I don't envy Bluepoint Games. Back in 2018, they had the gargantuan task of remaking Shadow of the Colossus, one of PlayStation's most iconic titles from the PlayStation 2. To their credit, they managed to pull it off phenomenally well - dare I say, make it a better experience than even Team Ico's original. It was this stroke of genius that made me confident that Bluepoint would yet again knock it out of the park with the remake of From Software's Demon's Souls. While this was no easy task either, since the Souls community is a little more critical of new projects, they've managed to capture lightning in a bottle yet again. Demon's Souls is a stellar remake and perhaps the best launch title on the PlayStation 5.
As the mostly vague story goes (and true to Hidetaka Miyazaki's cryptic storytelling), Demon's Souls whisks us away to the land of Boletaria as an unsung hero destined to save this dark fantasy realm from the awakening of a slumbering Old One, a great monstrosity that has ravaged the land, leaving it in a state of decay and destruction. By journeying to every corner of the world, your task is to purge its demonic inhabitants consisting of a variety of creatures, nightmares and corrupted souls who now call it home.
Demon's Souls' adventure begins much like the original PlayStation 3 title. You're thrown into a remarkably deep character creation - where I'm sure you'll lose at least an hour of gameplay honing and tweaking a character whose face will be hidden behind a helmet for a majority of your playthrough. The amount of options in this new and enhanced character creator is astounding, and with hundreds of possible creative options, it's possibly the best character creator in a From Software game yet. Well, that's entirely on the shoulders of Bluepoint who went out of their way to make an incredibly deep and rewarding creation process. After picking a starting class and item, you're thrown headfirst into a challenging tutorial, and the rest is quite literally history in the making.
Unlike Dark Souls' more interconnected world, Demon's Souls presents a fragmented Boletaria accessible through five standing Archstones in the central hub area, the Nexus. These Archstones offer gateways to parts of the kingdom, and only by progressing down its long laundry list of biomes and boss encounters, can you make meaningful progress. You don't have to tackle the Archstones in any particular order either, so this level of freedom is something that will be inviting for newcomers who may want to take alternate routes should one prove too daunting to handle. Each iconic area is beautifully recreated from the original Demon's Souls, with no single stone unturned. It's incredibly faithful to the brilliant world design of From Software's classic, and fans of the game should feel right at home again.
This is easily one of the most graphically impressive games I've ever seen...
Demon's Souls is still a brutally punishing affair.
Writer. Enthusiast of all things geek. Legend has it he completed Final Fantasy VII without a memory card.
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Sony Interactive Entertainment
20 November 2020
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