Review: Demon’s Souls
You’re probably thinking to yourself that you’ve played harder games and that you can master this one, no problem. You’ve gamed for years, since you can remember, so what’s one more “difficult” game? This was my initial thoughts and I wish I was right. This game beat me down and then spit me out. But I enjoyed every minute of it. Not that I’m a sucker for punishment, but because I think I learned something most games fail to teach, which is patience. Patience is the key to beating Demon’s Souls. The reason this game is even considered hard is party due to the fact that us gamers are focused on winning quickly to get to the next game we bought. Demon’s Souls is nothing like this. You’ll have to train yourself to take it slow, and think. You need to plan assaults, learn to utilize defense and offensive distinctively. Once you get past this small detail, you’ll be slaying demons and collecting their souls in no time.
Demon’s Souls is a dark fantasy world set in the land of Boletaria. This land is full of demons and it’s up to your custom character to slay them all. There’s a total of five different worlds that you’ll travel to from the Nexus (or the safe zone). Each land is rich in unique detail. One land will have you fighting soldiers and knights, while the next area may have you fighting slugs and goblins. This is one of the reasons I dealt with my impatient nature to get through the game. The worlds are really interesting to look at. It always amazed me when I’d climb down from a castle wall and look up thinking, “I just scaled that?!”. There’s plenty of things to look at and it feels like each area was taken special care of.
Each area also has a checkpoint zone. Right after you defeat a demon boss, you have a way to transport to the Nexus and back to the world where you left off. The reason checkpoints are important is because when you die in Demon’s Souls, you have to start all the way back at a checkpoint. Everything respawns. Oh, and you lose all of the souls you’ve collected. Souls are needed to level your character up, buy upgrades, buy health or mana, and more. Basically, souls are everything. When you lose them, you have to battle all your way back to the place you died to recover your souls. If you die before recovering them, then they’re just permanently gone.
The gameplay is very action based, but it feels realistic. For instance, you might find a great sword you want to use, however, you’re character may be too weak to walk around with it. This will slow down movement and/or evasive maneuvers. You’ll need to maintain a good variety of defense and offense, as mentioned above. To do this, you need to constantly be on the look out and ready to block or roll out of the way. You only want to attack when you see a weakness in your enemies movement. Playing Rambo is not going to win you any souls.
There’s a very unique multiplayer mode to this game. During the game, you’ll eventually land yourself some stones that give you certain abilities. First, you have the ability to invite friends or strangers into your game to help slay demons. This is just your classic co-op adventure. Where the game takes a bigger twist is in the co-op. While a player is alive (has full health), a Phantom can join into a server. This is another player, and he’s aggressive. You may know this as PvP. There’s not an ability to opt out of it unless you play offline or just stay in soul form. Outside of playing with others, there’s a way to drop messages for people in the server to alert (or trick) them about what’s ahead. If you found a treasure hidden in a small area, you can drop a message to tell people that there’s treasure ahead. It’s a great system that I hope is used in other games of this nature.
The graphics and music in this game are fantastic. The worlds are full of beautiful gothic architecture, and manage to have some of the best looking armor I’ve seen in a fantasy game. The music is usually to a minimum until you hit a demon boss. This helps you focus on your surroundings and keep you looking at the graphic art work. In these departments, there’s a few flaws that pop up, and really, it’s the only big flaws in the game. The voice acting is horrid. I actually hated talking to people due to this. For all it’s worth, From Software would have been better off just using subtitles. As far as graphics, there’s a cost for the beauty. In some areas, you’ll end up hitting major slow downs due to so much being on the screen at once. As a note, I have never died from the slow downs as they usually never pop up. World 3 managed to be the worst in my play through.
This game isn’t for everyone. Some people will just hate the game. My best friend, and sometimes-editor on this site, bought this game and took up drinking. Literally. He sold the game to save his sanity. He couldn’t beat World 1-1. So don’t rush out and just buy it because you’ve heard great things about it. If you have little patience and little time on your hands to play games, this isn’t a game for you. I spent around 40 hours on my first play through. But if you have the time and you want to learn what to do, I’d recommend visiting the Wikidot website. Good luck.
TL;DR: If you have patience, this game will test it. If not, then stay far away.
Reviewed on the PlayStation 3.