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Old 08-04-2010, 02:55 PM   #1
Kragg
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[PS3] - Demon’s Souls Backlog Review

Title: Demon’s Souls
Platform: PS3
Platform Reviewed: PS3
Offical Website: Demons-Souls.com
Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Atlus
MSRP: $29.95
Original Release Date: 10/9/2009
Writer: Ben 'kragg' Daniels

Demon’s Souls Backlog Review

Abandon dignity, all ye who enter here...

So you’ve heard a lot about this game Demon’s Souls for the PS3, but you’re wondering why you should play it and what all the fuss is about? Spoken about with much praise and adoration from its cult following of “hardcore” (see: obsessive) followers, and generally skirted by the general gaming public as being too difficult to invest time into. Well, ole Kragg is here to tell you why it is worth your time, and maybe we’ll all learn a little bit about ourselves in the process.


To get it out of the way immediately, yes, Demon’s Souls is a very challenging game. However, it is not exactly the ”oh my god I want to smash my controller and set my head on fire!” level of difficulty you probably heard about in its initial reviews. I’ll let you in on a secret: the game simply requires patience and thought. Maybe those reviewers lacked that, but you and I are chock full of the stuff, and that’s why we’re not afraid to devise strategies and die a few times in the process. One of the main points that makes this game so great is that its lack of checkpoints and stamina system force you to think about each and every move you’ll make.

Aside from it’s math-y statistical leanings, the game plays more like a “hack n’ slash” than your traditional RPG. This is no Dragon Age or Diablo however, where you can just run into the fray recklessly mowing down everything in your path. A few poorly timed swings and you’ll receive a Brooklyn beat down from even the lowliest enemies. I was victim to this until I finally came to grips with the fact that I was playing the game wrong. After taking the time to study the rhythm of enemies attacks (which the game advises in the tutorial and I promptly ignored) I learned to successfully parry and counterattack, delivering spectacular impalement's; the kind normally reserved for the adult film industry.


Probably the most outstanding reason to suggest Demon’s Souls is its highly lauded multi-player system. Atlus recently announced they will keep their multi-player servers online until “at least” March of 2011, and while the core game will function after this time, it’s a disservice to play this game offline. In a time when people claim that multi-player modes are simply tacked on to artificially extend replay value, this is the antithesis. Demon’s Souls multi-player is both unique and elegantly executed to supplement the single player story. The ability to see fleeting ghosts of other players, drop messages which the community can rate to grant you random health boosts, and the use of stones that allow players to arbitrarily cross into other peoples “worlds” as benevolent or malevolent spirits has created some of the most enjoyable online play I have come across in years. What is most intriguing is that the game integrates the online features in a way that enhances the atmosphere of the world, making it seem like you truly are one of many spirits trapped in a personal purgatory fighting an army of demons. The limited control you have over how the online portions play out (such as not being able to choose to play with your friends specifically) only creates more perceived tension. It’s not for everyone, but for people who enjoy a certain element of surprise, it’s a unique experience.


To paraphrase one of my peers “In a world where basically any game can be looked up online to be walked through in a sterile fashion, it’s nice to know something exists that still makes you say ‘What the HELL is going on?!’ “
This basically sums up Demon’s Souls perfectly, because it forces you to make strategic decisions without handing you all the pieces to the puzzle. Again, this isn’t everyones cup of tea, but if you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind not having everything in a game laid out simply for you, this one is definitely worth picking up at its reduced $30 price point.

The Good
  • Gorgeous graphics, an interesting world that is fully realized with a classical style
  • Challenging levels, devious traps, truly epic boss battles
  • Immersing multi-player that adds a unique style of depth to the campaign
The Bad
  • The style of gameplay and challenge may not appeal to a wide audience
  • At some point, ya’ll gonna get griefed!
The Ugly
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:16 PM   #2
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Well said, it sounds interesting. I'm glad you included one comment about the Adult Industry, I'm guessing that is going to be your calling card.
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Old 08-04-2010, 03:16 PM   #3
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Great review Kragg! Long-time readers of this website already know how much I adore (and obsess) this game, but I'll say it again. Demon's Souls is one of the best games this generation. So sayeth the Spider!
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:10 PM   #4
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I love this game, however I stopped playing completely at one point. It becomes very challenging and you have to grind your way or else you are at big disavantage. Didn't get very much far!

