the biggest beef I have with both games is that if there is an item that you might want your really really gonna have to work to get it and alot of the time its going to be tucked away in some corner of the world behind a ton of bad mofo enemies that may beat you a few times and make you start all over again very far away from that item you want. Sure I like tough but honestly I just feel alot of the game is just poorly designed on purpose but hey what do I know...
I have a tendency to complain about modern games. As a kid I used to play fairly complicated stat-heavy RPGs and strategy games who's manuals I had dog-eared and maps I had printed off and haphazardlygathered into booklets.
I miss these sorts of things about modern games. Everything is easier. Everything is simplified and dumbed down to the point where it never feels tactical any more. Nothing is quite as satisfying because everything is relatively spoon-fed.
Well, then there came Demon's Souls which makes me want to use an array of words that I'm fairly sure GameSpot has banned so I'll try to avoid it. This game is hard. But not just hard in the conventional sense - or the sense in which I had assumed this game was hard (combat, mostly). Sure, the combat is hard but it's not what is so difficult and troubling about this game. It's been a very long time since I encountered a game quite as complicated as this one. I had to Google the class system and attributes before I even started the game because the character creation screen offers up no explanation of what any of its features refer to.
None of the attributes were detailed, I didn't know what the hell a soul level was and whilst the numerous facets are exciting, they're also extremely frustrating given the lack of information surrounding them. Demon's Souls is a game you should have to sit down with all the information beforehand but as far as I could see there wasn't any. I spent a lot of time on the wiki trying to get my bearings but even then I ended up with more questions than answers.
There's world tendency, character tendency (mutual of one another, mind you) and random world events all of which are dependent on one another - none of which you would actually know of unless you read the wiki. There were entire areas and creatures I hadn't encountered until I read about them. This game makes me feel lost but not because I'm exploring it but because I've been given little to no information as to what the hell I'm supposed to have been doing.
I don't know. Maybe I've been coddled by the Beyond Good & Evil's of the world where your companions yell out "Why don't we go explore the pedestrian district? HINT HINT" but this just seems to lack any sense. I don't want to be hand-held but I'd like to know about the features of the world that's kicking my ass. That's all.
In Demon's Souls knowledge is power.
Grabbing each piece of information and gathering knowledge about the game's system is what I love about the series.
Nothing is handed to you, you have to search and explore if you want to know more, even the story is not given to you.
The way to play a souls game is to find out how leveling/crafting works, then hop into the game and roll with the punches.
Then, after the final credits, spend about 4 days you normally game and browse a wiki.
Then make like 5 characters you say you will beat the game with again but dont and just sink 120 hours into PvP
Never played Demon's Souls so I cant really speak about that but I remember being annoyed by similar things in Dark Souls even though that was supposedly not so bad. I particularly hated the stat screen not explaining things a little better such as shield stability, equipment weight, poise and so forth. I also hated how disorganized and confusing the weapon reinforcement mechanic worked. Which basically discouraged me from ever upgrading anything because I felt like I didnt know what shards did what and how rare they are.This is something I'm hoping the new game actually fixes but I really dont want other aspects of the game to become easier at all. In fact, I would actually like to see the gameplay portion become more difficult but not anything that involves character development and stat decisions if that makes sense. It sounds like that is your complaint as well.
Sorry for the double post there. I literally just got home with this new galaxy3s and im not used to the text pad on it yet.
Never played Demon's Souls so I cant really speak about that but I remember being annoyed by similar things in Dark Souls even though that was supposedly not so bad. I particularly hated the stat screen not explaining things a little better such as shield stability, equipment weight, poise and so forth. I also hated how disorganized and confusing the weapon reinforcement mechanic worked. Which basically discouraged me from ever upgrading anything because I felt like I didnt know what shards did what and how rare
I beat the game one summer back in the days. It is one of my favorite games ever. Sure, you need a guide open to fully experience the game. But I prefer that over "Press L2 to have your objective SHINE F***ING GOLD". The game is playable without guides, you just won't see all there is to it. It reminds me of old games that are cryptic, when buying a game guide was actually worth it. When GameStop tells me 'do you want a guide with that?!' now, I literally just laugh. People say Dark SOuls is better for somereason. I platted Demon's souls yet I got bored like 75% of the way though Dark Souls... So I can't say the same. I wanna add that it's really rewarding to figure shit out in these Souls games without a guide too. My one gripe is how you can accidently kill an NPC and can't load haha.
