This will probably come as a surprise but I kind of like Demon’s Souls. “Kind of like” in the sense of a genuine epic man-love involving dirty sex and lots of touching. I wish Demon’s Souls could bear my children. I wish Demon’s Souls could love me as I love it, but it doesn’t. But this month it might!
To celebrate the game’s one-year birthday and the fact that it just made it into the PS3’s Greatest Hits library (meaning it’s only $29.99 so buy it, even if you don’t have a PS3, just buy it so you can hold it at night), Atlus and From Software have announced that for the first half of October, all World Tendencies will be pure white. For the last half of October, they’ll all be pure black.
What does that mean? It means that from now until October 18, playing Demon’s Souls will be a little like getting beaten savagely with a spiked chain. From the 18th to the 31st, playing Demon’s Souls will be like getting beaten savagely with a spiked chain that’s been run down your throat and out your rectum, leaving just enough slack for all the savage beating. Enjoy!
Email the author of this post at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know this game gets a lot of grief for being super hard and all.. but it isn’t THAT hard. After reading so many terrified reviews and harsh suggestions I bought the game, and then spent 10 hours griding before I ever went into the second level, just because I was too afraid to die. But the death consequences aren’t that awful until late in the game, at which time you already have a pretty good grasp on it. My take on the game: it’s harder than your average game, but it’s not as masochistic as everyone makes it out to be. Well, it will be during that black world tendency event.
I dislike this game. I can see where people would like it, but it was like it was specifically designed in such a way to touch on almost everything that annoys me about games. For example, I hate doing things over and over again. I can’t stand it. During some of the more complex and annoying “jumping puzzle” in Half-Life 2, I would literally save the game after each successfull jump, simply because I didn’t want to keep having to do the same thing again and again. That’s pretty much what “Demon’s Souls” is: a repetitive grind.
Also, I am not great at video games. I tend to get a bit spastic when it comes to pressing buttons, which is why I tend to prefer turn-based games or games you can pause and think. Any success I have in quick thinking, button pressing games is merely a result of my wily ways and psychological edge. I am a button masher. Given that a lot of success in “Demons’ Souls” relies on quick, cracker-jack timing of combos and button pressing, I am doomed to screw up at some point. I will die. Then I will get annoyed that I am forced to fight everything I just spent the last 15 minutes fighting again and then, since I am annoyed at that, I will die even faster the next time and the whole thing just builds and builds until I quit.
I also never quite understood what the heck was going on in the game. As far as I could tell there was no coherent story, no sense of character or any kind of RPG aspect to it. I find just walking around and killing things and getting better stuff, without more, to be lacking. Story-wise it didn’t seem to be anymore involved than, say, “Golden Axe”.
It has a story but not much of one. You’re supposed to kind of make the story yourself based on story elements – there’s a lot of philosophy in Demon’s Souls, associated with the Knight of Faith concept, existential angst and dread, stuff like that.
What fascinates me about the game is that none of the things that usually bother me do. Jdeuel is right, it’s not “hard,” not like Zanac X Zanac or even Mega Man 9 is “hard.” It’s challenging but never unfair. The decisions you make as a player, as well as the penalty for failure (and those failures are always yours, not the game’s – you died because you made a bad decision), is what fuels the “it’s hard” claim.
It’s a revolutionary game in many ways, and it bears study. But I’m not the kind to pressure anyone who doesn’t like it into liking it. A lot of people freaking hated it.
If by making “a bad decision”, you mean accidently bumping the joy pad a little too far to the left when your guy is walking up some stairs in the “safe zone” with no combat going on and plunges to his demise , thus showing the lack of instincts found in infants and puppies, then I agree.
I do agree that its “challenging but never unfair.” That’s a very accurate statement. I just never found it to be particularly fun either. Too much in the way of grinding, repetition and annoyances.
Even beyond all of that, outside of the pretty interesting “multi-player and community” aspect of the game, which is very cool, I just fail to see what makes this game special or revolutionary. It’s a hack ‘n slash game.
Then again, my view on the importance of this game is likely very tainted by the fact that I don’t like it.
