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171 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Game, just don't let it crush you
Two things first:
1) if you play this on PC, do not forget to find DSFix, an open-source fan-made patch to improve the game's visuals. This will remove almost all complaints about the game.
2) get a controller. I recommend a Wired (USB) Xbox 360 Gamepad, available here on Amazon for ~$20.

Now to the game:
Dark Souls is amazing. That's simply a...
Published 23 months ago by Stephen Mahanes

versus
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Windows 8 Technical Notes (3-star rating is a placeholder)
Quick info for those running this on a Windows 8 PC...

(1) DSFix is basically mandatory. I was stunned at how terrible this looked on my monitor (1080p), but DSFix cleared it right up. Thank goodness.

(2) This will install Games for Windows Live. However! The version installed through Steam is NOT the right version for Windows 8. Your game will...
Published 18 months ago by William M. Wilson


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171 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Game, just don't let it crush you, October 28, 2012
By 
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Two things first:
1) if you play this on PC, do not forget to find DSFix, an open-source fan-made patch to improve the game's visuals. This will remove almost all complaints about the game.
2) get a controller. I recommend a Wired (USB) Xbox 360 Gamepad, available here on Amazon for ~$20.

Now to the game:
Dark Souls is amazing. That's simply a fact. You will want to quit after your first play session. Don't. Take a break, maybe a night off, and then come back to it with a level head. The game is designed to have many different solutions to any give problem, but if you keep trying the only one you immediately see, and failing, you'll be very mad very fast. So, don't do that. Pace yourself. Look for alternative paths. Try different approaches (sneaking, sprinting, rolling, jumping, shield up, 2H weapon at the ready...). Whatever you do, don't give up after only a few hours. The real payoff in this game is your own successes.

The stress of the boss fights and PvP gives a stronger rush than any other game I've encountered in nearly a decade. It is so satisfying to win a challenging (and generally *fair*) fight.

I would highly recommend this game to anyone. While it is unforgiving, at its core, the game is very consistent, so not too difficult. It will teach you to practice. It will show you the sweet rewards from perseverance.

Don't give up and go hollow. You have this chance to show the world that your soul is yours, and that you are alive.
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231 of 279 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misunderstood Port, August 26, 2012
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
I actually want to clear up a couple things first before I started the actual review

*FromSoftware came out months ago, informing everyone that this game is designed for and has to be played with a game controller. NOT mouse/WASD. If you play the game, it's extremely easy to see why.

*FromSoftware are console(!!!!!) developers, with no experience with the pc. The reason why it took so long for the port to happen was because FS openingly said it couldn't be done, that they had no idea how to do it.

*FromSoftware said they knew if they did do it, it would be terrible, and they wouldn't make the production money back. It wasn't until YOU, pc gamers, got together and started a petition, expecting about 10,000 signatures. Instead, you gathered 92,000+

*To make up for the bad port, FromSoftware threw in hours of extra content. Just for the heck of it.

*If you read any professional review from people who have been keeping up with the production, you'll see that the port had come out much better than we were warned about. From people who had no idea how to work with a pc and openenly stated it would have bad graphics and terrible frame rate. It still turned out better.

*They ARE letting players mod. And knowing the modder community, this game is about to get even more awesome

As for the actual review, what is there to say? It's the best rpg ever made. The art design is incredible with interesting monsters, depth to the gameplay, immersive level design, awesome gear, and incredibly challenging. And when I say challenging, I mean harder than any game you have ever played. And the sense of self-accomplishment when you beat these bosses can't even touched by any other game. It's a literal adrenaline rush. Not some whiny, fake marketing bogus. I mean like you're sweating, heart pumping, and entire body tingles. Not an exaggeration. This make Skyrim look like chutes and ladders. Not to mention it's almost open world like, where you will rarely see a loading screen even when going in and out of multiple buildings.

This game is poetry. If you have an 360 or PS3 controller, it is a must must must have.

