If Satan ever decided to get into the gaming industry and develop a game I imagine the end result would be something very much like Demon’s Souls. To say that this game is the hardest on the PS3 is inaccurate. It is in fact probably the hardest game ever made. I honestly didn’t believe it until I played it, but seriously this game is brutal. Not only brutal but much of the time it seems unnecessarily so. Strangely that is also what makes Demon’s Souls so damn good.
I consider myself a hardcore gamer but I play games for the experience, not the challenge. That means my first playthrough of any game will always be on the easiest difficulty setting available. I honestly don’t see the appeal of wanting to repeat the same section of a game over and over in absolute frustration. That’s not why I play games. I have enough stress and frustration in my personal life without that added on top. So I was wary about getting Demon’s Souls, I only did in the end because we’re in the lull for game releases and I had little else to play. I saw the trailer for the game long before I ever heard anything about it and knew I wanted it just based on that, but then I heard about the difficulty and it being a Japanese export only. Fortunately Demon’s Souls has now come to both the US and Europe in the form of the Black Phantom Edition.
This special edition of the game includes a CD soundtrack, art book and strategy guide as well as the game itself. The guide is something you will definitely be needing. The storyline of Demon’s Souls is generic RPG in every way and is the game’s weakest point. In the larger scheme of things the story rarely even shines in the game, and only ever vaguely references it. You will spend most of the game in confusion and wondering what on earth is going on. The king of Boleteria has sought the power of the souls and managed to awaken the great demon known as the Old One, unleashing a fog that has spread over the land bringing with it both demons and monsters. At the end of the tutorial level you are killed and brought to the Nexus and brought back to life in spirit form by the Maiden In Black. The Nexus is a place where sages hold the seal that contain the Old One and you are tasked, without a choice since you are spirit bound to the Nexus, to defeat the demons.
From a graphics standpoint, Demon’s Souls is both ugly and generic but it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the game. It looks like what it is, a dark fantasy action RPG. Character customisation is particularly poor since you can’t create anyone that doesn’t look like they’ve been beaten by the ugly stick repeatedly from birth, but since you only really see your character from behind it doesn’t really matter all that much. The bigger boss enemies have a good design and look great though.
The audio in Demon’s Souls is pretty much non-existent and another of its weak spots. The only time you will really hear music is during boss battles, whilst playing the majority of the game there will be huge stretches without any music at all. The sound effects are what you would expect and strangely all the characters you meet have a Scottish accent, but audio is not really something people notice much unless it really stands out as something special which it doesn’t in Demon’s Souls.
It is the gameplay that shines in Demon’s Souls. It is a curious game. To be fair it doesn’t really have a lot going for it except one thing. The only thing that makes Demon’s Souls stand out as something special is the difficulty. If it wasn’t so frustratingly hard I don’t think anyone would have given it a second glance. Without that the game would probably be a load of complete rubbish and it definitely would not have the fan base that it does now. Every single action you take must be thought out carefully and strategically because the cost of failure is so unbearably high. It is that which makes the game so addictive, nothing else. A word of warning, if you play this game you are going to die more times than you can keep track of. The game is incredibly unforgiving.