That being said, while I only played it once, I didn’t really like “Shadow of The Colossus” all that much either. I spent the entire time trying to climb up some giant’s arm, falling into the water, climbing back up, falling back into the water, etc. With THAT being said, I do understand what makes “Shadow of The Colossus” so special. I get that. Like, say, Michael Jordan, I may not like the game, but I totally understand why the game is so special and respect it for it. Can’t say the same for “Demons’ Souls.”
The multiplayer mechanic is a key factor in its revolutionary-ness. However, beyond that is the game design itself – for people who like it – the realization of its structure and its power to compel despite being what might seem like a repetitive grinder.
What I see it boiling down to is that it’s one of the rare games that makes you truly feel hard-won progress, and truly appreciate the risks of failure. Repetition annoys me as well but somehow Demon’s Souls didn’t. What I find interesting about the game is that it breaks all the rules in what should be considered a “bad” way and still manages to be such a masterstroke.
I want to play this, but inevitably it will be one of those games that I spend years intending on playing without ever doing so.
That said, I’ve never actually seen it for sale in the UK. I know it did come out over here, albeit in limited numbers, and I know it sold very well. That’s not an excuse for not buying it as the PS3 is region unlocked, although its never in the forefront of my mind long enough to bother with an import.
The dev team are working on a new project, I know that much, which I’ll probably try and pick up.
They are working on a new game called Project Dark, which is supposed to be a “successor” to Demon’s Souls in the same way Demon’s Souls was a successor to King’s Field. I will buy it even if it means cheating on my beloved Demon’s Souls to do so.
Mat, remember when you said you’d marry a zombie if you could? I’d marry Demon’s Souls if I could, and both marriages would end equally badly for both of us. : )
Heh… I purchased the Asian version of DS because I just couldn’t wait for Atlus to bring it over here. No celebratory tendency changes for me, I’m afraid.
Demon’s Souls truly makes you appreciate grind. It is a grindy game but it’s so cleverly made than even grind gets challenging and therefore fun. And it IS sadistically hard at points, even though, yeah, never unfairly so. For instance, the fight with the false king – the dude takes away your levels, for Allah’s sake!!!
Yeah, it’s grindy. I hated it sometimes. It was made worse by the fact it was the only PS3 game I owned for a while. Demon’s Souls is better played along side other games. It’s a nice break from shooters or TBS and the repetition and danger almost had a Zen-like quality to it.
Sadly, I sold it after finishing it because I never saw myself replaying it. I miss it. I’m sorry, Demon’s Souls! Come back!
I’m in Demon’s Souls first world, I don’t recall the name but I’m crossing a bridge patrolled by one pissed off and gargantuan dragon. He strafes the bridge with dragonfire every 20 seconds or so.
So I need to cross this bridge every time I die, which was often as I was encountering the demon dogs in the bridge’s interior and I hadn’t figured out how to fight them yet.
I was equipping my man for yet another fight with the damn things when I received the dreaded Black Phantom warning. Boivin…man…I don’t think I can adequately explain the onslaught of adrenaline, anxiety, and excitement when those words appear in Souls. At that moment, you know someone hunts you.
So I’m still on this bridge, trying to figure out what to do. I’m poking around in my inventory, considering the tactic of ambushing this bastard, when I spot him sprinting down the bridge, only seconds away from clubbing me as I play with my backpack.
I have no time to think. I close my inventory and swing at him just as he closes, taking him by surprise. He had thought me easy prey as I was motionless, I think, and I knew I had angered him as he came at me hard with some two-handed blade. The dragon roared as it continued to patrol the bridge, but it was unable to hit us as we were battling in the tower only just beyond.
The fight dragged on, with neither of us gaining a clear edge as our two health bars slowly dwindled. My warrior was a ninja/rogue build, so I was rolling and countering when I realized I had maneuvered directly through the mouth of the tower back on the bridge.
My opponent followed, I blocked again and realized I was losing healthy slightly faster than he was. I heard something behind us–the dragon! It was vomiting fire on the bridge again. We had only a second to consider our foolishness before we were both immolated.
