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PS3 Game Review

Demon's Souls


Format: PS3
Namco Bandai
RRP: £44.99
3 546430 149225
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 25 June 2010

Envelop yourself in the Kingdom of Boletaria, a dark land devastated by the cruel fog that brings demons to feast on mortal souls. Vanquish monstrous demons in unforgiving combat and collect their souls to grow your own power. Progress through a non-linear world exploring ancient castles, deep caves and dark tunnels littered with deadly traps. To succeed you will need to adapt your character, your equipment and your tactics to every unpredictable situation...

Demon's Souls is the latest RPG offering from From Software, the developer behind the classic King's Field series. The game was originally released in Japan in February 2009, across America in October 2009 and now, in June 2010, we finally have the European launch.

This is a third person RPG. When you start the game it's worth taking a bit of time to change your appearance (although if you decide to play as a knight your head will be obscured by a helmet for most of the game). You can choose your name, sex, appearance and starting class - from around ten variants including priest, barbarian, thief or magician.

The main currency in the game is souls, which you collect every time you kill an enemy. These can be used to buy items or pay to upgrade/repair weapons and equipment. You can also collect items that give you additional health or can be used as weapons.

If you are killed then you return to the start of that level and all killed foes are resurrected, but the souls you collected are dropped where you died. If you can make it back to that point without dying, you can pick up your collected souls, but if you die again before retrieving them, then they are lost forever.

With this in mind, once you have a lot of souls it's worth returning to the The Nexus. This is where you go to choose other worlds to explore and is the only real safe place. Here there are a number of other souls who can help you (store items for you or mend/upgrade your weapons). Try not to attack them as if you do then they will become your enemies and you won't be able to use their services in the future - in fact they'll attack you on sight. This is also worth bearing in mind when attacking people who cross your path. Not all people you come across are enemies - some are good and will help you. But, if you should attack them (once or twice accidentally hitting them while attacking other enemies is okay) a few too many times they will become your enemy.

While it's not essential that you are connected to the online servers, it does add a little more depth to the game. What you get with the online play is the ability to team up with other players to defeat larger bosses, but more importantly the chance to read, as well as leave, notes for other gamers. These allow you to be ready for traps or foes up ahead, as well as allowing you to leave help for other players from a selection of pre-written messages. And, so that unhelpful messages are not shown to too many people, you can recommend notes you've found of particular help. Also when another gamer has died a pool of blood appears allowing you the opportunity to see how they died (this can also warn you of hidden dangers).

The enemies are unrelenting in their attacks and it becomes very frustrating very quickly to have to keep fighting your way through the same old enemies in order to get back to where you were killed. But if you're a fan of RPGs then the rewards far outweigh this slight moan.

Combat is fairly straight forward. You can chose two weapons for either hand (only one item per hand can be used at any one time, but you and can change either at a moments notice.) So you can have a large sword and a shield or two smaller daggers... it's up to you. For fierce enemies you can grab your sword with two hands. This gives more power to your swings, but means you can't defend yourself with your shield. When attacked you can raise your shield, or attempt to parry your foe's blow. If you time it right you will have a brief time to strike a powerful blow that causes more damage than usual. You can also equip and use items like fire bombs or range weapons like the crossbow. These can be bought, or found on fallen enemies.

While arguably one of the best looking and deep third person RPG games you're likely to play, the unforgiving game play will make this frustrating for most casual gamers and for that reason this is worth renting first.


Darren Rea

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