Demon's Souls Review
- Posted September 28th, 2009 at 12:34 EDT by Adam Dolge
- 41 Comments
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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
(continued from previous page) ...living form but with only half your hit points (until you acquire a ring in the first level that helps you retain three-quarters of your life). You’ll get your body back by defeating a boss at the end of each level, but you should be prepared to play a lot of the game in spirit form.
Most role-playing games feature towns and cities scattered through the kingdom, but Demon’s Souls departs from this traditional element, instead opting for a central safe-zone hub called The Nexus. You will find NPCs offering spells and equipment upgrades, a place to deposit your heavier items, and a way to boost your stats. Appropriately enough, in game currency is represented in the form of the souls of demons you collect throughout your adventure.
When you die in Demon’s Souls, you lose all the souls you collect. You can return to the bloodstain where you died to harvest your lost souls, but die three times and the souls are gone forever. This is where the game can be more than a little frustrating and feel time consuming. On the other hand, souls are not that difficult to collect, and you can return to The Nexus by going back to the beginning of each level. Back at The Nexus you can use your collected souls to upgrade your weapons or repair broken armor.
What really sets Demon’s Souls apart from other action RPGs is the unique online component. The game allows you to leave written messages for other players. You’ll find tips like “Beware of the trap ahead,” or “Look out!” In addition, when you trigger bloodstains on the ground, you’ll see red-ghostly figures of that player’s death. Both the messages and the bloodstains act as a strategy guide. But just as the game feels against you, so too can these online messages feel dangerous. A player can leave a deceiving message, encouraging you to jump into the grey fog below. This, of course, will lead to your death, so be careful which messages you follow. A rating system will provide further evidence of whether or not the message is accurate.
Another online component is the co-op mode, triggered through a Blue Stone. In co-op mode you can assist other players when fighting the more difficult demons, but on the other side of the stone (so to speak), a Black Stone will allow you to enter another player’s game as a Phantom, challenging that player for their souls. All the online features have an impact on the World Tendency, swaying between black and white. When the tendency is toward black, monsters are more aggressive but you’ll receive a greater reward for each kill. On the flip side, a white tendency means your foes are not as aggressive, but the payoff isn’t as big. World tendency feels like a complex system that we haven’t quite mastered.
Even without these online elements, the game still offers a unique atmosphere for any RPG fan. For one thing, the game is extremely dark. Before you even start your journey, you are asked to adjust the brightness settings, giving you a less than subtle nudge that you're about to be gripped by a thrilling experience within the realms of bleak halls and eerie landscapes. However, It’s not just the dark corridors or dimly lit towers that create the dark atmosphere; it’s the ominous moans from enemies hidden in the shadows. What makes the game particularly eerie is the lack of music. All you’ll hear is the cling from your armor as you move through the world, the moans and growls from demons, and the thud of your sword against an enemy’s body. The absence of ambient music makes for an exhilarating experience. As you first go through a level, you’ll want to take every step with your shield firmly in defense. Be prepared to get startled more than a few times on your first few attempts trying a new stage.
Demon’s Souls difficulty makes for an interesting and exciting experience, but it can also lead to some really frustrating moments. On one hand, it’s refreshing to play an RPG that rewards skill over grinding, but in order to master the game, you’ll need to invest quite a bit of time ... (continued on next page)
- 7:56am EDT - September 28th, 2009
I'm so excited to get my hands on this game. I didn't buy it from Asia, as it was stated that you could not play on EU servers with that version, once it came out here.
- 7:56am EDT - September 28th, 2009
looks like an awesome challenge. must give it a crack.
- 7:59am EDT - September 28th, 2009
bring on uncharted lol
- 8:01am EDT - September 28th, 2009
@3 say what? lol
they need to announce a eu release date for this :(
- 8:07am EDT - September 28th, 2009
One of two games I've ever imported, brilliant.
- 8:12am EDT - September 28th, 2009
From ive seen of this game its really a darker and a more detailed monster hunter game with a lot of chalenges.
this game seems friendly for the hardcore gamer but for more a regular one like me doesnt seem a good decision to buy it at least for now.I prefer having a less difficult videogame this time of the year like uncharted 2 or modern warfare 2.
jamesobachand | snake2112
- 8:42am EDT - September 28th, 2009
This game appears to be awesome. As many times as they say it's difficult, it worries me that I'd break a controller (expensive). LOL.
- 8:46am EDT - September 28th, 2009
better than the idiot who gave the game a 6 for the difficulty
personally I'd give a 9.8 (Chinese version)
- 9:09am EDT - September 28th, 2009
I've found two spelling mistakes...
Regardless, fantastic reveiw: I was wary about this game for a while, not being particularly into RPGs myself, but I've been following this game for quite some time now, and it's this review that's finally persaded to make the jump. I may still need a little nudge to tear me away from the other geat titles out there, but this will most likely be making a very welcome addition to my colletion very soon. Thanks Adam!
- 10:24am EDT - September 28th, 2009
Already have it pre-ordered, and am eagerly awaiting Oct 6th. I'll be trying to balance this, Uncharted 2, and Brutal Legend all releasing around the same time. Epic. So epic.
- 10:41am EDT - September 28th, 2009
The difficulty sounds annoying, might not buy it, maybe rent it.
- 11:08am EDT - September 28th, 2009
Well deserved review.
As long as you understand that stamina is the most important stat in the game, it shouldn't take you long at all to figure out how the mechanics.
Also for those that dislike difficulty, do not worry as you can just co-op with other players which makes things extremely easy (which is why I recommend those looking for a challenge to avoid summoning other players to help you during your first playthrough).
- 12:57pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
Does anyone know if the US version will work ok over here in the UK?
- 1:13pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
Looks awesome, might have to give this a crack.
- 1:57pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
@ 13, refer to comment #1. You may want to take the chance that it will continue to work after an EU release. Why can't games come out at the same time in NA and the EU. I am lucky this time as I live in NA, but this sucks for EU PS3 fans.
- 2:12pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
@13: Yes it will work fine in UK. Buying the US version will mine that you'll only be able to play in the US servers.
I have the asian version (and live in UK) so I won't be able to play in the US servers.
- 2:15pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
I would like a demo of this with one boss battle at the end of the demo. I'm not sure that a VERY hard game will be of my liking, so I would really prefer to try it first before buying it...
- 3:13pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
I finished the game. I had the asian version. It's a bit hard only at the beginning, after you gain some levels, it's easier. It's a great game.
THIS GAME PUNISHES YOU FOR EVERY WRONG MOVE. IT CAN BE CALLED A MEDIEVAL SIMULATOR.
BUY IT !!!!
- 3:31pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
that's it I'm sold.
- 3:59pm EDT - September 28th, 2009
LOL the decieving message, jump into the gray fog. I would've been pissed if I was playin for the first time without this review and happend to walk into that situation and I actually did it and died.
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