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From Software's 'Dark Souls' is a series that is becoming popular among fans of deep and challenging action-RPGs, with its clever new approaches to multiplayer integration and its unforgiving challenge in a gaming scene that seems to cater more and more to the casual or first time player. Dark Souls II was recently announced, and is already finding itself on many gamers' list of most anticipated titles of the year, but some of those gamers may not know that the original Dark Souls was already a spiritual successor to another game; Demon's Souls.
Demon's Souls is a PlayStation 3 exclusive title that was released in 2009, also by From Software. Like Dark Souls, it is an Action-Adventure RPG that is low on story and exposition but high on atmosphere and gameplay. It is known for its unforgiving, but ultimately rewarding, gameplay difficulty and dark intriguing setting.
The game takes place in the kingdom of Boletaria, a once peaceful place that has been tainted by a mysterious fog that now blankets the land. The fog has cut Boletaria off from the rest of the world, and any who have attempt to traverse the fog have never been heard from again. Supposedly, the cause of the Fog is an ancient demon that has been awoken from an eternal slumber; the Old One. With the fog came a flood of Demons of all kinds that how roam the land and devour the souls of anyone unlucky enough to cross their paths. Those who've lost their souls remain in the world as an insane, hollow shell of their former selves, now just as violent as the demons who made them that way.
You are an adventurer making your way through the land when an unfortunate encounter with a demon robs you of your life, and your physical body. You are thrust into a realm in between worlds know as the Nexus, where you have the opportunity to travel to different lands and rid them of the powerful demons that now rule over them... but, more on that in a moment.
You start off by making a character. There are many options in terms of character customization, but probably nothing you haven't seen before if you've played many roleplaying games in your time. You can choose to sculpt the cosmetic details of your character such as their nose, eyes, jaw, cheeks, complexion ect, or choose to go with one of a few premade appearances or a random one. Your character can be male or female, and there are actually a couple items you may find that are limited to one gender.
Next, you'll choose your class. There are 10 classes you may play as, but honestly they don't matter much aside from early game and maybe what equipment you start with. The reason class doesn't really matter is because absolutely nothing in Demon's Souls requires any particular class to use. No spells, no weapons, no pieces of armor require you to be of a certain class to use. What they DO require, though, are the proper stats to utilize.
There are 8 stats, which are as follows.
1 Vitality. The more vitality you have, the more Hit Points you have and the more items you can carry at once.
2 Intelligence. This increases your MP, which is used for spells, and lets you bring more spells into battle with you at once
3 Endurance. This increases your Stamina, which is a bar used whenever your character exerts themselves with anything physical such as swinging a sword, blocking attacks with a shield, rolling, or sprinting. It refills quickly after a couple seconds of rest, but the more you have the more attacks you can perform in succession without having to rest. Endurance also increases your character's Equipment Weight, which is the weight of your weapons and armor. The more endurance you have, the heavier armor and weapons you can use, which tend to dish out and absorb more damage.
4 Strength. The more strength you've got, the more damage you do with weapons.
5 Dexterity. Dexterity also affects the amount of damage you do with weapons, and this is because some weapons such as most rapiers or spears are not very heavy, but take more 'skill' to use properly as opposed to large swords or clubs that utilize raw strength.
6 Magic. Magic is simply how potent your magic spells are. Offensive spells will do more damage, and defensive spells will last longer or take more damage. Things like that.
7 Faith. Faith is how potent your Miracles are, which are basically like spells. In Demon's Souls, 'Magic' spells get their power from demonic energy, which is generally viewed as 'evil'. Miracles on the other hand are spells that are blessings from the gods, and are considered holy or 'good'. Magic tends to be more brutal and offensive, with spells that can send fireballs at your foes or blanket the area in a poisonous mist. Miracles tend to be more defensive, with spells that heal you, grant you a holy shield or teleport you back to the safety of the Nexus.
8 Finally, there Luck. With a higher Luck, you'll find that enemies drop more items, weapons and armor. It also makes you more resistant to being diseased or poisoned.
You can level up your character, and by extension your stats, with the expenditure of souls. As is perhaps made obvious by the title of the game, souls are very important and a core mechanic that the gameplay revolves around. Every time you kill a demon, you acquire a number of souls (the tougher the demon the more souls) which are used as an all-in-one currency of the game that can be spent to level up your character, repair equipment, purchase items, and upgrade weapons.
It's important stuff, which is why it's such a big deal when you die. Every time you die, you'll lose all of your acquired souls, and there's no way to store them for later so if you've lost them before you're able to spend them then they're gone for good...
...almost, anyway. The game does throw you a bit of a bone in that when you die you'll have the chance to reclaim your souls, but only if you can make it back to where you died without dying again. You'll respawn at the start of the world, but all of the enemies will also respawn (including the ones that killed you, har har). If you can make it back to where you died, you get your souls back. If you die again, they're gone forever.
