Entirely rebuilt from the ground up and masterfully enhanced, Demon's Souls is a remake of the 2009 release that introduces the horrors of a fog-laden, dark fantasy land to a whole new generation of gamers. Those who’ve faced its trials and tribulations before, can once again challenge the darkness in stunning visual quality with incredible performance. The remake features improved graphics and animations, sound and lighting tweaks and a reimagining of many of the visual, musical and mechanical aspects of the original game.
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Bluepoint's Demon's Souls remake is somehow the most beautiful coupling of both the best and worst elements of the Soulsbournesoft franchise.
Before discussing the "game" portion, I'd like to discuss the excellent job the team did in recreating one of the most influential titles of the new milennium. Much like their Shadow of the Colossus redux, Bluepoint was working with... not a whole lot in the realm of good looking or inspiriational visuals in the source material. The ability to re-imagine the original environments, enemies, and music with modern technology and visuals as to look and feel amazing in the current gen is nothing short of amazing. Locations I visited felt like those in Elden Ring with the amount of detail poured into them, and the more Victorian settings wished for a modern touchup of Bloodborne. Everything looked and felt so visceral, when NPC's talked their faces lit up and it felt like an actual speech instead of mingling with low poly 3D models. Each individual realm/world had a distinct grime and feel to it as a result of the hardcore asset upgrading, making a crusty 3D action-adventure become an enthralling experience that drags the player in. The themes, which as I understood were also remade for this game, were a great touch to bossfights to make them feel grandiose and challenging, despite them being a breeze. Everytime I walked into a boss arena and the chorus or instrumentation hit, I was reminded of the daunting nature of Fromsoft's scope in games.
Now the less than stellar part of the Demon's Souls remake is the... Demon's Souls part of it. There's only so many things you can do to touchup a game like this while staying faithful to the source material, and that is much to the detriment of the game. Thankfully Fromsoft has clearly demonstrated some serious lesson learning in the time between the first game and Elden Ring, I mean even from Demon's Souls to Dark Souls. There were many issues with combat, the first being that it was honestly laughably easy. Enemy variety was low, once you learn the patterns just about once it becomes extremely simple to avoid death in fighting. Boss difficulty was almost comical, most bosses against my magic build took one try, only one of the sixteen that I fought took more than two (took three) because I could sit in a corner or in the boss' face and cast the same spell throughout the game's entierty. The issue with Demon's Souls, and again this is almost excusable because of its age, is that the bosses are entierly gimmicks, and once you discover how to get passed that, its free real estate. Contrast that to another game I found to be easier, Bloodborne, and that actually required learning the boss song and dance and reacting accordingly in a marathon of dodging and attacking.
The second major red flag for Demon's Soul's was the mapping, oh man it was awful. Each archstone serves as a world, and each world has 3-5 levels within it. Each level has one "bonfire" equivalent, which often leads to some bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuutal paths to the boss. On your first clear of an area you'll go through the gamut of enemies hiding around walls, holes in the ground, awkward camera angels, etc... which can kill you pretty easily. Now, death in Fromsoft games is no stranger, as you'll likely be doing a whooooole lot of it, but with Demon's Souls hp halving mechanic for the first time you die on every level, it gets real annoying. There were a few levels in which I'd die to falling off a cliff just before the boss arena, and spend an unfathomabley annoying amount of time trying to trace back and memorize enemy patterns just to get my souls, but not my HP which I could only recover by killing this boss. Most levels have this random environment RNG which made it even more aggrivating, why include the HP half mechanic? What does it add to the game other than just making it "harder" for more annoying's sake? It just feels like awful gameplay design, worse than Sekiro's dragonrot sickness by a mile because its legitimately uncurable until you kill a boss. The level-long corpse runs couple with the game's penalty for dying led for some genuinely miserable treks. Even with all this, the game took me less than fourteen hours.
All in all, Demon's Souls is a pretty decent use of time as it includes the best of Fromsoft's last fifteen or so years, but also a plethora of head scratching mechanics. I would recommend this game to fans of the Soulsbourne genre, but not at the complete pricepoint of $70, probably only half of that.
Other than the amazing graphics left me Demons souls quiet unsatisfied.
-obviously the graphics! They are astonishing!
