Demon’s Souls – PS5
From Bluepoint Games comes a remake of the PlayStation classic, Demon’s Souls™. Entirely rebuilt from the ground up and masterfully enhanced, this remake introduces the horrors of a fog-laden, dark fantasy land to a whole new generation of gamers. Those who have faced its trials and tribulations before, can once again challenge the darkness in stunning visual quality and incredible performance.
In his quest for power, the 12th King of Boletaria, King Allant channelled the ancient Soul Arts, awakening a demon from the dawn of time itself, The Old One.
With the summoning of The Old One, a colourless fog swept across the land, unleashing nightmarish creatures that hungered for human souls. Those whose souls were stripped from them, lost their minds – left only with the desire to attack the sane that remained. Now, Boletaria is cut off from the outside world, and the knights who dare penetrate the deep fog to free the
land from its plight, are never seen again. As a lone warrior who has braved the baneful fog, you must face the hardest of challenges to earn the title “Slayer of Demons” and send The Old One back to its slumber. TOP FEATURES
Discover where the journey began
Experience the original brutal challenge, completely remade from the ground up. All presented in stunning visual quality with enhanced performance, this is the world of Boletaria as you have never seen it before. Become the Slayer of Demons
Venture to the northern kingdom of Boletaria – a once prosperous land of knights, now beset with unspeakable creatures and ravenous demons. Meet strange characters, unhinged and twisted by the world around them, and unravel the unsettling story of Demon’s Souls. Master the arts of sorcery and war
Perfect and hone your skills in combat – know when to push forward and when to bide your time, as with each missed swing and careless mistake, you risk losing the very souls you’ve worked so hard to collect. The rewards for slaying the strongest foes are immense though, and death does not mean the end – it’s just another state of being. Face the world’s greatest warriors in PVP combat
With online* invasions adding to the danger of your quest. Or play cooperatively by summoning allies to aid in your fight against the demons.
*Active PS Plus subscription required for online multiplayer.
Renown as one of the toughest games of its time on PS3, Demon’s Souls launched FromSoftware’s incredibly challenging ‘Souls’ franchise. Their adoring fans would be also blessed with the likes of Bloodborne and Sekiro. The mostly unrivalled difficulty was a major hook. However, the complex combat systems and stunning (though oft dark and eery) landscapes also shone brightly.
Whilst extremely popular, with the series selling around 27 million copies by 2020, they were still mostly adopted by a niche audience who relish in overcoming the challenge they provide.
With this beautiful, faithful remake of Demon’s Souls being a launch title on the Playstation 5, it’s likely to reach a new, entirely unprepared audience.
And I was one of them.
Beauty in the Horror
There are two things that immediately stand out on launching Demon’s Souls. Both keenly demonstrate the benefits of the power that the PS5 holds.
First, the game is visually gorgeous. Second, are the astoundingly short load times. It says a lot that these gloomy, spooky and hellish environments are utterly stunning. The huge variety of enemies across the five ‘worlds’ you will explore are so meticulously detailed, a feature that I imagine brings the original to life in a way that perhaps only existed in its player’s heads back in 2009.
Each world, and even the areas within them, are substantially distinct from one another and are a joy to explore. Despite the numerous adversaries hell-bent on preventing you from doing so, exploring is vital.
The game is set as default to ‘performance mode’, maintaining 60 frames per second and despite supposedly lowering graphical output and resolution it looks absolutely fantastic. I felt no need to leave performance mode with such fluid movement that this game benefits significantly from.
Timing in Demon’s Souls is everything.
No Margin for Error
Make no mistake, Demon’s Souls is one of the toughest games out there.
Having recently played Crash Bandicoot 4, a game that despite its charm and cartoon aesthetic is also fiendishly difficult, I found myself bizarrely finding similarities between the two. Both ultimately reward precise and perfectly timed gameplay with punishing results for failure. It means that success is incredibly rewarding.
For those unfamiliar with the story, it takes place in the kingdom of Boletaria. A magical ‘deep fog’ has fallen, unleashing demons across the land. You are tasked with travelling to 5 worlds via ‘archstones’ in a central hub called ‘The Nexus’. At the end of each ‘level’, a boss must be beaten before you can progress. Killing enemies and bosses will earn you ‘souls’ that can be devoured to level up your character in typical RPG fashion, creating a protagonist that suits your playstyle – magic, melee, long-distance, or perhaps a kind of blend of each.
Death Becomes Her
The game’s most punishing feature is that upon death. You will not only have to restart the entire level but you’ll lose all of your souls. If you manage to reach that same point at which you previously perished, you’ll be able to retrieve them. Otherwise, they are lost for good. It often makes sense to go away, gain souls to level up and return to previously tough areas that you might well now be more prepared for.
For the most part though, success is simply achieved by learning an adversary’s move set and how to effectively combat it. Working this out provides much of the game’s enjoyment. Dying over and over again is typically extraordinarily frustrating in games, often causing outbursts of anger from even the best of us. Much of this frustration is moved by two factors. First, that you truly are meant to die in Demon’s Souls. It’s how you establish what to do in future attempts.
Second, is that the speedy load times help you get to repeat attempts nigh-on instantly. Much had been made of this fact in the marketing for the Playstation 5 showcasing just what this generation of games could offer. Travelling to another area when you’ve finally given up on attempting that excruciating boss is so quick that it almost doesn’t feel like a failure.
There’s a lot of choice in Demon’s Souls. As the cost of levelling up increases exponentially, you are forced to focus on specific skillsets.
I built a ‘melee’ character, throwing most of my souls into Vitality (Health, Defence), Strength (Attack Power, Defence) and Endurance (Stamina) into it. Largely ignoring the incredible potential for spells and miracles (both offering fairly similar magic abilities like firing ‘soul rays’, healing, enchanting your weapon). This character will carry over into ‘New Game Plus’. As you’ll need multiple playthroughs to acquire that coveted platinum trophy, these are important decisions to make.
The choices don’t end there either.
Without spoiling too much, dying (in human form) will affect a system called ‘world tendency’. An area will get increasingly ‘darker’, negatively affecting your power output. The more you die, the tougher it gets. When you die, you enter ‘soul form’. This won’t negatively affect this world tendency but does mean that your health is significantly reduced. Whether to risk affecting this tendency and potentially locking off quests/items that are only available in specific world tendencies, so that you can have a little more health for that difficult boss if something you’ll have to seriously consider.
When defeating bosses, you receive a consumable ‘soul’ in your inventory, different to those you receive defeating ordinary enemies. These can typically be used for spells, miracles or powerful weapons. But often one of these souls will have multiple uses, and it’s up to you which you invest it into – so you are forced to think carefully about the character you wish to create first time round.
A Glorious Start to a New Generation
Demon’s Souls is an unlikely launch title. It’s almost definitely the toughest yet! Whilst the potential new audience might give up before it really ‘clicks’, those that carry on are in for a real treat. This was my first foray into the ‘Souls’ type games. I’m here to stay. Especially when they look, play and sound as good as this.
You might like
- Stunning visuals
- Challenging gameplay with puzzle like combat
- Satisfying character building
Might not like
- Extremely tough at times
- Very dark
- Death will cause frustration