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Demon's Souls

Developer: FromSoftware Publisher: SCE
05 February 2009
Demon's Souls - cover art
Glitchwave rating
4.11 / 5.0
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867 Ratings / 4 Reviews
#120 All-time
#5 for 2009
A strange fog has overtaken the kingdom of Boletaria, cutting it off from the world and birthing demons. No one who has ventured into the fog has ever made it back out. But one day, a lone messenger is able to make it through and sends out word that the kingdom needs a hero. You are that hero. You WILL die. As a spirit, you must fight demons, monsters, and even the corrupted people of Boletaria to reclaim your body and wipe them all out. No human could possibly stand up to such incredible evils, so you'll have to become a little less human and bond the souls of demons to yourself to take their power. Boletaria has been split into five separate realms and in each of these locations, there are hundreds of creatures that want you dead as well as a few greater demons that can easily make that a reality. Pick up a sword, wand, or your faith and get ready to have your head crushed. It's a difficult and painful journey, but there are few more rewarding.
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2009 From SCE  
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JP 4 948872 730228 BCJS-30022
2009 From Atlus  
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XNA 7 30865 00132 3 BLUS-30443
Demon's Souls Black Phantom Edition
2010 From Bandai Namco  
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3 546430 149225
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2010 From Bandai Namco  
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FR 3 546430 149393 BLES-00932
Demon's Souls Greatest Hits
2010 From Atlus  
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US 7 30865 00132 3 BLUS-30443GH
2013 From Bandai Namco  
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The People's Souls game
You know what really upsets me.

I went apeshit over Dark Souls when it came out and I was constantly told by fans of it, that there was no reason to ever go back and play demon souls because "Dark Souls did everything Demon Souls tried doing, but better." Boy were they all fucking wrong. As someone who enjoys the souls games a great deal, this may just be my favorite. Not only does it still look and run pretty incredibly even in 2019 standards. This game fucking rules, easily some of my favorite monster design in the entire series, I loved getting away from the interconnected world and just hopping from world to world and the great feeling of getting an item from a soul and instantly being excited to return to a level because I knew I finally had what I was missing to complete a level. I love the atmosphere of every world, and from the 1-1 to 5-3 there wasn't a minute I wasn't loving every minute of this game. It's a shame it's ranked so much lower than the other entries because wow, is this not one of if not the best games of all time.
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King's Field 2 and The Ancient City have to be the most important titles in From Software's history, because they were a landmark on... basically everything they stood out for, mostly in terms of level design and narrative. The plot of these games was actually pretty simple on paper. What it made them so different is they were disjointed, especially for The Ancient City. You really had to dig a lot to unravel the full story, filled with medievalistic romance and family drama. At the same time, they were dreamy, atmospheric experiences. KFII and KFIV felt like fever dreams as you explore them more and more, bringing a palpable feeling of postmodern hysteria.

I'm sure most of you know about the Miyazaki legendary comment about how he read english books without understanding them for shit. Well, I won't deny that's probably true, but he constructed a wildly exaggerated mythology around that bit of trivia. Hidetaka declared to interviewers Naotoshi Jin's work was pretty influential for him, as King's Field is one of his favorite franchises of all-time. By looking at Demon's Souls primal design philosophies, it's clear it's both an artistic departure and an honorific work.

One of the arguments people make against Demon's Souls is about its lore, that it's too loose and players really need to fill up stuff with their mind, because a lot about the game is hidden and unknown. Just like I said in my Bloodborne snippet, only that game and Demon's Souls share this style of writing. You can trace the plot as a simple story with simple characters, just with a lot whole of nothing in-between, and I argue that's exactly the point. Considering how phantasm and gloomy the world is and the wildly different settings between the five cursed lands, no wonder why everything's so loosely stringed. In Dark Souls, while the lore is a lot more structured and understandable, almost everything has an explanation, or can be constructed back by really squinting your eyes.

Demon's Souls holds nothing for you in that regard, and that's awesome in its own right - hell, I prefer it. How did Valley of Defilement exactly formed? What's the Old One? Does it have a motif? ...Does it need a motif? What are the undertones of Astraea getting around a whole pool of unwanted children? Why is the Old One supposedly looking to end our suffering... The suffering of whom? Why was the Old Monk exiled? Why does the Old Monk need a giant chained heart? The Nexus' existence? The false king? The endings? So, so much you can't explain easily because there's no lore to back it up perfectly. And the most interesting thing is: the story itself leans more easily than Dark Souls! This is actual environmental storytelling - you really have to take you back to the whole Demon's universe and take an holistic view to understand it.

