Review: Demon's Souls

wlad777

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Raykuza said:
PvP Protip: Scraping Spear. That is all.
I forgot about the scraping spear, it is indeed the perfect detterent for black phantoms (it damages both the weapon and armour of whoever you attack with it). I always carry mine around with me and as soon as a black phantom invades, I switch to it and attack him a few times. They usually run away after about the third of fourth hit, then you can take them out real quick :D
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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I'll grant that having all your hit points and calling on others to fight for you is nice, but I prefer hitting harder. The fact that having a body lets enemies hear you clanking around, while you are silent and draw much less aggro as a ghost is nice too.

I usually wear the Eternal Warrior ring and the ring of magical sharpness. Going 2 handed with my kilij against the dredglings in 1-1 never gets old. One hit one kill, or two kills if its rolling attack. Its like a dance of death, a non stop chain of attacks, after which you can loot them for herbs. Same with the rampart after the dragon leaves later in the level, and thats just the first stage. You will be farming 1-1 for healing items until you get to 1-4. You won't need to buy them very often. Boletaria is my favorite world by far. I actually hate the Valley of Defilement. It excels at what it is trying to accompolish though, doesn't mean its any more fun. Charge attacking knights just when they raise their swords and landing 2 or 3 hits before they can land their blow is fun. Espesially when you know that if you mistime it they will block or get a free hit which will probably kill you.

Once you level up some of the rare weapons you can have a lot more fun. Makoto is a katana that has massive attack power and massive bleed damage. The baby's nail is a wicked dagger which can crit and plague. You can hit an enemy a few times and walk away. They will follow you for a bit and then they stop attacking you, stand there and die a bit later.

You are never lacking in options
 

Susan Arendt

Nerd Queen
Jan 9, 2007
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harhol said:
It's a shame this is getting 8s and 9s rather than 10s simply because of the difficulty issue. Nobody complained about the difficulty of games like Thief, System Shock 2 and Deus Ex when they were originally released. Even the original Half-Life was a quickload extravaganza. It seems like console games must adhere to a certain (universally accessible) standard of difficulty these days in order to get top marks. Susan, would you give this a maximum if you had to provide a number score? Or is that a forbidden question? :D

Oh and two more questions:

1) Did you play on Japanese servers?
2) Did you encounter any PvP competitions?

I found the Japanese players to be extremely chivalrous & helpful, which made the online experience way better than I expected it to be. I fear that playing with Americans might be... umm... slightly less enjoyable on occasion. The PvP competitions are basically where everyone stands around in a circle and guys fight each other one-one-one, then when someone dies another contender steps in. They just happen randomly sometimes, and they're as awesome as they sound.
I don't do review scores. Period. I do think knocking the game for its difficulty is unfair, though. Yes, it's hard, perhaps harder than the average person might enjoy, but that hardly makes the game bad. It just makes it different, which I personally find to be in its favor.

I was playing on the Japanese servers, yes -- the American servers won't open up until the game releases. It's fair to be concerned about the differences in...what shall we call it, manners? -- but I do think that the game has enough built-in safeguards to prevent it becoming too unpleasant.
 

BlackDodongo

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Apr 15, 2009
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KoudelkaMorgan said:
I'll grant that having all your hit points and calling on others to fight for you is nice, but I prefer hitting harder. The fact that having a body lets enemies hear you clanking around, while you are silent and draw much less aggro as a ghost is nice too.

I usually wear the Eternal Warrior ring and the ring of magical sharpness. Going 2 handed with my kilij against the dredglings in 1-1 never gets old. One hit one kill, or two kills if its rolling attack. Its like a dance of death, a non stop chain of attacks, after which you can loot them for herbs. Same with the rampart after the dragon leaves later in the level, and thats just the first stage. You will be farming 1-1 for healing items until you get to 1-4. You won't need to buy them very often. Boletaria is my favorite world by far. I actually hate the Valley of Defilement. It excels at what it is trying to accompolish though, doesn't mean its any more fun. Charge attacking knights just when they raise their swords and landing 2 or 3 hits before they can land their blow is fun. Espesially when you know that if you mistime it they will block or get a free hit which will probably kill you.

