|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: From Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atlus USA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct 6, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 (3 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The second thing you'll need for success in the game is equipment. Although this sounds like an obvious point, in Demon's Souls, it's not so straightforward. When you go into the game's first dungeon, you will be very ill-equipped, and you won't be able to get more than 25% of the way through (if you're lucky) with your current tools. Since this is a dungeon-crawler, character death means that your currency evaporates. So what do you do? Well, you'll have to grind. And by grind, I mean go through part of the dungeon, and then backtrack to the warp spot, buy equipment, and then do it all again. Although this aspect of the game can get monotonous fast, it does stay true to the dungeon-crawling genre, and also ties in with the next essential component you'll have to work on: memorization.
The world of Demon's souls is fraught with life-taking cliffs and booby traps, and death, in many cases, is literally one step away. For this reason, you'll have to memorize dungeon areas (no map is provided) and successfully guide your character through the game's danger-filled hallways. As you can see, Demon's Souls is not your average dungeon-crawler. A lot of work goes into beating each level, and the grinding mechanism, though monotonous, yields the game almost indefinite replay value. As you play you will constantly be challenged to switch up your gameplay, and with each new floor and room comes an ever-increasing challenge.
However, if you need help, Demon's Souls also includes fairly robust online functionality. You can team up with other players in a special co-op mode that allows you play with two other spectral players with limited powers, or you can steal souls by invading another player's game. However, even though both of these features are fairly useful, the most interesting online capability is the game's use of bloodstains and messages. Bloodstains can be found all over the world of Demon's Souls, and by touching them, you can see how other players have died. A red spectral form of their character avatar will run across the screen, and you can see what happened to cause their demise. This is an excellent tool when you are in dungeons, especially if you want to see if there is a trap ahead. Similarly, players can leave messages on the floor of a level, warning other players about a trap or a particularly dangerous enemy that might be up ahead.
Between its active battle system and its online functionality, there is a whole lot that separates Demon's Souls from other games in the dungeon-crawling genre, bringing it into the current generation. Though this game is punishingly difficult, if you are a dungeon-crawling fan, you owe it to yourself to check out Demon's Souls. From Software is definitely ahead of the curve in regards to the future of this genre, and Demon's Souls proves that everything that is old can indeed be new again.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor