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whatshot Demon's Souls PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 9.7
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.0
Value 9.5
Distributor: Namco Bandai
Classification:
MA15+
Review Date:
July 2010
Reviewer:
Michael Marsh

9.6


Demon's Souls

Thankyou very much Namco Bandai! Why? The life I once had has now been consumed by Demon’s Souls for the PS3. It’s been awhile since an RPG has captivated me so much and Demon’s Souls has done just that in this well made and sickeningly addictive and quite challenging title. For lovers of Western RPG’s, Demon’s Souls is just that which boasts a grounded story, a logical control system and an RPG tree that isn’t menus and inventory slots which go on forever. Originally released in Asia first, Demon's Souls really feels like a Western RPG and I'm guessing that merging great gameplay with a Western inspired theme, it's created one of the best RPG titles in a long time.

But what holds Demon’s Souls together is the well written story that requires the player to vanquish the demons from their lands which is elegantly portrayed through some interesting cutscenes. The story revolves around the King of Boletaria, King Allant the 12th who has brought his kingdom into a golden age of wealth and prosperity. Fate on the other hand has other ideas and when a strange magical fog surrounds this kingdom, they are cut off from the world. To make matters worse, this fog has brought with it demons and with each soul they take, their power escalates and given their ferocity, the kingdom of Boletaria may not have much time left... including the rest of the world <Insert corny RPG action music here> 

Although the story may sound clichéd and boast a been there, done that attitude, it is well executed with the gameplay that actually makes you care about this virtual kingdom. The game contains the classic RPG archetype and has overtones of the Dungeons & Dragons games from BioWare which in my book is a step in the right direction. Then you have the amazing clean graphics of Demon’s Souls that is visually stunning in certain elements and truly takes the RPG genre to the 21st century.

Before embarking on your RPG adventure, you need to create your own character and Demon’s Souls offers a considerable amount of customisation from the way they look to what class they will become. From Templar Knights to wizards and thieves, all the standard archetype characters are there. Once you start playing, the game throws you into a small tutorial which teaches you the basics of your character and navigating this world. The controls are well mapped on the DualShock controller and sometimes I wish I had a manual... most review games don't come with one but thankfully the retail version does. It's also cool that the game has quick slots because you really need to have good access to spells, health potions and the like.

All of the weapons in the game handle quite differently as do the spells that some characters have access to. Weapons have two attacks, light and heavy but using heavy does open you up to getting hit. When you level up, you can choose which of the 8-skills you wish to increase and the key currency in the game is souls. For killing, you are awarded souls which can then be used to purchase items, upgrade weapons and buy new spells and miracles (priests).

With access to a variety of new weapons, skills and magic, Demon's Souls may seem like any other RPG game but the developers have done something very clever here. The game can be played as a single-player title but if you have your PS3 online, it supports a revolutionary new multiplayer system. When connected, you can cooperatively work with others to defeat the extremely difficult bosses in the game or if evil is on your agenda, you can also join in with some PvP fun. Another really cool feature is that if you die or see the remains of someone else who died, you view how they died and even leave clues or warnings behind. Quite creepy at first, but this was a godsend to certain challenging boss battles.

When it comes to graphics, Demon’s Souls is quite detailed. Unfortunately I really did not have too much time to stop and smell the roses because the lands of Boletaria are quite dangerous. However in those moments where a lull occurs, the attention to detail is quite unparalleled. Whether your exploring a dungeon that is falling apart or forest, there is a true sense of wonder and exploration that compels you to explore and keep playing.

Thankfully the gaming environments are quite diverse and nothing becomes too repetitive or stale. The enemies are also environment specific as well and some of the monsters and people that you encounter are quite well animated, not to mention some of the lighting effects… gorgeous stuff!  The soundtrack of the game is quite majestic and the voice acting is actually quite levelled without it being too over the top or too boring, its just right to keep you interested.  

The AI is the game can be quite challenging at times and although you face your stock standard monster grunts, the bosses in the game can really kick your ass to hell and black. If you do die, you will transported back to the nexus, a world between worlds where you can meet others, trade and teleport to other areas in the game. Needless to say, I visited this place way too often but Demon's Souls is like an evil supermodel lover, you cannot resist her!

The demon bosses however are a highlight of the game but they will give you an almost unending amount of grief at the same but this is what all good RPG’s are about, it’s a well mix of medium to challenging difficulty. Unlike other games where you want to throw your controller at your Plasma or LCD TV… I lied… there were a few times, especially when I kept on dying and dying and dying. If you do become stuck, it's great to jump online and ask someone for assistance. Just be careful because there are quite a few mean bastards out there in the real-world who want to make your life miserable as well.  

I thoroughly enjoyed Demon’s Souls from the get go and as a single-player it’s definitely awesome… as a multiplayer experience it’s awesome again. The difficulty level is just right, it’s enough to keep your entertained that is sprinkled with enough frustration to keep you going. The environments are well designed and the gameplay is pretty much flawless… this is how RPG’s should be made!  





 

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