Just damaged by the non-inclusion of the sixth world -which would've probably explained a lot more... or not- , the fact World Tendency is underdeveloped and it loses points for the next games having more options. Demon's Souls is a special work of art. So humble, so experimental, so limited but so creative at the same time. The HUB World unifying all realms is quite fantastic as it's a truly open-ended game with five ways of actually starting the journey. It works more like a puzzle too, using the right ring in the right situation, bosses with a gimmick that made them both easy yet compelling considering how tough the road to them can get -the boss rush element was a lot more contained- and loads of stones to try.

Weird effects, strange mechanics, hidden secrets within the same worlds, World Tendency affected by other players... it brings so much joy and sorrow. And it doesn't overstate its welcome, with no real weak parts of the game, something you can't really say about Dark Souls. It's basically the most important game of the generation, and it released months before the end of the 2000s. Unless you put more attention to the boss challenge aspect of the games rather than the whole package, Demon's Souls is magical and the most sincere title Miyazaki has ever worked with.
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Mur96 2021-06-28T16:00:57Z
2021-06-28T16:00:57Z
4.5
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An ambitious, innovative, wonky RPG powerhouse
Demon's Souls is an incidental masterpiece - I doubt even FromSoft themselves would've foreseen how far this game would take them as a company. With the SoulsBorne series among the most famous in the world, having redefined a generation of action-RPGs and raised the genre standards to an impossible high, it's interesting to take a look back to the progenitor and see just how much of the winning formula they managed to put together in the first go. Demon's Souls was my first Souls game, and one I still hold dear to heart in its design and execution. Not only does DeS hold up against the later entries in the series, it was such a stark contrast to its peers at the time that I would find it hard pressed to call it anything other than one of the most innovative video games of all time, and one of the most successful experiments of the 7th console generation.

Demon's Souls is all about souls. Probably obvious from the name, but it's the fundamental mechanical base of the experience, and later the series as a whole. Although you start the game as a human, upon death your character's soul is bound to a mystical hub called the Nexus, allowing you to regenerate in a weakened soul form indefinitely on your quest to destroy the five archdemons and return the Old One back to slumber. Along the way you'll fight monsters formed from the souls of men lost to the fog, reclaiming the souls as currency as you strike them down. The souls work as both money for equipment and services and to level up your character, forcing a healthy balance of spendature. Finally, in one of the boldest mechanical concepts in the game, the souls you've accumulated are lost upon death, and you're only given one run to reclaim them in the spot where you died. This one change dramatically changes how the game is played, encouraging a careful, defensive playstyle in order to protect your progress. Your adventuring is well rewarded but the risk is always present, and the game deserves credit for presenting such tangible stakes in a market where games were progressively dumbing down.

For an exclusively Japanese dev team, Demon's Souls is a very Western-styled game. Its visual inspirations lie in traditional European fantasy, and it takes a more realistic approach to the art direction, discarding bright-haired protagonists and animation tropes of the time. The combat is exclusively in real-time and feels like an actual fight, with swords and shields, parries and dodges. The variety of weaponry is strong and caters to just about every playstyle one can imagine. There is a real heft to the progressive armor levels, and it impacts your movement speed and agility in combat as well as your defense. These sorts of considerations add up to a very immersive experience, whereby the player feels physically invested into the world before them.

The visual style, although not always a technical achievement, holds up as a sort of final frontier for the abstract, dream-like games from the PS2 era. The environment, while dark and gloomy, contains many sources of fog and dim light, which feels ethereal and otherworldly. This haze, along with the detailed sound design and sparse music, serves to both amplify tension during dangerous exploration and comfort when back in familiar places. A similar effect was used to great success in the first two Silent Hill games, and I think it's implemented well here. The stages where you'll spend most of your time in the game are horrible places, filled to the brim with secrets, collectables, and monsters, and the intense difficulty and punishment for death needed to be blunted somehow to not demoralize the player. By creating moments of comfort and relief upon a successful run, the player is always rewarded by returning to safety.

