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Dark Souls was without question one of the few watershed experiences of 2011. It locked players in a hostile world imbued with misery, death and resurrection, forcing them to scrap everything they knew about challenge in video games in favor of succumbing to Dark Souls’ many, many unforgiving encounters. If anything, Dark Souls completely re-defined the term ‘hardcore’ and revitalized the dungeon-crawler genre in the process. Yet fantastic reviews and word-of-mouth praises couldn’t secure Dark Souls as one of the top-sellers of last year. It did very well in its own right, but was buried underneath a glut of incredibly hyped shooters such as Battlefield 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3.
Fast forward to summer of 2012 and Dark Souls looks to find a better footing on the PC with Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition, which is slated for release this August. The prepping for death edition will bring numerous improvements including a far more cleaned up frame-rate and even matchmaking options for the co-op and PvP – a feature I’m personally incredibly excited for. The game will also bring with it new contests of mettle with the new areas, boss encounters, equipment and many more “You Died” screens in the form of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC that’s also headed for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
In my humble opinion, bringing Dark Souls to the PC is one of the smartest moves Namco Bandai could have ever made. A PC port is a brilliant idea not only because the PC fan-base is a hardcore gaming community, seeing how they all rejoiced when The Witcher 2 –an incredibly challenging game– graced their hardware back in 2011, but also because the PC crowd is comprised of some of the most talented and lively mod-makers. Moding alone could effectively extend the game’s longevity well beyond the core game. We’re talking new weapons, new ridiculous armor-pieces and ways to make the game even harder than it already is or maybe, perhaps, easier.
It’s also very likely that Dark Souls will retain a far greater longevity on the PC seeing how ten years from now, when consoles have ushered into a new generation and backwards compatibility is nowhere to be seen for our current tech, PC versions will still be all-the-rage and prompt players to jump right back into the fray to revel in new victories to weep over all manner of Dark Souls defeats. I really hope that this happens since Dark Souls was released near the end of this console generation and once the new generation rears its head, the people who never played it will leave it behind for good, never look back. Hopefully the PC version will ensure everyone gets a chance at frustrating deaths repeatedly, no matter if they hear of Dark Souls now or twenty years from now.
The question remains how well the controls and interface will translate onto the mouse and keyboard but if Namco Bandai are able to pull it off, then the PC version of Dark Souls looks to outmatch its console counterparts in every conceivable way; here’s hoping that it will sell better too.