Dark Souls: Remastered is out now – and it’s already got an infamous hacker

darksouls

Crack open a nice cold soul, fans of permanently holding up a shield while you walk. Dark Souls: Remastered has been released on Steam today, a day earlier than we’d believed. The original Prepare to Die Edition was pulled from sale two weeks ago, so if you didn’t buy it then, this is now your only PC doorway to popular resort town Undead Burg. The Remastered edition is half-price for those who already own the old version. But the changes are minor, and there’s a more unnerving problem. Players are under attack from a notorious hacker, a dark spirit who invades worlds and corrupts the save files of innocent undeads.

That hacker goes by the name Malcolm Reynolds, and you may recognise that username if you’re a Soulsist. In Dark Souls 3, he was a hacker who invaded or joined people’s worlds, attacking them with a modified weapon that would transfer souls to all those stabbed. Far from being a philanthropic redistribution of soul wealth, this causes the game to detect and register the receiver of the souls as a cheater. The player will then get a message saying “Invalid game data”, essentially corrupting and ruining that save file. This is what they call being “softbanned”.

And would you look at that: Malcolm is already doing the same thing in Dark Souls Remastered. This time he’s throwing a horrible cursed fireball at people.

Awful. If you see the name Malcolm Reynolds show up as an invader, the best thing to do may be to Alt and F4 your way to safety lickety split, or simply kill yourself before he finds you But the most solid advice is to regularly back up your save files. I first heard the dreaded legend of Mal during a visit to Dark Souls 3’s fight clubs, and the advice players gave me was the same: back up your life.

There seem to be other technical issues with the remaster, according to the inevitable thumbs-down Steam reviews. Some people are unable to add the game to their Steam cart, while others can buy and download it fine. All very dispiriting. But it is still day zero here, and we haven’t had a chance to see for ourselves yet whether it’s [fart noise] or [happy cow moo]. On the face of it, it’s a very minor set of improvements. You’ll get the ability to use more than one consumable at a time, added password matchmaking, support for higher resolutions, and a higher number of players allowed on the same sorry plane of existence (a maximum of six). The old Prepare to Die Edition had frame rate problems and was a resolution nightmare, leading PC players to resort to Dsfix and other mods to make it bearable.

Anyway, it’s on Steam for £34.99/$39.99 but slashed to £17.49/$19.99 for owners of the Prepare to Die Edition. And remember, if you see the dreaded Mal, don’t try and fight, don’t try and run. Just pick a fatal ledge and roll into the safe embrace of death.

32 Comments

  1. Kefren says:

    Is there no offline single-player mode? Surely that would solve the problem? I have the original Dark Souls and it seemed to work on my PC fine (I firewall block all outgoing traffic by default apart from a few allowed programs like email and my browser). I doubt I’d have bought it if it was online only – I hate the idea of companies being able to disable my game, break it, remove music etc.

  2. sion12 says:

    Just tried it. It not much of an improvement at all. was hoping its a complete remake with DS3 assets but its more like a HD remaster, which i assum was the main aim for this port. HD remaster for current gen console

  3. Faldrath says:

    Given the amount of complaining I’m seeing everywhere, it’s probably useful to state a few points:

    – If you’re a PC player that owned Prepare to Die, the main advantage of the Remastered over PtD is simply a renewed community. If you play offline, don’t bother.

    – If you are a console player that owned DS, however, having 60FPS is likely enough to justify purchasing it again (alongside the new community).

    – If you are completely new to Dark Souls, by all mean buy this. It’s one of the most important games of the century, and experiencing it with an active community is a huge plus.

    Which is why the hacking is an issue. Let’s see how Namco reacts.

    • Minsc_N_Boo says:

      While I agree with your points, even if you were using DSFix with the PTD you would not get a consistent 60FPS in areas like Blighttown

      Hopefully the remaster fixes this. I am still on the fence about buying it as I mainly play offline.