Once you level up some of the rare weapons you can have a lot more fun. Makoto is a katana that has massive attack power and massive bleed damage. The baby's nail is a wicked dagger which can crit and plague. You can hit an enemy a few times and walk away. They will follow you for a bit and then they stop attacking you, stand there and die a bit later.

You are never lacking in options
Backstabs and ripostes are always a favourite of mine.
 

Fearzone

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Dec 3, 2008
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KoudelkaMorgan said:
Biggest tip is that you want to stay dead as much as possible. When you beat a boss you get your body back. You should dive off the ledge in the nexus to get rid of that smelly thing asap. This keeps away unwanted PKers if you like, but more importantly you do way more damage as a spirit.
Yeah, that is the subtle message I've been getting from descriptions of the game--that your body is nothing but a temporary health buff and, from what you are saying, it is a damage nerf as well, so thinking-outside-the-box maybe you can just do without.

I though the animations at the end while fighting the wolves were unimpressive.
 

pantsoffdanceoff

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Jun 14, 2008
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Ugh... I love Atlas they (IMO) have made some of the best games to come out. Unfortunately, I really suck at normal difficulty videogames, let alone ones made to put your balls in a vice.
 

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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Dang I thought this game was for Xbox360 too a while back ago, well another reason to buy a PS3 i suppose.
 

Demiath

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Mar 12, 2009
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HyenaThePirate said:
When a game is killing me every 5 minutes, that breaks the fun factor. For example, Ninja Gaiden Black could be crazy tough, and so could God of War, but neither crossed that line between "Hard but fun" and "Too hard it's NO fun".
Not that Demon's Souls plays anything like Ninja Gaiden Black, but if you weren't too frustrated by the difficulty level in NGB I'd say you probably won't mind being repeatedly crushed in this game either (assuming you're not a vastly superior NGB player compared to me and coasted through Tecmo's classic without dying much at all). One thing worth emphasizing is that Demon's Souls is a fairly slow-paced game compared to most action RPGs, which means that more often than not you'll have just enough time to start running if things get tough. Better part of valor and all that...
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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I enjoyed the game a lot more once I learned you can sprint. It made 1-2's dragon areas make a hell of a lot more sense. As I said my manuel is in chinese, and I glossed over it in the english insert...

Demiath is right that its not as frantic as NG or DMC. Methodical would be a good word to describe it.

There is a spell called demon's prank that I never use, but has limitless potential. It creates a noise at the location you aim it that attracts and even aggros mobs. I assume it makes for easy backstabs, but definately good for defusing ambushes.

Until you get to most bosses, then its pretty crazy. Bear in mind there is usually a easy way and a hard way to beat a boss. You can one shot the first boss (on second playthough) with firestorm. You can melee Tower Knight (like I did the first time) or snipe from the ramparts with magic (like most people do).

The three bosses I mentioned before being an exception. Strategy kinda breaks down with bosses that are relentless, can chain near infinite combos, and don't react to being hit in any way.
 

HyenaThePirate

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Well that sounds much better then.
LOL and NGB had a tough learning curve, but it was manageable and I became pretty good at it through dedication, so if Demon Souls is like that, you just might have convinced me to give this a game a second look.

I think what needs to be conveyed is that I'm not afraid of "difficulty" as much as I have an aversion to "cheap". There is a difference between a game being difficult to master but fun to play, and difficult because the game cheapshots you at every convenience. A good example was SPartan: Total Warrior. Where the enemies were ridiculously cheap, breaking your combos with EASE and then unleashing their own devastating 'counters' while your "block" button seemed to have a constant 2 second delay where you can hit the button and by the time the screen registers and your character starts through the animations, you were already getting pwned. Or like Street FIghter II back in the day on the SNES... where Bison could bring shame-filled tears to my eyes like a wuss because it wasn't FAIR how fast and easily he could pull off his moves which seemed unavoidable, unblockable, and always incinerated half your health with the slightest flutter of his cape in your general direction... in fact that seems to be a consistency in Capcom games.... easy game play, compensated for by ridiculously over-powered or just plain CHEAP bosses with moves that borderline more on game GLITCHES than God-like.