Or so it would have been, had I not equipped myself with a Protection from Fire ring immediately before the fight. The fire left me near death, but the black phantom was not so lucky. He had not anticipated the dragon, and now he was dead.
I cackled and laughed for a good half-minute. I called Matt to tell him about it. We figured my opponent might even think I planned to take the fight onto the bridge. I hadn’t, of course, I had equipped the ring “just in case” and because I didn’t have anything else more useful for the fight.
But this guy probably thought I did. My victory was now complete–he was dead physically and mentally. He had been tricked by a wiley, cheating rogue and engulfed in flame for his failure. Or at least it played out that way.
Holy god, longest post ever, but DUDE, it was awesomely awesome. It’s one of those gaming moments that will stay with you for all of your days.
So, yeah, it’s grindy, but the multiplayer is fun, and whenever I finally beat a boss, found an item, or won a troublesome fight, I felt like I had accomplished something of note.
It probably has the longest adrenaline buildup before the endorphine releases come, but boy does your friendly gland release a lot of endorphine when it comes to beating a boss or a BP. Awesome game, awesome story, Jason!
When Dobry called me to tell me that story, he literally couldn’t speak due to the cackling for a minute. It was like:
DOBRY: Cackle cackle cackle…
ME: I can tell from your tone that something good happened.
DOBRY: Cackle cackle cackle…
It was like the time he called to tell me about World in Conflict. 🙂
@Meho: You’re right, you’re exactly right. It takes grinding and does something to it that makes it special and rewarding. That’s it precisely.
I’m totally lost. What the hell are the “World Tendencies?”
I know what Mat means when he says it’s one of those games you buy, and even intend to play, but it just never happens. I’ve probably put 3-4 hours into Demon’s Souls and haven’t passed the first level. And it’s true, each failure has been my own fault, but obviously that’s part of the learning curve.
It’s a worthwhile game; just not one I consider playing often.
World Tendencies are the nature of a region – Boletaria, Latria, Stonefang, etc – and how things react within them.
The darker a tendency, the harder the game gets. Regular demons are more difficult to kill, and special demons and evil NPCs are more likely to appear.
The lighter a tendency, the opposite: regular demons are easier to kill, though they leave fewer souls. Friendly NPCs are more likely to appear.
The thing with Demon’s Souls is that it gets harder the more you fail – every time you’re killed the tendency of the world you’re in grows darker. Thus should you succeed in a dark world your reward will be all the greater, but it’s much easier to succeed (for less reward) in a light-tendencied world.
I had no idea! Is that in the manual? Admittedly I don’t read game manuals. Though sometimes I smell them.
Can’t tell you about the manual, because the “manual” you get with the Asian version is a piece of paper folded four times with short explanations in hilariously broken English, but there’s a very useful DS wiki here:
Without it, I might have been even worse at the game than I am.
There are a lot of things that make Demon’s Souls special. The scale of everything makes adventuring or sight seeing a delight – if only it wasn’t for all those damn enemies. Your mortality is always apparent so every step is taken carefully. None of your decisions can be undone so again each one is taken carefully; whether this be using a rare stone to level a weapon up or deciding to kill an NPC. It’s rare for a game to not allow you to correct your mistakes so regardless of what happens you trudge on because there’s fuck all you can do about it. Then there’s the whole risk/reward thing underpinning the lot – I’ve got a ton of souls here but that treasure over there behind that big dude looks pretty sweet… what to do? Then there’s the single-player-with-occasional-multiplayer-visitors thing that keeps the loneliness of the game intact.
It’s a very bold game and I’m glad that its story takes a back seat because it’s one of those games which I can leave to rot for a few months and jump back into without having to worry about remembering what the hell was going on.
“It’s challenging but never unfair. The decisions you make as a player, as well as the penalty for failure (and those failures are always yours, not the game’s – you died because you made a bad decision)”
I don’t entirely agree with this. I’ve read a lot of reviews across the net and not one has said how woeful the targeting system is and how the button presses ‘stack’ when you’re dodging eg. If I press the dodge twice it will do one then it will do another. No game should stack button presses unless it’s a beat’em up for example. Both of these make certain encounters, especially in Latria and the Valley of Defilement where there are narrow walkways, an absolute pain in the ass. It’s not my fault if the targeting system didn’t target the gargoyle right in front of me. It’s not my fault the stacked dodge commands sent me one too many dodges over the edge – this happened too many times fighting those Maneaters in Latria. When a game is as punishing as Demon’s Souls these sorts of quirks become glaringly apparent.
