With Demon's Souls, FromSoftware created a brand new genre of ultra-tough games designed to push even the most-skilled gamers to their limit. And now fans of games like Dark Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice have a new chance to see where it all started, thanks to Bluepoint Games' absolutely fantastic PlayStation 5 remake of the 2009 classic.
Bluepoint's Demon's Souls remake is almost the same exact game that released in 2009 in terms of core gameplay. Movement is a bit more precise and it's not as rough around the edges, but for the most part, the gameplay is the same. Demon's Souls players create a character and are immediately thrust into an unforgiving, bleak world where everything is out to kill them and death has severe, lasting consequences.
Exploring Demon's Souls' world, the ruined kingdom of Boletaria, is immensely rewarding, with players constantly finding helpful items whenever they stray off the beaten path. On the surface, the game world may seem like there's not all that much going on, but the more players die and repeat the same sections over and over again, the more secrets and shortcuts they will find.
While going through the same sections repeatedly may sound tedious, Demon's Souls' high difficulty ensures that it never gets repetitive or boring. Players will learn from their mistakes each run and make a little more progress every time, which can be incredibly rewarding. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the environments players have to continuously go through look absolutely stunning, with brilliant lighting effects, highly-detailed textures, and some truly jaw-dropping sights. Out of all the early PS5 games, Demon's Souls is the one that looks the most "next-gen," and by a considerable margin.
The argument can be made that some of Demon's Souls' gritty charm is lost because of the graphical upgrade. Others may also take contention with Bluepoint changing some of the weirder things in Demon's Souls, like swapping out the bizarre Cat Ring image. But the Demon's Souls graphical update is such a massive leap forward from the original that many others will find it hard to go back.
Something else that will keep Demon's Souls fans from returning to the PS3 original is the new game's active online community. Demon's Souls on PS5 features all the same online multiplayer connectivity that was available in the PS3 game before its servers shut down, allowing players to team up with others for co-op help against bosses as well as invade each other's worlds to wreak havoc. Demon's Souls players can also leave messages for each other, either to be helpful or to trick players into traps.
Someone that has only played the Dark Souls games that may be jumping into Demon's Souls will find all of this familiar, but they may be put-off by some of the differences between Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. One big difference is Demon's Souls' lack of bonfires. Bonfires in Dark Souls act as checkpoints that, while they also respawn all the enemies in the immediate vicinity, also allow players to spend points to level up their characters.
Demon's Souls has archstones that players can use to fast-travel to the Nexus, a hub world where they do their leveling, purchase items, and more. Archstones are far rarer than bonfires, oftentimes only appearing in areas where players have defeated one of the game's many powerful bosses. The lack of bonfires means that Demon's Souls has far less checkpoints and it's also more difficult to level grind in this game compared to the titles that followed. Whether or not one appreciates the additional challenge is up to personal preference, but it does make the game even more intense.
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