Demon's Souls Updated Hands-On

It's unforgiving and brutally difficult, but we continue to face our demons head-on in Atlus' upcoming action role-playing game.

Our time with Demon's Souls at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo was much too brief to appreciate the game. Thus, we were pleased to get some hands-on time with this unique action role-playing game, as well as get a demo of how some of the multiplayer features work. Atlus came by to show us how brutal Demon's Souls could be, but that didn't stop us from creating a new character from scratch. This PlayStation 3 exclusive has been out for a while in Asia, and it's been easy to import because some versions have English translations. But Atlus plans on releasing the game in North America in October, with a deluxe edition for those who are patient enough to wait.

Patience is definitely a virtue and a trait that you must have if you're even thinking of trying Demon's Souls. It's a fascinating single-player role-playing experience, but it can be unmercifully difficult and incredibly frustrating if you're used to the pacing of RPGs now. You have to understand that you will die countless times--unless you progress slowly and cautiously--and that death is a huge part of the game. When you're not leaving bloodstains along the stone pathways of Boletaria, you are fighting demons of all shapes and sizes, collecting their souls in order to level up, as well as upgrade your stats and weapons. You are just one of many adventurers who are trapped in this hub called the "Nexus" and must kill demons to save the kingdom from being plundered.

Early in our demo, we saw how other players online could be summoned into our game. We stumbled across a couple of soul signs that were left by people who were playing online. When you come across a soul sign, it means that a player in your level range would like to join your game. By clicking on it, you can bring that player into your game and proceed through the level together. Up to three people can play cooperatively, so we summoned a couple of players to help us get to the boss. There are no options to choose whom you want to play with, nor are there friends lists. We were told that the designers of the game wanted the multiplayer features to enhance the single-player experience. They wanted people to play with strangers, and because of the high level of difficulty, they wanted to build a community of players that would be willing to band together and support one another, regardless of whether or not players know each other. We didn't get to see any player versus player, but we were told that at a certain point in the game--once you've received a particular stone--you can force your way into another player's game and vice versa.

Because you're playing the game online, you can see the outlines of players fade in and out of your game. They aren't physically in your game, but their presence is there through death replays and cryptic messages. Bloodstains of fallen heroes are scattered throughout the area, and by clicking on them, you can see how others have died. You can piece together set words and leave messages on the ground to warn others of the dangers ahead. By rating another player's message, you can boost his or her health in his or her game and vice versa. Even though you're playing solo, coming across a bloodstain or a foreboding message may help you make the right decision and hopefully avoid a gruesome fate.

Demons, demons and more demons.

Our demo took us through the second area of the first region in which we had to run across the shaky battlement of the Boletarian palace and avoid being roasted by the flames of an impressive-looking dragon flying overheard. One mistake or mistimed step guaranteed that we would get sent back to the beginning of the level, losing all the souls we had collected so far. After multiple tries, we finally made it to the other tower and faced the level's boss, a tower knight. This was a fitting name because the knight was literally as tall as a tower of the castle, with a suit of well-crafted full-body armor and an enormous shield that he could bring down to snuff out our pathetic-looking hero in an instant. The demo ended there, but it made us eager to jump into the world and explore the fog-ridden realm.

We created our own character, as we did at E3, and jumped into one of the five archstones in the Nexus to get to Boletaria palace. There's actually quite a bit of customization available in terms of creating the look of your character and 13 classes from which to choose. It's not often that you can tweak your gender so that you're male with some feminine features. From our short experience with the game (because we didn't get very far), it took awhile to get used to the controls and camera, as well as figure out our timing so that we landed our blows before the enemy stabbed us from behind. Reading messages will help because they do warn you of dangers ahead. It's wise to progress an inch at time, making sure that you don't run into an ambush because you can't take very many hits. If you die, all your soul is lost, and unless you can make it back to the spot where you died to regain it, you're going to have to start collecting all over again. Despite the difficulty, the game can be fun if you're the type who loves a good challenge and you feel immensely satisfied when you've made some (or very minimal) progress.

Demon's Souls is very dark, in terms of its story and aesthetic. Boletaria is a kingdom shrouded in a perpetual mist, giving off a sense of hopelessness and despair. Visually, the game is still beautiful, though, with its foggy landscape, majestic structures, and hazy sky. We didn't come across much in terms of music while we were exploring. It was only when the gigantic boss was looming over us that we heard the thundering sound of drumbeats and rhythmic chanting. Otherwise, the general atmosphere was quite creepy because of the silence. The sound of an enemy's blade clanging into your sad-looking shield will likely be what stands out most, aurally. Atlus representatives said that they will not be making any changes to the English voice acting because it's already very good, but they will localize the text so that it fits their style.

Developer From Software continues to make improvements to the game, but at this point, we didn't come across any problems except some frame rate slowdown when other players jumped into our game. Hopefully, any outstanding issues will be smoothed out by the time of the game's release in North America. The game should take most players more than 80 hours to complete, but be warned that it's not the type of game for everyone. Atlus' deluxe edition will come with a strategy guide and an extra slip case for $69.99. The regular version will also be available, if you don't want to shell out the extra $10. Demon's Souls will be available exclusively on the PS3 on October 6.