      Edit – I think I misunderstood your second point – I’m leaving this up anyway :)

      • Faldrath says:

        Yeah, I haven’t reached Blighttown or other FPS-heavy areas yet (had little time to play, still at the Burg), but I would say that even with DSFix, the frame drops were never that severe in order to make purchasing DSRemastered a priority.

        My main issue is that after a few months only playing Bloodborne when it comes to Souls games, all my timings are hilariously off. I can’t get backstabs reliably, and don’t even mention parrying… I died to the Asylum Demon because I messed up all my rolls :(

      • Horg says:

        The FPS problems in the Prepare to Die edition with DSFix could be remedied to a large extent by going into the DSFix .ini, then unlocking and capping your frame rate. I stuck with a cap of 30 to avoid physics bugs, and it’s almost completely smooth in all areas, and massively improved in blight town.

    • Daymare says:

      I’m very curious to find out how I myself will react to the game.
      Because I’ve only ever made it to the Bell Gargoyles in DS.

      Instead, my first Soulsborne playthrough was BB. Then I finally pushed through DS3 and loved it. I liked DS2 (returned to it and finished it after DS3), but I already found it inferior in many ways. Combat much less fluid, world design didn’t grip me as much.

      So with how unfinished parts of DS apparently are, how there’s no omnidirectional rolling and stuff like that, I’m worried I might return to it and just find it … underwhelming. Nevermind that the first half is super-interconnected if all of that breaks down in the latter half anyhow.

    • Galilnagant says:

      Must be new to the Souls games on PC if you have faith that Bamco will do anything about hackers.

  4. Horg says:

    ”The player will then get a message saying “Invalid game data”, essentially corrupting and ruining that save file. This is what they call being “softbanned”.”

    Minor correction; while it was possible for another player to corrupt your save file using hacked weapons, there was a specific form of soft banning that was imposed by FromSoft where your save file would still work, but you would be placed in a ”cheater pool” for online match making. It was possible to get into this pool for completely innocent reasons, for example picking up an item from a co-op partner that your character has not progressed far enough to access, or picking up a gifted item with hacked stats. This was an arguably worse punishment as there was often no warning, so the victim could continue oblivious to the fact that their game had been compromised, which may only become clear over time as it become smuch harder to find people to summon.

  5. Gustaw Gnusny says:

    Prepare to Die had a community crafted tool (Dark Souls Watchdog) that, to some extent, was able to prevent from being hacked.

    Unfortunately, this tool won’t be updated for Dark Souls Remastered:
    link to reddit.com

    Hacking aside, PC version of the Remaster seems to have its gameplay tied to fps. This means that whenever fps drops below 60, the whole game slows down. So if anybody expected that the port will be better this time around – it seems to be as poor (if not worse in case of low-end gaming set-ups) as original PC release.
    link to reddit.com

    This makes me sad.

    • Daymare says:

      What the — seriously, still? I mean I assume my PC will be able to run that thing on 60 FPS with a GTX 970, but … really?

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      Earl-Grey says:

      Thanks, your comment saved me the heartache of trying the remaster in the hope it would actually run better in my low en machine.

      • Gustaw Gnusny says:

        You might want to make sure your PC is somewhere between minimum and recommended specs. On the release day GTX970 was a recommended option, but it was later updated with GTX660 – 6 years old GPU.

  6. fish99 says:

    How is said hacker not banned if he’s been doing this for years? It won’t affect me since I’ll be hollowed as much as possible (so no invasions), but it’s still sad.

  7. zeep says:

    As i pc owner, is there better (if any) mouse control support in the Remastered?

    I can’t play DS with a gamepad for the life of me and sadly mouse movement is a nightmare.

    • Daymare says:

      What’s your problem w/ the gamepad?

      Played DS2 and 3 on PC w/my PS4 controller and it’s perfectly fine. I’ve only owned a PS4 since early 2017 and haven’t owned another console since the original XBOX.

      • Daymare says:

        Didn’t mean that question to come off as the strong version of how it’s sometimes used, i.e. “What the fuck is your problem, man?”

