Demon's Souls Review
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Demon's Souls is everything we've been looking for on the PS3 -- a stellar action RPG boasting a killer online component. The game's uncompromising difficulty may not be everyone's cup of tea, however.
- The intriguing and original online component
- What feels like the PS3's first major RPG
- The eerie atmosphere and physical gameplay mechanics
- The at times frustrating difficulty and arduous trial and error
There are few games out there that are as dark and menacing as From Software’s hard-hitting action RPG Demon’s Souls. Released earlier this year in Japan, Atlus USA is bringing this excruciatingly difficult game to North American audiences on October 6, exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The difficulty level of this game has been widely publicized; make no mistakes, this is one of the hardest titles you’ll encounter on the PS3. But as you progress through the kingdom of Boletaria, you’ll discover that this dark fantasy role-playing romp has more to offer than the frustration in its difficulty; it contains a rich world where confidence and ability is required to top just about every enemy and challenge.
Demon’s Souls is an exercise in patience, persistence, and technical ability. When you find yourself deep in one of the five massive levels, you’ll need every ounce of patience to slowly press forward through dark tunnels and castles. You will learn quickly to slowly move through each new level as to avoid an enemy’s ambush or deadly traps. As you become another victim to the countless demons that inhabit this cruel world, you’ll need the persistence to pick the controller back up from off the floor, dust yourself off, and start right back at the beginning of the level to fight the same monsters that accounted for your demise. And above all, you will need to learn the techniques and strategies required to defeat those menacing foes.
It’s rare to play a title that is as difficult as Demon’s Souls. The game is not unfair, however, and with each death you learn a little more about the enemies, the layout of each zone, and the skills you’ll need to get a few steps past your most recent bloodstain. As you start to learn the gameplay mechanics, master the parry and repose, and build confidence with your blocking and dodging abilities you’ll receive one of the most coveted feelings in all of gaming – accomplishment. With great difficulty requires great player skills, and improved skills allow you to progress further into the game, revealing more of the modest plot. But ultimately, your greatest reward is the satisfaction of eliminating a foe that took your life a dozen times or more.
This is a game you can certainly master in time, but if you are looking for a quick learning curve and a game with fast hack ‘n slash action, you should look for another game. Demon’s Souls requires you to think with just about every swing of your sword. You’ll spend more time in a defensive mode instead of blindly charging an enemy. Your actions will become methodical as you creep further into the zones of Boletaria.
For the average player, this title will likely offer more frustration than it’s worth, but for more enthusiastic gamers, especially those who relish in defeating what others have deemed ‘difficult,’ this game will without a doubt cement itself as one of, if not the best game of the year – let alone on PS3. We cannot emphasize enough that this game is difficult, but with time, it’s certainly manageable, and above all, it’s extremely rewarding.
In the world of Demon’s Souls, combat is extremely physical. Regardless of which of the 10 classes you choose - from the typical RPG knights or magicians, to the less-played priests and wanderers - you will be able to use all weapons and armor with time. You feel the crash every time an enemy lands an attack. Even if you brush off an advance with your shield, the weight of the impact will set you back and you’ll need a second to regain your composure. With every blow you land you feel the weight of your weapon piercing through the demon’s thick skin or heavy armor. It’s this weight behind attacks that requires a certain degree of strategy and skill when it comes to combat.
If you’re strategy and technique is subpar, you will quickly find the sharp edge of an enemy’s blade. Death is inevitable in Demon’s Souls, but luckily it’s not a game over scenario. When you die you are returned to the world in spirit form, which essentially is the same as living form but ... (continued on next page)