Review: Demon’s Souls

Pros:

  • Very long, will take a long time to complete
  • Satisfying combat
  • Intriguing multi-player setup
  • Good presentation (graphics, sound and interface)
  • Completing an area gives an immense sense of reward

Cons:

  • Lacks some depth in terms of towns, quests and friendly NPCs
  • The penalty for death is extremely tough compared to most modern-day games, meaning patience is required and it’s not for everyone
  • Complexity gives a fairly steep learning curve

Demon’s Souls is a very good game. It’s not a fabulous game. On the one hand, it’s hard to recommend to anyone who isn’t a hardcore RPG fan or who doesn’t have a mountain of patience at their disposal. On the other hand, Demon’s Souls rarely puts a foot wrong – the game mechanics are tough but fair. If you learn from your mistakes, you will progress. You don’t die from random issues or problems with the game itself, only your own error as a rule. Really, all this means is that it’s a return to the old days when dieing in a game meant losing all your stuff and having to start the level again. It’s just that the levels are very, very long.

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A lot of people aren’t emotionally equipped to tolerate that these days because they are used to the more modern, softer, hand-holding approach, but this game is set up to make you learn a little each time, rinse and repeat until you get your strategy right and have memorised what to do in each particular situation with each particular enemy. If you are up for that challenge, Demon’s Souls is deep, fluent at its craft and unmissable.

Score: 8/10

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72 Comments

  1. I haven’t read the whole Review. Actually I only read the first few lines. But I really don’t agree on the ‘hard’ thing. I completed the game once and I’m halfway through New Game+.
    To my opinion a hard game is a game where you’ll die multiple times at the same spot. Without any kind of progress. This isn’t what I experience while playing DS.
    Yes, you’ll die, but that isn’t because the game is very hard, but just because you’re acting reckless and not paying attention to your surroundings. Especially when you actually killed the first boss it all becomes a lot ‘easier’.
    I don’t want to say that you’re wrong Katy and I’m not stating the game is easy. But I just want to say that I, perhaps of the few, did not experience this game as very hard.
    Sorry for not reading the whole Review. I’ll do that when I’m home from work.

    • I read a little further and I see that you’re explaining ‘a different kind of hard’. Sorry again for not reading this before, but my above statement still stands. =P

      • i agree, many reviewers have just gone on about how hard it is rather than tell us whats wrong with the technical side of the game.
        the only problem i see is that most the reviewers are getting owned because their used to playing easier games and not “paying attention to your surroundings” like you say.
        in some games you can run to an edge and there will be an invisible wall but in this you dont get that kind of cheesy help which imo makes it a more realistic game.
        im glad that apart from difficulty, theres not much wrong with this and so im gonna pick up the phantom black edition today.
        DS reviews make it clear why games of today are way to easy.

    • I only read the first few lines of your reply and I don’t really agree with it…

      ;)

    • Agree with this the game is not hard it punishes you for stupid mistakes and thus you have to learn from them. I restarted the game over 10 times with diffrent characters each time learning from the deaths. The first boss which most people will die i could beat without getting hit once just because you have got to grips with the mechanics its a very traditional and old school style of RPG. Also makes every demon soul so much more rewarding and striking fear into any player as you dont know what will be around the next corner. Cant stand people who are negative on a game just because they cant play it. Patience is what people may need at the start but finding new armour, smashing massive weapons down on enemies the size of you is just too much fun. Best RPG this generation and near best game on the PS3, this game should be a console selling game.

  2. Another fine review katy. You’ve kinda put me off this though, i love rpg’s, and i’m always up for a challenge, but this sounds like it could get frustrating. May wait a year or so til it’s a proper bargain then pick it up. I’d be annoyed to pay full whack for a game i might not end up playing too much.

  3. I generally don’t have a whole heap of patience when it comes to games, having not even completed Uncharted 2 yet due to the unholy number of times I keep dying, but having read this review and so many other articles about DS since it was first release, I’ve always been really intrigued by it, and definitely would love to give it a go. Who knows, if I make it through I might finally complete the 20+ games I have left to complete as well! Great review :)

    • With Uncharted2 it is worth dropping a difficulty level or 2 as the story progression makes it worth it

      • I’m literally right at the end, but I can never find myself wanting to finish it now which is a shame

    • Started and finished Uncharted 2 first time on Hard. Loved it. Challenging and was just left wanting more.

