There have been plenty of video games franchises and titles that left their mark in history, and Demon’s Souls is one of those games. The first game in the “SoulsBorne” franchise has influenced game developers to focus more on gameplay and difficulty. Demon’s Souls also introduced a living world mechanic that allows players who are online to connect with each other.
With a Demon’s Souls remake set to be a headlining title for the PlayStation 5, let’s look at why you should be excited about its upcoming arrival in next-gen gaming.
What is Demon’s Souls?
Demon’s Souls is a video game created for the PS3 by the legendary FromSoftware, in collaboration with Sony’s JAPAN Studio and directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki. The game was published in the United States by Atlus USA, Bandai Namco Entertainment in Europe, and Sony in Japan and SE Asia. This game is the starting point for the SoulsBorne franchise, and its remake is set to be one of the headlining titles for the PlayStation 5 console.
Check out the original PS3 game on Amazon today to play the initial version of the game.
What Is Its Setting?
The game places players in the ruined Kingdom of Boletaria. Back in the day, the kingdom was led into a golden age of prosperity by their King, Allant XII, through the use of magic known as Soul Arts and the power it gives to their people. Everything was well until the kingdom was plagued by a strange colorless fog. The fog isolated the kingdom from the rest of the world, bringing vicious and merciless soul-hungry demons with it.
When the rest of the world heard the news of Boletaria’s plight, various hearsay and legends began to spread of the tumultuous chaos within the kingdom. Said chaos was wreaked upon it because of a beast that came from the Nexus as well as all of the demons that came from the fog that grow substantially more powerful with each soul they devour. Many powerful and determined individuals began to journey to Boletaria by this point. Some want to save the ailing and beset kingdom, but others were lured to promises of power, wealth, and things of the same nature. However, all of them, as well as the power that they looked for, were lost in its chaos.
The player, also known as the Slayer of Demons, is one such person. Like many others that came before you, you are now dead as well as trapped in the world inside the fog. And your very soul now bound forever to the Nexus. From there, your epic and the treacherous journey begins.
When Was it Originally Released?
The game was originally released back on February 5, 2009 and was met with mixed results. The game didn’t sell well initially in Japan; it was through positive word-of-mouth that the game took off. According to the game’s director Hidetaka Miyazaki, the game’s initial sales were slow on the Japanese front. Combined with the negative reviews by some of Japan’s game critics, the developers feared that the game would be a failure. However, thanks to positive reactions from the player base, they manage to get beyond one hundred thousand copies, which they took as a success. Sony was still reluctant to release the game overseas despite all of this, citing that they don’t think the game’s uncompromising gameplay will appeal to a Western audience.
The game got a US and European Release thanks to Atlus USA and Bandai Namco respectively. The title was released for the Western audience in June 2009 with positive and glowing reviews. Thanks to this, the developers managed to create a spiritual sequel to the game called Dark Souls. The sequel became a mainstream sensation and a veritable juggernaut in the gaming industry and turned the name FromSoftware into a sensational game developer.
Demon’s Souls Features
Demon’s Souls had some pretty nifty features and gameplay mechanics that were ahead of its time. And with the release of the Remake this 2020, now is a good time to take a closer look at the various things Demon’s Souls has in its sleeve.
Demon’s Souls begins in the ancient kingdom of Boletaria. Back in the earlier days of the kingdom’s rule, Boletaria was ravaged and attacked by a mysterious being simply known as the Old One. The being attacked due to the kingdom’s misuse of Soul Arts, more commonly known to the people as magic. A Deep Fog envelops the world while the Old One was attacking Boletaria, bringing demons and otherworldly creatures. The Old One was eventually lulled to what the people hoped to be eternal slumber, saving and preserving what was left of Boletaria.
Meanwhile, some of the kingdom’s remaining survivors turned themselves into long-lived Monumentals to warn and advise future generations of the dangers of Soul Arts. Fast forward to the game’s present time, Boletaria has a new ruler by the name of King Allant that managed to discover and restore the lost Soul Arts. The king led Boletaria into a Golden Age due to this. However, the resurgence of Soul Arts led to the awakening of the Old One, leading it to exude its Deep Fog again, creating more demons to ravage the land.
Due to his actions, Boletaria is once again overrun by the Fog’s demons; demons that consume the souls of humans and turn them into insane monsters. Players take on the role of an adventurer who would then become known throughout the game as the Slayer of Demons. He enters the Fog engulfing Boletaria, only to be killed either by the various soulless beings, the tutorial boss that goes by the name of Vanguard, or the Dragon God itself. The Slayer of Demons awakens on the Nexus and meets a benevolent demon named the Maiden in Black, as well as various other characters.
The player character is bound to the Nexus for all eternity until the Old One that started it all has gone back to slumber. To do this, the player needs to go to all five regions of Boletaria, slaying all the powerful demons that have taken control of those areas and absorbing their own Demon’s souls. These things are done to increase their power to face King Allant, lull the Old One back to sleep, and stop the Deep Fog once and for all.
Gameplay-wise, this title is the starting point of the formula for the incredibly tough but uncompromisingly fair gameplay that the Souls series is known for. Players begin their journey as the Slayer of Demons, whose appearance and gender can be customized at the start the game. Their mission is to explore the aforementioned land of Boletaria and kill all of the Greater Demons plaguing the land to eventually send the one that started it all back to sleep. Various aspects of the player’s customization can impact a lot of the player’s stats and gameplay.