        I’d first used a X360 controller (bought specifically for DS) and absolutely HATED playing with that one.

        • zeep says:

          No problem :)
          It’s because of the issue described by UncleLou, and subsequent posters. The mouse, that i prefer to use, is not really supported and the *fix* is hell to control.

          I really have to get used to the gamepad eventually.
          After so many years of mouse+kb my brain / muscle memory can’t make the switch to looking around with a gamepad analog stick.

          • Daymare says:

            Well, I really enjoy the PS4 controller.

            I mean maybe it’s ancient muscle memory from when I had a PS2, but. Either way, it made the game much more enjoyable compared to when I tried it with M/KB. (I attempted both DS and DS2 initially with that setup). But really, controller is the way to go, movement feels much more fluent and natural in Soulsbornes that way.

            You should absolutely give it a try.

            My controller also worked immediately with DSRemastered on Steam.

    • UncleLou says:

      I assume what you mean is that character turning isn’t mapped 1:1 to your wrist movement, which makes playing this with m/kb – not that I wanted to – indeed a nightmare.

      However, they cannot “fix” this as it’s a limitation of m/kb as an input method. The game let’s you move/turn at different speeds depending on your equipment, and whis will inevitably lead to a “desync” between what your mouse hand is doing and what your character does on the screen. It’s not a problem with a gamepad because your character will simply turn slower with heavier gear if you move the stick to the left or right than with lighter gear, but there’s no way to recreate this with m/kb – other than leaving it out and compromise the game design.

      If that’s not your problem with the controls, disregard it. :-) If it is, do consider using a gamepad. Do not *not* play this game.

      • Horg says:

        That’s indeed not relevant to what he’s asking. In DS: Prepare to Die, the mouse only rotated the camera around the player, forcing you to keyboard turn. DSMouseFix mod enabled mouse turning by making the game think the mouse was a modified thumb stick, so you could turn when moving / attacking and rotate the camera when stationary.

        What people want to know is weather they did a direct port of the original mouse function, where it only rotates the camera, or weather they implemented mouse turning in this version.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          Disregarding backlog, I’ve stayed away from Dark Souls because of the porting and don’t know if even the DSfix will bring the game to decent PC standards. This also made me hesitate to get the original before it got pulled and now here we are with only the new version available (unless you want to scour the net for physical disks or people with unused keys).

          I played The Force Unleashed where I had to use the mouse to move the camera and the keyboard to move the character. This sometimes made it hard to move in the direction I wanted, because I needed to make the character face the right way and the keyboard rotation wasn’t very finely tuned. Still, I had fun with it, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the Jedi Knight series with its actual “made for PC” controls.

          I look forward to hearing from RPS and others how the game performs, compared to a “made for PC” game.

  8. Farnbeak says:

    Its the same problem as with real world terrorism and its mass media coverage – the guy doesn’t get anything from it except the ego boost via exerting his influence over others and the more attention he gets the stronger his motivation.
    The media on the other hand follow their own logic – report as fast as possible in fear of missing out, elaborate on the details (e.g. the name of the guy), update with minutae.

    Is some ethical collective solution even achievable here? Is reporting a single character’s name of the hacker even useful to the reader? (And yeah, I love RPS, we should probably blame BANDAI NAMCO etc. etc.)

    • R.A.Helllord says:

      In this case it’s definitely right to mention the name of the hacker. How useful would this news article be if they said a hacker is around, but not mention how he can be identified, and thus be avoided?

      Since the name is unique, but his armor isn’t, naming him is quickest and best way to make sure people can identify him before he corrupts their save files.

  9. April March says:

    Looks like Namco can’t keep hackers out of Dark Souls. It’s just too hard.

    One might say keeping hackers out of Dark Souls is the Dark Souls of Dark Souls.

  10. Bobtree says:

    FROM need to stop splitting their players with re-releases and just commit to better support and proper updates.

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