? 24 August 2012

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