Best RPG ever made

*********
**EDIT***
*********

DSfix by Durante on the DS Nexus website. Ridiculously easy mod gives you full HD resolution, and Durante continues to fix bugs. I have had zero issues after 50 hours. The game is gorgeous.
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60 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Lazy or Easily Frustrated, October 11, 2012
By 
V. Sun "Kveldulfr" (Bayarea, California) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Dark Souls isn't kidding when it comes to surviving and figuring out the best method to overcoming a situation (i.e. dungeons, bosses, tough enemies, item obtainment, etc.). I pre-ordered this game due to the high recommendation of a close friend of mine, who had played the PS3 version of it and also bought the PC version to experience the new expansion. While I had my doubts about how gritty and difficult parts of this game would be, I definitely did learn a lot in the first hours than I had in any other PC game.

Unlike other games that give you a fairly good tutorial to ease you into gameplay, DS doesn't baby you. Much of this game is either learning on your own or watching another player (in co-op). Annnd practice, practice, practice. Per the advice of a great gamer, study/learn your enemies/bosses and survive. Don't get discouraged if each death feels like a setback since each win will feel like several hurdles conquered.

Though there are people who claim that this is a terrible port, I find it quite satisfying. I'm very comfortable with playing my PC games (including MMOs) with a keyboard and mouse, but I highly recommend a controller (Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows) since DS is a port version from a console and inputs are better registered with it. For those who are adamant on using a keyboard and mouse set-up, there are online solutions to help improve/fix the default programming of the two.

DS isn't a game that is easily rushed, even in first playthrough. Expect to die often and become a better gamer for it. If you're still on the fence because the reviews that point at DS' various issues, these are easily resolved by player created mods that do everything from upscale the graphics to stabilize technical aspects of the game; all without unbalancing game. Steam, the client application through which the digital version is downloaded (I'm not sure about hardcopy versions of the game), tends to run random sales on their many games, so one can pick up a copy of the game at a steal of a price at times.

Overall review: Challenging, yet rewarding at the same time. Definitely recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I was in doubt about buying it... Now I AM pleased!, December 27, 2012
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Indeed, an unique style.. I've been playing for two days now. Yesterday after dying many, many times, I left it for a while thinking of how difficult it is and if I really can struggle through it.

Then, this fixed idea of challenge made me get back to it. For my surprise, suddenly I was understanding enemies better... IF I manage to fight carefully, no rush, they will miserable fall to the ground even with one-hit only... switching between shield and two-handed stance made a lot of difference! It's block the first blow, change stance and BOOM! Blood bath on the way.

I'm still trying to figure out why such a hard game made me challenge myself to keep exploring. What I do know so far is: awesome environment... kind of thriller, challenging... great animations and sounds... hit the flesh sounds pretty real... You can "feel" the weapon's weight... the time and effort required to swing it back and forth... a sense of fear and survival. I feel like when dying it's not enemy's fault but solely MINE! Rushed movements, bad timing, etc... that's my fault! If you keep focused, surviving, enemies turn incredible easy... but one step wrong, and the same foe smash you like a final boss!!!

I'm still in the beginning... just passed through Taurus Demon last night. Ok, the first couple of times I faced him, the fear made me forget everything! Didn't use healing, didn't see the environment around, the weapon he was handling, his movements and speed.. nothing! All I though is: I'm dead! Sweet Lord I'm so dead now!! But then, after tons of deadly fights advancing back to that spot, seems like you start really to FIGHT instead of hit buttons, eyes wide shut, hoping the enemy is dead now. For what I've seen so far, TIMING is a key in that merciless and cruel world.

I must say that I got this game based at the impressive amount of good opinions and reviews here and in another game portals. All of them makes clear statement about the difficulty and the great sense of challenge in the same time.

I'll keep playing it at a slow pace, splitting my time between this and GW2. These two titles suited me perfectly!

I'll give it 4,5 if possible, due to port details only.

Also, you DO want to smash those bloody ones! They ARE tough, they annoy you, bother you... they deserve to go back to pure darkness!
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Windows 8 Technical Notes (3-star rating is a placeholder), March 29, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Quick info for those running this on a Windows 8 PC...

(1) DSFix is basically mandatory. I was stunned at how terrible this looked on my monitor (1080p), but DSFix cleared it right up. Thank goodness.

(2) This will install Games for Windows Live. However! The version installed through Steam is NOT the right version for Windows 8. Your game will crash on startup. You need to uninstall both Games for Windows Live programs in your Uninstall list, then go to the Windows App Store and install the Games for Windows Win 8 App. Then, it will work properly.