Anyway, it sounds like this game is less "frenetic" hack and slash, twitch reflexes, like in NGB where your main strategy was to hold down the block button ALWAYS and wait for that .2 microsecond opening to take a quick strike at the enemy, and if your finger slipped for even a second, the A.I. registered that the "block" button was 'released' and commenced to handing you your ass with all the trimmings.

I'm not quite sure I like the PK aspect of a game that is already raising eyebrows with it's difficulty level, but you also mentioned something about it being a "Slow paced" game and that made me curious.
Do you mean it's slow as in not as many enemies because you are exploring an environment trying to solve puzzles and figure out how to survive traps? Or is it that the combat is slow and methodical, like the combat in Conan could sometimes be where you and the enemy circled each other feinting and striking, hoping to gain an advantage in some sort of deadly duel?

Also, (sorry I know i'm being a pain lol), could someone explain how the online portion works a bit better? Are you always online, like in Little Big Planet? Do you NEED to be connected to PSonline to play? If so, is there a way to restrict who can enter your world (removing black phantoms basically), and also, on the coop team-ups, I see alot of people talk about strangers helping out, but is there a method that friends on your friend's list can also jump in to help (assuming they also have the game?) I think it would suck if complete strangers could jump into my game at any time, but a friend who lives down the road on my friend's list can't.

Thanks in Advance!
 

BaldursBananaSoap

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Is the game only hard because it's cheap? Like Ninja Gaiden 2s rocket spammers, or is it hard to master and rewarding, because I might pick it up?
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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Its not cheap. The button reading ai in NG is cheap, and proven to be there. Demon's souls levels are almost totally linear. Not big and sprawling, except for the two swamp areas. A few levels are extremely claustrophobic like the mines and the beginning of the Valley. Some have shortcuts that you unlock/make on the other side that stay open ever after.

There are 5 areas. Boletaria Castle is the first and my favorite. You fight knights and soldiers mostly. Levels are made of rooms and ramparts. Fairly roomy, the envoriment won't kill you. The second is a mining town. You will be suprised by a more varied group of mobs. You will trigger bombs and fall to your death if you take the huge shortcut most likely until you figure it out.

The third is the most creepy. Its a dungeon patrolled by those mindflayer guys. Later in the same level you will get out of the dungeon, but face the coolest and one of the more diffuclt parts of the game ending with Maneater.

World 4 is kinda a crumbling ruin, populated by all manner of undead. Not as scary as you might think. More of an open air ruin at the edge of an abyss.

World 5 is a suprise. You won't like it. Any part of it. Its sadistic from start to finish.

The game is fast paced at bosses, but usually the first time through a level you will be walking around with your shield up. That is the first and last thing you need to remember. Shield up.

Once you know the layout you only use your shield to block arrows and go on a two handed killing spree. Suprise is the main source of the difficulty. You won't be ambused at every turn...but you aren't supposed to believe that.

Slow weapons aren't your friend. A kilij will attack 3 to 4 times before a large axe will get 2 in.
 

BlackDodongo

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KoudelkaMorgan said:
Its not cheap. The button reading ai in NG is cheap, and proven to be there. Demon's souls levels are almost totally linear. Not big and sprawling, except for the two swamp areas. A few levels are extremely claustrophobic like the mines and the beginning of the Valley. Some have shortcuts that you unlock/make on the other side that stay open ever after.

There are 5 areas. Boletaria Castle is the first and my favorite. You fight knights and soldiers mostly. Levels are made of rooms and ramparts. Fairly roomy, the envoriment won't kill you. The second is a mining town. You will be suprised by a more varied group of mobs. You will trigger bombs and fall to your death if you take the huge shortcut most likely until you figure it out.

The third is the most creepy. Its a dungeon patrolled by those mindflayer guys. Later in the same level you will get out of the dungeon, but face the coolest and one of the more diffuclt parts of the game ending with Maneater.

World 4 is kinda a crumbling ruin, populated by all manner of undead. Not as scary as you might think. More of an open air ruin at the edge of an abyss.

World 5 is a suprise. You won't like it. Any part of it. Its sadistic from start to finish.

The game is fast paced at bosses, but usually the first time through a level you will be walking around with your shield up. That is the first and last thing you need to remember. Shield up.

