Demon’s Souls is an action-RPG exclusive to the PS3 that will put gamers back into their place. It is pure evil and relentless on its learning curve and hardcore nature. You will need a lot of patience to attempt to conquer this beast of a game. Trial and error is a must so expect to often die. With all that in mind, the game is truly awesome and one of a kind. It is almost a disservice as a gamer to not sit down and try to slay this monster game.
The game starts with a nice CGI opening explaining how demons have returned after being sealed away after a long period of time. Typical demons ruining world peace again. You are thrust in the sole savior role in ridding the five worlds of its demons and bringing peace to the land once again. Next you’re able to give your character a name, sex, class, and characteristics much like Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion or Fallout 3. While everything else doesn’t matter much, your class is the most important decision you’ll make at this phase. Pro tip: you’ll want to pick the Royalty class to start. They start with a great magic spell immediately that can take out most beginning enemies with a blast or two from a distance and they come equipped with a MP regeneration ring.
Once you are finished with your customizations, you’ll be dumped into the Nexus which is a safe haven “town” where you can buy weapons, spells, upgrades, item drop off, and choose your next world to complete. As stated earlier, worlds are broken down into 5 areas each different in their own way. Those worlds are handled in sections meaning when you start the game you’ll be on world 1, section 1 or 1-1. Defeating a boss in the corresponding section means you can fast travel to the beginning of the next section from the Nexus. (Beating the 1-1 boss allowing you to fast travel to the beginning of 1-2.) Each section is filled with tons of basic pawn demons and a boss at the end; basic demons respawn each time you re-enter a world while bosses remain dead once defeated. Enemies always appear at their exact location so learning their layout is pretty simple but beware because they will chase you once you are in their range.
The game mechanics aren’t as cut and dry as you think, in fact I had to restart my game because I didn’t fully understand how the gameplay truly works. Bare with me as this next part may become confusing. Worlds start in a neutral state but depending on your actions the world shifts into either a black or white world tendency. Certain events and items are only available in a black or white world tendency. Worlds can go from black to white or white to black but obviously cannot be black and white at the same time. Worlds can have different tendencies so world 1 can be black and world 2 can be white for example. If that wasn’t confusing enough, there is character tendency as well. A character can have a black or white tendency but the path to obtain a character tendency is different than obtaining a world tendency. Killing NPC’s brings your character tendency to black while killing black phantoms in a black world tendency brings your character tendency to white. So here’s the last kicker, there is a body and soul form for your character. Defeating a boss “revives” your character from soul form and places it back into body form. Dying in body form brings the corresponding world closer to a black tendency while defeating a boss brings the world into a white tendency. It’s a lot of learning and you can understand why I had to restart my game and really understand what I was doing before my new game.
There is no monetary currency in the game instead you use the demon’s souls for your purchases and upgrades. Every demon killed adds a value to your total so killing easier enemies is a lower value than killing a stronger one. As stated earlier, enemies respawn so you can farm for better weapons, spells, etc or overpower yourself with level upgrades. When bosses are defeated they give you a ton of souls and also drop a certain “named” soul which is used for weapons or spells which you can’t purchase in the Nexus. Each boss drops their own specific soul and some can be used up to 4 different ways so plan accordingly before making your decision. If you happen to die before you redeem your souls, you will lose them unless you recover your death bloodstain. All your equipment and items are retained but you are soulless. If you happen to die again before reaching your first bloodstain, those previous souls are lost forever.
If you play online, you’ll be treated to a few cool unexpected features that add some extra flavor to this game. First, you can see other players in their games during your own adventure. You can’t interact with them but can see them running around or fighting enemies which may help you know what’s around the corner. Also scattered about are NPC bloodstains which are meant to help players. Some are from the developers providing text message tips, some are from other players that are text messages as well, and some are short videos depicting players and their last few moments where they died. I find the player bloodstains are most helpful because you can witness their deaths before you continue on to how they died and some of the text messages are beneficial as well. Another cool feature with online is the ability to invade other player’s games. You can do this either in co-op form to help take down enemies and bosses or fight other players in their body form as a black phantom (player versus player). Finally if you climb the stairs in the Nexus to the top room there is a leaderboard area which you can check out stats and trophies from other players. It’s pretty awesome with players on pedestals and statues instead of a traditional pop up screen.
Lastly, Demon’s Souls offers a new game+ mode after completing your game. You keep all your weapons and items but lose key items. Enemies are harder upon each new game+ and bosses can easily destroy you in one swipe (as if your first playthrough wasn’t challenging enough). You’ll need to complete a few new game+ modes if you want to collect everything in the game or want to try for the platinum trophy.
Overall Demon’s Souls is a truly awesome game. Its length, content, and challenge level add so much depth really makes it fun going back to play again. The ability to fight with or against friends and other players is a nice touch. And what game can’t go wrong with adding in a new game+ mode? The game has been out for quite some time now so take some advice from a guy who has done everything the game offers and obtained the platinum trophy, play it and you won’t be disappointed.