Reviews: Demons Souls

Skip to Dark Souls

If you are already a fan and you are dying for more, and you haven't played Demon's Souls before, go ahead it will definitely scratch your itch. However, if you are new to the series, start elsewhere, this may have been where the series began, but Dark Souls made a great many needed refinements to the game.

The most obvious is checkpoints, Dark Souls' check points could stand to be closer together at times (especially near bosses) but Demon's souls has none, if you died against a boss, you are catapulted back to the beginning of the level. While you can make the level easier to traverse you still have to move through it and fight several enemies (you usually can't bypass the toughest), and you definitely have to fight the boss again if you want your souls back.

The bosses are generally great, with an interesting 'experimental' quality to them. In that your first fight will usually stomp the crap out of you, and you test the bosses weakness in a scientific way, and then win once you both know what to do and can execute it. The second part is what makes the lack of checkpoint a big issue. Once you have figured out what you need to do, the fight is way less engaging, and retrying becomes a chore. Especially when you lose not because of an error but because of a lag or something. Its also worth noting that this doesn't actually make the game more difficult just more punishing of failure, faster iteration time on attempts would be super.

Fans of Dark Souls and Demon's Souls like to say that the games are 'tough but fair'. Its bullshit in both games, but its more blatant in Demon's Souls. There are environmental hazards that only affect you, enemies that recover from stagger faster etc. Its actually a pretty small issue, all things considered, but its way more noticeable issue here than Dark Souls.

Healing is also better in Dark Souls than here. Having a limit on the amount of Etsus that automatically refills, avoids both trivializing some fights due to a lots of herbs, and making the game unwinable when you have none.

But the real reason you should play Dark Souls instead is stability. There are times where you may lose content for the play-through in Demon's Souls that you have no control over. NP Cs can bug out and disappear forever after you rescue them. Demon's Souls is a fine game, but Dark Souls really improved.

Demon's Souls: It'll rip your heart out and you'll love it for that.

Demon's Souls is a game that does not forgive you for your mistakes. The game goes beyond the simple concept we know as Nintendo Hard and goes straight into full on rage inducing difficulty.

But is it unfair? Not at all. Throughout the entire game, you will die countless times, and each time you die, the game gets harder. With each subsequent death you will grow closer to one glorious realization: The game is teaching you. As you continuously get yourself killed for what seems like the most stupid reasons, you will realize that not only could you have prevented your deaths, but the game gives you practically everything needed to do so. As such, the satisfaction you feel upon beating the game's legions of strict challenges is that much greater, and the game is that much better because of it.

The game starts you out with several classes to choose from, although that only determines your starting equipment and soul level, as well as how your stats are distributed. This doesn't mean you're stuck in that role forever. The bashiest knight can take points in magic to blast his foes with fire or the squishiest wizard can pump points into strength to wander about in heavy armor. You're never stuck in any particular role, you're never pressured to build up a certain way, and you're free to build any character you feel like.

The game's atmosphere is absolutely phenomenal. You'll find yourself walking slowly through dark, tight corridors, wondering whether or not there will be another foe around the corner. Each sound will send shivers up your spine, making you recoil at the idea that the next group of foes you fight could end up killing you yet again. This is a large part of what makes Demon's Souls great. The atmosphere combined with the visceral, rewarding gameplay make this game the game that it is.

Overall, I highly recommend trying Demon's Souls out if you own a PS 3. You will fight futilely against all odds, you will die so many times, you will get frustrated, and you will love every second of it.