Demon's SoulsDemon's Souls is an action role-playing video game developed primarily by From Software with assistance from SCE Japan Studio exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It was released in Japan on February 5, 2009 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. In North America the game was released on October 6, 2009 and published by Atlus; Namco Bandai Games published the game for Australia and Europe on June 23 and June 25, 2010, respectively.
Set in a dark fantasy world, players take control of a hero who has journeyed to the fictional kingdom of Boletaria, which is being ravaged by a cursed fog that brings forth demons who feast on the souls of mortals. The game has been described as a spiritual successor to the King's Field series of games. The gameplay involves a character-creation system and emphasizes gathering loot through combat with enemies in a non-linear series of varied locations. It has a unique online multiplayer system integrated into the single-player where players can leave useful messages and warnings for other players' single-player game worlds, as well as joining other players in their world to assist and/or kill them.
Upon its release in Japan and North America, Demon's Souls was met with critical acclaim from critics, winning numerous awards. The game was praised for its dark fantasy art design, variation in combat choice and integrated online interactions. The game is particularly notable for its high difficulty level, with many critics noting it as a genuine challenge. The game has a spiritual successor titled Dark Souls.
Demon's Souls PlotThe story is set in the kingdom of Boletaria, ruled by the aging King Allant XII. Because of his greed, the king searched for power and prosperity through a dark ritual of channeling the power of souls that brought unprecedented prosperity to Boletaria, until the "Deep Fog" covered the land's outskirts, cutting off the kingdom from the outside world. Neighboring kingdoms sent scouts to investigate but none returned after entering the fog. It was only after Vallarfax of the royal Twin Fangs broke free from the fog that the rest of the world could be told of Boletaria's plight. By channeling souls, King Allant had awakened the Old One, a great demon residing below the Nexus. With the Old One's awakening, a dark fog had swept in that within it unleashed demons who feasted on the souls of mankind, where those left alive without a soul became insane and violent. Without resistance, the fog slowly begins to spread beyond Boletaria.
Many brave warriors attempted to breach the fog and save Boletaria while others were swayed at the prospect of harnessing the demon's souls; either way, many were lost to the fog. The player takes control of one such warrior who breaches the fog and enters the lost kingdom; however, shortly after entering, the lone hero adventurer is killed by a great demon, The Vanguard. If the adventurer manages to defeat the Vanguard, they are killed by the Dragon God, another great demon in the form of a massive dragon. After dying, the hero, now in soul form, appears in the Nexus. In the Nexus, they are greeted by the Maiden in Black, a mysterious and blinded matron of the Nexus who gives them the quest to travel to each region of Boletaria and retrieve the demon's souls to gain power and eventually free the corrupted kingdom of Boletaria from the Old One.
One by one the hero slays the mighty demons that reside in many of Boletaria's notable locations; the Boletarian Palace, Stonefang Tunnel, Tower of Latria, Shrine of Storms and Valley of Defilement. It is also in these places where they encounter the few remaining great men and women of Boletaria. Once the hero claims all the demon's souls and has killed the Arch Demons of each area, the Maiden in Black leads them down below the Nexus to the Old One itself. The Maiden in Black beckons the Old One who invites the hero inside where the now deformed King Allant XII remains. During the final battle Allant claims that because of humanity's own violence and suffering, the Old One is acting mercifully by putting "an end to our tragic realm of existence." Upon Allant's defeat, his last words are a warning to the hero: "You fool. Don't you understand? No one wishes to go on."
During the end game the hero makes one last choice to either slay or walk away from the Maiden in Black. If the hero walks away, they have not succumbed to the temptation of the souls when the fog is lifted and the Maiden departs with the Old One back into the fog into its slumber once again, saving Boletaria and the rest of the world. If, however, the Maiden in Black is killed, they have become lustful for the power of souls, condemning the world with the hero as its ruler at the side of the Old One.
Demon's Souls GameplayPlayers take control of the main character in a third-person view who, at the start of the game, can be customized by choice of gender, appearance, name and starting class. There are 10 starting classes, ranging from knights and barbarians to thieves and mages. Each class has its own starting statistics, starting gear, weapons and type of magic used which all emphasize certain approaches to combat depending on the player's preference.
As players kill demons, they gain souls which act as currency that can be used to buy, repair, and upgrade weapons as well as increase player statistics such as strength, luck, and endurance. Along with souls, players can retrieve items such as weaponry and ore for upgrading. When a player is killed during a level, they are sent to the beginning of the level with all non-boss enemies re-spawned, and the player returns in soul form with lower maximum health and the loss of all unused souls. If the player manages to reach their bloodstain at the point where they were last killed, they regain their lost souls. However, if they are killed before then, the souls are lost permanently. Upon defeating a boss, the player can choose to re-spawn back to that location, marked in the form of an Archstone. When not exploring a level, players reside in the Nexus, a realm of souls that acts as a hub where players can exchange souls, store items and travel between regions. After completing the initial portion of the first region, players can choose to progress through any other of the newly available regions.
Gameplay can change depending on both the World and Character tendency, which can be either white or black. Tendency depends on the actions of the player such as helping or killing NPCs. When white, enemies are easier, yet the soul and items rewards are fewer; when black, enemies are stronger and give greater rewards. Players can manipulate their tendency to suit their current needs. Character tendency affects the player throughout, while World Tendency only affects the region where an action was taken.
Further emphasizing the challenging nature of the game is the increased difficulty upon completion of the story. After finishing the game, the player may choose to continue playing from the beginning, except with a 40% increase in difficulty. Subsequent completions increase the difficulty further by 8%.
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