Demon's Souls Hands-On

Learn from the mistakes of others in this dark action role-playing game.

Demon's Souls has been out in Asia for several months now, and it's been receiving a lot of positive attention from other regions. North American role-playing game fans will be happy to know that Atlus has decided to scoop up this hidden gem and publish it here. We've only had the opportunity to scratch the surface of this intriguing RPG at E3, but from what we've seen, it looks like it could easily suck up a huge amount of time. It's an action RPG that you play alone for the most part, but you aren't truly alone in your quest because you'll come across the ghosts of other players as you progress through the game.

Who's Making This Game: The game was developed by From Software, who also worked on Enchanted Arms. Demon's Souls will be made exclusively for the PlayStation 3 and published in North America by Atlus, who has a reputation for publishing quirky but also incredibly challenging RPGs.

What the Game Looks Like: Demon's Souls murky and gloomy aesthetic matches the subject matter, but there's beauty to find as well. Impressive cutscenes and still art introduce you to the kingdom that has been overrun by demons, and the in-game graphics look fantastic as you hack away tirelessly under a sunless sky.

What There Is to Do: The kingdom of Boletaria is swarming with demons of all shapes and sizes--thanks to a power-hungry king--so you'll be traveling through the foggy wastelands and exploring dingy dungeons trying to collect as many souls as you can. It's not like a traditional massively multiplayer online game in which there are hundreds and thousands of players around you at all times. While you're always going to be online when playing Demon's Souls, the ghosts that you see when you stumble upon a bloodstain are death animations of players who have died at that very spot. Players can leave helpful or foreboding messages behind for others, warning them of the dangers ahead or directing them to secrets that might be easily missed. We were told that there will be competitive player-versus-player for up to four later in the game, and you can also play cooperatively in groups of three to do boss runs.

How the Game Is Played: Our time with the game was brief, so we only made it through the tutorial and watched a short demo by an Atlus rep. After customizing and naming our character, a helpful tutorial eased our way into the dark realm. There are 13 classes to choose from, but we went with a warrior to keep things simple. One important thing to note is that everything happens in real time, so you can't pause the game whenever you want. You attack with the right triggers and parry/block with the left, and you have full control over the camera with the right analog stick. The controls are straightforward and easy to get a hold of; staying alive and collecting souls is the tricky part.

What They Say: Beautiful, compelling, and unforgiving, Demon's Souls is the hardcore RPG experience PlayStation 3 system owners have been waiting for since the platform's launch.

What We Say: Demon's Souls takes a unique approach to the standard action RPG genre by creating a solid single-player experience--except for the fact that you're not really alone. The ability to interact through short messages and see how others have died before you makes the game feel more alive--in a creepy and chilling sort of way. It makes it so that you don't feel like you're entirely alone when you're playing solo. You'll, at least, get a heads-up and learn that jumping into that hole in the ground was a bad idea. We're curious to see how the multiplayer will work because it seems like this game is going to be quite challenging on your own. Look for Demon's Souls when it is released this fall.

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Discussion

62 comments
Freethinker101
Freethinker101

@Processor23 I have the Asian version and as said in many a review every thing is English except the Manual. I must say this is a great game and the first stage of the first world took me longer to complete than GOW3 and Drakes fortune put together(16hours) But once you get the hang of it it is still frustratingly hard with no clues about what to do. I love this because no matter how hard it get's you still want more.

Bashers79
Bashers79

Not sure about this one, I've never been a fan of JRPG's like the FF series (I don't like the Japanese way of story telling plus they never translate properly into English) But I'll be more than happy to be proven wrong, hopefully this won't be a straight convert from the asian version and the story will make sense.

papaddy
papaddy

Great, great game. The Asian version contains English so if your PS3 settings are in English the game will automatically be in English. Only the manual will be in Chinese or Korean. If you're patient, you like a challenge and want to be immersed in a unique dark fantasy environment, go for it! But be warned, it's tough, especially at the beginning. You will die a lot!

processor23
processor23

in the asian version you have to change the language to english then all is in english except menus i think

Noss1
Noss1

@ ominous08 - in the imported version is there a 'English' dialog setting so you can read and understand it?