The stages themselves are the crown jewel of the whole experience, with inspired level design on a technical level, and interesting art direction that characterize the locales. The general design philosophy is to show the exit near the beginning of the stage, but with some kind of blockage that prevents progress. As you explore, you'll unlock shortcuts that allow you to get back up to your most recent location more quickly upon death, and eventually open the way toward the boss of the area. The shortcuts are ingenious, as they don't require the stages to be trials of attrition before confronting the player with a difficult boss fight, and they end up splitting the stage into a longer, exploratory path, and a shorter one that leads to the final boss

Each area has its own bit of lore that connects in interesting ways to one another, to characters in the Nexus and abroad, and to the main arc of King Allant and his awakening of the Old One.

In all it is a remarkably bleak experience, content to let the player wallow in its intense misery and embrace the dying world before them.
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the_lockpick 2017-12-31T05:31:14Z
2017-12-31T05:31:14Z
4.0
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I remember first playing this game during my Senior year in high school right after it came out, I remember the frustration as I'd get a little further in the first level only to die by some cheap trap or get ambushed. I eventually got so frustrated after dying at least a dozen times and not being able to get past the first level that I decided to return the game and just give up, its the first game I ever remember quitting out of frustration. Almost 2 years later I ended up deciding to suck it up and go back at the game since I really liked the idea of it, and heard it was a rewarding experience. Well I ended up looking up everything online and basically cheesing the game with magic, and well yeah my first experience beating the game might not have been legitimate since I just spammed magic at everything and found the cheapest ways to kill the bosses but on a second playthrough I found much enjoyment in the game and it was easily one of my favorite games of that time. I replayed the game multiple more times on NG+ mode where the game gets harder and it still stands out today. Yeah Dark Souls sort of overtook this and now nobody really cares about this anymore, but it still is a great game and the hardest game in the Souls series.

Its a game that takes challenge and requires you to use skill and learning to overcome it, and it has deep lore rooted in its World that you have to figure out on your own. The main thing with Demon's Souls is its broken up into segments like levels and after you beat each level there is a boss at the end and after you've cleared all World's you can enter the end of the game where you fight the final boss and choose your ending. The game is somewhat linear, at least compared to the later games, but it isn't too bad. The level design ranges from great, to mediocre, there are some bad levels like one where you are in a poison swamp and move slow, and another where you are in generic mines. The thing I love about this though is most of the design is well and you can create short cuts so when you die you don't have to entirely redo the entire level. The other thing is there is enough variety of enemies and traps to keep you on your toes and prevent the game from getting tedious. The soul system is perfect where you can die once then reclaim your souls where you died then if you die again you lose them for good, and they allow you to upgrade, so you truly feel the pain of death. I mean Demons Souls is a rough game that is a bit more stiff and clunky feeling than the later games, the bosses are very hit or miss, and the game isn't as open World as it could have been, but for a first entry this is still really impressive and at the time of its release was one of the best games of its time. And even is still worth playing today, and provides a good challenge and has some interesting lore and enemies. Sure its more of a mixed bag than Dark Souls or Bloodborne, but that mixed bag is full of more good than bad.
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jweber14 2017-07-21T21:03:14Z
2017-07-21T21:03:14Z
4.0
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So the world may be mended...
I go back and forth about what is the best game of 2009, the debate being between Demon Souls and Uncharted 2. While uncharted 2 arguably is the most entertaining out of the two, Demon Souls is much more memorable, empowering and unique experience. Its game whose levels and bosses stay in your mind, and the same cant really be said about Uncharted 2 except perhaps the train level.

Demon's Souls is an action rpg that completly shattered the notions of what an RPG is supposed to be like when it release. Though its lore is present for those that want to discover more of its world, after the introduction there is very little story exposition to drive you forward. Instead you are driven forward to explore the levels open up to you and defeat the bosses required for progression. Its a game that revolves around level design and gameplay, story is merely an after though.

When compared to its more modern contemporaries like Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne, the combat in Demon's Souls will definitly feel more janky than it should. Its not just a matter of being slow, it definitly has some issues in terms of hit detection and bugginess. Despite not being perfect in this regard, its still a very solid action game, which requires patient above anything else. It teaches the player to look out for openings, to observe its world, and to perservere through failure. I played this one after Dark Souls 1 and 2, and even with experience in the series i found it to be a challenging game. The challenge however i found it to be focused more on the actual levels than the end bosses. The bosses unfortunatly tend to fall towards the design of a gimmick that can be exploited, and they almost feel like a puzzler at times than a test of skill and reflexes. There are a couple of memorable exceptions of course, and its great to see the devs experiments with new concepts to add to the boss fights, but they arent the huge climax that some of these levels deserve. Technically the game also has some noticable flaws, including huge frame drops during a few boss fights and areas that can really compromise your experience.

