Dark Souls PC preview

Written by Joe Martin

August 15, 2012 | 11:13

Tags: #dark-souls

Companies: #from-software #namco-bandai

Dark Souls PC Preview

This is the bit where I said I'd come back to and where I talk about being annoyed with Dark Souls on the PC - and not just because it uses Games for Windows LIVE, either. Though that certainly doesn't help.

What was much more of a problem was the performance, which was lacking to the point of skipping frames even though it was running at only medium detail, non-extreme resolutions on beefy Alienware gaming laptops.

Now, there is an obvious caveat which should be applied here: Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition is not released or finished yet, so the final game may not have this problem. It's important to bear that in mind when previewing any game.

However, that caveat is potentially a bit misleading in that Dark Souls for PC is probably not still in full development at the moment. This isn't a game which is due out in a couple of months, it's a game which is due out in less than a fortnight and for which the content was already fully assembled. It's probably 'gone gold' already.

Dark Souls PC preview Dark Souls PC Preview
Click to enlarge

It's also worth bearing in mind that the developer, From Software, has previously admitted to being inexperienced with porting to PC while also saying that it plans to release the game as quickly as possible. [eurl= http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/06/07/dark-souls-prepare-to-stutter/]Comments like that[/eurl] don't exactly fill us with confidence, especially when Namco's own staff were having issue getting the game working at the press event.

That isn't surprising though; a quick look at the options screen revealed that Dark Souls is a traditional PC port in the respect that there were very few customisation options. Most of the menus continued to point to the Xbox 360 controller, rather than keyboard buttons - and this is indeed what was provided to play on.

The performance troubles weren't a colossal problem for Dark Souls, it should be said. I still sat and played the game for several hours and only died because of control/display lag a handful of times. Still, the point is that if what we previewed of Dark Souls on PC is representative of the final game (and it should be if Namco is showing it, especially this close to release), then what we played didn't meet the quality we'd expect.

Dark Souls PC preview Dark Souls PC Preview
Click to enlarge

It'll be a shame if these concerns about the technical quality of the game turn out to be justified too, as Dark Souls is already known to be an interesting and high-quality game on other platforms. It's also a game which cleverly incorporates what would otherwise be definite failings - such as an awkwardly placed and generally unhelpful tutorial sequence - into one of its defining attributes (being nails hard).

Who knows. Maybe there is time for Namco and From to polish the PC version of the game into a reliably acceptable state which makes the most of what the PC offers? Maybe the glitches we encountered were rare and won't ever show up in your playthrough?

It's possible. But personally I wouldn't put down my £40 until I knew for sure.
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition for PC will be published by Namco Bandai. The game is already available for other platforms.
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