Once you know the layout you only use your shield to block arrows and go on a two handed killing spree. Suprise is the main source of the difficulty. You won't be ambused at every turn...but you aren't supposed to believe that.

Slow weapons aren't your friend. A kilij will attack 3 to 4 times before a large axe will get 2 in.
Boletaria Palace is also my favourite because of its layout mostly. Also, just because KoudelkaMorgan says there aren't many traps, I would still be on your guard because they are there.

The second area is probably one of my leat favourites. Although the enemies are nicely varied, they can be a pain in the arse.

The first part of the third level is one of my favourites because it has a nice atmosphere to it. The rest of the third level kind of loses this a little bit in place of roaming outside of the tower.

I hate the fourth level simply because my wireless is not working so I have not been able to update the game with the patch and this makes the game alot harder.

As for the fifth level. This is the only part of the game you can really consider cheap. It uses a poison swamp that you will have to navigate and makes it very hard to manouver in. You will die many times in this part and most likely, hate it like everyone else. However, the "cheapness" can be overcome and really only requires a little thinking.

Also, slow weapons can be affective, although I wouldn't recommend them untill you know what you are doing.


HyenaThePirate said:
I'm not quite sure I like the PK aspect of a game that is already raising eyebrows with it's difficulty level, but you also mentioned something about it being a "Slow paced" game and that made me curious.
Do you mean it's slow as in not as many enemies because you are exploring an environment trying to solve puzzles and figure out how to survive traps? Or is it that the combat is slow and methodical, like the combat in Conan could sometimes be where you and the enemy circled each other feinting and striking, hoping to gain an advantage in some sort of deadly duel?

Also, (sorry I know i'm being a pain lol), could someone explain how the online portion works a bit better? Are you always online, like in Little Big Planet? Do you NEED to be connected to PSonline to play? If so, is there a way to restrict who can enter your world (removing black phantoms basically), and also, on the coop team-ups, I see alot of people talk about strangers helping out, but is there a method that friends on your friend's list can also jump in to help (assuming they also have the game?) I think it would suck if complete strangers could jump into my game at any time, but a friend who lives down the road on my friend's list can't.
The combat is kinda a mix of both your examples. You will not be fighting masses of enemies at once, but most opponents require more than a quick flash of your blade (untill you level up a bit atleast). This does slow the pace of combat down. However, there will be tougher enemies that require a bit of strategy to combat, rather than charging in brandishing your Dragon Long Sword +3. The Blue Eyed/Red Eyed Knights in the Boletarian Palace are a perfect example. A few will keep their sheilds high, requiring you to waste your stamina on a powerful blow to break their shield, or to wait for an opening in their own attacks.

As for online. Yes, you are constantly online (unless you actively choose not to) and you carry on as normal. From time to time you will see white, ghostly figures, wandering the passages. These are the other players. At this time you cannot interact with them. As Im sure you've picked up by now, you have two forms. Human and Soul. Near the beggining of the game you gain an item called the Blueye Stone. As a Soul you may place this at certain area's in the game. If a human player spots your Stone they may summon you to their world. You are playing in their world so all of the bosses they have killed will be there and any you may have killed will not affect their game. As a Human you collect all of the items in a game but none of the souls (currency) and as the Soul you gain all of the souls but cannot pick up items. Any Bosses you kill in another players world, will not be killed in yours. As a Human, other players Blueye Stones will appear in your world and you can look at the ratings other players have given them before you choose to summon them into your own world.

Now Im not quite sure how Black Phantoms work because, as I said, I don't have online for my PS3 (I hate virgin media).

I hope that helped.
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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Yes there are a few boulder down the stairs traps in boletaria. I was meaning that there aren't any poison swamps, gratuitous pits, or flying bombs like in the other levels when I said the enviroment wouldn't kill you.
 

MDSnowman

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Apr 8, 2004
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Wow, I was going to pass on this but Koudelka is really selling this game well. Gets my inner table top RPer riled up. Once I finally give Valkyria Chronicles the brutal beatdown that it deserves I'll need to buy this.
 

KoudelkaMorgan

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Its all part of my diabolical plan to encourage them to make dlc or a sequel.

I need to finish VC too. Played like 5 missions then stopped for another game. I got the DLC, wanted to start from scratch, and never touched it again.

