TGS 2008: Demon's Souls Hands-On

We head straight for Sony's booth to check out this PS3-exclusive action RPG.

TOKYO--Demon's Souls is a PlayStation 3-exclusive action role-playing game that seems to be somewhere between Devil May Cry and Diablo, and it had its first formal showing as the Tokyo Game Show opened today. The game is already in what Sony describes as pre-beta stage, and we wasted no time in getting hands-on with From Software's latest at Sony's booth.

In a mediaeval world, you play as a lone hero standing against the forces of darkness in the kingdom of Bokitaria. The region's ruler, King Alant, was clearly meddling in forces he didn't understand in an attempt to keep his northern kingdom prosperous before the inevitable happened: All hell broke loose.

Sword, meet demon.

This took the form of waking "the old one" from his eternal slumber, which in turn led to a plague of demons across the land and a colourless fog enveloping the country. The intro movie explains that many have tried to enter the land but all have failed, save one. The intro movie and trailer that explain the backstory show massive creatures that we imagine you will be facing at some point. An enormous, roaring dinosaur-type creature with two sets of jaws, one inside the other, stood out as among the most impressive.

You're told that the kingdom is being ravaged by demons, who wander around increasing their power by devouring the souls of men. Those without souls descend into madness, and the afflicted end up randomly striking at the unaffected. Anarchy, chaos, and general destruction ensue. The more souls a demon consumes, the more power it gets...and a fully mature demon soul contains power "beyond human imagination." And as a final clincher, in case you were having doubts about the importance of your quest, the demon race is starting to spread from the original kingdom, and so the entire human race now faces extinction.

The intro cinematic lists the names of those who have failed, implying that you will have the option of playing as one of several classes in Demon's Souls, but we were thrown straight in with a warrior-type chap launching himself at what seemed to be the gates of this vast kingdom. We caught a brief glimpse of the character-customisation options, which seem to be fairly broad, but we didn't get a chance to play with them on this occasion.

Armed with a large mace and shield, and bedecked in chain mail, we were thrust into the action with a number of paths to take. On our first run-through, we charged through the middle, smiting various man-sized skeletal demons along the way. Moving the right stick changes the camera angle manually, and clicking targets the nearest enemy. Once you're locked on, you then choose between quick light attacks with your mace, a quick shield bash, or a thunderous overhead smash. These can be chained together into powerful combos, resulting in speedy demolition of anything hostile in your path. As the demons fall to the floor, you absorb their life force. Although we didn't see any tangible benefits of this in our short time with the game, it looks set to play a major part as you progress on your quest.

There will be a variety of weapons for melee combat that can be found in the environment. Early on in our time in the game's world, we came across a sword sticking Excalibur-like out of the ground; we couldn't actually grab it, but this was due only to the limitations of the current build, according to Sony.

As we made our way up the bridge leading to the gate, there were demons hiding behind debris, most of which could be smashed through quite easily with the mace. There was little sign of environmental destructibility in our demo, but pretty much every item scattered around the world could be smashed up. After a few melee fights, we came across a crossbow-wielding creature on a raised level, but it didn't pose much of a threat because simply holding up the shield served as excellent protection from the crossbow bolts. Charging up the stairs behind it, we delivered a quick shield bash to throw it off balance and spin it around, and we followed with a sharp mace blow to the base of the spine that resulted in a one-hit kill and a very satisfying crunch. Context also seemed to play a part in some kills, with normal attacks resulting in enemies being thrown into nearby walls to the tune of suitably grizzly sound effects. Shortly after this, a swarm of smaller demons overwhelmed us, and it was back to square one.

A mace makes an excellent choice of weapon when attacking skeletons, no matter how many swords they may be waving at you.

This time through, we noticed a passage off to one side of the bridge blocked by some wooden wreckage, which splintered under the weight of our now-trusty mace. More fearsome enemies faced us on this path, and as we were cut down by flaming arrows fired by larger, fiery demons, we were whisked away from the Sony booth because our time was up.

Demon's Souls is expected to hit the PS3 at some point in 2009, and looks set to be a single-player-only experience, given that it does not have any PlayStation Network features at this point, according to the information on display at the Sony booth. We'll bring you more on the hack-and-slash fun to be had in Bokitaria as soon as we can.

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Discussion

53 comments
chedarcheese190
chedarcheese190

wow the japanese are awesome. metal gear. the ico games. final fantasy. and now this.

DFBTG
DFBTG

This game sounds awesome, and if what SixkzLife says is true, then it's going to be even more fun. I always thought playing a Devil May Cry style game with two people would be loads of fun.

snipermx06
snipermx06

Is this game coming to the U.S any time soon or is it even coming at all? i played at my uncle since they imported the game....and it was awesome. I mean the game can be release already because there is already the english/asia version. i mean it would be dumb if it takes the game a long time for the release in the U.S.

dareough
dareough

Looks pretty sick. Hope it come to the states by Cristmas cause that is when I am getting my ps3.

