Or, instead, you can just be a bit of a knob and jump into random games to chase people around a bit – though doing stuff like this gives the game a tendency to throw bigger, nastier monsters in your direction later on.
The whole process can be mortifying, and spending ten minutes fighting tooth-and-nail against some gnarly boss beastie, only to have it zap your entire health bar in one hit, can have a devastating knock on your psyche. That’s the rock bottom moment for Demon’s Souls, but you’ll be feeling it far too often for comfort.
Your only sanctuary is provided by the Nexus, a mystical hub world which features two floors of dead half-human marionette torsos, apart from a single survivor who instructs you of your mission to slay evil and give a Devil-like figure a jolly good shoeing. Like the rest of the game, the Nexus is an elaborate construction of Medieval-inspired architecture peppered with twisting staircases, crumbling walls and not nearly enough light sources. The Havok physics engine can mess with the otherwise pitch-perfect atmosphere, however, with enemies tumbling around beneath your feet like crisp autumnal leaves.
While the magnificent and ornate boss encounters will provide the most severe test of your mettle, even lowly monsters can ship you back to the start of the level if you’re careless. Successfully kill a baddie and you’ll pick up a few souls for your efforts - these double up as both the in-game monetary and levelling currency. The game provides you a convenient item bank from the offset, but there’s no way to store your precious souls. If you die (and you will) the game robs you of the souls in your possession, which is like kicking someone when they’re down.
Find your bloodstain, left at the location of your demise, and you’ll be able to recover the souls you lost; die again before reaching it and you can wave them goodbye. The game’s greatest accomplishment is in the way it creates a lingering sense of unease and dread, and when you actually manage to reclaim your body you’ll find yourself clinging onto it for dear life, tentatively creeping around corners and rarely lowering your shield. Your instinct is always to stay in the safety of light, though that’s extremely difficult for a game perpetually shrouded in darkness. Eventually, you’ll accept that death is part of the process – and you don’t lose any of your items for popping your clogs, either.