If you want to spoil yourself with foreknowledge go here http://demonssouls.wikidot.com/

The maps are terrible last time I checked though so you will still be suprised.
 

Snooters

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Mar 19, 2004
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I registered on this site a while ago. I never even heard of the escapist until last year. I think I'm losing my mind.

Demon's Souls deluxe preordered BTW.
 

Perversion

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Oct 8, 2009
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I'm surprised nobody else has commented here in the past few days, as this just released domestically on Tuesday. I picked this game up on import a while back, played for about an hour, died, and set it down. Picked it up again about a month ago, and have been obsessed with it ever since. Just picked up my Deluxe Edition today. I also wrote a few critiques on the game that question the difficulty of the game itself in relation to the difficulty of breaking bad habits and going against human nature. Excerpts and links below.


Is Demon's Souls really THAT difficult? The answer is yes and no. The game itself is challenging, without a doubt. But what's garnering the game its seemingly reveled-in status as "the most difficult game this generation," is not so much the challenge of overcoming the deviously-placed obstacles that it places in your path, but instead overcoming probably the most difficult obstacle to surmount, the obstacle of habit, routine, and human nature.


So in order to succeed at Demon's Souls, you need to confront another deeply ingrained part of your humanity, the fear and panic centers of your brain, and overcome them. You need to overcome them to the point that your logical and tactical brain is in full control, and you begin imprinting new instincts, new habits, through repetition.
And again, we come back to the sheer genius of Demon's Souls, and the brilliance of its developers. Taken on a literal level, this is, as many other reviews mention, a brooding dark fantasy game. But beneath the surface is a game that profoundly taps into areas of the brain and the psyche that no other game has ever touched.

http://stupididioticramblings.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/demons-souls-critique-1-is-it-really-all-that-difficult/
http://stupididioticramblings.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/demons-souls-critique-2-primal-fear-and-isolation/
 

BlackDodongo

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Apr 15, 2009
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Perversion said:
I'm surprised nobody else has commented here in the past few days, as this just released domestically on Tuesday. I picked this game up on import a while back, played for about an hour, died, and set it down. Picked it up again about a month ago, and have been obsessed with it ever since. Just picked up my Deluxe Edition today. I also wrote a few critiques on the game that question the difficulty of the game itself in relation to the difficulty of breaking bad habits and going against human nature. Excerpts and links below.


Is Demon's Souls really THAT difficult? The answer is yes and no. The game itself is challenging, without a doubt. But what's garnering the game its seemingly reveled-in status as "the most difficult game this generation," is not so much the challenge of overcoming the deviously-placed obstacles that it places in your path, but instead overcoming probably the most difficult obstacle to surmount, the obstacle of habit, routine, and human nature.


So in order to succeed at Demon's Souls, you need to confront another deeply ingrained part of your humanity, the fear and panic centers of your brain, and overcome them. You need to overcome them to the point that your logical and tactical brain is in full control, and you begin imprinting new instincts, new habits, through repetition.
And again, we come back to the sheer genius of Demon's Souls, and the brilliance of its developers. Taken on a literal level, this is, as many other reviews mention, a brooding dark fantasy game. But beneath the surface is a game that profoundly taps into areas of the brain and the psyche that no other game has ever touched.

http://stupididioticramblings.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/demons-souls-critique-1-is-it-really-all-that-difficult/
http://stupididioticramblings.wordpress.com/2009/10/05/demons-souls-critique-2-primal-fear-and-isolation/
Read through both your "reviews and I have to say that I generally agree. I hat difficulty in games where they just add more enemies or just make them do more damage, with more health. Its just uncreative and because they are practically the same enemy. I recently purchased Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2 for PS3. I went through the game on the hardest game difficulty available at the beggining. Every time I died I felt that it wasn't because I wasn't skilled enough, I felt that I just got unlucky. The reason I felt this was because I would retry the same part and then succeed, even though I hadn't really changed my strategy in any way. Demons Souls difficulty lies in the way your required to think.
 

infinisynth

The man
Jul 31, 2009
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This was the game that got me to buy a ps3. It's a creepy rpg with a good story and character development, it's hardcore as hell and the online works great. Just wish there was more gear. Hopefully they will come out with DLC for this.