Developer(s): Bluepoint Games
Publisher(s): PlayStation Studios
Director(s): Gavin Moore
Platform(s): PlayStation 5
Release: NA/OC: November 12, 2020 WW: November 19, 2020
Genre(s): Action role-playing
Mode(s): Single-player, multiplayer
"Link to Purchase at GameStop and Amazon Below"
2009 was when I originally played Demon’s Souls on my PlayStation 3 as I remember going into my local GameStop here in Honolulu, HI and the store manager who knew exactly the kinds of games I loved playing insisted I picked up that game and play it. While I was hesitant, I bought it and fell in love with it and eventually went on to play other games in the Souls series and genre from the spiritual successor series Dark Souls to the Nioh Series and more. Demon’s Souls inspired an entire genre to be born from its tight and difficult yet rewarding gameplay, however, this game did not take off in the way that Dark Souls did and thus here we are roughly 10+ years later with a from the ground up remake of the original with a looming question of does this 1:1 remake retain the essence of what made the original a masterpiece, or is it just a shameless cash in on the remaster trend? Let’s find out!
Demon's Souls is set in Boletaria, a kingdom consumed by a dark being called the Old One following its release through the use of forbidden Soul Arts. You role is to take on the mantle of a hero brought to Boletaria to kill its fallen king Allant and pacify the Old One.
This is the origin of the “Souls” style of gameplay or the “It’s Dark Souls HARD” as this game can be BRUTAL in its difficulty. Demon’s Souls doesn’t hold your hand at all and expects you to learn from dying and trust me you will be dying A LOT!. Your character moves about fairly normal as per any 3rd person action game with a few exceptions being that you have no ability to jump and, with the exception of walking and running, every action you take drains your stamina bar from sprinting, blocking attacks, dodge rolling, and attacking.
Your button layout is setup to Cross being the interact button, Circle being the run and dodge roll/evade button, Square is your item usage button, R1 is you light attack with R2 being heavy Attack and R3 being lock on, and L1 being block with L2 being parry.
With nearly every action draining your stamina gauge, you’ll need to make sure you approach every encounter in a strategic manner as you don’t want to be rushing into situations as if you’re LEEEEEROYYYYYYY JENKINNNNNSSSS as that’ll be a swift end to you. The best approaches in this game is patience as that alone is your BIGGEST advantage in every situation as it’ll allow you to be able to avoid a lot of damage, traps, and cheap deaths (You will still die a lot).
You’ll come across rooms and areas where you’ll have a few enemies littered about from ranged attackers to melee attackers and more. You have to be careful because you literally can be killed in a few hits if not one hit. There is a block button in L1 and a parry button in L2 which allows parry most attacks and open enemies up to either a one hit kill or a devastating riposte attack which will take off a large chunk of health from enemies. Each enemy has a pattern that you won't immediately see from the get go but if you apply PATIENCE to yourself (IRL not a skill in the game) then you’ll eventually come to a point where you can avoid damage or reduce your damage intake as well as keeping you from dying from sudden swarms of enemies or flurry of attacks. Even bosses have patterns which can be avoided making them a push over such as the Armored Spider which has easily avoidable fireballs and slowdown webs which require you to dodge left or right and then its double arm swipe which all you have to do is dodge roll forward to fully avoid any damage and etc.
Speaking of bosses, they all look incredibly majestic in this new engine and yet they still fall to the same tactics as before if you played the 2009 original. If you haven’t played the original then just be ready to expect a need to grind to get both better gear and items as you will be crushed and crushed a lot until you learn the boss patterns and the parameters of the character class you decided on going with when you created your character.
Yes there is character creation in this game as you start off the game selecting you gender and class from knight to monk to soldier and more each with their own set of boons and disadvantages be it in strength, constitution, endurance/stamina, and more. You can decide how your character looks from facial features, skin color, hair, tattoos, scars, and etc.
Blue Point Games deserves an award for how they brought this classic back to life with a fresh coat of HD paint and a smooth higher refresh rate to make it be as butter smooth as possible no matter if you’re playing this game in 4K at 60FPS or in 1080P at 60 FPS. It looks MILES better than what the original looked like and even then the original was no slacker in looks, it was however hampered with long load times and murky/muddy textures as well as occasional slowdown.
This remake honestly makes everything better as its remade from the ground up and everything looks all the better. Your avatar looks incredible along with the enemies and especially the locals. The bloom effects look spectacular and every area has that creepy atmospheric look to it. The level of detail in the first level alone is substantial and the fog effects look amazing unlike any other I’ve seen in a game and honestly is something that I hope that if we ever get another Silent Hill game that they reach out to Blue Point Games on how to effectively use fog and lighting to create a truly tense atmosphere.
It’s Demon’s Souls, nuff said.
Everything here sounds like the original with extra layers of clarity. The main theme is as majestic as it was over a decade ago and the sounds of enemies groans and grunts to the sounds of the clashing of sword on bone and scale to explosions and more are all just breathtaking. The voice acting, even as limited as it is, is still superb.
Not a bad thing to say here
Aside from the fact this is the game that birthed the it’s “Souls HARD” term and meme, there aren’t really any downsides to this other than the difficulty of which isn’t very difficult if you are patient and learn patterns and know your class and abilities.
The game isn’t very new player friendly and it is incredibly hard and will put off many players who don’t have the patience to endure how this game teaches you its mechanics, however, that’s the charm of this game.
Let me say this, Demon’s Souls is NOT a game for everyone. It is brutally hard if you’ve never played a Souls game, it relishes in your defeat, is gleeful in your misery, and yet once you learn how this games mechanics operate and learn the patterns of enemies and traps then this game opens up into being a beautiful nightmare of a masterpiece that you will be hooked on. From gorgeous visuals to a hauntingly epic soundtrack to a tough to learn yet rewarding to master gameplay system to incredibly strategic gameplay with TONS of replay value and more; Demon’s Souls is the masterpiece that every gamer should experience and is a game you should have in your collection!