Demon’s Souls was one of the many launch titles for the new PlayStation 5 console, and it doesn’t disappoint. The remake of FromSoftware’s 2009 action-adventure title showcases exactly what the fifth generation of PlayStation is capable of, graphically and through the new DualSense controller.
Although the original PS3 title was somewhat of a cult classic that few actually played, the remake, following the release of several Demon’s Souls spiritual successors like Bloodborne and Dark Souls, has become mainstream and all eyes are on the game. But is it worth playing?
Demon’s Souls: What You Need To Know
Demon’s Souls for PS5 is a remake of FromSoftware’s 2009 title of the same name and the game that inspired the Dark Souls trilogy as well as Sony PS4 exclusive Bloodborne.
The video game is set in the fictional land of Boletaria which is consumed by a dark fog following the reawakening of an ancient being known as the Old One. The fog has unleashed an army of soul-eating demons, and you play as a hero sent to the kingdom of Boletaria to rid the world of all demons and lure the Old One back to slumber. Throughout the game, you will explore five unique regions of Boletaria, face terrifying enemies, and take on challenging bosses.
The original game, like all other Soulsborne games, is known for its difficulty, its exciting combat, and for its addictive gameplay, and the 2020 remake is no different.
Demon’s Souls is primarily an action-adventure RPG where you create and customise your own character and select one of the many classes to determine your stats and beginning weapon, although this can all changed later as you progress through the game and level-up, done by defeating enemies and bosses and collecting their Souls.
The world is divided into six main areas; five unique regions of Boleteria as well as the central Nexus hub world. Each world is divided into smaller sections with a boss at the end of each section and an archstone which allows you to warp between areas.
When it comes to combat, the game generally requires you to monitor enemy attack patterns to figure out when to block, parry or attack. Magic is also an option within the game, allowing for long-range attacks in addition to bows and crossbows too. Finally, the game will require you to manage your inventory with healing items, other consumables, upgrade materials, weapons, and armour all eating up storage. This essentially forces you to manage what items you think you will and will not need for particular sections.
Gameplay Similarities And Differences To Dark Souls
Unlike with Dark Souls, there is one archstone per section rather than multiple bonfires, requiring players to run through entire levels to reach the boss. The original game and 2020 remake also feature mechanics known as World Tendency and Character Tendency which change depending on your actions throughout the game. The Tendency mechanics operate on a scale and moving towards either Black, contributed to by killing NPCs or dying in human form, or White Pure Tendency, contributed to by defeating bosses. Achieving Pure Black or White Tendency will unlock certain sections of levels, new rewards, and NPC questlines too.
Similarly to Dark Souls’ hollow mechanic, Demon’s Souls has a special soul form mechanic which is triggered whenever you die in human form. In soul form, your health is halved (Although there are rings which increase your maximum soul form health) and you can only regain your human form after defeating a boss. In addition, just like with the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne, you will lose your souls at death and must return to your point of death to reclaim them.
Other similarities to the Dark Souls and Bloodborne games include the ability to upgrade weapons, the ability to leave messages and notes when playing online, and the ability to co-op or fight with other players.
Demon’s Souls is arguably the best-looking PS5 launch title, with every location and texture having been built from the ground up. You’ll feel tiny in Boletaria Palace as grandiose towers rise above you, you’ll feel the Lovecraftian-inspired horror of Latria, and your skin will crawl at the abundance of leeches and other monstrosities awaiting you at the poison-infested Valley of Defilement.
The game’s highly detailed graphics is enhanced with its expansive photo mode, allowing you to adjust lighting and apply filters, including one inspired by the original 2009 video game. In many cases, we found ourselves pausing the game (Yes, you can do this via photo mode) and taking plenty of snaps.
Like with previous Souls games, the story in Demon’s Souls‘ story is somewhat vague and primarily told through conversations with NPCs as well as in item descriptions. There’s a lot to unpack here and users who skip over discussions with NPCs and reading item descriptions may feel somewhat disappointed by the game’s story, particularly since much of the game’s secrets and depth is left for you to search for.
Although it may appear simple at first glance, there is again a lot for you to enjoy when playing the game and a lot for you to uncover which in turn makes learning the full story of Demon’s Souls all the more rewarding. It’s also important to point out that much of the story is open to interpretation and open for discussion between players.
Demon’s Souls is a great launch title for the PlayStation 5. Although it’s challenging like previous Souls games and comes with somewhat outdated AI and gameplay mechanics, there are ways of making the game somewhat easier to play through. The game is gorgeous, the sound design incredible, and the game’s support of the new DualSense controller’s haptic feedback will have you feeling the rumble of fireballs, the roars and fire-breathing of dragons, as well as each attack you make on enemies.
As you play, you may also find yourself in a position where you’ll need to look up certain aspects of the game such as NPC questlines, upgrade paths, and obtainable items. In fact, we regularly found ourselves doing that to ensure we were unlocking the items and quests we needed to keep progressing.
Bluepoint Games’ remake is bleak, challenging, and mysterious, as well as a perfect reimagining of the 2009 original game. Even if you haven’t tried any of the prior Souls games, Demon’s Souls is a great starting point, particularly if you’re looking for something that takes advantage of the PlayStation 5’s new hardware. Just remember to stay calm, study the environment and enemy patterns, and keep pushing forward.
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Demon's Souls (2020)
An action-adventure RPG and remake of FromSoftware's 2009 title of the same name which acts as a wonderful launch title for the new PS5 console.
- Addictive gameplay and combat
- Gorgeous graphics, design, and sound
- Rewards exploration
- Somewhat vague story
- Can be incredibly challenging
- Game's hidden mechanics and NPC questlines can be difficult
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