Since its debut on consoles last year, it's the parts unknown about Dark Souls' grim, ethereal world that have made it so compelling to explore and discuss. The decaying medieval castles, the foggy woodland acres and the webbed catacombs that form its underbelly are woven together by a network of pathways the mesmerising extent of which is only truly revealed by the end of the game. It remains an astonishing looker in places too - and a real challenge, in true series spirit, for those that have the mettle to play by its firm-but-fair rules.
So with the announcement of Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition for PC, series fans appear to have achieved a rare coup d'état in the name of online petitions, and the game's doors have finally opened up to a whole new audience. It offers the same core game seen on consoles, but also throws in brand new content in the form of areas, weapons and enemies to make up for the year-long delay. For those looking to play through these areas with their characters on PS3 or 360, they're scheduled for release via the "Artorias of the Abyss" DLC, though at an as-yet unannounced date. For the time being then, this new PC version will be the only way to experience this new content.
During our hands-on with this edition at Namco's offices, we're given free rein to explore any levels that comprise the main campaign and up to 15 minutes of the extra areas. The gut reaction is to start with the new stuff, which will be immediately accessible to players via a portal hidden on the perimeter of Ash Lake. Accessing this cues a short transitory cut-scene, and then you're thrown straight into an area filled with mossy temple ruins named Sanctuary Garden.