Got to go hands on for a couple hours at a friend’s, up to Phalanx. Despite the changes, I’m completely won over and on board.
The haptics and especially the 3d audio are ridiculously immersive. The combat, which is already pure and feels like the Cadillac version of the original, becomes augmented so much with these enhancements. Not only your own attacks, which practically leap out of your fingers, but also with tons of positional cues for offscreen enemy attacks, which is a huge quality of life improvement.
Just the damn lack of load time is an unbelievable upgrade. The game is so much more immersive and exciting like this. Truly transformative.
And of course, those graphics are constantly bringing the holy shit moments. I just stood there with my mouth hanging open at the dragons chillin at the crib, or just the damn smoke rising up off the burning castle bits or little puddles in the mud.
If you crave the old time jank, put it in Cinematic mode and feel the low framerate baloney again, as in days of yore. It does look pants-crapping gorgeous. But seriously, it’s stupid not to just keep Performance mode on. I turned motion blur down to 15, from the default 40ish, because my eyes kept reading the blur as softness all over my character model. Was much happier with that tucked away.
I do feel a little sad that it doesn’t feel as scary and insane as the original. All that pretty detail, realistic enemy faces you can see as you rampage on their asses, and shifts in the music and less weird, hollow sound design makes it “beautiful” and “pleasing” more than terrifying and feeling like a crazy person is shoving his savage game down your brain hole. Maybe it was bound to happen? It certainly feels like suddenly, there’s no going back. Maybe that’ll turn out to be the scariest part.
All in all, there’s a whole new generation of people who didn’t play the original and who will now expect this level of visual and immersive excellence in any Soulslike going forward, including from FromSoftware themselves. The bar has been permanently raised.