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154 comments
hellpolice
hellpolice

The online multiplayer will be interesting according to this.

ahnzz
ahnzz

awesome super hard gameplay and rpg elements its a must buy for me, i guess ill wait for the us version

CWEBB04z
CWEBB04z

Worth a try...im not really "hardcore" but im willing to try it cause it looks pretty good.

believa
believa

wow got the import for this ... way tough no chkpts so if you die its back to the start of the level! some mobs can 2 shot you in the starting area not your average RPG here so word to the wise: tread lightly!

rabi3g
rabi3g

oh yes, concerning difficulty, it is INSANELY hard, but....each level has a system were u unlock a shortcut. so since u die n start from the beginning of the stage, u don t have to take the same long road again. guys who ve played the game will know what i m talking about.

rabi3g
rabi3g

imported this game...i m 30 hours deep...it s simply an amazing challenge. if u re a hardcore gamer -an old school one i must add-, if u like feeling overwhelmed by huge bosses, customizing ur character with countless armors n weapons n seeing it directly affect ur look, movement n power, moody dark atmospheres n japanese style action games, then get ready for looooooooooooooooooong sleepless nights.....

shii666
shii666

@Vasot You say this, but I have a feeling that everybody else disagrees. Personally, I can't wait for either, however.

Vasot
Vasot

Mehhh shallow and linear hack and slash, also the combat seems clunky from the gameplay video. Probably it will be scored with a 7.0 or 7.5 from most game sites... Dragon Age Origins clearly owns this.

Leto27
Leto27

@ brownman321, you can actually order it cheaper from play-asia. But you can only get the Asian and Korean version if you want your armor, menu, dialog, and all other items in English text.. the Japanese version only has English voice acting.

Memoryitis
Memoryitis

I might get the ps3 slim just for this game muahaha ahaha bwahaha nohaahah

brownman321
brownman321

you can buy this game imported. its $90 but worth it. the best part is that you can change the setting to ENGLISH. and you can play japanese import on the PS3 with out modding and such. the PS3 games doesnt have a code to lock games. game very cool. i love it

Ultiwarlord
Ultiwarlord

THIS game is definitely game of choice for RPG lovers its brutally hard and hav lots of different bosses . OK JUZ PLAY IT.........

Leto27
Leto27

For any RPG fan this game is a must buy! It's insanely difficult, but mostly in the beginning stages. Later on you can level up and upgrade weapons making it much easier. You need to use everything at your disposal to finish certain area's even if it means peaking at the walkthrough. This game doesn't play fair, you just need to plays smart and not be scared to try different things. If you die 30 times because you do the same thing the problem lies with you, not the game. Also you dont need to be a hardcore gamer to survive and enjoy it. If anything, it will make you one.

playstation_dad
playstation_dad

im still waiting, its good to hear that a game will be a challenge but the difficulty sounds like at times it may be annoying. I dont think it will be at the top of my list to buy.

esqueejy
esqueejy

can't wait...despite what sounds like a steep learning curve, it's gorgeous. I just hope we don't have to deal with a bunch of muckheads ruining the fun by claiming elite status and superb skillz whenever anyone says it's actually hard or even tedious and frustrating...should be about the fun and cooperation instead

Jfisch93
Jfisch93

I suspecta a 7-8 from gamespot because "ITZ T00 H@RDZ"

GameMasterux
GameMasterux

this game looks very good, i tjink the best RPG for the PS3.

aaroquesi
aaroquesi

looks really nice i hope the game quality don't go down after release

Gioh
Gioh

Looks cool tho. Dont worry about dying thousands of times. They couldnt kill a single apceros in MHF. Obviously a suck -player.

Gioh
Gioh

Ha, why do they give this game credit if they hardly dig it. MHF1 was dissed by the same fools.

Joolsy
Joolsy

I can't decide whether I'm gonna love this or hate it with passion??? Action/RPGs are right up my street these days - but the reviewer keeps talking about how difficult it is and how often you die losing all progress in the process - sounds frustrating.

bad_fur_day
bad_fur_day

Vasot, you should try this before sayin that, this game seriously rocks.

sacchi_uy
sacchi_uy

Hey gaespot, mind showing us how the whole bloodstain works? Try seeing somebody's else death next time please :D

sacchi_uy
sacchi_uy

I'm not sure whether or not I'll get this game. It looks fantastic, but I'm not the type of guy who buys a game to get killed thousands of times...which is, in my case, very likely to happen...

captaink24
captaink24

This game reminds me a lot of The Witcher

faatui06
faatui06

oh no it look like this is going 2 suck just joking people it look really good.

