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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Atlus
Developed By: From Software
Genre: Action RPG
Players: 1
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

When Atlus first announced that they were partnering up with From Software to release Demonís Souls exclusive to the PlayStation 3 console, I didnít know what to make of the title. Part of me was longing for a great role-playing experience from From Software, while at the time I was a bit confused as to how online play would factor into the game considering at the time not much information was revealed. As the months past, new screenshots, trailers and details were given about Demonís Souls, and as a result of that, I knew this title had the potential to become a bonified Game of the Year candidate. Does this actually holds true of title, continue reading to find out.

For those who donít have their PS3 console connect to the internet and buy this game (that better not be you), be prepared to miss out on a big chunk of the total experience that Demonís Souls has to offer. From the ground up, this game was designed to be played online through the gameís unique take on the multiplayer construct. Instead of you selecting an option to go online or to play co-op, itís all ingrained within the game itself. If you are online, you experience will be tied into the experiences of other gamers playing the title online. If not connected online, then your experience is wrapped around you playing and experiencing everything this title has to offer alone. Either way, the engaging and immersive experience is one to be savored.

Before talking about the game, I feel I must stress that Demonís Souls is one of the most difficult and trying titles to date for the PlayStation 3 console. This isnít the case due to From Software wanting to one up Tecmo and the Ninja Gaiden series, but rather because of unique and intuitive gameplay mechanics that are utilized to create an experience enriched with darkness and danger around every corner. The premise of Demonís Souls is based on King Allante XII, ruler of the Kingdom of Boletaria, awaking an ancient demon known as ďThe Old OneĒ. Because of the kingís actions, the ancient demon spreads a fog, which engulfs the world in darkness and despair. As the hero of the story, you are tasked with defeating The Old One and returning your kingdom and the rest of the world back to its original state.

Due to The Old Oneís haunting fog, engulfing the world, some pretty unique and downright creative creatures cross your path. While you will be able to mow through the easier enemies like knights, skeletons, etc. and collect lots of loot and souls, you will always come across one bad mofo that knows what it takes to kill you where you stand. When you do die in the game, which will be A LOT, your soul is sent to Nexus instead of respawning at your last checkpoint like in a typical RPG. Any souls that are acquired along your path are left behind in the real world where you died, waiting for you to get out of the Nexus and go scoop them up. However, while in the Nexus you can interact with several merchants that seem to be selling goods. You do have the option to attack them, even kill them, however those actions can and will have consequences and repercussions in the long run. The Nexus can be seen as a waiting pool in which you are awaiting to be summoned into the game of another person, which is part of the unique online experience within Demonís Souls. If you are summoned and help another player vanquish a boss, you are able to get your body back in order to continue your conquest of this title.

From Softwareís dedication to a totally unique and memorable experience is seen within their use of online multiplayer. When playing Demonís Souls online, you are always connected to the dedicated servers, receiving game and gameplay updates on a consistent basis. Say you are going through an area and all of a sudden you are struck down by a giant spear, you are given an option within game to leave a message for other players that can help them avoid your same fate. Using the ďchoose-the-wordĒ system, key messages can be left, for the benefit or disdain of others. Another element to this messaging system is the ability to rate the message left on the floor. Choosing to rate the message high (up-rate) or low (down-rate) can and will determine whether the player who left the message will get his/her health back. While the difficulty level in the game can be curved a bit by this feature, however karma can and will rear its ugly head against those out to soil the experience of others.

Another prominent feature within Demonís Souls is its ďbuild-a-heroĒ system where you can tailor of your main characterís look and how they will fight within the game. To put this out there, you will most likely not be able to get your character to look like you do, so there is no real reason to try. Another thing is that depending on the class you choose, you will have armor covering you body, including your head so no will be able to see what you look like. Beyond that, there are different types of equipment that you can affix to your character in the beginning and that you will acquire along the way that can improve of impede your characterís fighting style. Like with being mindful of your surroundings while traversing the vast landscapes within Demonís Souls, you must also be mindful of the equipment you bring into a fight. A giant axe will not do you any good in a narrow corridor, and will end in your death.

There is also the mighty bloodstain (not the one on your armor), which are left when a fellow online comrade has fallen victim to this difficult game. Whatís interesting about this feature is, though everyone is playing their own game, everyone is connected in the same experience so dying in your game, can yield a bloodstain in someone elseís game. Anyway, when examining a bloodstain left by another player the game will bring up a holographic image of that player and how they met their gruesome end. These bloodstains are another just way From Software makes the gameplay experience unique and intriguing. For everyone out there, be mindful of the souls you summon into your game because they could initiate some PvP action and if they defeat you, they can take control of your body.

When it comes to a strong visual presentation, it doesnít get any better than Demonís Soul. With a strong emphasis on dark, gritty and lots of ambient light, you traverse through pretty detailed environments, whether itís a cemetery or maze-like castle. The character designs, especially those of the bosses are very well designed and emit the true essence of a next-gen title. For the first time, itís hard to put into words how visually stunning Demonís Souls is. In regards to the audio, the musical score is very befitting of the gameplay experience. None of the tracks felt out of place and always set the mood for that particular level or boss encounter. The voiceover work, though not a lot within the game, is very well done. All the characters sport British accents, which set very well with me. Overall, another solid attempt by From Software.

In a similar fashion to Valkyria Chronicles, Demonís Souls is one of those gameplay experiences that are truly memorable and exclusive to the PS3 console. For those gamers looking for a true challenge, look no further than this game. While everyoneís experience with this game will be different, one thing that will remain the same is that Demonís Souls is without a doubt the best RPG experience of this generation and you owe it to yourself not to miss it.


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