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I can’t lie; it was kind of tough reviewing Demon’s Souls. Some elements had me wanting to bash it and praise it at the same time. Demon’s Souls is categorized as an action RPG and is set in the fantasy world of Boletaria. The story definitely takes a backseat to the action as it’s not very prominent. An ancient demon has come back to life and now it’s up to you to take him down. The only way to defeat him is to destroy all the smaller demon’s scattered throughout the world first.
You’ll fight through dungeons and defeat an end Demon at the completion of each level. While that may sound bland, the game is actually incredibly deep. You begin by creating a character. The creation itself is pretty deep, but for some reason you just can’t keep your character from looking the fool. Following this, you’ll choose a starting class. In this game different classes actually impact your gameplay experience heavily. Magic and bow users will definitely have an easier experience than those who choose close combat.
After creating your character you hit the tutorial level. Immediately you’ll notice the dark atmosphere that is this game. The world of Boletaria is a dark and unforgiving world. It does a great job of giving the player the feeling of a struggling world. The atmospheric music tops off the dark mood wonderfully. The graphics are outstanding. There’s not really much to complain about other than the occasional low-grade textures on walls if you look close enough. In the tutorial you’ll learn the basics of combat. Quick and strong attacks are mapped to the right triggers, while block and quick parry are mapped to the left. If you choose to put the shield in your right hand and sword in the left, triggers are reversed. The combat feels comfortable and rewarding.
Magic works slightly different in this game compared to other recent RPG’s. You must have a catalyst (wand, staff) in your right hand in order to use magic. You need an object called Talisman of God in your left hand in order to use Miracles. The magic might feel sluggish at first but that’s because of your low level spells. More maneuverability comes with higher spells. When learning new spells you can only carry a select amount at a time. So you have to choose which ones to remember before going in to the level. You can change these at any time in The Nexus, which I’ll get to in a bit.
Upon completion of the tutorial level most novice players will be forced to die and get taken to The Nexus. Also you will lose your body and be forced to play in Soul Form. The only real difference between the body and soul forms is that in soul form you only have half of your health meter. You can get your body back by defeating demons or by using magical stones. The Nexus is like the hub world where you choose which levels to go into. It’s really the only safe place in the game. The NPC’s here range between blacksmiths, item holders, and magic teachers. You must come here to level your character up.
The leveling system and currency in the game are both based on souls. When you kill enemies they drop souls almost like baddies dropping cash in other games. You can also find fallen soldier souls. But if you die, all of your souls will be lost unless you can find your bloodstain without dying again. If you make it to where you died you can recollect all of your souls, then no harm, no foul. If you die before getting there, you’re out of luck. Don’t worry though; any item you collected won’t be lost. You use the souls almost like experience points or money towards new items and item repairs. When you kill end level demon’s you grab their souls and have a range of options with them. You can consume them to add to your soul count or give them to particular NPC’s for different types of weapons or magic.
Branching off from the Nexus are 5 worlds to play through as you wish, each world containing 3 or 4 sub levels. These worlds are much larger than you’d expect. The beginning of a level tends to look nothing like the end of the level. Each level changes according to World Tendency. How many times you die or how well you do affects this. At pure black or white world tendency different enemies appear, different doors are unlocked, or different items might show up. It adds replayability.
One thing to remember is that this is not an easy game. It’s not quite impossible, but it feels like the average difficulty games use to have ten years ago. People are getting too accustomed to the extremely lowered difficulty of today’s games, and it’s those gamers who will have a hard time picking up this title. But once you get the hang of it, this title is excellent. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game that left me with that rewarding feeling like I actually completed something. If you never played an RPG till this generation, then this game is hard to recommend. But if you’re a seasoned fan of RPG’s and want a fun challenge, Demon’s Souls should be at the top of your wanted list.