GENRE: Action Role Playing Game
PUBLISHER: Bandai Namco
AVAILABLE FOR: PC, PS4, XBox One, Switch
PRICE: £29.99

'Abandon hope all ye who enter here' might as well be the tag line for the whole of the Souls series.

In the nine years since Demon Souls shook plays to their core, the action RPG series has become so synonymous with challenging game play that it is now used as short hand for any game that critics might feel are a bit tricky.

Which is why when I went to play Dark Souls Remastered I was stunned to find that it wasn’t as rage inducing as I remember.     

It’s the same punishing, but ultimately satisfying game that it ever was, but after two sequels and the brilliant Bloodborne we all know the rules. It seems that once you get the knack From Software’s initially impenetrable medieval Metroidvania feels a lot more manageable.   

That is, until it inevitably pulls the rug from under your feet and you end up lost in a sewer cursed, with a broken broadsword, up to your waist in excrement and surrounded by poisonous rats.

But at least my knight had levelled up just enough to be able to finally wear his helmet – like in life, it’s the little victories that keep you going.

Patience and preparation pay dividends in Dark Souls, the times you come unstuck are ultimately the ones where you become a little too cocky and over confident - when the shambling hollows start to fall after a single swing of your sword: the last boss you faced didn’t send you back to the bonfire in a fine paste. That’s when it beats you over the head and reminds you who’s boss.

Since this is a remaster instead of a full-blown remake, not a lot has changed. The resolution is increased, the textures are a little less muddy compared to their last gen counterparts and the bosses have been given a little bit of spit and polish that highlights just how superbly designed they all are, but that's about it. if you were expecting any additions from later games to have been implemented then you will be disappointed – you can’t even warp between bonfires from the get go.

The thing that console players will notice most though is how much smoother the experience is - with much shorter load times and the action rocking along at a solid 60fps  – Even in Blight Town, which was a laggy mess on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to the point that for many players the squalid little burg proved to be the final straw.

The question that lingers over the release at this time is whether you should wait for the Switch version which currently doesn’t have a release date.  For me it’s still tempting even after playing the game on the PS4 simply because portable Dark Souls is something I have longed for for years.    

If you feel misty eyed at the thought of returning to the desolate land of Lordran, or you have never taken the trip before, then Dark Souls Remastered is the perfect opportunity to return to one of gaming’s most rewarding and memorable series.

Prepare to die... Again.

Score: 9/10