hen I first put Demon's Souls into my PS3, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I know the developer, From Software, had created some of my favorite games for PlayStation 2, the Armored Core series. From's first game, of which Demon's Souls has been tagged a spiritual successor, was the unrelenting King's Field for the original PlayStation.
Demon's Souls takes place in the kingdom of Boleteria. A dark mist has surrounded the kingdom, bringing with it powerful demons which have taken over. Many so-called heroes have tried venturing into the demon-infested lands and rid them of the evil but all have failed. Your character is one of these heroes.
Well-earned rewards: face off with challenging monsters big and small.I found character generation in this game odd. There are basic choices like name, gender, and class. You choose from one of ten classes, the only real difference between any being your starting equipment and statistics. What got me is you have the option to fully customize your character's face. I never quite understood why, in a game where the camera does not face your character nor do you interact with other humans, you would want to spend time customizing your character's face. Perhaps some kind of personal attachment or self-satisfaction in knowing just how ugly you can get?
The first time you play, you're required to play through the tutorial (in each subsequent game you have the option of skipping). Enemies in the tutorial are much easier to overcome. It's there to get you used to the game's control scheme. At the end of the tutorial you are struck down by a giant demon you have no hope of defeating. After being killed, you arrive at the Nexus in soul form. You cannot escape the Nexus. You can only reclaim your physical body by defeating a boss or using certain items.
In the Nexus there are five waystones that lead to different areas of Boleteria. At first you can only enter the Boleterian Palace. The only way to progress further into the game is to defeat the boss at the end of this first stage. Easier said than done. The first time playing through you will more than likely die several times. After facing off with the first boss, the rest of the waystones and the option to level your character are unlocked.
May as well be useful: read messages left by other player-characters' ghosts.So off you go to each of the five areas, using axes and swords, bows, or even magic. Every enemy killed will drop a certain amount of souls. Souls are used for several things: buying items, upgrading and repairing equipment, and leveling your character. Whenever your character dies — as is often the case — he leaves a bloodstain, along with all collected souls, in the spot in which he was killed. The key is to memorize where enemies are and develop a strategy for killing them. When you find the bloodstain you can reclaim lost souls and carry on.
There is an online mode with Demon's Souls, but interaction with other players is limited. When your character dies, you can leave a message with his bloodstain. Hints and tips can be left for other players to utilize to try to make it through the game easier. You can also watch ghosts of other players to see what actions their characters took right before their death.
Demon's Souls is definitely a game geared toward more hardcore players. Any casual gamer would likely give up within an hour or two. The game doesn't offer any hints about what you need to do, where you need to go, how to defeat the bosses, or what evil lies around every corner. Those of us who like punishment and a good challenge will keep driving on. Demon's Souls is unforgiving but it's very rewarding when you take down one of the monstrous bosses.