(3) They say a gamepad is required. They are *not joking*. Mine has been ordered (the Rock Candy Xbox 360 one is inexpensive and well-reviewed). This is hard for me - I'm a mouse/keyboard guy - but you need a controller if you don't have one.

So with all that? I will finally get to play once my gamepad arrives. I'll revise my rating then. Right now, it's just reflective of the rather involved installation. A modern PC game shouldn't require this many steps to work right.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MORE OF A NOTE TO OTHER PLAYERS, December 25, 2013
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
I've seen a few complaints and other issues, so I figured I'd post this review as a "note" for everyone.
Firstly, yes, this port isn't the greatest, however you should find and install the following:
DSFix - General fix that resolves most issues. Pretty self explanatory, customizeable, and can help with most port-issues.
DSMFix - A mouse fix, meant to resolve issues with mouse play. While it does not entirely fix the mouse, it does definitely help even out the experience a bit and create a better experience overall. Highly recommended if you don't have a controller.
DSCFix - Connectivity fix. Mainly meant for those who are having a hard time summoning GFWL friends into their world, this fix refreshes the ip pool and moves your friends to the top of the list, without modifying the summoning rules.

Also,
for those of you using windows 8, after installing the game, MAKE SURE YOU UNINSTALL ALL COMPONENTS OF GAMES FOR WINDOWS LIVE AND ITS MARKETPLACE. After doing so, go to the GFWL website and download the client there. Most GFWL games come with an outdated client installer that won't properly run on Windows 8, you need to uninstall it and install the one from the GFWL website.

Also, there is a DARK SOULS NEXUS that contains most (if not all) of the aforementioned mods. It also has a fair amount of texture mods and other changes that are pretty cool to check out.

Lastly, this is a game that requires 2 things: trial and studying. Not error :P
I highly recommend all new players check out the many Dark Soul wikis, and do a little research into the game. At first, it may "look" basic, but I can guarantee there is a hugely sophisticated game, but its easy to learn. Plenty of guides, tips, stat sheets, etc can be found, and you should take advantage of them.

Enjoy and don't you dare go hollow!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great game if you have the resolve to get into it, December 20, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
My friend was in love with this game. I was hesitant to purchase it, after hearing so much praise for the difficulty. I don't enjoy frustration. But said friend convinced me, after a time, to get it.

The game isn't frustrating. It is fair. When you die in Dark Souls, it doesn't feel like you were cheated. It feels like you were beaten, but you have the chance to come back. It doesn't feel "old school," as some have been wont to call it. Instead, it has a very modern and thoughtful design. You fight, you lose, you come back stronger. You feel yourself improve. Few games genuinely offer that feeling, because few games allow you to increase your aptitude in very noticeable ways. This is one of them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With mods, this is hands down the best version., October 26, 2012
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
Many people seem to write off the PC version of Dark Souls because of some flaws that the game launched with due to the developer's inexperience with the PC format. Fortunately, thanks to Nexus Mods, most of these problems are easily remedied. In addition to base mod that lets you run the game at 1080p and 60 FPS (if you have a decent rig), if you do not wish to use an Xbox 360 controller you can download a mouse fix to make the game control as smoothly with a mouse and keyboard as it does with a controller. I also recommend the Silver UI, and the optional keyboard icons file if you are using a keyboard.

It is in the nature of Dark Souls to be a bit sadistic and make you work to get what you want, and that applies not only to the gameplay but also setting up the game. Once you've taken the necessary steps to install the mods though, this is without question the ultimate Dark Souls experience. Once you have experienced DS with 1080p graphics and 60 FPS gameplay, you will never want to go back to the console version! This is an excellent RPG that belongs in any genre enthusiast's Steam library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bad port, but the game itself makes up for it., May 13, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
If you had not read up on this previously (or searched prior product reviews), the PC version of Dark Souls is a console port which feels a bit rushed. The folks behind this had mentioned prior to its PC debut that they were not too familiar with bringing games to the PC, or porting an console title to the platform and it shows. The game runs at a maximum of 30 frames per second out of the box (more on that in a moment). While this is normally OK, it suffers from all the same issues with graphical lag as its console counterparts. Control-wise, the mouse and keyboard is not recommended, although I suppose to each their own.

