The guide for the original Dark Souls game has become something of a collector''s item now. Going for absurd prices on Amazon it seemed almost like a no brainer that Future Press would create a guide for Dark Souls: Remastered. And depending on why you buy the guide changes...
The guide for the original Dark Souls game has become something of a collector''s item now. Going for absurd prices on Amazon it seemed almost like a no brainer that Future Press would create a guide for Dark Souls: Remastered. And depending on why you buy the guide changes what you get out of it. The original guide eventually became outdated. Not in terms of its strategies but rather in terms of the data. The amount of souls you got from enemies changed, weapons were rebalanced etc., but this didn''t seem to be why so many people were invested in a guide to Dark Sous in the first place, and it certainly won''t be the reason you''re invested in it now.
If so much of Dark Souls Remastered is the same, is it really worthwhile to get this guide if you still have the original? Absolutely. This guide has updated strategies, covers the previously uncovered DLC and expands on a few sections. But most important it has a lore section. This guide is for Dark Souls fans, but if you''ve already honed your skills it won''t offer you anything new... but it''s still a remarkable book in and of itself for collector''s and Dark Souls fans. Future Press seems quite aware of the Souls fanbase and makes a guide that caters more to them. Even in the foreward it expects that most people who buy this guide are returning players. This doesn''t mean it isn''t useful to newcomers. In fact,the guide is so in-depth that it can dramatically help those new to Dark Souls adjust.
All told, the guide has 80 pages worth of new content, so there is a substantial amount of content added, and not all of it is simply the coverage of the DLC and lore. There are other areas in which the guide is expanded as well. I have a few nitpicks with the guide, but we''ll cover that later. First let''s go over what''s in the guide and how much (if much at all) has changed.
The guide begins with walking you through the basics of the game. This section, though largely the same as the original guide, does have a few new tidbits to offer in terms of class descriptions and even explaining what some fans preferred to do. If you''re a returning fan there''s no need in anyway to spend your time here. Dark Souls hasn''t really changed much in this remaster and all the basics are still the same. It has slightly more to say about going online and slightly more to offer in terms of what you should consider for classes. It also has a lot more to offer in helping you see the growth of your stats. If anything this section feels far more complete than it did in the previous Dark Souls guide. It makes sure that your footing is easier to find. It''s better organized but you might not notice at just a glance of the guide itself. In fact for some of it I didn''t realize how much was added in some spots until I flipped through page by page.
The guide then gets into the enemies section. This is often the bread and butter of a Dark Souls guide. As the main crux of the game is learning how your enemies attack and learning how to go about those attacks. It''s something Prima''s Dark Souls III guide severely lacked. To give you an idea of the importance, this portion of the guide is almost longer than the walkthrough. It''s separated by area and has screenshots that show off attacks and also details the attacks of the stronger enemies. New to this guide, however, is that some enemies it has diagrams for when they''ve got different attack combos such as Black Knights. It helps improve what was already a good section of the guide to begin with. Here it''s better. There are also new boss strategies here that were clearly inspired by fans on forums. The original guide, for example, doesn''t mention that you can just about Parry the final boss to death but this one does and even gives you some help on how to do it. The text is largely the same, but there are quite a few notable changes from the original Dark Souls guide. The boss strategies here are actually better and more expanded. The screenshots are also (in most cases) totally brand new. But they are now captioned with the attack being shown so that you know what it looks like. This is a small but effective change to the guide.
The walkthrough is where you see the smallest changes. It''s largely the same walkthrough as before. Much of the same tips, maps and item callouts. The walkthrough was always good, utilzing a waypoint system that was effective for those hoping to explore. By this I mean if you look at the maps you''ll see a "1" on the map and then have to find "1" in the text and read what to do at that point. It''s effective and makes for a guide that you can use as much or as little as you need to. The maps also show where enemies are located and the stronger ones use black bubbles to let you know they''re a big threat. The only downside to the walkthrough in this regard is that new players will constantly be flipping between the walkthrough and the enemies chapter. The other downside is a more nitpicky one. That being that over the years Future Press has gotten exceptionally better at their walkthroughs... but the didn''t really revise the walkthrough to be as user friendly as other walkthroughs in future guides. If you''ve seen Future Press''s Dark Souls II or Bloodborne guides then you know how much better they got at Soulsbourne guides since the original Dark Souls. In particular, the diagrams in the Bloodbourne guide as well as showing you optimum routes through various locations was incredibly useful. None of those updates make it into the guide. It''s not a big deal because the walkthrough is still great, but perhaps it''s safe to say that some of us were spoiled by the improvements Future Press made. Another small nitpick about this? Item callouts on the map are kind of small and less obvious than what they''ve done in other guides. The maps are great, but the text for pointing out items is kind of small and sometimes difficult to read. There is also coverage of Artorias of the Abyss, which is very nice as well. It''s about as good as the rest of the walkthrough.
The guide also continues to do a great job covering NPCs. Particularly the covenants, what it takes to level up in them and also helping you get through every NPCs own individual storyline as well as all the different branches they can take. This, like the enemies chapter, is one of the parts of the guide that is most useful, especially if you''re one who wants to get the best out of individual stories and lore. The guide also includes expanded coverage of the online components. The original guide had a small snippet in the game basics section, but here the online component has its own section dedicated unto itself. This is something that''s more useful to newcomers than it is for those already acquainted with the series.
Finally, the newest and most unique section of the guide... the lore. If your interest in Dark Souls was the lore and storytelling this section is quite rewarding. The guide tries to tell you as much as it can about the story. And in doing so it makes sure to cite specific lines of dialog (with a screenshot) showing item descriptions (in screenshot form) and quoting. There are times when reading the lore section can feel like reading an academic paper, but it''s still fascinating. If you managed to get your hands on the Bloodborne The Old Hunters guide it''s basically done in the same format as that. It''s a fun section to read, and I do like it a lot. Mostly for how well organized it is. It''s organized to coincide with the route it leads you through the game and that makes it useful to use.
I''m actually making light of some of this, however. If you wanted to go through and compare the guide page by page you''ll actually come to realize that quite a bit of the guide is completely rewritten and reworked. Many sections in the enemies chapter and walkthrough chapter, for instance, are reworked and expanded (the enemies chapter in particular is a far better chapter here than it ever was in the original guide). A lot of the guide is written to be clearer and more articulate than previously as well. Likewise, where as a LOT of guides for remastered games have a tendency to simply upscale old screenshots, all the screenshots here that are within gameplay are completely different screenshots. Future Press didn''t just copy and past the old guide, they actually rewrote a substantial amount of it. For instance, the original guide doesn''t have much to say about taking the pendant for a gift, but this one is revised to tell you that taking it is a pretty bad idea. This guide also explains why you might want to consider the deprived class better. You are not just getting the same guide here. You really are getting an updated and revised guide. Despite that much of the text may communicate the same ideas, it''s actually done better here. This means that even if you have the original guide... this one is better if there are just things you don''t remember or want to get a better leg up on. It is no exaggeration to say that the Dark Souls remastered guide makes the original one obsolete. This is not something that can be said about most guides for remastered games. A lot of them tend to take text and copy and paste them and then uprez screenshots, but this isn''t the case with this particular guide. Other guides for remasters tend to add a few things, but leave a lot largely the same (see Prima''s Final Fantasy XII guide which, while much better than the original guide on the PS2, still lifts whole paragraphs and screenshots). So this is actually an above and beyond effort. The guide feels new and fresh, even for those hoping to refamiliarize themselves with the game.
Like all Future Press guides, Dark Souls Remastered also includes an index. And like so many giant guides for games, I wish they''d have thought to include a ribbon bookmark, maybe even two of them. Dark Souls is a huge game and it has a huge guide. And you''ll be flipping through it constantly. One moment you will be reading about how to defeat new enemies in the area you''re in, the next you''re looking at how to advance an NPC quest. The guide is extremely well organized and laid out, but it''s still big enough that you''ll be spending a lot of time page flipping. And as strategy guides get bigger and more and more of them are being released in hardcover... it would be useful if there was a ribbon bookmark included for those moments. I like the index, but the point is that Future Press has created more than just a guide for Dark Souls... they''ve created an encyclopedia. Again, this is probably a nitpick. It''s not like when other Future Press guides don''t have a ribbon bookmark (Ni No Kuni II) but I still find myself wishing Future Press would include a ribbion bookmark more given how often and how quickly you may switch between sections of the guide.
Overall, however, I enjoyed this guide. It''s more up to date, includes information that previously wasn''t there and expands upon what the original guide had. This makes for not only a good guide, but one that''s worth picking up for the collector''s value alone if you''re into that sort of thing. This is a great guide that can dramatically improve the game of newcomers... and remind those returning to Lordran why they loved it in the first place.