If you buy this game, prepare to read the manual because you might not understand WTF the going on when you get to the Nexus.

This is the best Demon's Souls FAQ site:
http://demonssouls.wikidot.com/
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
Gipson
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Nice mini-review. tried this on a friend's PS3 and thought it was pretty good. only got a few levels in and gave up...lol. i find it infuriating when you have to restart the entire level over when you die
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Old 08-04-2010, 05:42 PM   #6
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I LOVE it. More fun playing this one than most.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:11 PM   #7
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At its core, it's a good game but unfortunately for me I fell into the demographic you mentioned in "The Bad", the difficulty was too much and I just couldn't get into the game. I really want to enjoy this game, but I can't.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:47 PM   #8
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The game wasn't that bad IMO especially if you were willing to suck it up and call in some friendly souls to help you out. I was able to beat Demon Souls relatively "smoothly"* and in contrast, have never been able to be Ninja Gaiden I or II (just quit out of frustration).

*I called lots of souls
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:27 PM   #9
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Cool game and not overly difficult. Like you said patience is key. I stopped playing it though because it's very stressful. You have to always be on your toes.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:33 PM   #10
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Absolutely loved this game. Definitely in my top 5 games of this generation. The game is challenging but not as hard as people make it out to be.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:17 PM   #11
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Best game of 2009 imo. Should have won game of the year.
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:17 AM   #12
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Man O Man I love this game. I'm barely into my 3rd map, but replays of the older maps never even get boring.
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:21 AM   #13
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This game is sitting on my shelf mocking me. "Mock, mock, mock," it says. I played for a while, got a point I couldn't get past, and gave up. Patience, skill, etc....yeah, I've not an abundance of those things. I ought to give it another go though, if I made it though Ninja Gaiden, I ought to be able to get further in Demon's Souls...
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:59 AM   #14
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I'm really glad I ordered it. I should have it by this weekend. I agonized for days about buying it, but reviews like this reinforce that I made the right choice. And getting it for a paltry $25.99 was nice too.
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Old 08-07-2010, 05:46 AM   #15
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I just played through the tutorial and part of one of the levels, and big shocker, I died. LOL! But it was an awesome death.

Even after only maybe 30 minutes...holy crap I love this game! I absolutely love this kind of game. I walk around with my shield out almost constantly. I'm glad you do get healing items. I hadn't read anything about those and was thinking it was going to be impossible. But healing items are abundant (so far). Not that it helps when you're fighting a monster and two others are shooting arrows at you. But still, if you can catch a breath it's good to have them.

But I only really died because my son (16 months old) was shoving a book in my face and screaming for me to read it. So it wasn't the game being cheap, it was my son. Yeah, that's it. I'll have to write more later. He's screaming at me to wrestle with him.
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:04 AM   #16
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Kids, always getting in the way of gaming.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:18 AM   #17
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Well after a good 3 hours I finally got through 1-1. This game is amazing. It reminded me of how hard the original Ninja Gaiden was. And everyone is right, the game isn't cheap. If you die, you did something wrong. And it's very realistic in the sense that strong attacks take longer to perform, healing items take a moment to use, and if you swing too much too fast you'll get tired and need a few seconds to regain stamina.

It's a hack and slash for sure, but not a frantic hack and slash like Diablo. I accidentally took on 5 or 6 mobs (not seeing them when I jumped into an area) and had to back up and run away to regroup many times. Thankfully they're slow (early on at least), so I could regroup, heal, and jump into the fray again.

The boss of 1-1 was awesome. The music was amazing. It was enough to cause additional tension but not that fast paced, high pitched slasher type movie type music. It was simply eerie and creepy.

What I really like is that the entire level is nearly visible from the start. I guess that's common for some games now but it's cool to see a locked door or gate and realize that you evetually unlock it later in the level after going around the entire level. And that you eventually walk across that platform you see far up the side of the castle, and then you look down on the start area from high up.

Level design is fantastic. The graphics are great. And even though I died A LOT (quite a few times at the first blue eye knight), it was fun and I rarely felt frustrated. I started 1-2 (hello again dragon!) but when I inevitably die I'll probably go back and clear outthe rest of 1-1. I ignored that one NPC you could talk to (not the merchant), and the ring that was near him. So I really want to clear that area out and talk to him so he doesn't get killed in a room full of mobs.

Awesome game.
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