  4. If there isn’t a easy setting im not interested (or good enough really). What can i say im a wimp, i may just rent it as i dont want to get my ass beat over, over, over and over again for £40

    • u still wouldnt get past the first level if u rent, this may take me years

  5. Reminds me of Ghouls N Ghosts, not gameplay-wise obviously but in terms of learning your way through a tricky path & if so much as 1 of your character’s pixels comes into contact with anything else then you lose all your armour & have to proceed wearing only a loin cloth, knowing that death and restarting the level is imminent.

    Again, the only way to progress was through learning from your mistakes.

    Demon’s Souls doesn’t sound the game for me, I easily get fed up repeating my steps in modern games as it is, without that being part of the core design.

    • You should rent it. I get easily fed up, too. But DS is different from other modern games. You die if you make a mistake whereas in other games you die because of controls/camera or AI problems.
      AND repeating stuff in DS is actually fun. After defeating your first boss you actually have different levels you can play in parallel so if you die in one level you can first try a different one. Motivation is always high so you should rent it and play until you defeated the first boss.

  6. I love it, this is the kind of games that make me sweat… and not WoW or stuff like that, no offense anyone, you can play lying on your bed.

    Demon’s Souls is the BEST game I have ever played… and that’s a HUGE amount of years//games.

  7. Can’t praise this game enough. I’ve had it for ages and it still holds it’s own. A superb game. Can’t wait for the follow up!

    • I agree with this wholeheartedly.
      I imported the US version last year and absolutely love it :)

      • I got DS on day 1 here in the US and finished my 1st playthrough at around 65 hours, only because I love Boletaria! NG+ is great because new areas only accessible with certain tendency in NG are all open…

  8. I found this game too hard! but my son (15) loves it and has completed it about 8-9 times now.

    • how long does a playthrough last?

  9. Very nice review. I’ve read a few but still didn’t really understand what it was all about. I think I might pick this up in my next dry patch, maybe after I finish red dead and final fantasy. Also, what stops you from loading your prvious game back up once you die?

    • Saving is tied to your character, it saves automatically when you complete a dungeon or upgrade your stats, and at no other point. So there is no way to load a save from part-way through an area.

      • This is not correct, at least for the asian version. It saves if you pick up an item, it saves if you change your equipment and it saves if you use “quit game”. So you can pick up the game at the point where you left last time. This definately works midlevel.
        BUT if you die, it saves instantly so reloading doesnt work. Rage quitting not recommended ;)

      • Maybe you could recheck your american version and update the part of the review saying you have to play for 30min or longer?
        Otherwise great review!

      • DJ-KATHY is partially incorrect, the Game saves every few seconds, descreetly in the background. My PS3 crashed mid way through a battle and upon re-booting I was plonked smack bang in the middle of the battle again.

      • Sorry, you’re both right of course. It does save whenever you equip or make some character alteration otherwise you would lose the stuff when you re-spawn. What I meant to say was you can’t go back when you die to an earlier save because it saves when you die.

        I finished this review late last night, need sleep :P

      • Thanks for clearing that up everybody! It had been bugging me for a while. I think I may pick it up and try to plat it over the next 6 months for bragging rights. The eyepet and ashes cricket platinum has lost me some trophy respect i feel

      • You are all partially correct but not entirely. The game saves when you die but not before you respawn at the start, you have maybe 10-15 seconds of “you died” and loading screens before it saves. I actually got through my second and third playthrough by quitting to xmb instantly the moment i died and forcing the game to save every time a hard bit came up by changing a piece of equip. Works like a charm but be careful not to quit after the loading screen goes away since your save can get borked. That also helps a lot if you’re trying to get white world tendancy.
        There was no mention of the fact that as you progress through a level you usually unlock shortcuts that makes it a lot easier to reach your body or boss if you should die which is a nice feature!

      • I did mention that.

      • So you did, I apologize.

  10. My god, this sounds hard!
    Will have to rent it or something to see if i can master it :)

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