Since receiving my PlayStation 5, I've found myself shying around the concept of spending any time with Demon's Souls due to my time playing it on the PlayStation 3, and getting absolutely battered by it at every turn. As my time off work started for the Holidays this year, I figured it was time to avenge my younger naïve self, and finally beat the game! After around, several thousand curses, deaths, blaming my PS5 for 'problems' that did not exist, 4 Playthroughs of which 2 were New Game + modes (which makes the game doubly as hard) and 125 Hours of Gameplay, I managed to score the Platinum Trophy (equivalent of 100% achievements)! In this article I want to share my experience/thoughts of Demon's Souls, with the intention of helping you decide if this game is for you.
Let's get straight to the punch here, if you've never played a 'Soulsborne' game before then you are going to find Demon's Souls incredibly hard. If you are a veteran of the series and have completed ANY of the Dark Souls game, then Demon's Souls will be a pretty straight forward experience for you, and will most likely not challenge you much harder than the other games did... until you reach New Game + that is anyways.
For those who are new to the series, you will be tested in every way possible. Patience will be needed to conquer some areas, you will need your wits about you, being wary of every corner that you turn and to be honest you will die a lot, and I mean ALOT! The worst is, you will learn incredibly important game mechanics way too late to fix any errors that you've made, meaning you will either need to start a whole new character again or work extremely hard to undo the damage that you've caused. Although, don't let this put you off. The game actually isn't big, it is the games difficulty that makes it a longer game. Once you've gone through an area and learned how it works, tackling it a second time, will result in you effectively flying through it at insane speeds. To put it into context, to complete Demon's Souls on my first Character took 35 Hours. On my second Character, because I understood stats better, spells, miracles and the maps, it took me approximately 15 Hours! A 20 hours time saving!
For those veterans of the series, or players of the original, BluePoint Games has done an incredible job of remaking the game ground up. What's even more impressive is how similar the game feels to the original, meaning for those experienced players there's a lot of old tricks that still work in this version. Adding to the pile of incredible features, is the fact that nearly all of the 'shortcuts' from the PlayStation 3 version exist in this one. In fact I only found that 1 shortcut had been removed in this version, which was more of a glitch in the previous game, to skip a large chunk of a difficult map.
Combat feels tight, and even more so than ever, the character you build can entirely match your style of play. I am not a big fan of creating heavy tanks that can just absorb damage, so instead I first opted to create a dexterity built, for a fast moving character that focuses on dodging and keeping up stamina to overwhelm enemies with a barrage of attacks. What's most impressive is, that each area feels like it was specifically built for a certain character build. So no matter how you build your character, there are areas you will 'Cheese' through, and areas you will REALLY struggle to conquer. But all is not lost, because Demon's Souls has a co-op element, where you can summon other players into your game to help you tackle these moments! Although, be mindful that if you bring a player into your game, the difficulty will scale up, making enemies tougher to beat.
As well as the co-op element there is also a PvP element, where if you are in a spirit form, you can invade other players games, kill them and steal their soul. When entering another players world you will be pegged as a 'Black Phantom' (picture above). I will say that in the image above with ACIDO_O, I got completely annihilated, by a brutal backstab, sending me back to my world with nothing to show for it. Although, If I had prevailed I would have managed to have stolen their 'Soul' and return to my world as living, opposed to my spirit form. Which can only be achieved, normally, by a rare item or beating a boss. I would recommend before starting Demon's Souls reading up on the game mechanic 'Character Tendency' and 'World Tendency' as these play a huge factor into the games difficulty and are things that can be hard to fix if you don't manage them correctly. I will add, you can actually team up and fight your friends also by using a password system through the games network settings.
Something worth pulling out of Demon's Souls which is probably one of my favourite aspects is the fact that it has been filled to the brim with secrets. In fact most of the key story elements in this game have to be found and studied. Some of these secrets are from the original game that FromSoftware gave us all those years ago, but BluePoint have added their own little flare to the game. I mean most secrets seem to have been uncovered now, but one thing I came across was the blood moon pictured above. I found it interesting because over the last few months, the blood moon has become somewhat of a thing that BluePoint has teased around. In fact, to me at least, it makes me think very much of Castlevania in appearance. Let me show you in the image below!
I mean, with the tweets that BluePoint has put out, they could simply just be trolling the internet, although the development team are most notable for doing remakes of games and with how much love Castlevania Symphony of the Night has, it would be incredible to see this epic re-imagined/remade!
What I would say, is that if you are looking for a game that you can spend a long time with, in which you would gain an excellent sense of achievement, then Demon's Souls is a great game to do that. Prosper through the hardship, prevail and trust me, you will feel incredible for doing so. Although, if you are the type of person who throws controllers when you lose, i'd probably suggest giving Demon's Souls the widest birth possible. Maybe watch someone stream it or watch a speedrun, as this game is going to make you angry without a doubt.
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