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Dark Souls Remastered Performance
Left: Dark Souls at 1080p. Right: Dark Souls at 1440p.
Given that the original Dark Souls launched back in 2011, even with the Remastered overhaul it’s a game that’s over a decade old. Anyone else feel like turning to dust right now?
The reason I mentioned all this stuff is due to age being a great factor on the Steam Deck. The older the game, the better it should run. In theory, anyway.
Dark Souls Remasted on Steam Deck runs will minimal faults. It runs so well, in fact, you can even push what it’s capable of. 60 frames per second is a given with a game like this, but where things get interesting is when we switch to docked mode.
Hooked up to a TV, the Steam Deck can run Dark Souls at a native resolution of 1920×1080 while maintaining a smooth 60 frames. That means you don’t even need to think about FSR. It’ll work with minimal fuss.
4K isn’t quite possible. During my testing Dark Souls ran at around 28 frames in the less busy areas in 4K, but there was a lag on top of the low framerate. My on-screen frame counter stayed at 28 frames but it felt much worse than that.
It is possible to push Dark Souls up to 1440p, or QHD as it’s known, but frames will fluctuate depending on the area. It’s mostly playable, but if you’re after the smoothest experience possible, 1080p is where it’s at.
Dark Souls Remastered Settings
There isn’t much of a need for tinkering with Dark Souls on Steam Deck. That sais, I will always turn motion blur off because if a game is running smooth, there’s no need for it, and it just muddies the visuals.
I tested both FFXA and Temporal for the anti-aliasing and found no difference between the two. Neither affected the framerate either, so you may as well leave it as is.
If you’re hooking the Steam Deck up to a TV or monitor, I’d definitely recommend switching to full 1080p. You can do this one the main home screen by selecting Dark Souls then hitting the three lines button, then going into properties and changing the resolution to 1920×1080. Doing so will add extra options in-game that won’t show up unless you change the native resolution beforehand.
|Dark Souls Remastered (In-game Settings)|
|Depth of Field||On|
|Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)|
|TDP: 9 (50-60 frames)||Estimated Battery Life: 2 Hours 10 Minutes|
|Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×720 / 1920 x 1080||FSR: On (Docked Mode 720p)|
|GPU Usage: 50%||Temperature: 55 degrees|
|Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen||Yes|
|Performance Rating: 4/5|
No game is bug-free, but Dark Souls Remastered works well enough that you won’t need to worry about bugs or constant crashes.
The only area I would advise some consideration is in the resolution. 1080p runs smoothly for the most part but there are a handful of places where the frames dip. Most noticeably, the Sif fight and the passage leading to Sen’s Fortress.
Both areas felt sluggish in 1080p. Not unplayable, and we are only talking about small sections of the game overall, but it’s worth noting. You can, of course, get around this by dropping the resolution for these areas and turning on FSR.
It’s not a major gripe by any means, but if you need a fluid 60 frames all the time, it’s definitely worth considering. It’ll make your journey in Drangleic all that much easier.
Honestly, this is the easiest Recommended verdict ever. Dark Souls Remasted on Steam Deck runs like a dream. It’s still nightmarishly difficult and generally miserable, but it plays fantastically. After going from Elden Ring on Steam Deck, there’s a noticeable drop in visuals but that’s to be expected. As mentioned, it’s a game from 2011. Of course it’s not going to look at slick today as it did then.
But here’s the kicker: Even though it’s showing its age, Dark Souls still manages to captivate with its haunting visuals and somber atmosphere. And thanks to the Steam Deck’s larger screen, you can read the screen and respond much easier than, say, playing it on Nintendo Switch.
If you’re after Dark Souls on the go, you’ll be surprised by just how taken you’ll be with Dark Souls on Steam Deck. It works better than you could imagine. Just be sure to take breaks when you die for the millionth time. The Steam Deck is way too expensive to be getting angry with.