Demon’s Souls… A First Impression

I started my brave journey through the Demon’s Souls and it was… morbidly wonderful.

I would consider myself among the hardcore fans of games developed by FromSoftware, having played through Dark Souls 1-3 multiple times, started and re-starting Bloodborne numerous times.

Demon’s Souls however, always eluded me. Always remained on the horizon. I vividly remember buying a used copy of it on PS3, from a local game store. I remember booting it up and I also remember the instant confusion. Ultimately I gave up playing Demon’s Souls, mostly due to my inability to stick with a single game. But now… I’m older… I’m wiser and I want the challenge.

Demon’s Souls is described by Sony PlayStation as “the original brutal challenge, completely remade from the ground up“, and universally acclaimed by players and critics across the globe.

My aim in this post is to provide a first impression of Demon’s Souls in the hopes that one day, you too will take the leap and play it yourself.

Character Creator

I spent roughly around 45 minutes gleaming information in the character creator. The amazing level of detail on the character models provides a case to pause and simply appreciate their elegant beauty.

Layered clothing, worn textures, skin imperfections, reflective armaments are just some of the…

Demon’s Souls features a very in-depth character creator
You can see Arekkz Gaming’s coverage of the character creator here.

Photo Mode

Photo mode is becoming an ever increasing feature of modern console games. Developers want their players to fully realise the smallest of details, by framing the perfect shot. Making and editing their own wallpapers based on moments they created in the games they love.

Demon’s Souls achieves this, and more.

The photo mode allows the players to re-frame the pictures are they see fit – you are able to remove the player model, rotate the camera, zoom in and out. You can also add vignettes, filters and colour balancing. Not only that, but you can also create your own custom filters that can be used in the game when you’re playing it.

There are a host of other unique features to this photo mode that I can only say, is rivalled only by modes found in Ghost of Tsushima or The Last of Us Part 2.

Difficulty

FromSoftware’s games have always followed a core principle in difficulty. The game must be difficult enough to begin with so that a player realises and learns from their mistakes – quick enough that the player is able to overcome said difficulty by practicing with repetition. Learn from your mistakes.

Yes, Demon’s Souls is a difficult game (whatever that means nowadays) but therein lies it’s beauty. From my experience so far, the bosses seem fairly tame with most only taking 1-3 attempts. The latest boss I faced (Maneater), taking around 15 attempts.

Maneater, a boss found in Upper Latria

I could be wrong in saying this as I haven’t finished the game yet, but generally these bosses are some of the easiest ones you’ll face in FromSoftware’s library of encounters.

You can find some footage of me fighting Maneater below.

Checkpoints

Counter to how difficult the game is generally, are the checkpoints. They are far and few between so there is less opportunity to rest and the boss runs (the run to the boss when you inevitably die) are more perilous than what you might find in other games such as Dark Souls.

So much so, you might find yourself dying more often attempting to reach a boss quickly (quickly being the keyword here) than you would by simply fighting the boss again.


Lore

It isn’t for everyone, but generally the lore / story of these games are hidden in the world, items and enemies you encounter. It takes a keen eye, a sense of exploration and a fair amount of “guestimation” to piece together the “story”.

At the start of the game, you are given a wonderful montage to the story, explaining the current state of the world and your place within it.

As you fight your way through the game, you slowly learn more about the world.

The set up is simple. King summons a big bad guy, and with it – a sleuth of demons fill the lands. Brave warriors venture into these lands for glory and inevitably fail, becoming demons themselves and bosses you must face.

Overcome them all and you win. But, there is a risk.

World Tendency

Not something you would normally contend with in Dark Souls, but here in Demon’s Souls you are dealing with a different mechanic. World tendency.

It’s not a mechanic the game really tells you about or really gives you a hint about – it was something a friend had to explain to me in order to understand the risk involved with the world tendency mechanic.

Throughout most of the game, you’ll be playing in “Soul form”. A form which limits your health to around 50-60% of it’s total capacity. When you beat a boss, you regain your actual body – in which case you are returned to 100% of your health capacity. If you die again, you are returned to the last checkpoint but back in your “soul form”.

The risk here is dying over and over in human form which will cause your world tendency to switch from light to dark – and that’s where players will have even more difficulty. Enemies become even harder and bosses become even harder.

If you want to learn more about this mechanic, I highly recommend you check out Fextralife’s wiki on the subject here.


Final Thoughts

Demon’s Souls is a technical marvel. Graphically it’s one of the best games you could expect to play on any console right now. I challenge any other game on any current gen console to look this good.

It’s proof that remakes CAN be good if they are handled correctly.

Sony Bluepoint have done a fantastic job at bringing this classic experience to new audiences. Not only have they delivered one of the strongest exclusives on the PlayStation 5, but they have delivered one of the best gaming experiences available today.

A decent ‘Souls game’ for new players and experienced players. The difficulty isn’t so hard that you won’t learn from your mistakes quickly. That’s not to say, expect lots of dying and be happy about that. These games are meant to be challenging – if it wasn’t, the experience would be dulled.


4/5

I fully expect to be giving this 5/5 once I’ve finished the game

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