Demon's Souls (Remake: PlayStation 5)

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Buttermancan
Posts: 329
Joined: March 26th, 2019, 6:05 am

Demon's Souls (Remake: PlayStation 5)

Postby Buttermancan » April 23rd, 2024, 1:09 pm

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Demon’s Souls is an action-adventure RPG, set in a medieval fantasy world. It marked From Software's first foray into their now legendary 'Souls' series and would lay the blueprint for the titles that followed. Having personally missed the 2009 PS3 original, developer Bluepoint Games have by all accounts stayed close to the source material and have delivered a visually spectacular package for this remake.

I was mesmerised by the opening world ‘Boletaria’. Its grand castles are stunningly detailed and portray a once bright kingdom now fallen into darkness. Its inhabitants have turned demonic and will relentlessly attack you with little care for their own safety. Combat is brutally difficult for newcomers; even these first encounters set a stark challenge. Learning to attack, block and counter takes time to grasp and frustratingly, death is easy to come by and throws you back to the start of the level. However, once you get to grips with the mechanics of battle it's incredibly satisfying vanquishing enemy types you struggled with previously. With each kill you obtain your victim’s soul quota which can be used to purchase items, upgrade weapons and improve character stats.

The five worlds you visit vary wildly in theme. The ‘Valley of Defilement’ is a grotesque swamp area whose hideously disfigured inhabitants are afflicted with a plague. Meanwhile the 'Tower of Latria' sees you encounter deranged prisoners overseen by dangerous Cthulhu like beings; quite the contrast to the aforementioned Boletaria's stunningly realised medieval kingdom. Each world has several bosses you must conquer to progress further and include a giant ‘Tower Knight’ that will thrust at you with his spear, crush you with his giant shield or attack you with magic. Meanwhile the ‘Smithing Grounds’ is home to an arachnophobe’s nightmare in the form of the ‘Armour Spider’ who shoots webs and fire balls at you. You'll even face off against fierce, giant dragons in a dramatic if somewhat anti-climactic battle.

Demon’s Souls does not adequately explain things to newcomers. Upgrading certain items can be challenging thanks to the game's often obscure menus. Playing as a ‘Temple Knight’ build, I mostly relied on melee combat and wanted to experiment with magic. At this point I was over half way through the game and due to cashing in the souls of bosses I'd defeated, I wasn't made aware that doing so led to me being locked out from obtaining certain magic spells or miracles. Another irritation worth sharing is the immense frustration I felt when perishing to boss encounters. Doing so sends you back to the start of the level and working your way back to that boss may take ten minutes or more, only for you to die after the boss's second swipe of his weapon. Whilst I appreciate the game's hard-core nature, a pre-boss save feature would have been a welcome implementation for this remake. The level of skill that you demonstrate through the game affects your character abilities and the difficulty of the worlds you explore. I found this concept of ‘tendency’ overly confusing even after completing the game as it was never adequately explained.

Whilst the musical score is fantastic, its menacing orchestral pieces are reserved for boss encounters. This is a good thing as it allows you to soak in Demon’s Souls incredible audio design. Arrows whooshing past your ears and the clanging of steel swords against your shield help to build a formidable atmosphere. The lighting, textures and character models are also brilliantly refined and add to a world which is already dripping with tension and dread.

At times I found Demon’s Souls incredibly frustrating but it also elicited a sense of excitement and wonder that I find hard to come by after thirty years of experiencing video games. Rough around the edges but extremely gratifying when mastered, I found Demon’s Souls a rewarding experience and to this day, it is a standout visual showcase for the PlayStation 5.


Graphics : 93%

Sound Design : 94%

Soundtrack : 88%

Playability: 79%

Replay Value : 85%

Final Verdict : 81%

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DrLitch
Posts: 1026
Joined: July 19th, 2017, 12:57 pm

Re: Demon's Souls (Remake: PlayStation 5)

Postby DrLitch » April 25th, 2024, 10:45 pm

I enjoyed reading your write up.

There is a reason why From Software never went back to World Tendency and I, for one, am glad they never implemented this again. Pretty good game otherwise, I probably would have scored this one in the mid 70's. As you said, it is pretty rough around the edges but it has moments of exaltation.


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