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

I imported it from asia, it is brilliant. Kind of surprised it hasn't had a worldwide release considering the chinese version is in english :?

Tomboy_666
Tomboy_666

RPG - No way!! This game had better come 2 US while we're still alive!

SickzLife
SickzLife

This game has coop, which can be played up to three players... For people who plan to buy this game, just buy the Asian Version. Only the box and manual are written in chinese, the game itself is in english. :D

SatansProdogy
SatansProdogy

I hope it is released in North America. Man i want this game and Ebay is to expensive for me. Cheapest is like 92$ Canadian Come to NA!!.

the_cub
the_cub

Well, there's Single and online mode. I guess everyone's happy now?

BC20FLY
BC20FLY

Ill wait to see more its by From Software so Im a bit hesitant on it. Hope it turns out well because if it can surprise me, ill buy it.

billyjunxix
billyjunxix

I hope this game is a single-player only. I dont like online or multiplayer games because it intends to destroy the single-player experience. If the game is online it should be focus on multiplayer but if its single-player experience let it be focused on gameplay and story.

ivanfred
ivanfred

It needs to be released in the US and there needs to be online co-op.

higheclipse
higheclipse

looks pretty good, just hope it gets a wide set of customization...

magnumhastings
magnumhastings

A Sony exclusive has to be good. Plus it looks wonderful.

Keitha313
Keitha313

Well i can only hope it will be as half as good as oblivion and then for sure id enjoy it...

Ivan-beloni
Ivan-beloni

Looks Promissing, But then again, so did Two worlds

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

looks cool, but im afraid it will end up being a Oblivion copycat....hopefully not. I didnt enjoy Oblivion.

Gwarpup
Gwarpup

Anyone Remember King's Field on the PSOne? This is by the same team. That was kinda one of the first console First Person Action RPGs.. it wasnt the best, but it had its moments if you played through it far enough the gameworld was huge and some battles got pretty intense, This is a huge leap ahead from that old old game. I look forward to hearing more about it.

Zigeye
Zigeye

Ya who knows with this one. Monsters look kinda cheesy too.

EnaVRi
EnaVRi

Seen the TGS gameplay footage on gametrailers... Doesn't look good at all...

HaRdNiPs
HaRdNiPs

this game doesn't look bad but most ps3 rpg titles aren't that great but ps3 momentum will go up

GregCap01
GregCap01

Looks like it will be a pretty solid game- although it's hard to tell at the moment.

EnaVRi
EnaVRi

2009... still a long way to go... it looks promising though... Just wait for the review...

kellgd
kellgd

trailer looks good and article makes it sound great therefore i cant wait, too bad no online

KrimmsonHell
KrimmsonHell

great graphics cant wait until release in North America but good looking games sometimes are not that great as they seem

razgriz_101
razgriz_101

looking nice.Should be good since from are the same devs of Armoured core which has been a consistent series imo.

Kovaliov
Kovaliov

amulbocus, nice say: "..destroyed my social life though":)) i think it's a common issue for a major part of hardcore gamers!

amulbocus
amulbocus

Hope it follows a similar gameplay path to elder scrolls 4 oblivion, as that is one of the best games i played for a long time on my ps3, destroyed my social life though.

onyxdragon7
onyxdragon7

This game looks awesome from the little I`ve heard about it so far!! PS3 is starting to get some really sweet games, finally!!!

Crusader-Z
Crusader-Z

OMG!!!can't wait!!!!(RPGs ftw!!)..there's so much RPG games exclusive in ps3!!! Final Fantasy Versus 13 White Knight Chronicles Valkyria Chronicles... AND I HOPE SO MUCH MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IPwnNooBs666
IPwnNooBs666

This game looks wickedly cool. I'm so getting this.

mload
mload

YES FINALLY!

Sokol4ever
Sokol4ever

Very nice, I'll be keeping my eyes on it.

Supabul
Supabul

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Msk1191ASSASSIN
Msk1191ASSASSIN

this game looks freakin crazy. Sony is finally starting to catch up to MS in awesome exclsuives but after this, Sony will reign supreme in the better console debate. This games looks awesome and i seriously hope it has online play. That would put it way over the top.

Baramos6
Baramos6

wait... one thing that concerns me is the (jp) at the end of the title, will this be heading to NA too?

Baramos6
Baramos6

Demons, ha! I'm already sold!

Lord_Kantor
Lord_Kantor

I hadn't even heard of this game before seeing this article, but it's looking pretty good.

sinncross
sinncross

Co-op id definitely something they should look into, but for now, im a lil more impressed with this then i thought i wud be.

NuKkU
NuKkU

this game looks awesome

DataDream
DataDream

This game looks AMAZING!!! Looks to be a fantastic Action-RPG adventure. Can't wait for this one - one of the more promising exclusives I have seen in a long time. (At least for the types of games I play). :)

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Maybe as time goes by and more information is released, I'll get excited for this. But for now, it just sounds meh.