Demon's Souls Review

Demon's Souls Review

Following a really successful launch in Japan, there was actually quite a bit of demand for Demon's Souls to be released in North America. Fortunately, Atlus USA decided to pick the game up and publish it, making it the first PlayStation 3 title that they've published. There are actually quite a lot of games that are never seen outside of Japan, so has Atlus USA made a good decision to bring this Action RPG to a Western audience?

As is often the case, the game's inhospitable world was created through noble intentions. King Allant XII attempted to bring peace and prosperity to his Kingdom by channelling the power of souls, but his lust for the ultimate power of peace power awakened the Old One from his slumber, and a blanket of fog edged around Boletaria cutting it off from the outside world. Those who entered the fog never returned, and with the fog came the arrival of soul-sucking demons. Those who lost their souls, also lost their minds, and as the demons ravaged the land Boletaria was thrown into chaos. Players take the role of an adventurer entering the fog for whatever personal goal they choose. Some knights, some thieves, others royalty, their goal remains the same - to kill every last demon walking the realm of Boletaria and send the Old One back to his eternal slumber.

Though each level in the game is given a brief history, players must work hard in order to dive into the current events of the demon-ravaged Boletaria. Friendly vendors, stranded knights and captured combatants encountered in the world will provide hints and assistance where they see fit and it is these lucky survivors that drive the story with their internal ambition and rivalries. Though it is entirely possible to avoid saving these men and women, the bonuses offered range from new items, unlocked paths, as well as gaining more insight as to Boletaria's condition. Discovering what exactly happened to those who have entered the fog before enables the player to learn from their mistakes, and it is this unique form of storytelling that allows players to pick and choose what aspects of the world they're immersed in. The groundwork is laid for an extremely complex world that is explored at the player's own pace and digression.

The gameplay follows a similar vein as the story, with many of the deeper elements of the game being easy to miss. Players are given the choice of ten classes to choose from, each offering a different set of starting stats, items, and spells. Controls are extremely intuitive, a simple weak attack and a strong attack for every weapon type are controlled by the right bumper and trigger. Separate individual button assignments exist for using items, casting spells, and evading attacks. The system itself is extremely easy to learn, the difficulty is in using it flawlessly.

Enemies in game always spawn in the same places and will never scale up in difficulty with your level, nor will they come at players in endless waves in an attempt to wear them down. Instead, Demon's Souls encourages memorizing where foes may lie in wait and responding to them quickly. Levels are littered with traps that are aimed to hinder the player, but can easily be turned against the enemy. Foes will charge wielding torches only to detonate an explosive barrel shrouded in the darkness just out of sight. On a second encounter however, the barrels can be exploded early by a magic or the fight can simply be taken away from explosives altogether. Learning how to turn each deadly environment into an advantage is part of the challenge of the game, though doing so often takes more then one death.