Vasot
Vasot

Dragon Age - Origins >> Demon's Souls

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

@Midnightshade29 Well, you got my support there... ...except the fact that I am already in Asia, Philippines specifically. And in here, every game is imported, save some that are made here. At least all PS3 games are imported. I'll support Atlus all the way(just finished SMT:DS!). I'll hate Square Enix if they didn't bring The Last Remnant on the PS3. I mean it's their fault for releasing it earlier and broken as it seems on the 360 so no wonder it will poorly sell. I'm loving Atlus and NIS as of the moment and still hating Square Enix. That new DS game might change my mind, but as long as there's no PS3 love from Square, I'll hate Wada all my life. Go Atlus! I'll buy this game once I get that freaking job and my first salary.

nerd_assassin
nerd_assassin

@ldonyo Yeah right. I've said none of those stuffs. I just said the projected genre. Here's your first post. "The only thing I can see that might be confused with an RPG is the leveling. The rest is just an FPS without the guns." See? The only wrong thing about that is the FPS(because the game is 3rd person), and yeah I've also just stated that the game's genre is an Action RPG. You might even call it a Diablo in 3D if you want to. "Playing a role is what makes an RPG." is like saying every game with a main protagonist is an RPG, because most games have you play a role. No, you also play a role in this game because you make one. It's not just the role that makes an RPG. Really, think about it. You even play the role of a player in an NBA Live game. SO that's RPG?

Maximos123
Maximos123

This game looks great it reminds me of monster hunters with giant demons instead. Those who dont know this game is supposed to be insanely hard so if thats not your thing you might want to pass also there are alot of user reviews already because some people import this game. Check out the reviews but I for one cant wait.

Dark_Orchyd
Dark_Orchyd

Being hypnotized looking at this. I can't wait. Already pre-ordered the limited edition. Someone said 'Can it beat Oblivion?'. I don't have a doubt about it. It looks intense, challenging, has beautiful graphics and nifty ideas.

Imakuleus
Imakuleus

The heros pace reminds me of the latest Solid gear and final fantasy online, Something about it makes it to be crisp. (that's a good thing) I don't know why, or why i am even mentioning that. All I know is I am so looking forward to this game.

jasopan
jasopan

Can't wait!!! As it's coming hopefully to Aus, may as well get the SE *drools*

Doolum
Doolum

this sounds like a game for me.

Midnightshade29
Midnightshade29

I already have this game and love it. I will be buying the game a 2nd time getting the "stop importing" limited edition (yeah it's actually called that..lol.) So many people have imported this game, i have seen at least 6 people on my psn list of around 20 playing this... that means it's been imported alot. I want to buy this again because of Atlus, extra 150 page strat guide, and the import won't work with the US version. I also want Atlus to be a success with it's first ps3 game..... And any ps3 owner out there that already imported this and can afford a new copy... I beg you to do the same. If it sells well it will guarantee PS3 exclusive RPGS being imported from JApan ... that means Persona 5, Devil Summoner 3, Nocuture series all on PS3... and it could also mean other jp devs see it and copy so maybe just maybe we will get a Suikoden 6 on PS3....It starts somewhere so again I beg you all to show your support!!! We need atlus as a ps3 mainstay like they are on ps2.

belwyrm
belwyrm

I've always enjoyed the 'Kings Field' Games from From Software. I do believe I'll give this a shot.

lukas1051
lukas1051

That looks amazing. Could it top Oblivion though? We'll just have to find out.

KoRniTo
KoRniTo

The co-op and the difficulty got me by the feet. Count me in!

sjohnson69
sjohnson69

I've had this game for just over a week and it is truely excellent. The difficulty is high, but iI wouldn't say too high. It's a breath of fresh air to be finally playing a decent hard rpg. Even if you farm to level up, you still need to show some considerable skill to defeat some bosses. The pvp element is genius also. Your looking at about 200hrs to platinum this game, if you know what your doing. If this game doesn't get higher than 8.5, i'll eat my feet.

Gryphon700
Gryphon700

Wooo!! I just bought this game in taiwan...can't wait to play it!

ropumar
ropumar

People dont know what this game is about and making wrong assumptions, just go to Eurogamer review, which is a 9 and read it. It covers everything a potential buyer should know. And the game is AWESOME. Will get 8.5+ in gamespot if gamespot has any credit.

ZMajor
ZMajor

if this game gets a rating of 7.5 or higher, its a first day buy for me. I only hope it has a great story and you can have friend coop support instead of strangers.

Ninja_Zombie83
Ninja_Zombie83

Wow, I LOVE the co-op idea. This will be a must buy on release day. I had no idea about this game and now its at the top of my list of games to own.

Nosnitsttam
Nosnitsttam

kinda reminds me of the original diablo where i had to walk 1 square at a time in the hell levels to try and lure out one demon knight at a time or else i got ambushed by 6 of them.

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

Anyone knows of a Adventure/RPG game coming out on Wii/PS3 anytime soon that mimicks a Zelda game??

2w-sephiroth
2w-sephiroth

For what I read on the internet... This game is the kind of hard that it will make you cry... And for what i seen this is a fight and fight RPG... and I am more after of a combat + story + puzzles action RPG... man I am desperate for the next Zelda/Zelda Clone