finaly, a worthy article to read
you sir have restored my hope in gamespot blogging
and if you said demon's souls was hard then you have to play dark souls (the most challanging game ever made) the difficulty is skull crushing, if you don't look at guides you'll die, A LOT
fair enough to say that demon's souls was the best PS exclusive in my opinion
@thequickshooter I'll take sir! As long as it's a lady kind of sir =] Yeah, I hear it's a pain in the ass but I guess that's what makes it special!
Doesn't it make you feel so awesome when you figure something out or discover something new on your own though?
That's why I love Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. I understand your point of view and I usually feel the same way but sometimes I want to play a game that just lets me explore and figure things out on my own.
I've never been more satisfied when I finally beat a game than I was with Demon's Souls and Dark Souls because I knew I had done almost everything by myself. Keep at it because you'll love the feeling when you do! =)
The collector's version I bought came with a very nice guide (as well as the soundtrack). I really have yet to read through it, but I did skim it and it does appear to have the answers you may be seeking.
You are right about the missing information on Demons Soul's, but that's one of the thing I definitely love about it. It's not only unforgiving, but the only way to learn about it's world is actually dying over and over untill you learn everything. You have to actually touch the world to learn about it.
Sorry about the comment, it's been some good time since you wrote this, but I just read your blog for the first time and I really like it. Plus, Demon's Souls is a personal favorite of mine. I usually find social aspects of every website a bit boring, but I'll track you and try to keep up with your blogs. They're interesting :)
@Leir_Bag It's cool! I check back every so often =] you're very right, it's in tune with the game. I must get back into it.
I agree with your critique of Demon's Souls. I enjoyed the game but there were portions of it that I never felt I understood well and while I don't mind looking stuff up in a wiki it felt like I had to look everything up in a wiki for that game. At the very least I would have expected the learning curve on the combat to mirror the learning curve of the world, but much of the world information seemed to have stayed hidden. Not sure I ever really understood the world tendencies at all and after a couple of attempts at summoning or being summoned I completely gave up on that. I also ended up playing most of the game offline as I didn't like being invaded on a regular basis. On the other hand all of that mystery probably helped the atmosphere of the game as you really felt like a stranger in a strange land.
oh yes, that´s true. I believe there´s no other choice since te game makers want video games to become handy for newbies, ergo selling is getting better etc etc.. I also started playing video games years ago when I was 12, buy now the gaming world refers more to graphics than gameplay itself.
I know what you mean; although I probably started playing games a few years later than you, I too found plenty of gems which never held your hand like modern games do. Not sure if you've heard of the "Gothic" RPG series? They were really popular back in Poland (and, of course, Germany since that's where they're from) but much less so in other parts of the world. The series started in 2001 and finished in 2006 (I don't really count Arcania: Gothic 4 as part of the franchise).
None of the instalments in the series was perfect, but each was very special in its own way. I have the freshest memories of Gothic 3, the least technologically stable and most visually stunning game in the franchise. It was absolutely amazing. A bit like Oblivion, but in a way the exact opposite: much more natural, more difficult and it never held your hand (no quest markers and no fast travel to anywhere in the world). Due to the way the game was designed, it's so open-ended that it is possible to find yourself in a situation where you cannot complete the main story.
Anyway, I started Demon's Souls some time ago but I never finished it due to numerous distractions like exams, family/friends and other games. It's not the same to me as Gothic 3 as it isn't really open world, but I thought that it wasn't fair in its difficulty from what I have played of it (for example: traps which you could never predict). Some of the tricks they pulled in that game were really cheap. Obviously, I've never completed it so my opinion of it isn't worth much - but personally I found Gothic 3's challenge more enjoyable and just.
