Although it’s spiritual successor garnered more attention, the influence of Demon’s Souls cannot be overstated. A dark action-RPG that focused on extreme difficulty, attention to detail and a unique approach to multiplayer elements of its innovative design can be found in numerous games since. It’s Playstation 3 exclusivity has always been a hurdle to accessing the title. Now it’s been polished for the PS5 how does this death-fetish simulator hold up?
In short: stunningly well. For old fans, this will be like coming home and for newcomers, it may be the most accessible entry. Not that it’s difficulty has been lowered in any way but the technical slickness means it’s the most visually clear and best performing of the Souls sub-genre to date. Though this should be expected of a remake of a PS3 game, Bluepoint’s commitment to making this one of the best looking games available is incredible.
As a demonstration of the PS5’s power, it’s a truly excellent showcase. The lighting, in particular, is truly stunning and the controller provides terrific feedback, truly visceral. That said some enemies feel strangely unsatisfying to hit like you’re scratching their back rather than slicing flesh.
Demon’s Souls: A View to Die for
Having two performance modes available lends itself to testing the hardware further. Although even the original developers have stated the higher frame-rate version is incomparably superior to the prettier alternative, it’s worth trying out to see how gorgeous the world is. An added photo mode will give an extra incentive for veterans to revisit, though setting up shots between brutal battles will be an additional challenge.
The obtuse elements of the original are intact, however. “World tendency” is never well explained. It’s a strange system that changes the difficulty of the game depending on your actions, unique yet ineffable. Having less health after dying is a terrifying aspect, one that could alienate new players entirely. Despite the brilliantly innovative type of co-op this game created, it’s still a huge pain in the backside to use. It’s elements such as these that will inspire conversations about how faithful a remake should be. Would it still be Demon’s Souls without some level of intended irritation?
Prepare to Buy Demon’s Souls
Bluepoint struck a fantastic balance between old and new. The incredibly expanded character creator, aforementioned photo mode and various item re-balances all stay true to the original concept, not hindering the experience. Though some character and world redesigns may prove controversial among die-hards few have lost their impact. Even if you hate an enemy design don’t fret! You won’t have to look at it long before it pulverises you. Souls fans who are new to this title may be disappointed by the lack of the seamlessly interconnected world. but the wonderful variety of the five levels should make up for it.
Though Demon’s Souls was the first of its kind it’s still an exceptional entry within From Software’s canon. Where Astro-Bot and Sackboy are here to gently ease players into the new hardware, Demon’s Souls threatens the safety of your pricey new controller. As such it’s not a title for everyone. Those who do gel with the world of Boletaria are in for a gripping, grim fantasy adventure.