Dark Souls PC Technical Review

Product: Dark Souls
Company: Namco Bandai
Author: Sean Ridgeley
Editor: Eric Amidon
Date: September 5th, 2012

User interface, extra features, DRM, conclusion

User interface

Blatantly built around lower resolution televisions and the controller, the user interface in Dark Souls leaves a lot to be desired. Menus are in part very blocky and somewhat tedious (particularly equipment, which requires you to navigate through chunky elements to get what you want), and the item/weapon portion of the HUD is enormous to the point of being intrusive. The HUD can be disabled which is interesting in itself, but outside of making machinima or taking screenshots, most will want to keep it on as information is especially valuable in a challenging game like this.

Extra features, DRM

While the game is in very rough shape, a mod by the name of DSFix solves a few key issues by unlocking the resolution and hence majorly increasing the graphics quality, and also adding a variety of graphics options and improvements accessible and easily editable via an ini file. Even better, it's easy to install and uninstall. Consider it essential if you have Dark Souls or are considering purchasing it, and especially so if you're a Crossfire or SLI user, as it adds support for both.

NVIDIA users should know they can improve the graphics a little more by forcing Ambient Occlusion in the control panel.

As this is the Prepare to Die Edition, you have early access to extra content even console users haven't tried yet (and won't be able to until next month). Among the DLC: more bosses, enemies, equipment, and characters. Finding the content is an absurdly meticulous process you can find out more about here.

DSFix enabled

The title uses Games For Windows LIVE for its DRM, and also features like achievement and various online elements (in the latter case, some are reported to be unreliable). Opinions on GFWL vary little, and mine's no different from most, which is to say I find it's somewhat intrusive with no real interesting benefits.


Dark Souls is almost entirely a direct port from consoles that offends in every category and stands as easily one of the worst ports I've ever seen. Its saving grace is the aformentioned DSFix mod, which, when combined with an Xbox 360 controller (and an HDTV if you can swing that kind of setup), provides a fairly enjoyable experience. Whether or not this makes the game worth purchasing on PC instead of console is entirely down to your individual standards. For me, it doesn't.