-the different worlds are unique and well constructed (except for that outside area in 4-2 till 4-3, there was no enjoyment whatsoever)
-some realy nice enemy designs, esp. later Latria tower
-most of the bosses were no real challenge.
-World Tendecy has to be the worst implementation FS has ever made.
-going for Platinum is a pain in the ass due to World Tendency
TLDR: Demon's Souls is OK, nothing special, World Tendency sucks. But still a must play for FS enthusiasts
I won't lie, I'm not the biggest fan of Souls games, so I was hoping things would be different with this one. Unfortunately things were not different. I am aware that it is a remake of the original Demon's Souls but boy have most of these bosses not aged well, seriously most of them fucking suck. Plus I just had this overwhelming feeling that so much of what is here was just improved on in Dark Souls which doesnt help.
Claymore is still bae though x
The remake of Demon's Souls is seriously gorgeous, easily one of the best looking games on the market as of right now and its not all glitter and godrays, artistically its genuinely a huge achievement, reinvigorating a classic and bringing to life its damp, dark and depressing world - from the massive architecture of a decaying empire to frightening marshlands and twisting caverns. On top of this the animations are punchy and satisfying and the games' particle effects are insanely detailed and realistic, serving this games' visuals beyond just pointless polish.
Despite this, however, Demon's Souls can feel like a pretty style over substance game at times and from what I understand, it is very true to the original game for better or worse. Demon's Souls was the start of something more and its really cool to see where many of the ideas later expanded upon in future souls titles began with its familiar environments and bosses. This doesn't mean Demon's Souls is redundant, not at all - at best its not only a fascinating glimpse into where it all began, but its absolutely still filled with its own unique charm, spectacles and encounters. At worst, however, it has some pretty frustrating and questionable game mechanics, disappointing boss fights that now feel a little lacking in presence / impact and a couple of annoying areas. Dark Souls made changes in a lot of the right places, such as replacing grass consumables for healing with estus, eliminating the need for farming healing items (a dull chore) and providing more convenient checkpoints among many other things, but there's still merit and intrigue to Demon's Souls approach at times. Needing to overcome an area and boss to earn your next checkpoint and having death be so much more punishing made traversing its environments and taking out enemies feel just a bit more impactful, but I doubt i'd feel this way if i'd not played several souls titles before this one (this one can feel like a brutal challenge in a pretty different sense).
Demon's Souls is also a much more linear game, occurring before Dark Souls really changed everything with its sprawling interconnected world-building. Again this has its own merit but it can make the experience feel quite a bit different. While this might tone down those personal feelings of wonder and discovery later established in Dark Souls, the visual set-pieces and unique flavour of each of demon's souls environments still really shines. I particularly loved upper latria with its astonishing sense of verticality where you're just towering over the world and the entirety of world 1 as you move through the gorgeous yet brutally hostile kingdom of Boletaria. Saying this there's also some right stinkers like the swamp of sorrow, possibly one of my least favourite areas of all the fromsoft games i've played, just a long, tedious and incredibly difficult area to get through. It also doesn't even make up for it with how its presented, this area has nothing going for it really and served as clear inspiration for another shitty area in Dark Souls (Blighttown), which makes me dislike it even more haha.
Despite some of its amazing visuals and massive merit as 'the game that started it all', I do kind of wish Demon's Souls was more 'fun' as an actual game. With how extraordinarily punishing it can feel and not always in ways that feel fair or earned, I found getting satisfaction and enjoyment in its gameplay pretty rare when compared to what followed. As previously mentioned, the boss fights in this game are pretty lame, almost all of them can be beaten by walking or rolling behind them and swinging a few times, or from the looks of it, spamming spells in a corner. Bosses in later Souls titles kinda fixed this for the most part. Saying this there are some pretty cool gimmick bosses, such as the old hero who is blind and you can take advantage of this and the storm king, a giant flying manta ray fight in which you need to find a special sky rending weapon in order to fight back.
While still feeling like a product of its time and a real testament to how far the series has come, this remake makes changes in a lot of the right places from what i've read, with its stunning graphical and technological enhancements and welcome quality of life changes. This is one for more hardened fans of the series and this style of gameplay though, since I think some of its core design decisions will alienate players in ways even later souls titles might not. It didn't take me too long at all to finish but like all souls games it has real replay value so who knows, I might come back to it one day.