September 22, 2021

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Dark Souls Remastered tested on all consoles – and only one locks to 60fps

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With release code in hand, we finally have a complete picture of how Dark Souls Remastered runs on consoles and PC – and while the notorious Blighttown was our first port of call for performance testing, it turns out that there are much better ways to push developer QLOC’s refined version of the Dark Souls engine. The title’s CPU issues are by and large resolved in the final product, but it turns out that it’s the GPU that is now our primary bottleneck. All versions of the game target 60fps, though only one console gives us an absolute lock, while the PC release rights many wrongs – but is a remarkably unambitious effort overall.

Let’s kick off by re-confirming the basics we established in our network test coverage. The standard Xbox One and PlayStation 4 each target 1080p, while their enhanced counterparts both strive for the same experience at a higher 1800p pixel count. For perspective, that’s a 2.7x increase over both regular machines – with temporal anti-aliasing smoothing off the image and allowing for a graceful upscale for ultra HD displays. And of course, most of the HUD and text elements are a true 4K too, which duly helps with the presentation.

On the surface, it’s frustrating that Xbox One X delivers the same resolution as PS4 Pro, bearing in mind the big increases in GPU compute, memory bandwidth and available RAM. Potentially, a push to a native 4K would be in-step with that leap in power – as we’ve seen in games like Resident Evil 7 – but 1800p is where it’s fixed. In theory, a dynamic resolution could have been a much better fit here, optimising the resolution of each frame based on whether 60fps is sustainable. As it stands though, there is a performance overhead on both machines – especially Xbox One X – that isn’t tapped into at points, which is a shame.

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