Demon's Souls screenshot
Demon's Souls screenshot

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.

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User Comments

Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar

Stegosaurus-Guy-II@ Doyle41

You can't blame falling off cliffs on the controls.

All of my other posts in this are wrong, I changed my mind when I played it more and found out that it was actually really easy.
Posted 10:20 on 02 September 2010
Doyle41's Avatar

Doyle41

I was foolish enouph to buy this game and discovered the reason I can't call myself a gamer. Give me a story and an easy level. I definately wouldn't rate this game a 9. I would give it no more than a 7.5. Looks decent. Okay controls (except falling off cliffs during fights). Absolutely no story worth mentioning. I'll take Dragon Age all day over this title.
Posted 00:05 on 02 September 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ Stegosaurus-Guy-II

Dont you mean it's as difficult as the games we were playing 10 years ago and everyone has gone soft in the head? ;)
Posted 09:27 on 14 July 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ Stegosaurus-Guy-II

I'm gonna' be honest, this is the only reason I half want to play it.
Posted 19:04 on 13 July 2010
Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar

Stegosaurus-Guy-II@ tsep23

Nooo it's not.

It's the 'look at me, I'm playing a HARD game' of this generation.
Posted 19:03 on 13 July 2010
tsep23's Avatar

tsep23

There is a big difference between impossible and hard. Yes this game is hard. That said, it is far from impossible. This is a must play for every gamer. It's the Zelda of this generation.
Posted 18:06 on 13 July 2010
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ Endless

I think not rushing in with the rambo mentality is much easier said than done! At least it is for me, anyway.

Some people seem to be naturally find it easier than others, but it's one of the few games I've played that even the people who aren't immediately good like the game enough to keep trying. I was absolutely terrible at the start, but I never felt like giving up.

Also, thanks for the comments!
Posted 13:47 on 13 July 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless@ Stegosaurus-Guy-II

My experience of it is that it's neither of those, so that's probably why :P

I really enjoyed my brief stint with it at Lee's, though certainly quite unforgiving you can wade in a fair bit without worrying about being pixel perfect with your strikes, at least early on. The most difficult thing it concentrating and keeping your ego and rambo head in check!! lol.
Posted 12:24 on 13 July 2010
Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar

Stegosaurus-Guy-II

I still can't force myself to play this game and I don't know why, because I love obscure JRPG's that are impossible to play.
Posted 22:40 on 12 July 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

Great first review Martin! However I'll have to add this to the already lengthy list of great PS3 exclusives that I really want to play!
Posted 18:53 on 12 July 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

This sounds like something I never want to play.
Posted 16:04 on 12 July 2010
Peake-a-boo's Avatar

Peake-a-boo

Definitelt getting this next pay day, might also get a couple of new controllers in case I smash mine of the wall!
Posted 14:38 on 12 July 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

As much as I like loot and being challenged, this game would result in, at the very least, a broken 40" Bravia :(
Posted 12:15 on 12 July 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

still considering buying this but im a sore loser and would get very frustrated with it and give up and get back to it a week later might rent b4 a buy.
great 1st review martin
Posted 12:09 on 12 July 2010
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11

Good review Martin, as Wido pointed out, the first paragraph hits the feel of the game perfectly.

A little addition though: You can resurrect yourself not only by killing a boss or helping other players but also by using a 'Stone of Ephemeral Eyes', an item that drops quite frequently. There is also a merchant in 5-1 and 5-2 who sells them. I personally didn't bother and played most of the game in soul form.

What I love about the game is the challenge and the small details. For example: You don't make a noise (footsteps etc.) when you are in soul form, but you do when you are alive.
Posted 08:54 on 12 July 2010

Game Stats

Demon's Souls
9
Out of 10
Demon's Souls
  • One of the most unique RPGs in years
  • Victory is sublime
  • Often frustrating
  • Intentionally inaccessible
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 25/06/2010
Platform: PS3
Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: RPG
No. Players: 1 + Online
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 308
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