The level design for me is what makes this game so damn memorable. The game reeks in atmosphere, exarcebated by the bleak lightining and silence that is punctuated for the majority of levels. Music is only really noticable during boss fights, in which orchestral themes are the norm. The levels are designed in a way that they are incredibly dense in detail if you want to explore them, but also very fast to reach the bosses if you want to rush things. They are not open areas, they are constructed as linear sections with a lot of side branches and opportunities to open up shortcuts. Though From Software would take this concept to the next level in Dark Souls by delivering a completly open world, the world still feels very much interlinked in this one. There are 5 major areas in the game, which you can access from the Nexus. The nexus effectively acts as your safe haven, where you can level up and buy or improve weapons and armor from the available shopkeepers. NPC you rescue during the levels will also appear in here. Because of the amount of times you return to it and the emotional connection you feel of safety, it quickly becomes a very nostalgic place as you play the game. Others places like the prison or the Valley of defilement are very memorable as well, but for all together different reasons. They are the places that best convey the feeling of hopelessness and solitude that permeates through the game, and one that very little other games can do as well.

Demon's Souls is an incredible game. It can be very challenging for new players, and its definitly not helped by its technical shortcomings. But for those that perservere they will find a world here that is unique, moving and very memorable.
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Threntall 2016-11-04T14:22:13Z
2016-11-04T14:22:13Z
4.5
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The ultimate genius of Demon's Souls lies in its simplicity. I don't think that this series could have become what it did without this game, and without this game's remarkable straight-forwardedness. This game doesn't have the massive, interconnected world of Dark Souls, the stand-alone adventures of the DLC in Dark Souls II or the optional, hidden segments of Dark Souls III. It's a game that hides nothing from you. And it's a masterpiece.

At its core, Demon's Souls is built like an arcade game. There are no real checkpoints and each stage is remarkably difficult. This means that, with every death (and there will be many of them) a player will be sent back to the beginning of the stage. This almost sounds tedious, but the gameplay loop is so satisfying, addicting and rewarding that it almost never feels annoying or boring. I found myself saying "one more try" at the end of a long night of binging this game, only to try five or six more times. I would get a little further each time, and I knew that each attempt got me a little closer to a boss fight. There's no tedium when you're ecstatic to keep trying.

Outside of that core philosophy, there are a lot of specifics about Demon's Souls that make it a really great game. First and foremost, it's an action-RPG that manages to pull off combat better than any action-RPG that came before it. There are so many different ways to play, and they all feel incredibly smooth and intuitive. Melee users will have a harder time than magic users, but all in all most playstyles will feel fair and comfortable. Customization is seemingly never-ending; there are tons of weapons, tons of upgrades for weapons, tons of stats to adjust as the player progresses, and armor and shields to add to all of that. The core gameplay systems work masterfully.

The stage design of this game is probably its strongest point. Unlike the later games, which focus more on big, open areas, Demon's Souls is largely pretty linear; once a player leaves the hub world and enters a new stage, there is more or less a straight shot to the goal. There's obviously plenty of exploration, but a new player won't feel as lost or disoriented as they would in Dark Souls. There's a clear beginning and ending of each stage, and the only real goal is to get from one to the other. Because of this simple structure, the stages are mostly built with a lot of care; there's plenty to find in them, the set pieces are beautiful and diverse, and a player will find surprises around every corner.

The bosses in this game are somewhat underwhelming. This is the only Souls game I've completed so far (though I'm working on the next one right now!) but I think I can say pretty confidently that the bosses in this game are, on average, easier than they are in the others, just based on what I've experienced and seen from other players. There's three really tough moments (The Flamelurker, The Maneater, and the Old King Allant) but, aside from those, the rest don't feel like massive challenges. This is especially true when it comes to magic users; a magic or ranged user will very easily be able to cheese almost every single boss in this game in one way or another. This is obviously the player's choice to do this, but it certainly gives less urgency to these fights.