It's something you'll just have to get used to, because you'll probably be doing your fair share of dying.
This game is hard, and with no options to change the difficulty setting this does matter. It is difficult, yeah, and while that's part of its charm for many such as myself, it also means the game is not very beginner friendly at all. If you can't manage to get the best of the many demons of the world, you may find yourself to be stuck with seemingly no way out, which can be frustrating. I'd probably say the game is best suited for those who've already played a couple RPGs before, although if you can manage to get through the first couple of sections you should be able to handle the whole game. In my experience the beginning of the game was the most difficult section, largely because the game throws you into the deep end of the pool without holding back, and you've yet to fully grasp most of the game's mechanics, or the details and flow of the combat.
Speaking of which, the combat in Demon's Souls is excellent. There are many different playstyles you can tailor your character to and all of them are intricate, smooth and satisfying. You may choose to go into battle fully decked out in the heaviest armor you can find, wielding a giant sword or axe that, while slow, knocks enemies around like nobodies business. Or, perhaps you prefer to tread lightly and quickly, taking advantage of swift attack speed and flanking opponents for a damaging backstab. Or, perhaps you find that sniping enemies from afar with fireballs and energy blasts to be more your style. They're all perfectly viable and effective playstyles and they're all fun, and of course you could dabble in combinations of everything should you so desire. There are plenty of weapons, from spears to clubs to swords to bows, all of which have their own animations and movesets so it doesn't just feel like your swapping damage ratings around. There are even magic weapons that are boosted by things like the Miracle stat, for those who've got a little of everything.
This is one of those games where your own skill and knowledge of enemy abilities and attack patterns matters just as much as your character's stats and equipment. You'll be growing as a player along with your character, and I think you'll find that if you were to start a new game after having completed it once, you'll be able to almost breeze through many of the enemies and encounters you had trouble with at first.
So let's talk about the environments then. This is one of my personal favorite aspects of a game and is often a huge factor or how much I can enjoy a game or not. Perhaps that's why I love Demon's Souls so much, because this game's world is awesome. It's dark, atmospheric and beautifully haunting.
You'll start off in a pretty generic castle setting, but soon you'll have the option move on to more interesting, unique and creepy areas. You'll delve deep into a mountain and witness first hand how the ore miners there have lost all sense of self, and continue mining away at the mountain from within like zombies, creating long and winding tunnels into the core that reveal a fire demon's habitat. You'll travel through a plague infested swamp, darkness veiling all around you and deformed ghouls lurking in the shadows. The game's difficulty actually added a sense of wonder and fear, as you never know what you're going to find waiting for you in the next room or as you venture further into a demon's home. You know that death is a very real possibility, but you also know that you must trek on to continue your journey. It's, dare I say, a kind of fear or anticipation far more effective and rewarding than most cheap horror titles can offer. It can be a very legitimate sense of dread.
There are five worlds, each split into about 3 or so sections. These are accessed via portals from the Nexus, the game's hub world that acts as you're place of refuge where you can repair equipment, stockpile items for use later, and level up. Initially, you only have access to the dragon and knight populated castle setting, but after making your way through the first section of that world, the other 4 worlds all open up to you to be explored in any order you choose. The worlds all have their own theme so the game doesn't tend to feel repetitive, and the level design itself is well done with plenty of hidden weapons, armor pieces and shortcuts scattered about the land to find.
There are also multiplayer aspects to Demon's Souls. It's kind of a weird, both singleplayer and multiplayer at the same time kind of deal. Throughout your adventures in Boletaria, if you're playing the game while connected to the internet, you'll be indirectly interacting with other players in a couple of ways. You'll see ghostly forms flicker into existence for a short period of time, which are other players adventuring around the world just like you are. You'll find bloodstains around the world that, when activated, show the last couple seconds that lead up to another player's death. You can also find and leave messages scribbled into the world for other players to find, warning them of traps ahead or advising them on strategies for upcoming foes. There are also more direct forms of multiplayer. You can summon other players into your world, or likewise be summoned, to help with some of the tougher areas or boss fights in jolly cooperation. However, you can also be invaded by hostile players who seek to slay you for your souls, so be careful.
The soundtrack of the game is good, with tracks mostly consisting of orchestral soundscapes and choirs. It's all very fitting and well executed. The graphics are also good, with a lot of touches and details like weapon animations, or enemy models adding a lot of flavor and richness to the experience. There are some minor framerate issues in a couple areas of the game (like the swamp area), and the rag doll physics are often laughably unrealistic but overall it usually pulls off the atmospheric and dark environments well.
Ultimately, Demon's Souls is a fresh and very well done action RPG with a lot to offer those who seek a little more challenge and atmosphere than their usual dragon slaying adventures tend to provide. Its lack of hand holding or consideration to newer players is bound to turn off some, but if you're willing to learn the ropes there's a deep and rewarding world to be explored, with plenty of secrets to uncover and demons to vanquish.