100starz
100starz

I've played ALLOT of japanese games in my lifetime. And the only one i liked was Ace Combat 6. This looks like a fail with bad translation.

Rhen_Var
Rhen_Var

They left out the part where other players can basically back stab you while you're playing :lol:

laptop12
laptop12

i am playing the asia version, first time it was very hard, then i found it is easy then ever, then... try a litte new game+, pow cannot take it

ominous08
ominous08

I couldn't wait till Fall so I imported. Best RPG I've played since Oblivion. If you don't feel like waiting, import the Asian version, you won't regret it!

Adziboy
Adziboy

I've always though RPG's looked cool but as I'm about to buy one, hype takes over and I go buy a FPS, a sequel or just something that looks awesome. This might finally change my mind as all I've done is read the user reviews and this page and I'm blown away by the positive comments and already hyped. I won't get it at £40 though... for 40 I want a heavily replayable game. This can wait until I'm bored of the barrage of games coming November.

Ninja_Zombie83
Ninja_Zombie83

Wow, they really need someone else to explain this game. This guy didn't make a lot of sense and seemed like he didn't know much about the game.

Zampa_Dan
Zampa_Dan

Only found out about this game a few hours ago, cant get it in England, but the shop will import it in for me for 50quid. Quality! getting this game next week, cant wait!

iancwm
iancwm

C-Dawg007 "omg, this game looks siiiick. im definitely thinking that it's like a mash up of dmc and oblivion. but im pretty sure it'll blow any rpg game out of tha water so far. a definite buy for me." Well, in a way you are right. Customisation is great like Oblivion, and the difficulty is brutal. At times youll feel so frustrated youll swear to stop playing it cos you just lost a few hours worth of earning souls in a second. But sooner or later youll gather up the determination and want to play it again. Its more than just a mash up. Its a class of its own. Not for the faint-hearted definitely. If you want mindless hack and slash, go play Dynasty Warriors. The asian version works just fine, as it has perfect english dubbing already.

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

@evilross Just for assurance, will this game work even if I am not connected to the PSN? I have the very old-school Japanese launch console and no Wi-Fi, so I can't always connect to the PSN.

VisceriousZERO
VisceriousZERO

Looks fine, but that rep needs to know how to answer questions. xD Might get. :P

C-Dawg007
C-Dawg007

omg, this game looks siiiick. im definitely thinking that it's like a mash up of dmc and oblivion. but im pretty sure it'll blow any rpg game out of tha water so far. a definite buy for me.

Kman8909
Kman8909

Just when I was craving an RPG experience this shows up. It's like sign. I will get this game when I can!

evilross
evilross

I've had this game for about a month now, I bought a Korean import off ebay. This is the best game this gen, hands down IMO. If your looking for something different, something challenging, something that will beat you down, but leave you begging for more this is it. There is no other game this gen remotely close to the experiance Demon's Souls is. Its just one of a kind. As far as the visuals go, the graphics are very good, but its the art direction and atmosphere that put this game over the top in the visual department. The sound design is short on score, but long on effects and mood. One of the most chilling moments I've ever had playing a video game is working my way through the prison block in the Tower of Latria. Its nerve wracking, and spine tingling. The constant threat of death, the overbearingly gloomy environments, I can just go on and on. From Software has created a modern day masterpiece in Demon's Souls. Anyone who was a fan of the King's Field series, a fan of hardcore RPG's, any how likes challenging deep, thought provoking games, seriously needs to buy Demon's Souls. This game has rarely left the BD drive in my PS3 since it arrived in the mail, and I still haven't even seen half of what the game holds. The word tendency events, secrets, weapons and weapon forging upgrades, online co-op Blue Phantom play, or evil Black Phantom assasinations in other players worlds... massive replay value here folks.

