It will take your soul, chew it up, spit it out and hand it back to you on a plate…with garnish.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well. Nothing good comes easily. These are all phrases that I strongly disagree with. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Everything can be improved and of course I am going to take apart my perfectly working PC and try to make it even better. If it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well? Hmmm, the washing up is worth doing so there are clean bowls for my cereal. But I will do an adequate job and then get back to my gaming. Nothing good comes easily? I always feel good when I watch my favorite TV shows. That comes fairly easily.
However, this last phrase is the one that is causing me the most trouble just lately. I am, for the most part, a quitter. Don’t get me wrong, I will put a halfway decent effort into most of the things I do. But, generally, if things get too difficult, I walk away. Take my garden for example. It now has weeds that can be seen from Space. Cutting the grass was no problem. Removing the little weeds was a bit more effort, but doable. But now the weeds are taller than me and certainly more aggressive. I have played enough games involving jungles to know that no good will come out of my venturing into the garden. I know that sorting out my garden will be difficult, but the satisfaction of being able to sit in the garden and drink iced tea again will be a good thing. But I would rather leave my garden until the government declares it hazardous to the public and sends in the guys with hazmat suits and flamethrowers.
This all leads me neatly on to Demon’s Souls. Coming from Namco Bandai on the PS3, it is also the perfect example of the phrase “nothing good comes easily”. I was lucky enough to try the game out when a friend had it imported. After a week with it, I thrust the game back into my friends hands and demanded that we never talk of it again. I then cried for three days and three nights. It was with mixed emotions that I found that the game was officially being released in the UK.
Demon’s Souls is an action-RPG that has all of the bases for that genre covered. There are multiple classes for the gamer to play as, equipment to buy and loot to find. There are meanies to vanquish and epic battles a-plenty. There is an engaging storyline and leveling up to be had.
This is all standard fare and indeed there is a lot about demon’s Souls that could be said to be standard. The game looks good, but not to the high standard that can be achieved on the PS3. The same can be said of the sound work within the game. The voice actors do a good job and the music and sound effects are of a high, but not notable, standard. The games controls are perhaps not as fluid as they could be, but they are easy to use and can be mastered without much trouble. Nothing particularly notable there then. But there are a few things that raise Demon’s Souls above the humdrum and into the realms of legend.
Providing that your PS3 is connected to the net, as soon as you start up the game you will be connected to a server and there you will stay. Although the game can be played without this function, it is from here that one of the games greatest innovations come. As you begin to play through the game, you will notice blood stains and helpful messages in certain places. This is one aspect of the online connection. Players are able to leave messages, helping other players with warnings of things to come. These messages will then appear in other peoples games. Also, when you die you can leave a bloodstain that other players can see in their games. They can also see how you died, giving them a heads up to any potential dangers. For reasons that I will get to later, this is a good thing.
Dying is not the end of the game, or even a blast back to a respawn point. You come back as a spirit, with limited health, and given the chance to reclaim your body by a number of different means. However, whilst in this spirit form, you can be summoned into other peoples games to aid them. This continuation after death is one of the things that make the game so interesting. Lending aid to a fellow gamer, either with messages or in spirit form, is not necessarily everyone’s idea of fun. Sometimes you just want to fight with other players and dash their hopes and dreams (you meanies!) Maybe you can’t be bothered to work to get back your body? Well, how about jumping into someone else’s game, murdering them and stealing their body? Does that take your fancy? It may not be nice, but I am sure that they would do the same to you.
For all of the innovative use of the online function, the one simple fact that makes Demon’s Souls stand out from all other games of this genre, is the difficulty. The game is hard, real hard. Dying will become a way of life to the players of this game. In fact, it will happen so often that you kinda get used to it. Sit down for an extended gaming session and the first few hours will be spent swearing profusely at the game, but by the end you will be giggling like a schoolgirl at the silly mistakes you have made.
Difficult the game is, but unfair it is not. Even the most accomplished gamer will have trouble with this game. But if you follow common sense and do not take stupid risks (I will not even tell you how many times I fell to my death), then victory will come, eventually.
Demon’s souls is a mature game. By mature I don’t mean filled with boobies and the like. I mean that kiddies need not apply. It will take a certain amount of maturity to deal with the mental fallout of having your gaming hopes and dreams crushed so many times.
It is also a hardcore game and will act as a gauge of your gaming prowess. Complete the game, if you can, and then head down to your local video game store on a Saturday afternoon. You will see the store assistant trying desperately to convince a mother that little Suzie will enjoy the latest Dora game on the Wii. There will be a dad and his son arguing over which Xbox game to buy. And there will be two gamers loitering in the corner, discussing the previous nights gaming session. Now, raise your arms to the heavens and declare in your deepest, most booming voice “I completed Demon’s Souls”. All of the people in the store will drop to their knees and praise you like a god. It’s ok, you can bask in the glory. You deserved it.
Demon’s Souls will not suit everyone. The level of difficulty will put off a lot of the more casual of gamers. Yet everyone with a passing interest in RPGs should at least give the game a try, just so that they can say they have experienced it. But any gamer out there who thinks that they are a bit special should step up and prove it. This is a game well suited to special people. Just don’t expect your life to be the same afterwards. Nothing good comes easily? Never a truer word.
Have I completed the game? No, but my back garden is looking great now.