Demon's Souls - PS3 Review
|22/6/2010||Namco Bandai||Namco Bandai||From Software||1||None|
First things first. Why the hell has it taken me almost 2 months to review this game? Well there are a couple of reasons. The first is that it took me a couple of weeks after release to get the game. Second is that this game is pretty lengthy and will take some time to get through. Finally this game is rock hard requiring a lot of time and patience to master everything, if that's even possible. Still, as an overall product this game comes highly recommended, but we suggest your read on...
|Demon's Souls is out now on PS3.|
Demon's Souls has quite an interesting storyline... King Allant the XII, the last king of Boletaria, searched tirelessly to expand his might. The Nexus, a great ice shrine nestled in the mountains, bestowed the power of the souls onto him, bringing prosperity to his kingdom. Still unsated, he returned again to the Nexus, where he foolishly awakened the Old One from its eternal slumber. This long forgotten evil, now wrought upon Boletaria, plunged the realm into darkness and fog. A mighty demon horde poured into the kingdom, devouring the souls of men.
Demon's Souls is a third person RPG developed by From Software in Japan. The game is structured in a very open-world kind of way and you can select any areas to explore at any time, although some areas will require some pretty good weaponry to progress far. As you kill enemies you collect their souls, but should you die you will drop them all. How does this matter? Well these can be used to buy items and upgrade weapons. When you die, and you will, you can attempt to go back and re-collect those dropped souls, but you'll need to make it back to that exact spot or, should you die again, they will be lost forever.
|From Software's Demon's Souls looks good.|
It's also critical to upgrade your character which is possible by either picking up dropped weapons and items, or by purchasing items in the main hub. It's critical that you upgrade your character to take on some of the larger and more powerful enemies - but you probably already knew that I'm guessing.
One of the coolest aspects of this game is the online functionality. For the first part of the game, and when you're online, you will see "impressions" on the ground that look like bloodstains. Touch these and you will see the progress of someone who recently died. You'll see where they went wrong, be it killed by an enemy or falling off a cliff, and then use their deaths to avoid the same fate for yourself. It's a brilliant system. It's also possible to leave notes for other gamers. Further in you will be able to jump into someone else’s game which can help in the larger battles, or wreak havoc in their game. In in all honesty we preferred playing Demon's Souls by ourselves, but loved the hint and death replay sequences.
|At times the game does look a little bland though.|
So what about the negatives? Well many may consider one of the games positives, that being the insane difficulty, as one of the negatives too. You will die in this game, and die, and die, and die. You won't die dozens of times, probably not even a couple of hundred, but possibly thousands. Does that make this game crap? Hell no. Actually it's this level of difficulty that makes you learn the levels, learn each enemies attacks and learn who to attack and how to defeat them or who to avoid. If you die you go back to the start of the level, not some checkpoint 2 minutes earlier, you're talking perhaps 30 minutes prior to your demise. I loved this. It reminded me of old-school games back in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras where there were no save, and progress was trial and error from the beginning of the game to where you die and then ultimately progress a litte further.
While we here at Futuregamez never received these extras the Australian Black Phantom Edition you can expect a bonus art book, and also a bonus CD with music from the game. A nice added bonus but you better be quick as that version is almost sold out before the game returns to a more normal edition.
|We suggest you listen to in-game advice.|
Visuals in Demon's Souls are generally very good and kick off with a gorgeous opening cinematic. The developers really have captured the look and art style from a European setting. Characters look great and their animations too are quite solid. Menus are also quite clean and clear.
There are a couple of negatives however. The frame rate is sometimes a little inconsistent, especially when it gets busy on screen, and there is the occasional clipping issue however these never get to the point where the gameplay is diminished. What we found quite disappointing was the way in which the enemies, after you've cut them down, lie on the ground like ragdolls but when you walk past them they'll often get stuck on your feet and flick around which looks totally unrealistic.
|Demon's Souls isn't for the feint of heart.|
The audio in this release really is a mixed bag. Starting with the positives the music really is atmospheric and suits the tone of the game perfectly. Even more impressive though are the audio effects such as swords clashing, or the woosh of a fireball. It all comes together so well and is amplified with great use of surround sound channels.
Unfortunately the audio also provides one of the biggest issues in the game with some pretty terrible dialogue at times (at other times though it's quite acceptable) which takes you out of the game. Also there was the occasional audio glitch/technical hiccup. Talk to someone and walk out of the room and rather then the speech fading out as it would as you move further away, it cuts out dead.
|Damn that's one massive enemy ahead...|
Demon's Souls will gobble you up, chew you and spit you out making you it's bitch along the way. This game is hard, for hardcore gamers, but a complete joy to play. No matter how many times you die you'll keep going back for more and that's the mark of a great game. Perhaps it could have been a little more forgiving with mid-level checkpoints, but this really is a game which hardcore gamers should check out. Superb.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||Characters and locations really look wonderful with plenty of atmosphere. Some minor glitches.||86%|
|SOUND||Great music and effects while the speech is a little hit and miss.||85%|
|GAMEPLAY||This is a very entertaing RPG that will require some patience, but the end result is certainly worth the time required.||92%|
|VALUE||Even ignoring the difficulty level this is a fairly lengthy game which will keep you playing for days on end.||90%|
|OVERALL||Tough as nails this RPG is a great game which every hardcore gamer should check out. The only disappointment is that we've had to wait over a year to see this game in Australia. Excellent stuff.||88%|