Demon’s Souls was a Playstation 3 exclusive so hardcore that it made Xbox 360 owners demand a version for their console. That never happened, but the spiritual successor Dark Souls did come out for both PS3 and Xbox, and this time PC gamers were the ones who felt shafted. Well, as of this week, PC gamers can be the smug ones because Dark Souls is not only coming to PC, but it arrives as an enhanced Prepare to Die Edition with new content and features.
The subtitle is a bit of self-referential joke, as both Demons Souls and Dark Souls are notoriously difficult games where players can expect many deaths over a lengthy hardcore adventure that can last hundreds of hours. In it, players take on the role of an undead adventurer in the land of Lordran who is be the Chosen One in a battle against dragons.
Players can choose from a variety of classes at start but the game allows players to develop their character as they want over the course of the game. Dark Souls is a mostly single-player experience, but it has a multiplayer element that allows both Player Versus Player combat and various forms of co-operative play.
A rather unique multiplayer feature is the use of bloodstains. When one player meets an untimely end in their game, their bloodstain will appear in that same location in other players’ worlds. This helps players warn others about dangers in the game. Players who die also appear as phantoms near the spot where they died and their ghostly forms will replay the final moments of their lives to help provide more details about the dangers that lie ahead.
The use of bonfires figures prominently in the game. These are (Relative) safe points and can be used as gathering areas where players can see the phantoms of other adventurers under less grisly circumstances.
Players can also summon each other into their worlds to team up against powerful foes co-operatively, but there is also the option to aggressively invade someone else’s world to fight them in PVP combat. The console editions have slowly evolved their own rules of etiquette over the last few months and it will be interesting to see how the PC player base alters these courtesies. The Prepare to Die Edition features a new matchmaking system that makes is easier for players to engage in these PVP duels.
Other new features for the PC edition include:
A new chapter in the world of Lordran. Sent back to the past, player will discover the story when Knight Artorias still lives.
New Bosses – Including Black Dragon, Sanctuary Guardian, and Artorias of the Abyss.
New Areas – Including Oolacile Township, Oolacile Sanctuary, Royal Wood, and Battle of Stoicism, the training ground for online PVP battles.
New Enemies – Including Wooden scarecrows, Chained Prisoner, Stone Knight.
New NPCs – Including Hawkeye Gough, and Elizabeth (keeper of the sanctuary).
New Weapons and Armor – Equip some from the new bosses, enemies, and NPCs
The Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition comes out for PC this Thursday the 23rd, and the additional content will be released this fall for consoles as a paid DLC pack. Check back later this week for Explosion.com’s review of the PC version.