It’s rare that a game comes along and is so frustrating, yet so fun at the same time. Meet Demon’s Souls, the hack’n’slash, action RPG for the Playstation 3.
The story is pretty straight-forward, an evil fog sets on the world and with it, brings a horde of demons. Your job is to take them down and restore peace. Progressing through the game however, is not so straight-forward. (Yet not as difficult and frustrating as the pussy, Yahtzee would tell you…)
The game does start with a handy tutorial, which will teach you the basics of the fighting engine. An engine which certainly requires thinking, timing and gaming skill and is very rewarding when mastered. You will have to learn to block, parry and dodge and again, unlike Yahtzee would have you believe, the dodging DOES actually work. Perhaps useless gamers with no patience or persistance would say otherwise, but Demon’s Souls is certainly very manageable.
Yes you will die. A lot. But that’s ok because death means you take on your soul form and while you only have about half of your full health, you can still progress through areas, collect souls, weapons and armour and also defeat bosses. Killing enemies earns you souls, which is pretty much the currency in Demon’s Souls. While you can’t sell unwanted weapons and items, you can use souls to upgrade your stats (there are a number of classes to choose for your character and different stats you will want to focus on depending on which type you’ve selected) and also buy, repair and upgrade your weapons.
The RPG side of the game is definitely seen in the depth and options in weapon upgrades and the general loot earned through killing enemies. Your weapons can range from short but fast daggers to slower yet longer and stronger spears and swords. Then, by finding rare stones on defeated demons or the secret and hard to find crystal lizards you can choose a number of upgrades for these weapons or even enchant them with special items. There are also long-range weapons such as bows and crossbows and also magic spells. And like your typical RPG, different weapons specialize in different areas such as blunt attacks, armour piercing or elemental attacks such as fire or poison. The game really is deep and to label it as a simple hack and slash, dungeon crawler would be way off the mark.
One thing I found laughable about Yahtzee’s ‘review’ (if you can call a quick play of the first area of the game a review) is how he has put the game in the too hard basket and basically said the game is shit because of the difficulty. It certainly is difficult, especially for the first few hours of trying the game but it’s also true that as gamers, we have been pampered in recent years. I don’t recall any other game being as tough and requiring as much skill and persistance as Demon’s Souls. Yet once you learn the game and overcome the initial frustration, it becomes an extremely rewarding experience and will sort out the pussies from the real gamers. It’s disheartening to see so many comments by supposed gamers on the Yahtzee review immediately saying things like ‘thanks for the review, I won’t go anywhere near this game now that I know it’s so difficult’. What they are really saying is ‘I am a fucking pussy and only play games that require no skill, patience or persistance so I can fit in with all the other sheep out there’.
Yes Yahtzee you are one of those gamers it seems.
If you manage to grow some balls, stick with the game and make even a little progress, you would also learn that there is a lot more to the online part of the game then just ‘leaving messages and seeing ghosts’ of other players running around.
1. You can leave a soul mark for others to summon you into their world and actually take part in some co-op gaming, which not only adds to the enjoyable experience but also makes the game easier. Did you read that Pusszee? There is actually a way to make the game easier!! (Obviously this works the other way too, if you are in your proper form, you can look for soul marks and summon other willing players into your world too)
2. You can take part in PvP and invade other players’ worlds as a black phantom, where killing them will return your soul to your body. It’s quite a rush to enter someone’s world and take them on but heartbreaking when you invade a world where a team is tackling a certain level, only to die in a quick 3 on 1. But fun nonetheless.
Given the popularity of the game, I have yet to not find help online when I needed it. Most messages left on the ground by other players are very helpful too. It really is a unique and successful online set-up.
There are a number of different areas and you can choose to explore them in any order. Most areas also have shortcuts which can be unlocked, making it quicker and easier to get back to that boss who keeps killing you, rather than having to continously do a perfect run through the whole level just to reach it again.
Demon’s Souls’ great fighting engine, depth of loot, stats and upgrades, the online options and lastability through a perfect balance of difficulty and satisfaction makes it one of the best games I have ever played. At present, my character is at Soul Level 71 and I have progressed to the third or fourth section of all areas over the span of a month or so of gameplay. I guess if I was a pussy and casual gamer with no balls, skill or knowledge I would say it was too hard and give up after one quarter of the first level. Then I would also change my name to Yahtzee…