DFBTG
DFBTG

I am so looking forward to this! From what I can tell 90% of games for the playstation that Atlus publishes are quite the ride. Admittedly I've only played 3 of them, but the others do fairly well. I'm quite hoping this ranks right up with Persona level of quality.

luigismansion101
luigismansion101

for those of you that have bought the jap version, about how long is this game? and are the classes different enough that one would want to go through the game as several different classes?

BladeTrinity114
BladeTrinity114

I really hope this game comes to Europe! I have been hyped for it ever since it got released in Japan..

onyxdragon7
onyxdragon7

Looks like an RPG game that I have been waiting for on th PS3, looks and sounds really good.

ahpuck
ahpuck

if it's anything, anything, at all like oblivion i'm in. i'm not ashamed to say i still play oblivion to this day and i still have 3 more classes to finish the game as.

travis_y
travis_y

looks pretty awesome i guess

runkii
runkii

This game looks sweet, but as for the video. How come most of these game development companies don't ever seem to use a professional media representatives at their booths, or at least rehearse a little. I mean the questions ever year are pretty standard how the hell don't any of these guys stand in front of a mirror at home and practice their dialog.

FishSquared
FishSquared

I am so...so excited for this game. Multiplayer RPGs FTW!

billyjunxix
billyjunxix

Its already my 3rd playthrough and I'm at level 193. This is the Best-RPG ever. I've got the Asian version which been developed by Sony..I hope they wont make any changes for the US version..so every could experience how satisfying this game is. I'll admit im a Demon's Souls addict, I cant seem to get through an hour without thinking about this game and to think that its already my 3rd playthrough.

ropumar
ropumar

Best RPG this generation. I already completed it. Atlus didn't made this game. Sony was the publisher and banked "from software", and sold Atlus the rights to sell in USA.

Junior_AIN
Junior_AIN

Sounds good! I hope they release for the 360 too.

MetalGearAndy
MetalGearAndy

Looks like a good title, shame the fella sounded like he had crapped his pants

oneEnigma
oneEnigma

bit of a stereotypical title but it does seem to have decent gfx, the movement seems too stiff for a modern action rpg though im not expecting much from it, also i remember Atlus for making pretty mediocre games on the N64

Detrun
Detrun

This looks like a sure bet for a PS3 must buy...

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

The game looks pretty good.

nynthninja
nynthninja

Kings Field 5 in third person ill bite

5FingersOfDeath
5FingersOfDeath

One of my most anticipated games this year, it's getting some great reviews.

king_bobo
king_bobo

Awesome - here's to hoping for a European release :D

formerroadie
formerroadie

I CAN'T WAIT! I have been excited about this game since I saw the first screens.

MeMphiZ
MeMphiZ

yes! the asian version was worth every penny i paid for =)

Blythe31
Blythe31

Looks great. I'm hoping for a PC or 360 port. :)

satan_89
satan_89

I've had this game for some time now (i bought the asian version) and it is a GREAT game. I agree with a lot of people by saying that this game is a must own for any PS3 owner. The game is completely unforgiving and it doesn't make any exceptions (even when you pause the game you don't PAUSE the game). This game, however hard it may be, is completely worth the 59.99 pricetag. great game, unforgiving, scary, worth every penny. PICK THIS UP.

kowycs
kowycs

hmmm very interesting ...

dkjestrup
dkjestrup

No, it's quite easy tbh, I'm playing the Chinese version right now. Guys, don't wait, IMPORT IT!

laptop12
laptop12

this game is too extremely friggin HARD, restart a lot to cover my soul....

gmax
gmax

So it's Demon's Souls, not Demons' Souls? Anyway, may be interesting to see what the NA audience thinks of it...

ivanfred
ivanfred

I wonder how this game will fare against Dragon Age: Origins which will also be released this fall.

edant79
edant79

I'll get it simply because its from From Software. Of course I'd rather see a new Kings Field....

ratm247
ratm247

i cant wait for this.