Dark Souls has the well deserved reputation of being punishingly difficult, but also rewarding you with a sense of accomplishment. Finally, after six years, Dark Souls Remastered gives us a properly working PC port that does not rely on mods to look, steer, and run as it should.
Even after six years, there are still some clear concerns. The modding support could come from the community, but it will not be officially sanctioned. The frame rate is now limited to 60 fps, but you really want to hit a relatively consistent 60fps – I noticed that the whole game seemed to run in slow motion at 30fps, and falling below 45fps slows things down. I'm not even sure what would happen if you were attacked. In addition, you will be excluded from the online component if you can not reach more than 20 fps on average.
The graphics options are also extremely limited. You can choose between FXAA and Temporary AA, enabling / disabling motion blur, depth of field, and ambient occlusion. Some of them cause a moderate power dip, see below, but visually only AA makes a noticeable change in graphics output. The transition from maximum quality to minimum quality only improves the frame rate by about 20-50 percent, with the larger gains coming from hardware with lower specification.
Overview of Settings
There are four, count four, settings that you can customize in Dark Soul Remastered. What they do in terms of appearance and performance effect. Testing was done at 4k on a RX 560 4GB (so the game ran well below 60 fps). If you have a faster GPU, you'll most likely reach the framerate limit.
Anti-Aliasing : Can be set to Off, FXAA, FXAA High or Temporal AA. The latter is best for removing staircase effects, but also blurs the entire resulting image. The impact of FXAA / FXAA High is 6-8 percent, while TAA can reduce performance by 12 percent.
Motion Blur : Causes the image to blur when you move it, and turning it off can improve performance by about 14 percent. This is the biggest impact on performance. I prefer that anyway.
Depth of field : Sweaty distant objects, or at least that's the idea. You can see in the screenshots that the effect is quite small compared to the original version. Causes a power loss of 13 percent and can be switched off safely.
Ambient Occlusion : Improves the shadows where polygons intersect. As with the others, the effect is quite subtle, and unlike higher-end variants of AO (eg HBAO +, VXAO, etc.), the performance impact is negligible (about 1-2 percent).
GPFs and settings for 60fps
19659006] You'll need a PC that can handle the remaster at 60 fps, but what kind of hardware will that need? I'm not going to worry about the full performance analysis this round, because it turns out that the hardware requirements – even in Blighttown – are pretty modest . Here is the short list of cards I tested that  could not sustain a steady 60fps in Blighttown at 4k and maximum quality. This is one of the most challenging areas in the game, and I specifically found a point near the elevator where the power was even lower than elsewhere. Radeon RX 560 4GB : Fighting at 31fps 4k max. 4k min is mostly playable at 45fps, 1440p max even reaches 60fps, even with a modest CPU (Core i3-8100, Ryzen 3 2200G).
GeForce GTX 1050 : 4k max is mostly playable, averaging 42fps in Blighttown, and 4k min holds nearly 60fps with an average of 59fps (and 49fps minimum). 1440p max runs at 60fps.
GeForce GTX 1050 Ti : Slightly faster than the 1050, with 4k max on average 46fps and 4k min with constant 60fps  Radeon R9 380 4GB : This AMD card is older Generation is slightly slower than the GTX 1050, but faster than the RX 560, with 38 fps at 4 k max and 50 fps at 4 k min. 1440p max is again 60fps liquid sailing.
GeForce GTX 770 2GB : Two generations back for Nvidia, it's a bit faster than a GTX 1050 Ti: 53fps at 4k max, 60fps at 4k min. 19659002] So, 3840×2160 was easily playable on mid-range and higher GPUs, and even budget GPUs or middle-class GPUs of earlier generations do that reasonably well. GTX 780 and GTX 970 and higher or R9 390 and higher handle all 4k at maximum quality and still achieve 60 fps. Drop to 1440p maximum quality, and every video card and gaming notebook I own reaches 60fps. But what if you do not have a video card?
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G with Vega 11 Graphics : The game is mostly playable at 1440p max and achieves 38fps and 1440p min bumps at 52fps. At 1080p, a smooth 60fps is possible again.
Intel HD Graphics 630 : Intel's HD graphics are often unable to handle modern games beyond 720p. Dark Souls Remastered is clearly a less demanding game, but 1080p still sets the limits – 21fps at maximum quality and 30fps at minimum quality. Falling to 720p delivers playable results with 48fps at maximum quality and almost 60fps (with occasional dips in some areas) with minimal quality.
Basically, Dark Souls Remastered removes the last hurdles to a steady 60fps for most of today's gaming PCs. This also applies to the CPU. The original Dark Souls Prepare to Die version hit a single CPU core quite hard, and it took a fast Intel CPU (4.5 GHz or so) to get 60 fps at Blighttown. The remastered version is better able to use multi-core processors, and everything from Ryzen 3 2200G and Intel Core i3-8100 and higher will provide 60 fps (assuming you have a sufficiently fast GPU). I did not check older CPUs, but the PC already had fewer problems in Blighttown than consoles, and DS Remastered should work even better.
What about image quality – does the remastered version look better? Yes, absolutely, although the graphics are not necessarily state-of-the-art. That's a big part of why even graphics cards with lower specifications up to 4k max. Without suffocation. I have a few comparison screenshots of the original (with DSfix at 4k) and Remastered Dark Souls versions, which you can see in the gallery above. The remastered textures are more detailed, and distant objects are less blurred. And even seven years later, Lordran's world is still worth a discovery.
Those who have already played Dark Souls, especially with some of the community-created texture packs, probably will not find much to justify the price. But if you have never played Dark Souls or have been waiting for the definitive PC Edition, Dark Souls Remastered is a welcome option. It does not fundamentally change the gameplay, but the controls now work out of the box on the PC, whether you use a controller or want to stick to the keyboard and mouse . It seems almost heretical for those who are adapted to the original controls, but the keyboard and mouse work great – and the fact that the game now prompts you with the right keys rather than "press A" controller commands helps a lot.
The launch of DS Remastered also means that the multiplayer is currently well filled. So you can invite other ghosts to help you with difficult boss battles or attack others to steal their humanity. And whether you play the game on a potato or a high-end PC, you should be able to play 60fps smoothly.