Demon’s Souls: 10 Hour Impressions

Demon’s Souls is unlike any other type of role playing game. Most RPG games I’ve played all included a gradual difficulty that worked its way up as my characters gained more experience and weapons. In the case of Demon’s Souls, prepare to get your ass kicked from the very start.

Before starting the game, gamers create their character. Starting with a class which includes many of the standard classes, like Knight or Magician, players are then allowed to modify the physical appearance of their character along with naming them. I chose the Wanderer, who was a cross between a knight and barbarian. I like characters that have strength, but also have some speed to them.

Just in the character creation, I spent about half and hour tweaking various physical features and messing around with colors. Once I locked-in my character, I started the tutorial level.

Immediately starting the tutorial, the game’s graphics really shine. The game looks intensely realistic. I think the player’s character is the only thing that looks a little low-res, partially because of the many options for customization. During the tutorial, all the necessary controls are covered, along with a little taste of combat. One thing gamers need to realize: even weak enemies can hurt you.

Players have a health bar, a magic bar, and most important: a stamina bar. Everything except walking requires stamina. Attacking, defending, and running all eat stamina and keeping an eye on it is important. Once the stamina bar runs out, players are a defenseless weakling.

Also, defending is not like other RPG games, even when defending there is a slight amount of health that can be lost. As a Wanderer, every time I blocked an attack, I lost a sliver of health. Not so important in the tutorial, but later levels, this could add up quickly. Though I did have a craptastic shield and upgraded shields could provide more defense.

At the end of the tutorial, I was killed by a one-eyed troll-looking monster who was twice the height and almost six-times the width of my character. It took two swings of a gigantic sword to cleave my Wanderer to the Nexus.

The Nexus is the focal point in the game. Once players die, they end up in the Nexus which is the main hub for the game. Players will visit new levels through Nexus along with being able to upgrade weapons and drop items for storage. Players have a limited amount of weight they can carry depending on the character class, and the storage is important.

The introduction of the Nexus is simple: You died. Gamers have to visit levels and defeat the boss in them to regain their physical life. As a spirit, the overall life and magic is halved so playing even smarter is much more necessary.

The first level is inside a castle, where players have to wander through and defeat enemies collecting souls to use for items and upgrades along with opening different doors to access new areas. Exploration is key, but don’t think you will be able to just walk up and defeat any enemy. There are some that can kill in one single attack. Combat is a mixture of attack, light defense, and watching the attack patterns of the different enemies. Don’t be afraid to back up and attack one-on-one even when attacked by a group.

Weapons and armor weaken through combat and can be repaired in the Nexus and also keep in mind of the attack area of the weapon being used. Broadsword need a long strike so attacking in hallways will be difficult, but that little dagger? Oh yea, that’ll work well.

The online component is great, blood stains of other players online are scattered where they fell and watching the replay of their death really helps in passing certain areas. Gamers can also leave hints in levels so ambushes or strategy is here and there so help you survive. Honestly, those hints saved my ass more than once.

I must have died somewhere along twenty times. It was first due to thinking I could run-and-gun through areas. Then not defending enough, then attack an enemy that skewed me. The list goes on and on of why I was killed. Though when you die, a blood stain of where you died appears and you can reclaim all the souls you had before you died. The game saves in the background, so I never knew when it was saving or loading. The game runs seamless throughout, other than the loading of different main area, like the Nexus to the first level.

It’s been 10 hours and I finally got to what could be a mid-level boss or a mini-boss, I’m not sure, but it still killed me. I’m going to go back in and try to finish the first level, but I need to get some more souls first.