It’s finally here. PlayStation Studios and BluePoint Games have remastered the classic Demon’s Souls as a launch title for the PlayStation 5. I cannot begin to describe how excited I was when I first heard about it. The Souls games are easily my favorite game series of all times. But when I saw just how jaw-droppingly gorgeous this remaster was, I became impatient. Demon’s Souls is the first PlayStation 5 title that I played, and honestly I cannot stop playing it.
Demon’s Souls was the first entry in From Software’s legendary Souls series. The game puts players in the shoes of a stoic knight who has braved the deep fog surrounding the Kingdom of Boletaria in an attempt to free the kingdom from King Allant. It was the king’s failed attempt to channel soul arts which summoned the Old One, a demon from the dawn of time. The Old One then consumed the souls of the people, leaving the world full of corrupted monsters, big and small, to destroy.
If you’re a veteran to any of the Souls titles, you know what to expect. Punishing, but very rewarding, combat and over-the-top boss fights. Along with stunning environments stuffed with traps and puzzles that lead to some incredible items, armors, and weapons.
If you’re new to the series, Demon’s Souls is a game that doesn’t care if you’ve never played this type of game. It’s a difficult experience that encourages players to learn patterns, develop builds and strategies, and encourages players to “git gud.”
Weapons feel great to use. When swinging heavier weapons, such as the Dragon Bone Smasher, players feel the weight of their swings thanks to the DualSense controller. Likewise, in swinging something light, the ease of movement comes through as well.
But unlike other Souls titles, Demon’s Souls uses a world tendency system to change things up. Each of the five worlds have a tendency that the player can increase or decrease. It can range from Pure White World Tendency to Pure Black World Tendency. The tendency system determines if certain events, monsters, or items spawn. It also determines other factors like mob health and defense, item discovery, spawning of helpful NPCs and so on.
Unfortunately, Demon’s Souls doesn’t do a great job of explaining that to the player, but it’s one of the most important systems to the game. It’s possible to have different run-throughs that have completely different events happen based on world tendencies.
The one thing that remains the same are the amazing bosses in Demon’s Souls. After starting my New Game+ run, I’m almost confident that Demon’s Souls has some of my favorite encounters in the entire series. Encounters often have some sort of gimmick associated with the boss. For example, in the Tower Knight battle, if players poke his ankles enough, he will topple over. This allows access to his head, and players can dish out insane amounts of damage on his exposed noggin.
There are also a few bosses that are just a straight throw down, such as Flamelurker. Honestly, Flamelurker was the only boss I struggled with. Players still have the ability to summon phantoms to help them in their journey, but dying with phantoms is more punishing because of the world tendency system. It forces the player to decide between toughing out the encounter on their own, or risking a specific world tendency, making a world easier or harder.
Thanks to BluePoint Games, the geniuses behind the Shadow of the Colossus remaster, they have ensured that Demon’s Souls runs at a smooth 60fps. Not only that, but the game is an absolutely gorgeous experience. Each environment feels unique and daunting. The lighting engine perfectly encapsulates the mood for each world. Plus, with the inclusion of a photo mode, Demon’s Souls is a serious contender for one of the most visually stunning games of our time. The particle effects of magic look stunning. I found myself messing around with spells just to see what they would look like.
If it sounds like I’m only praising Demon’s Souls, that’s because I found no fault with the base experience. Most of the issues I had were due to me not learning a boss’s pattern, or not messing around with the weapon upgrade system.
This is the perfect game for a launch title. Demon’s Souls is one of the more forgiving/easier Souls games, but it rewards those who know how to manipulate the system. I’m addicted to playing. I haven’t been able to say that about a game in a long, long time.
BluePoint Games have done an incredible job on the remaster. It’s visually striking, it plays like a dream, has no technical issues, and offers more to the experience than meets the eye with the fractured mode. If you’ve ever been curious to try a Souls game, Demon’s Souls is the one for you. Souls veterans: this isn’t something that you can pass by. I cannot stop recommending this game!
Images were captured in game on the PS5. Featured image provided by PlayStation. Game purchased by the reviewer for review purposes.