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Demon's Souls

version: pal (uk), black phantom edition - year: 2010 - developer: from software - publisher: namco bandai - format: pc3, blu-ray - condition: good - rarity: uncommon

The euro limited edition includes an OST, an art book and a vital guide book which will save you many deaths. Demon's Souls was developed by From Software, which also developed the first-person RPG series of King's Field.

 

A demonic mist is spreading across the land and only you can do something about it. You'll just die a billion times before you achieve anything though!

 

A good way to get your ass kicked is to run around corridors thinking this is an action game.

 

Some bosses play more like a puzzle game.

 

Hey, let's get the party started! The game does not pause to let you select weapons, spells or manage your inventory, so that you know...

 

Save a prayer?

 

This ugly thing is better killed with projectiles from afar

 

Here, you'll get a huge and I mean HUGE enchanted sword to deal with these flying sting-rays.

Review -I read so much about the unearthly difficulty of Demon's Souls, about how challenging, unforgiving and sadistic it is that I really felt like trying it out.

Demon's Souls indeed brings back the challenge of the old days, and basically ignores all the now-standard elements which make modern games accessible to all, like check-points, regenerating health or the ability to save anytime, anywhere.

Well, sort of.

The game actually constantly auto-saves a number of things, like items collected or used, short-cuts unlocked, Demons Souls collected, but progress per se is not saved during a level. Die and it is back from the start.

After over an hour of playtime, you finally manage to get to the boss. You go though the door and BANG, he hits you once and sends you back the way you came from, i.e. the beginning of the level.

Moreover, once you die, you reappear in ghost form, with basically half your health bar. To revive, you need to destroy the demon guardian of a level and collect his soul or get summoned online by another player and defeat the end-of-level boss with him.

So in a way, Demon's Souls punishes you for failing and encourages you to play conservatively.

Exploration is generally rewarding though (because you keep everything you find even if you get killed) but sometimes, you'll have to weigh the pros and cons of exploring versus playing it safe and stay on the main path to minimize your chances of dying horribly.

Any enemy you kill will grant you Souls, which are basically the currency with which you can upgrade your character stats, your weapons and get new items.

When you die, you actually lose all of the accumulated Souls although you are granted one chance to get them back if you manage to walk back to your own blood pool, which appears where you last died. If you die before reaching that point, those Souls will be lost forever. Bwahahahahahahaha!!!!

Demon's Souls universe is cryptic, meaning that many of the elements governing the events in the game such as character and world tendencies are not explained at all anywhere, which is a bit disorienting.

On top of that, Demon's Souls never gives you a hint about what levels and bosses you should play first, so playing it without a strategy book means dying a thousand times and maybe some more.

Demons Souls atmosphere is simply without rivals though: the sense of melancholy, hopelessness, desolation and loneliness can sometimes be almost overwhelming, but luckily the online mode kind of alleviates this.

When you play online, you'll actually see ghost characters walking around. These sometimes are helpful because they can show you how to pass certain obstacles for instance.

Also, players can leave each-other messages on the floor, sharing hints or asking for help. By analyzing bloodstains of other players, you'll be able to see how they died. Sometimes this is very useful to avoid the same fate!

If you play online and are actually alive (and not in ghost form) things will get even more interesting as you'll be able to summon players (up to two simultaneously) to help you out in certain spots.

The risk is that your game could also get invaded by a red phantom, which is a player who will try to kill you to increase his Soul level and revive.

Related to this, I played the game purposefully in ghost form most of the time, as I played following the advice of the included wikidot strategy guide. When I reached the last level, I felt I wanted to play "alive" and not as a ghost so I started summoning players for help and that was really good fun until my game got eventually invaded by a red ghost.

We fought for over 30 minutes as he took down both of my allies and then we went on a one-on-one duel which was simply epic. He was heavier but with powerful weapons and spells, I was lighter and rolling everywhere around him. I got very close to kill him 2 or 3 times, but he kept eating grass to regenerate his health and mana so in the end, we were both exhausted and simply stared at each other for minutes, not knowing how to win this never ending battle. The stand-off eventually ended when I started running back towards the beginning of the level to try and summon an ally. He followed me but realized too late my intention so I was able to summon an ally and we finally sandwiched the red ghost to his doom!!

I then proceeded to summon another ally and we took the last boss 3 on 1, annihilating him!

This online experience was so much fun that I kinda felt sorry I only experienced it on the last level. I have to say that I enjoyed it though because my character was strong enough to be able to fight a red ghost without being disadvantaged.

In the end, Demon's Souls is very hard and unforgiving at the beginning, but as you make progress, learn it and get better weapons and stats, it becomes more manageable.

Online play is clever and really contributes to the overall experience.
Demon's Souls dark and oppressing atmosphere is really what sets it apart from everything I have played in a long time. Every single step feels like a victory in itself. Unlocking short-cuts will make you feel euphoric, and beating an end-of-level demon will make you feel like you achieved the unachievable.

Bottom line: If you are up to the challenge, grab your sword, lift your shield up and carefully take a few steps into Demon's Souls twisted and dark universe. You will soon realize that the real enemy will be your own fear. 9/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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