Demon’s Souls, by From Software and Atlus, has finally been released in the United States. A few of you are extremely happy to hear that news, but most of you have never heard of the game before. Demon’s Souls is an action RPG set in a dark fantasy world. Players customize their own hero and are set loose to slay demons to conquer their souls. While that may not seem like a new idea, From Software has crafted one of the most unique and interesting online components to a game, ever.
While playing Demon’s Souls, players will see glowing areas on the ground. These are hints left by other gamers playing the game. The hints can be helpful, like telling you that behind that door is a spike trap, or can mislead you, like saying behind that door is a treasure chest when it is really a spike trap. You can leave messages for other gamers playing as well. Messages you find on your quest will have a ranking on them, so you can see if other players found it useful. Rating a message will give the person who left it a full health boost, so make sure you are being helpful to your fellow heroes.
Gamers will also see blood stains on the ground. While only decoration in most games, in Demon’s Souls these blood stains are an invaluable guide for surviving. Players can activate these blood stains to see how other people playing the game died in that area. Gamers will see a red ghost version of another poor player who died in that very spot. If an area is littered with blood stains be careful, or you will end up just another warning on the ground.
Demon’s Souls is hard, extremely hard. Which means you are going to die a lot. When you die in Demon’s Souls you do not simply reload from a checkpoint and start again. You come back as a ghost version of yourself. Being a spirit leaves you with half of the health bar you have while alive and you lose all the souls collected in that level. A way to regain your body, and your full health bar, is to be summoned into another players game. Helping that live player beat the level they are in will win you back your life. While you are alive you can summon dead heroes into your game to help you in a tough area. Up to three heroes can be in the same game at one time.
Perhaps the most interesting form of online play in Demon’s Souls are the fights between players. These do not occur like in most games, where you go to the deathmatch mode before you fight other people. Instead of going into another player’s game to help them to gain your life back, gamers can force themselves into other’s games and try to kill them. If you are successful then you are granted your life back. While you are alive, and connected to the PSN, you cannot stop other players from forcing their way into your game, which means a deathmatch could happen anytime you are playing.
In a time when so many games follow the same formula, Demon’s Souls throws away the rules and writes its own. Its online components are intriguing and incredibly unique. From Software and Atlus are trying something new and changing what multiplayer means in modern gaming. Add in solid graphics and gameplay, and you have a gaming experience that everyone should try. Check out the GameTrailers review below.