If you are willing to do a minor amount of tinkering, there is a community-created tool called DSFix which can change a few things about how the game runs. It allows for unlocking your frame rate as far as 60fps (going much higher may cause issues) and a few additional graphical options if you are up for it. It also allows for using custom textures (the images which are applied to the various models and interfaces within the game) so that you can customize your experience even further. It even allows you to make the interfaces larger or smaller, hide portions of it and hide your mouse cursor while in the game.

The game natively supports the Xbox 360 controller, although with third party drivers, you can use a Playstation 3 controller on your PC as well. Using this in tandem with DSFix may cause some errors, so you may need to tweak the drivers slightly for them to work properly. If you are using a Playstation 3 controller and DSFix, you can look for a texture modification which will change the Xbox 360 button icons to Playstation 3 icons.

Lastly, the game requires both Steam and Games for Windows Live to run. The game will always play in 'Online Mode' while you are connected to Games for Windows Live, unless you create a Local account OR by tricking the game client (which involves disconnecting / turning off your computer's internet connection after logging into GFWL and Dark Souls, then re-connecting your internet). If you do the latter, you will be able to play in 'Offline Mode' while still being able to use your Games for Windows Live and internet features as per usual. If you are using the 'Big Picture' mode in Steam as well as a supported controller (PS3 / Xbox 360 in this example), the Home button will trigger both the Steam Community overlay as well as the Games for Windows Live overlay at the same time. This last bit is more of a conflict between Steam and GFWL, but since Dark Souls requires both, it's essentially a potential issue with the game.

Regardless of its troubles on the PC, it is still a very solid, challenging game well worth the trouble. The use of community-created mods can make the game far more playable for the PC and indeed brings the game closer to what one would expect of a PC port.
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25 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing game, even if the console port is below average, August 24, 2012
By 
Nestor (Saint Louis, Macau) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition [Online Game Code] (Software Download)
TLDR Version
----------------------
The main reason I posted this is because this game is phenomenal even on the PC. The PC version is being downplayed as crap by many because it's a sub-optimal port that doesn't take advantage of what many beefy PC's can do. It's my opinion that the vast majority of PC gamers who love challenging combat will love Dark Souls. The frame rates are nice and steady compared to the consoles, and Durante's unofficial graphics patch makes it much prettier than the console versions. I hope the Dark Souls developers and publishers permit fans to continue to improve on this through mods, because the foundation is there for one of the best experiences in the history of gaming.

Personal Review Version
----------------------
I beat this game on PS3 last year. Was excited but leery about getting it on PC due to negative press regarding the quality of the porting. Got it on Steam last night and it's the same game as the console version, plus extra content that I have yet to enjoy. I haven't even made it to the Taurus Demon on PC, but after seeing so many negative reviews on the web, I had to get some positive info out there.

Gameplay - One of the most amazing gaming experiences ever if you like challenging (okay, punishing) RPG gameplay. There's hardly any dialog, which isn't itself a plus, but there's a great adventure that unfolds through your actions. Some will ding it for not being optimized for keyboard/mouse (I agree there), but it was designed originally for a gamepad with two analog sticks. It plays perfectly with my Xbox gamepad (with wireless adapter).
Graphics - Out of the box, the graphics aren't amazing for a PC title, but they're still well done. The artists for this game are very talented. But when you apply the fan fix (search Durante dsfix, then copy/paste two files), it's a very nice looking game. The frame rates are much better than on PS3, but capped at 30 fps.
Sound - It's not surround sound with positional audio, but it's very engaging. Some of the sounds are terrifying. The music, which only plays at certain times like boss fights, adds much to the experience.
Multiplayer - You'll have to read about this elsewhere, but for some, it's not great because it currently doesn't have easily accessible co-op matchmaking. It's actually convoluted and time consuming to initiate co-op with a friend. For me, it's not a dealbreaker. Even though it's downloaded through Steam, it uses Games for Windows Live for DRM and online, and GfWL will understandably be a dealbreaker for some in principle alone.

Why four stars if it doesn't sound close to perfect? Because the gameplay is that good--easily five stars in the fun/engaging department. As you've already heard, it's not for everyone. It'll take a very long time to beat the game, and you will die hundreds if not thousands of times. But the depth and variety of environments, enemies, and bosses is staggering. And for Diablo 3 fans and haters, you can beat the game without amazing gear or an auction house.
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