Before playing this game I had heard more about Dark Souls then I had Demon, and just assumed it was the same game (silly me). However this is the first of the two which was overlooked by many, I couldn’t tell you the difference as I have yet to unwrap Dark Souls (I have just received the Prepare to Die edition/Thanks Amazon).
Anyhow Demon’s Souls, it’s like nothing I have ever played before which is always a good thing as I like a change from the usual RPG and I welcome change. It’s challenging, it really, really is and I’ll try my best to explain why. You will die at the very start of the game, during the short training guide you will come across a boss who is more powerful than you can hope to take on, he will kill you in 1-2 hits and you will be staring at the screen with a blank expression much the same as what I did. Thing is and you will learn this very quickly, dying is part of Demon’s Souls.
Once you die for the first time you will be taken to the Nexus which you can think of as the games main hub. At the nexus there will be a place you can store your weapons and items, a man who will repair and upgrade weapons, the maiden in black who can increase your characters level in exchange for souls and any NPC’s you manage to save along the way. NPC’s can be of great help or they may become a bad omen, trial and error is the only way you will learn who is good and who is bad.
At the Nexus there are passages to 5 different worlds overtaken by fog and demons, your job as the lead player is to enter each world and make it to the Boss of that area. Along the way you will find no save points and if you die (which you will) you will lose all the souls you have collected along the way as well as your body! When you lose your body you will enter soul mode and have less health. The only way to get your body back is to defeat the end of level boss (or there are some items you can pick up). There is a third way and this would be to invade another player’s game, seek them out and kill them but be warned as the same could happen to you.
As I previously said when you die you will lose all the souls you have gathered along the way but fear not as the cleaver part about this game is you can get them back! But only once! This is the games brilliance, picture this; you are far into a level, defeating some tough enemies and now a slight lack of preparation and concentration you have let the enemy take the upper hand and now you are trapped, you are swiftly killed and your souls remain as a blood splatter at the same point you died. If you can only get back there! And that’s what you will try and do! It took you ages to get those souls; you want them back don’t you! Sure you do, this is why you will go back to the start of the level and try your best to get back at the same spot you lost your precious souls. However this time around you will be cocky and try and rush back to the same spot which is the worst mistake anyone can make. Chances are you will be annoyed and frustrated, you may choose to try and run past some enemies but what is this! Now you have aggroed loads of easy enemies and they are chasing you, oh dear this does not look good does it! And you die again. Trouble is once you die before getting back to your souls those souls will now be gone for good and the new place you died with less souls will now takes its place. As Souls are everything in this game (currency/used to level up) it gets very annoying when you lose them for good.
The game is outstanding at keeping you on edge when you are first tackling an area. The game constantly saves automatically so don’t think you can turn the game off and back on again to avoid any mistakes. Demon’s Souls is also played online, you will see other ghost type characters running around the game which you cannot interact with unless you invite them into your world to help you out or they choose to invade your world and come after you. What these ghost players can do is leave messages for you, most will be helpful but be warned as some are there to throw you off guard and lead you to your doom. As well as messages you will see blood splatters which when activated will show you a red ghost of another player’s final moment so you can learn by their mistake.
Demon’s Souls is a lot of trial and error, you will accept being in Soul mode for 90% of the game, the first level will take you hours to get to grips with and you may feel you haven’t progressed at all while you learn routes and how the game works.
The battle system is spot on, the graphics look fantastic and the game is a pleasure to play. Some of the bosses are easier than the levels themselves and once you have finished you can play through a New Game + keeping all your items and level but with increased difficulty.
Please don’t let the difficulty put you off what is a fantastic game, you will be rewarded for those hard fought battles. Learn by your mistakes and I’ll see you around in Dark Souls.