Demon’s Souls (2020)

#97, November 21st, 2020
Availible On: PlayStation 5

Remaking a beloved PlayStation 3 title to kick off the next generation of hardware on the PlayStation 5 is no easy task, but Bluepoint games are no strangers to tall orders. Previously remaking Shadow of the Colossus, one of the premier PS2 titles on PS4, Bluepoint has faithfully acted as caretakers in bringing games forward. 

For players new to the Souls series, you should expect a few things from this title. Unlike other Souls games, Demon’s Souls is broken up into five large sections versus the large interconnected worlds found in other Souls titles. This action role playing game is known to be brutally hard, but with a slow and patient approach you will be triumphant in no time. The real magic of these games is the carefully crafted worlds, each with a distinct feel from one another. You can be parrying a sword attack on top of a castle wall only to be trudging through a dark cave hundreds of feet underground shortly afterwards. Death is quick, but almost always fair. Souls games lack randomness found in other video games, making the journey of learning what’s behind every corner more valuable than the gear and stats your character have. 

Gameplay

The overall structure of the game is a literal recreation of the PlayStation 3 version, even going as far as using the same file structure of the original. What’s changed then? Well for starters the games graphics are phenomenal, providing high expectations for what players should expect this generation. Besides the impressive textures, the lighting of the game is equally impressive in balancing out the visual experience. Animations are also greatly improved and whether you play in performance mode at 60fps or cinematic mode at 30fps the game is a smooth experience from start to finish. Bosses are recreated, with closer interpretation to their original character art and environments while structurally the same have some artistic design aesthetics. 

With the game broken up into 5 separate Archstones, all of which are accessible after completing the first boss in the opening stage it leads to more openness than other Souls games that have you follow a general set path. This is only further exemplified with what starting class you choose as items in different areas can be more valuable for your specific build. This provides a lot of replay value for those that want to make additional characters later on once you have a general knowledge and layout for each Archstone. 

Bosses are a highlight in the Souls series and Demon’s Souls does not disappoint. WIth 17 spread out across your journey they range in scale and speed. One area that Demon’s Souls in my opinion differs from other Souls games is the amount of set piece bosses the game offers. Whereas the other titles design a majority of their bosses around a slow brute or a leathly fast demon, Demon’s Souls has a number of key fights that are not based around the player dodging attacks but instead figuring out the puzzle to an area.

An exclusive on new hardware, Demon’s Souls experience is furthered through the new Dualsense controller. Simple interactions such as the grinding gears felt standing on a moving elevator to the shock vibrations from the Storm King helped elevate my 63 ½  hours experience. While this wowed me during my initial playthrough, it becomes more apparent when playing other titles afterwards from previous generations that use the standard vibration. I was hit and miss on the adaptive trigger implementation. While it felt great drawing a bow, it took a little getting used to redrawing an arrow with resistance on the R2 trigger in action. 

Sound

The upgrades can be found further with a new soundtrack that is redone with a full orchestra and choir in the style of Shunsuke Kida’s original score. While the brass,a common instrument featured in the original, is still around, the new soundtracks’ booming vocals take center stage. Fans of the OST found in Bloodborne & Dark Souls 3 will enjoy this new interpretation. 

My favorite battle in the game, against the Storm King, is due to the sound design. A close second would be the Tower Knight. What both of these battles do so well is mixing the expertly crafted sound from the game with the vibration and sound coming from the dualsense controller. 

Story/Online

Being the spiritual predecessor to the Dark Souls series, Demon’s Souls establishes a number of elements that would later be used. The overarching story derives from a king lust for power, driving the world into chaos through his craving for souls. The main pillar for telling this story, like the other Souls games, is through the environments, bosses and item descriptions. There is no wall of text, or lengthy cutscenes hand-holding you to tell its story, rather letting you interpret the elements around you and provide further info for those that want to. Because of this, when Demon’s Souls does present you with dialogue, it’s keyfull chosen. The few short lines muttered during the boss battle with Maiden Astraea provides more impact to question your actions then most games entirely. 

Asking Price

My first journey through the game took me just over 31 hours. By the time I obtained the platinum trophy I was close to a 3rd playthrough completion at 63 ½ hours. Demon’s Souls offers a wide variety replay value with how you build your character. Besides this the game offers unique events in each of the five regions depending on characters you have saved, as well as good & bad character/world tendency. WIth the rise in MSRP of $70, Demon’s Souls still offers a great value in terms of valuable content to play. 

RecommendationYes
DifficultyHard
Time To Completion63 ½ Hours
Price🟊🟊🟊🟊☆ ~$50-$70

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