Demon's Souls is the harder game, but not in a fair way I think. It still has some brilliant aspects (and I hope I'll get to see more when I return to it someday), but the severe lack of information, such as what you have mentioned in this blog post, is definitely one of the things that drag it down a few notches.
@Bamul Gothic is a big favourite of my family though from what I understand it really dropped off in the later sequels. I've never personally played the game but I watched my Dad play it when I was a kid. It is a little Oblivion-esque.
I'll have to keep going with Demon's Souls and see if I change my tune. I don't find it fair so far though that's more because of how vague the game is - not its difficulty per se. It's the simple things like when I started and I'm not being told what attributes and skills refer to - it's just quantitative data that I need to play an RPG.
Well, I ranted about how much I loved the series, then I told you to not ask the creators to make the series more simple, but to pick another series all togther.
I also said Dark Souls is one of my favourites games of all time. I played Dark Souls first, you see.
These Gamespot glitches really suck though, I wrote a massive comment, just for it to magically go away on vacation. :(
@ShadowofSonic No way, I don't think it should be more simple at all! I just need some blurbs and perhaps a game manual so I can feel prepped to face the complexities. I think it's great that it's not simple.
Yeah, I kept losing mine all day yesterday, sometimes they come back so hopefully yours will make a return.
Indeed, some stuff was overkill. For example, when I got my first weapon, I checked out it's stats, only to see somes scribbly lines. 'Oh sweet! This weapon has 56 O]! Great!' However, Dark Souls is a bit more straight forward with stuff like that, I'd suggest you give it a try.
I never did finish Demons Souls. I grew up old school (8 and 16 bit) RPGs, so I know the feeling. Demons Souls is a strange game, it doesnt strike me as hard so much as "methodically paced", in an era of run and gun games, its definitely unique. I would like to get back to it at some point. I did the first level of each area, as well as levels 1-2 and 2-2 , i believe.
@ShadowofSonic I had the same question a hundred times yesterday - GS was being glitchy. Please summarise and give me the gist =]
I'm of the same mind really. Minecraft is another good example of a game like this, it drops you in with no idea what to do, no idea how to craft any tools except to say "E" is your inventory button. The wiki can be mind boggling for those new to it. The 360 version at least helps with that. Demon Souls I have yet to play, but I own it. I grew up on those kinds of RPGs too, and I really miss the challenge. Lunar: The Silver Star (SCD) for example, was fantastic, and the Playstation remake was also great, but they made it SO EASY in comparison. I mean the overworld no longer had random encounters, at all. That was the first time I became really aware of this dumbing down. That's the main reason I bought Demon Souls as I wanted an old school challenge (but a fair one). I was unaware of it not giving you any information though, that's a little bit of a shame, and I've never seen that mentioned before! Thanks for the heads up Jess.
@GunnyHath I was really heavily into Might & Magic and Neverwinter Nights when I was a kid. I like the intricate levelling systems and relative difficulty. RPGs are just so complicated as it is and there is already so much to explore and do for yourself (not to mention die one million times) that some small measure of orientation would have been nice. I mean there are things like a lizard which carries items and jingles that I read about online which I had never heard or seen in game. I just hate finishing a level and seeing that apparently I missed 60% of it - not because I didn't explore but because I wasn't given the basics.
Now I'm tempted to try Demon Souls. Many of the older games really were very tough and some of them only seemed hard because in the early days we had never conceived of any thing like a walkthrough so we had to keep doing things over and over until we figured them out on our own and didn't have the option of going to GameFAQs or supercheats etc for help and cheat codes.
a few of the early games had easter eggs and cheat codes that were not discovered for 20 years when almost everyone had forgotten the game. I reckon a few of them still have codes and eggs that were never found but we'll never know about them will we!
