Dark Souls is widely regarded to be one of the most iconic and legendary RPGs ever made. However, as Dark Souls been around for so long, there are currently three different versions of the game available now. We’ll go over each version (Original, Prepare to Die, and Remastered), so you can make an informed decision on which edition of Dark Souls you should get and play.
Dark Souls Edition Comparison
|Edition||60 FPS?||4K Resolution?||Includes DLC?||Active Multiplayer?||Available For PC?|
|Prepare to Die||Depends||No||Yes||No||Yes|
In case that chart wasn’t helpful enough, allow me to explain in more detail the differences between these three editions of Dark Souls.
The original version of the game is the one many of the OG fans will have the most hours in. This is just a standard version of the game that was originally released on the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 back in September 2011 for Japan and October 2011 for North America. The game is pretty much what you would expect: it’s the vanilla Dark Souls experience, and it does not include any of the DLC.
This is a fine edition to play if you own either a PS3 or Xbox 360, but I do not recommend it when compared to the others. This is because it’s the oldest and most outdated version of the game, and it’s stuck on older consoles. The frame rate only goes up to about 30 FPS, which many people are going to strongly dislike.
The multiplayer mode for this edition is dead, so only get this version if you are fine playing single-player. As previously mentioned, this version of the game does not come with any DLC, but you can still buy the DLC for both consoles from the PlayStation Store and Xbox Marketplace.
Prepare to Die Edition
The “Prepare to Die” edition of the game was primarily made to be a PC port of the game, although it was also released for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners. Originally, Dark Souls was never intended to have a PC release, as there were very few PC players in Japan at the time. However, FromSoftware heard the demand and made this version to appease PC players.
Did it go over well? Not at all!
Many PC players at the time did not consider this to be a good port, mainly due to the fact that it was missing several key features that PC games are expected to have. There were no options for a higher resolution, meaning that the quality of the game was the same as on consoles. You could play on 60 FPS, but it could cause some bugs. There was also no option to change your key mapping. All of these missing features and issues mean that I do not recommend you pick up this version of the game.
If you want to play on a 7th-generation console, however, then this is a perfectly fine version of the game to buy. The Prepare to Die edition comes with the “Artorias of the Abyss” DLC. This makes it the definitive edition to get for the Xbox 360/PS3. Once the PlayStation Store for PS3 and the Xbox Marketplace inevitably shut down, this edition will be the only way for you to play this DLC on 7th-generation consoles.
Last, but most certainly not least, is the Remastered version of the game. This is the most up-to-date and recently released version of Dark Souls. It came out on May 24th back in 2018 and was intended to be a fix to the poorly received PC port of the game, as well as a next-gen upgrade of the original game for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
So what’s the verdict on the Remastered edition? Is it the best version to play? Yes! But it’s not without its flaws, more on that in a moment.
The most obvious difference between this and the original is the graphical “improvements.” There are some things about the game that are objectively better, like the fact that it can now be played in 4K resolution. The lighting has also been overhauled, and the particle effects are noticeably much better. However, not everything has been improved. Some of the details on certain textures–like the player characters face–have been downsized to make the game look “smoother.”
The look of the bonfires–the most iconic part of the game–is also a step downwards, in my opinion. The particle effects are better, but the bonfires in the first version had a more enchanting and ghostly look to them. The new ones look more like regular fires. Some may its good they look more like regular fires, but in the lore, bonfires are supposed to be different from actual fires. As a lore fanatic, it does bother me a little bit, but it ultimately has no real impact on the gameplay.
The biggest improvement of this edition, however, is that the game now runs at a solid 60 FPS for both PC and console. This makes the game much, much more enjoyable to play. Speaking of PC, the missing features are now here! You can now re-map keys, giving you much more freedom in how you want to control your character. One last thing I should mention about this edition is that like in Prepare to Die, it comes included with the Artorias of the Abyss DLC.
So then, what’s our final verdict? Which of the three editions of the game should you pick up and play? I can say without any doubt that Dark Souls: Remastered–specifically the PC version–is the best edition/version to play!
Dark Souls: Remastered features improved visuals, but also the ability to play in 60 FPS. Since it’s the most recent version, its multiplayer is still alive and well, and it’s not that difficult to find other players in 2023.
Even though the Remaster has its flaws, it’s nothing some mods can’t fix. You can download a mod that will restore the old bonfire textures. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the remaster are perfectly fine to play as well, although you will lose out on access to mods and won’t have as much freedom to customize your controls. But that’s fairly par for the course in the whole console vs PC debate.
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We hope that this article comparing each edition of Dark Souls (Original vs Prepare to Die vs Remastered) was informative! Do you have any more questions for us? Feel free to fire away down in the comments! And be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more regular features and guides.