Dark Souls is a rather well-known fantasy role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and released in 2011 for the Xbox 360 and PS3. It was ported to PC in late 2012 in time for the release of the Artorias of the Abyss DLC; the game’s history of modding goes back to that very day, as it took less than twenty-four hours for local hero Durante to release DSFix. The game was re-released in 2018 as Dark Souls Remastered with nicer textures, higher resolution, and a few quality-of-life tweaks.
Dark Souls is undeniably a landmark video game, and spawned a pseudo-genre label called “Soulslike” that has somehow become more abused than “Metroidvania”. It was a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, a 2009 PS3 exclusive that laid much of the mechanical groundwork (the games’ engines are almost identical).
I am something of a fan of Dark Souls, which probably isn’t a surprise if you’re reading this. I think it remains FromSoft’s best game, though 2015’s Bloodborne does give it a run for its money. I won’t get into the reasons here, as you’ve probably heard most of them before (hint: gawd, that world design). It certainly couldn’t have had a bigger influence on gaming in the 2010s.
The magic of playing Dark Souls for the first time — even after having played Demon’s Souls before it — is one of those experiences you wish you could get back. Sadly — and like I’ve lamented elsewhere about the Metroid series — FromSoft has never brought back some of the best features of Dark Souls. That’s one reason I tried to recreate the magic with Daughters of Ash, my first-ever and still biggest video game project. I’ve also made a few smaller or more gimmicky mods. Check them out via the menu above.