DEMON'S SOULS REVIEW
From Software brings a new kind of action RPG to PS3.
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Aug 5, 2010 17:52 (Aug 5, 2010 17:52)
Written by: Alex
From Software’s latest release, "Demon’s Souls" is something of an oddity. Medieval dungeon crawling with action RPG leanings sound like your usual gaming clichés at first, but look a little deeper and you quickly begin to see many unique elements. But do these twists serve to improve on the genre, or mealy provide unwanted levels of complexity.
The game starts by unceremonious thrusting players into the kingdom of Boletaria. Tasked with saving the kingdom, players march towards the light that signifies the first area of the game.
Little else is known, and the game wont give up much more information unless you are prepared to fight for it.
Even this first training area of the game gives a sense of oppression. A kingdom in ruin, its only life comes from shambling soulless beings that inhabit its castles corridors; animated corpses that attack without reason. Fighting through the fodder the game initially threw at me I wondered why online reports talked of the games difficulty. Then I entered the final chamber and died at the hands a beast whose stomach filled my screen.
Seconds later I reappeared as a spirit in the Nexus, Demon’s Souls’ hub world, where the game
really begins. It’s a brutal beginning to the game, especially in the modern console space, which tends to spoon-feed players through the first sections of the game. It quickly establishes that this is a game for the experienced, not casual players. It requires you know games, and that you are willing to commit to playing it if you want to really get the most out of it.
Demon’s Souls forces a slow methodic pace on the player. Every turn offers a chance of death. Even the smallest enemies can over power the player caught off guard and entering an area blindly will usually lead to death. The route through level is completely open, making it possible to take the wrong turn and, without knowing it, face an enemy many levels higher than it is possible to defeat.
Death as a mechanic:
Fortunately death proves only a minor setback. The only real appreciable effect of dying (there are some higher level effect on the world) is a loss of souls. Souls function as both experience and currency, so this can be an annoyance, but the lost souls can be recovered if you can return to your final resting place before you die again.
Depending on where you die this can prove either a mild annoyance or a total impossibility. If you plough through the game you will often find yourself cut off with no path to retreat. In these situations there is rarely a chance of you making it back to the bloodstain that signifies your last death, leaving you with all of you souls lost. Personally on more than one occasion I entered an area I have no business venturing in to. My overconfidence soon saw me slaughtered, leaving my soul filled bloodstain tantalizingly out of reach of my still underpowered hero.