- Developers: From Software, SIE Japan Studio, Shirogumi Inc.
- Publisher: Atlus, Atlus USA, Sony Corporation, Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Genre: Action Adventure, RPG
- Platforms: Playstation 3
- Release Date: 5th February 2009
- Microtransactions: No
So, here it is, the game that started one of the most respected franchises in modern gaming, and it nearly never happened. From Software had lost faith in it and simply wanted to get it out the door to die at retail. In steps Hidetaka Miyazaki, at the time a fresh face with the company who convinced them to let him take over the project reasoning that as they already expected a failure then what different would it make if he couldn’t turn it around. Once completed the game launched to critical acclaim but poor sales. Word of mouth got around though that if you stuck with it it would all be worth it. Sales steadily increased and the rest is history.
In Demon’s Souls you play as 1 of 10 character classes who travel to the kingdom of Boletaria and enters a mysterious fog that has enveloped the land. At the start you’re taught that this isn’t going to be an easy ride and new players can expect to be beat down in seconds by the tutorials boss. Kill or not in the end you’ll soon be sent to the Nexus in soul form and it’s here you meet the Maiden in Black and learn of your mission to rid the land of demons and defeat the Old One to save the kingdom. This is where it really gets going and it’s time to git gud.
Keep Coming Back
After a brief time you’ll have access to 5 areas which you travel killing demons and gathering souls. Souls as anybody who’s played a Souls game knows are the lifeblood of everything you do. They are needed for buying equipment, upgraded gear and leveling up your character. Souls are thus a precious commodity, die however and you drop the lot with only one chance to get them back, die again before you get to them and they’re gone for good with all your hard work undone.
Now the general gist is out the way does the game still stand up today. In short, yes, but only if you can get over a few hurdles regarding odd design choices. Combat here is very methodical and precise and choosing the right weapon is important. Shame then that the weapon stat menus are a nightmare of numbers and symbols. Instead of just stating strength or dexterity they use symbols which mean nothing at first till you get your head round it.
Once you do though you’ll settle on the weapons you like and it’ll stop being a problem at all and you can fully enjoy the excellent combat. Another very odd choice to me is what’s called world tendency. This affects each of the separate areas individually and changes dependant on how well you’re doing. Stay alive and slaughter bosses and start changing to white but die in body form and it’ll start changing to black where baddies will become harder but drop better loot. The main problem with world tendency is that if you’re online it goes off the server average of how everybody is doing. As finding certain weapons and little events are dependant on the world tendency being one or the other it means you may never get them as the server average just isn’t what you need.
Bonfire of Hope
It seems From Software where aware of these issues and their unpopularity as both the odd menu symbols and world tendency were both dropped for other Souls games. Otherwise this is still a fantastic game with locations that beg to be explored with many secrets to discover and enemies to battle. Combat here is fantastic being deliberate and slow but challenging, punishing you for any small mistake you make. Bosses will take you to your limit and make you question whether you can defeat them. With practice you will and the satisfaction gained from each victory is immense. And that in the end is what this is all about. Struggle and eventual sweet victory.
Overall I’d still recommend this game but you’ll need patience not just due to difficulty but because of the fact it’s even less user friendly to beginners that needs to be.
- Great interesting locations that beg to be explored.
- Combat is tough and challenging, but for all the right reasons.
- Great boss fights (for the most part).
- Very confusing weapon menus.
- Poorly explained, world tendency mechanic.
- Rather short compared to the games that followed.