@iowastate You wouldn't even have thought to look up those old games though because they were hard and complicated but they were also sensible. I guess that's my main issue with Demon's Souls.
The problem is that it isn't the odd easter egg that I'm missing but rather 50% of the game that is so complicated and unexplained that you really do need a wiki to play through it. And I'm talking everything from the stats to world events.
Finish what you are doing before starting the next area - they too often rush a game through so it is on the shelves in time for a holiday. Cheats are inserted on purpose but I believe many exploits are the result of sloppiness.
Because of the very reasons you listed, I did a ton of research on the game before I began playing it (as I do with most games). And one thing that I found...the game is not really that hard and can easily be broken.
A little trick known as "duping" basically allows you to set the combat difficulty to whatever you want. By duplicating souls and items, you essentially have limitless power. The trick was far too easy to pull off and breaks the game's "legendary" difficulty too much for Demon's Souls to get the credit it does (granted its still a good game imo).
Also, you can totally go through the entire game and die without losing souls. Just quickly exit the game as soon as you die and when you boot the game back up, it'll start you back from the last item you picked up (that's how the autosave mechanic works).
I competely understand what you mean about world tendency and character tendency. You'll be happy to know that they do not make a return in Dark Souls. I also think that this type of unexplained system is what is going to be made more "accessible" in Dark Souls 2.
However, I do disagree with the random encounters and features of the levels. One of the main attractions that the series has for me is the sense of danger and curiosity you get when entering an area for the first time. I've played both games multiple times and know them like the back of my hand but when the DLC came out for Dark Souls and I had already platinum'd the game, it was a great feeling to be suddenly thrown into the unknown once more. One of the nice things to do when playing Dark Souls or Demon's Souls for the first time is to turn all wikis off. Just talk with whichever of your friends are playing it at the same time as you and discuss the different things that you've encountered. Well, that's what I like to do anyway. :-)
@SimonSiThornton Good! It's just a pain to finish the first world and find out that actually by killing the boss I fucked up my chance to kill off the black phantom that I couldn't take care of the first time around thus making me able to whiten my character tendency.
That's just not shit you can learn.
My trouble with Demon's Souls is trying to comfortably pronounce the 's' at the end of Demon's as seperate from the 'S' at the start of Souls. D:
That's the think that makes Demon's Souls so beloved by many. It's a game that ask the player to be the explorer while at the same time throws brutal enemies at the player. The idea of the game is not to hold the player hand, but rather allow the player full freedom to explore right at the start without telling them what to do. Though I'm sure the lack of information is most likely due to the ability to give hints to other players.
@DivineSword I totally respect that, it's just frustrating to get on the wiki out of necessity because I don't know what (in the context of this game) 'strength' or 'luck' dictate. I don't want to be spoon-fed so much as given at least the beginnings of an orientation so I can master the world on my own.
Yeah, I was one of those Demon's Souls players that played with my laptop in front of me while on the Wiki. My completion time? 66 hours. My friends' playthroughs were roughly 150. How'd I'd manage to do it in less than half the time? Again, the Wiki and they told me exactly how to build my character before I even started playing. Demon's Souls is one of those games you just can't progress through without some kind of outside help.
@JustPlainLucas That sort of disappoints me though. A game needs to be able to stand up on it's own and involve the player in all of its facets without a wiki. I wouldn't mind if it was the odd secret or something that I missed but it's entire systems within the game that go totally unexplained.
Those complicated stat-heavy RPGs and strategy games still exist, but sadly they're just not as mainstream anymore. Go hunting and you will find!
In the meantime, try not to break your controller in rage over Demon's Souls (I know I almost did...)
@mjc They're just so few and far between. I'm really looking forward to Project Eternity though, can you recommend any others?
@tempertress If you survive Demon's Souls, make sure you check out Dark Souls. Another favourite of mine, with a steep learning curve, is Sins of a Solar Empire http://au.gamespot.com/sins-of-a-solar-empire/reviews/sins-of-a-solar-empire-review-6185991/