I feel what would make me better at Demon’s Souls is a combination of beer and camaraderie. Can this be arranged? Does the PS3 even have group chat capability? Mine didn’t come with a headset, so I’ve never even done 1-to-1 chat.
But I think that would be great: a giant group of pansies on voice chat whilst failing and flailing about, trying to tackle this frightening game.
Alas that multiplay in Demon’s Souls is intentionally anonymous.
I’d love for a co-op version, where 5-6 of us could be doing our own thing, saving the world.
Haha, don’t you just love how these things work?
So I popped into my local HMV today. Browsing the shelves, I see.. yeah, you guessed it. Demons Souls. For the first time ever.
Pretty it was pre-owned and £35. That’s too much for a pre owned title and it was in crap condition. I don’t buy anything that has so much as a smudge on the box.
I’ll bring it over on Friday Mat, it’s pretty cool to behold for the first time. I spent an age trying to make my character look like me as well, minus the hair because, well, no in-game character creation can render my hair.
“Alas that multiplay in Demon’s Souls is intentionally anonymous.”
That much I did know; I just meant a sort of multiplayer romp where all parties are there in spirit.
Oh and xtal, I sometimes sniff manuals. There’s nothing like the smell of print in the morning.
One of my favorite games this generation. Unexpectedly so too, since the game embraces gameplay mechanics that I loathe in other games. No checkpoints. No save anywhere feature. Starting a level over when you die with all enemies respawned. Pretty unforgiving difficulty if you get lazy.
Yet for some reason it absolutely works in this game. And actually, Demon’s Souls is so good BECAUSE of those gameplay decisions, not in spite of them. Without them, it would have been just another dungeon hack-n-slash game.
Because you can’t get a “do over”, or load a previous save, you really fear death because you really have something to lose. If you are deep in a level, have a bunch of souls accumulated which you just cannot wait to cash in on, and you spot a far off treasure guarded by a particularly tough looking enemy, you really have to weight the pros and cons of trying to engage that enemy in combat. I marched through all the levels at a snail’s pace, shield always up, tense and scared. And it was a great experience.
And as has been mentioned, when you have a Black Phantom invade your game, the tension and adrenaline you experience is un-matched. My heart would race, my palms would sweat, I’d be terrified and exhilarated at the same time. I had a handful of bouts with Black Phantoms, some of them absolutely EPIC, and the sense of jubilation I experienced after emerging victorious has yet to be duplicated by any other game in the past 10 years.
Man, I feel like playing through this again. I may just have to pop it back in my PS3 . . .
On Sakey’s recommendation, I got this game via a heads-up swap for a 1-week old copy of Red Dead Redemption (what another over-touted steaming pile… yeah, I want to play an outlaw who runs around the wild west PICKING FLOWERS!?!?!). It frustrated me at first, until I figured out not to play a soldier, but spellcaster instead. Then I flew through the beginning, but gradually slowed, and slowed, and ground to a halt about half-way through the game (if I have my numbers right, I’ve killed half of the bosses). I got to a point where level grinding was obviously necessary (i’d done some grinding before that, but now it was at a whole new level… *groan*). And I thought, “I already spend 40 hours a week doing the same boring shit I already know how to do, day after day, without any worthwhile recognition, just so I can have some recreational “me time” to keep myself entertained. Why do I want to spend my recreational time doing the same old shit I’ve already done before. I’d rather be doing something new…” I haven’t played since.
Incidently, Gregg DID bring this round the other night and I DID play it.
First impressions? I like it, alot. It’s the sort of game that I can see myself getting into, even though I KNOW I’ll eventually get frustrated and never finish it. I also need to learn the controls properly.
Think I’ll buy it.
Stop skipping work and posting on Tap!