That being said, the bosses, without the cheese, are really fun. After the somewhat lackluster first boss, the rest of the game offers some pretty awe-inspiring fights. The aforementioned Old King Allant is incredibly daunting and the Flamelurker legitimately terrified me as I scrambled to dodge his attacks while still finding time for my own. The first really excellent fight in the game comes in from the Tower Knight, the exact kind of boss I expect from a game like this; it's complex, difficult, and almost overwhelming. Others, though lackluster fights (like the Maiden or the true, actual final boss) serve to create atmosphere or tension for the player, and they work really well in that regard. I wouldn't say that any fight in this game really fails to accomplish something so, even if the difficulty is inconsistent, the quality isn't.

The story and characters serve more to create atmosphere than to create any real narrative, and that's totally fine with me. The atmosphere really is wholly unique, and works to give the game well-needed urgency for something so difficult. I don't need a great narrative when the actual game is so wonderful.

My only real complaint about this game is that sometimes the performance acts up bad. There are framedrops pretty often, though none of them are game-breaking. Also, the lock-on function just doesn't work as well as it does in the next game.

Demon's Souls is a fantastically structured, addictive, arcadey action-RPG with a flawless combat system, dark, moody atmosphere, exciting bosses and some minor performance problems. Who knew it would start something so magic.
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Catalog

audiovisualcity Demon's Souls 2022-05-23T18:42:27Z
2022-05-23T18:42:27Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
dannymason_1 Demon's Souls 2022-05-23T02:17:36Z
2022-05-23T02:17:36Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nagual Demon's Souls 2022-05-22T20:27:53Z
2022-05-22T20:27:53Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
pensiero97 Demon's Souls 2022-05-21T15:46:51Z
2022-05-21T15:46:51Z
6
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Calasmere Demon's Souls 2022-05-21T09:16:06Z
2022-05-21T09:16:06Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
LageCL Demon's Souls 2022-05-19T22:22:38Z
PS3 • XNA
2022-05-19T22:22:38Z
2.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SpicyNuggets Demon's Souls 2022-05-19T01:44:31Z
2022-05-19T01:44:31Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
mdct77 Demon's Souls 2022-05-18T03:20:45Z
2022-05-18T03:20:45Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
stephenhearts Demon's Souls 2022-05-17T18:25:44Z
2022-05-17T18:25:44Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
nyanpasu Demon's Souls 2022-05-17T15:35:57Z
PS3 • JP
2022-05-17T15:35:57Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
skullzxvx Demon's Souls 2022-05-15T17:38:29Z
2022-05-15T17:38:29Z
5.0
1
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
veggiefu Demon's Souls 2022-05-14T23:36:24Z
2022-05-14T23:36:24Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Content rating
CERO: D
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1x Blu-ray
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  • Previous comments (66) Loading...
  • cryo 2022-02-04 22:00:55.434763+00
    im playing DS1 for the first time and its PHENOMENAL, but i cant help but think about DS everytime i play it, this game has such an astonishing amount of charm and uniqueness. DS1 is probably the better game mechanically but damn DS just goes crazy in atmosphere
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  • Somedudeontheinternet 2022-03-12 13:22:08.305361+00
    Sometimes I have a hard time choosing if DS1 or this is better. While I will go with the safe choice if I had to, this game still kicks ass
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  • Somedudeontheinternet 2022-03-20 23:58:01.585305+00
    Coming back to this, wow this is From’s most experimental game and while a lot of people don’t hold it in the same breath as DS1 and the others. I’m on total board with what the game works with, staggering but yet satisfying gameplay. Incredible world design, great perry system. And I’d argue a more consistent boss layout than Souls 1. I still hold Sekiro a little higher but completely engrossing and fascinating game for From’s first stab at the series
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  • NekoTempo 2022-03-27 05:23:45.089363+00
    Replaying this with RPCS3 using the 60 FPS patch has been a rly nice experience, not to mention it finally has its own online server. (I haven't found any players yet but world tendency has been functional and i've been seeing a lot of player messages)
    reply
    • ThrashingFairy 2022-04-09 11:29:01.278516+00
      RPCS3 really is the ideal way to play this now.
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  • jake7 2022-04-10 23:52:49.297792+00
    Playing this on RPCS3 is a joy
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  • Misre 2022-04-19 22:43:18.816027+00
    playing on ps3 using a private server, just beat phalanx last night and im having so much fun w it
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  • Xantha_Page 2022-05-06 04:17:14.424795+00
    Is the PS3 worth playing offline on the console if I don't care about the multiplayer stuff in Dark Souls, or does the lack of servers break something else?
    reply
    • jake7 2022-05-09 03:24:32.418875+00
      Playing offline is perfectly fine. Doesn't change much
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