This game is the best game i have ever bought. The gameplay is really good and each level takes at least a few hours. The difficulty is extensive as when you complete the game and start the story again it is 50% harder. This means that you will take the same damage as if you didn't wear any armour on the last playthrough. The multiplayer can be a bit arkward but it is ok if you use an ethernet cable. I recommend that on your 1st playthrough that you farm for souls because if you don't you will still be a low level on the next few playthroughs. and the game will be almost impossible to complete. I would recommend buying the black phantom edition as it comes with an art book, sound track and walkthrough guide.
You should play this with other people especially when at the 5th archstone. You can upgrade your weapons and stuff e.g. i upgraded my scimitar to +8 and now if i see the blacksmith in 2-2 and give him "old hero's soul" (4-2) boss then he will give me the large sword of searching. i really need to get the sword it looks uber cool and increases the drop rate.
YOU NEED TO BUY THIS GAME AS IT IS GREAT FOR ANYONE WHO LIKES RPG GAMES!
What an incredible game, its the first game in a long time that poses a genuine challenge, but more importantly puts the fear of losing you used to get back in the 90's when Mario falls down the hole on your last life (remember those near fatal heart attacks?)
Theres one screen in Demons souls you'll be eying up alot, and thats the YOU DIED screen, Demons souls creatures can easily kill you in one to two hits unless you learn how to block and parry properly, and even then you've still got the environment to worry about which hates you as much as the enemies do, so youve been warned!
The premise of the game is simple, Demons souls are very powerful and a mad king trades his soul to a truly terrible and mighty demon for the power of the demons souls, and a colourless fog sweeps across the land unleashing soul devouring demons, you are a hero who has come seeking the power of the demons souls, from then onwards the whole game is decided by you, you spend the time between the levels in the nexus, anything you do in this nexus remains done until the end game! there is no save function so going on a mad killing spree is NOT reccomended. You'll be spending your time collecting demons souls which is the currency of the game, if you die once, you must go back to where you died to collect the souls you lost, if you die on your way to collect your lost souls, there gone FOREVER!
This Game is Brutal and Merciless and your going to Love it!
This is perhaps the hardest game that I have ever played, and that is on the easiest setting. It is a challenge as you strive to collect souls but it is one that you should see as an experience. I do not suggest starting this game if you are frustrated as the lack of a saving option and the fact you have to complete a mission to reach a checkpoint can be infuriating. However, the combat, excitement, and sense of satisfaction achieved when you do well more than makes up for these problems. Granted it can be annoying leaving one character alive so having to go round the whole level again, or dying at the last hurdle in a slip of the thumb, but it is a game that will reward you so much more than most. All in all a fantastic game that you have to give a try.
This game is brilliant i love it. If you like a challenge then this is the game for you. It has been said to be the hardest game on the PS3 and i fully agree. There are no difficulty settings in this game its just hardcore the whole way through. If you dont like dying in a game then this is not for you. But if you like a game that kills you off, a lot, because it is genuinely hard and challenges you every step of the way then this is the game for you.
Although i love this game there are one or two bad points, literaly just one or two. The first one is the storyline is almost non-existent, there is a bit of storyline but not much. It is more of an explanation as to why your fighting than anything else. Also the game can get slightly monotonous at times when your farming for souls. I will explain this. Unlike most games of this style that deal with experience Dead Souls deals with...well souls. When you kill an enemy you get souls or soul points if you want to call it. This is what you use instead of experience, although the same concept applies.
This leads me on nicely to the good points, this game is very hard, but in a good way. From the very start you are challenged by demons and monsters that could kill you at any point. This game will not give you second chances it will just kill off your character sending them back to the start of the level or the nearest checkpoint, which are few and far between, while taking all the souls that you have collected off you. However it will give you them back if you can make it to the place where you had died. Dead Souls is also unique in the repect that if you are online while gaming a number of things can occur. You can see the phantoms of other gamers who have died, or are just passing by. You can also leave messages on the ground to either help or hinder others. Another thing that can occur is an invasion by another player. While your just pottering around someone else can invade your game and attack you. You can also bring in other players to help you kill a boss or fend off an invasion, or just invade another player yourself. Certain actions in each world can make there alignment darker or lighter having an effect on enemy strength to certain characters appearing to make life that little bit more exciting for you.
Demon Souls is not only very difficult but looks the part as well. The environements are engaging and can hide many secrets and are often just as deadly as the enemies. They look brilliant and engage you at every turn. You can customise your character highly with armours, weapons and many abilities. In order to get everything out of this game you would have to play it many times through. And if you find it too easy, which i doubt, then the New Game Plus will challenge you again as the enemies get harder and harder and the online Player Versus Player aspect is the cherry on top.