The player character can choose a starting class in the Character Customization section. These choices influence the stats that they have when they start. While you can modify these stats later on in the game, these stats influence how a you traverse the Kingdom. These stats also go hand in hand with your go-to weapon choice or type.
The world of Demon’s Souls is separated into six distinct areas. The first one is the Nexus hub world, and the five additional worlds are the main areas where you play. These worlds are then divided into four OTHER areas, with all subareas ending in a boss battle. We’ll talk about the rest of the gameplay in the relevant sections.
Combat in the game relies on timing for optimal weapon strikes and blocks. The game’s different weapon types give a wide variety of combat options and alter the player’s movement speed. Almost all of the actions the players can do drain a stamina meter, and stamina management is a core part of the game’s combat. By fighting and defeating any of the game’s enemies, the player gets Souls.
These souls act both as EXP to increase various stats and capabilities, and the game’s main form of currency for buying weapons, armor, and consumables. As the player invests souls to level up, the number of souls needed to level up increases. Alongside souls, players can also get items like weaponry and various ores for upgrading.
When a player is killed by either an enemy or a level hazard, the player immediately returns to the starting point of the level they’re in. This also resets the level, bringing the enemies you’ve defeated prior back to life. Meanwhile, the player character returns to their state at the start of the level in what’s known as the character’s “Soul Form”.
Players in Soul Form have a lower Max HP, and the death of the character means the loss of all unused souls in their person. After being killed anywhere in the map, a bloodstain will emerge on the place where they were last killed. If the player reaches this bloodstain, they will immediately regain their lost souls. However, if said player’s character is killed before they manage to do so, the souls are then lost forever.
Upon fighting and beating any boss, the player’s character has a choice of re-spawning back to that exact location, then marked for use in the form of an Archstone for said location. When players aren’t exploring an area, they spend their time in the Nexus. This is the realm that acts as a hub world and generally a safe place where players can trade souls for better items, store said items, travel between the various game areas, and level up. After finishing the initial part of the game’s first area, players are then given the freedom to choose their progression order through any of the game’s available regions.
The game makes use of the method of asynchronous multiplayer for those that are connected to the PS Network. In addition to this, the game also adds in a few multiplayer elements into the single-player campaign that players go through. When playing the campaign, players can briefly see the various actions others did by seeing their ghosts in the area doing said action.
These usually highlight hidden passages and/or switches. When a player’s character dies, an interactable bloodstain is left on other players’ worlds that allows players to see the other player’s ghost in their final moments. This allows them to see how that player’s character died in the area, helping the player that activated the bloodstain to avoid the same fate. Players also can leave pre-written messages on the floor that can either help, amuse, or even hinder others. An example of this is pointing out safe or hostile positions, locations and areas of traps, and tactics against certain enemies or bosses.
The game’s Co-op play gives up to three player characters the ability to team up with one of their worlds as the hosting world. In this hosting world, visiting players appear in soul form. The only way to return to their own character’s bodies is by beating that level’s boss.
Meanwhile, players can invade another player’s world in the form of a Black Phantom to fight with the host player in competitive play. There are two ways to resolve this: either the Black Phantom kills the host player or the host player kills the Phantom. Either way, the winning player gets a reward for doing this. The invading player gets a particular item for their covenant, while the host receives a part of the souls that the Black Phantom has on their person. After this, the Black Phantom will either return to their own body if they win, or remain on Soul Form if they die and lose some souls or character levels.
Some of the game’s many mechanics that are influenced by either of two Tendencies: the World Tendency, and the Character Tendency. The difference between the two is that Character Tendency impacts the whole game. Meanwhile, World Tendency only affects regions and areas of the game.
Character Tendency is influenced by the player’s character behavior. The game starts a character’s tendency from neutral, and the player can then shift their Tendency afterward to either black or white depending on their actions in the game.
The Black character tendency shift is possible by killing NPCs as well as other players online. You can also get Black tendency by dying repeatedly in a world. Meanwhile, a White character tendency is gained by helping NPC’s and other players, as well as defeating the game’s bosses.
The player character’s Character tendency is completely independent of the world tendencies of each area. Similarly, this affects the difficulty of the game as well as add content based on the character tendency that you have currently.
What does Character Tendency Do?
As already mentioned, a character’s Character Tendency affects not only the game’s difficulty but also the game’s content based on whether you’re playing a Pure White or Pure Black Character Tendency. It’s mostly independent of World Tendency, which we’ll discuss later, and several states shift as a result of your Character Tendency. The amount of max Soul Form HP you have is one of the things affected by the Character Tendency.
A few examples of the changes based on Character Tendency are as follows:
- Talking to the Monumental allows players to obtain the Friend’s Ring.
- The Player Character’s attack power gets a buff when they’re in Soul Form. This increase range from 10% at just a normal White to 20% at Pure White. This increase stacks with World Tendency.
- The Player Character’s attack power receives a buff when said character is a Blue Phantom in another host world.
- Player Character’s maximum HP when in Soul Form is lowered to 47.5%.
- Player Character’s maximum HP when in Soul Form is lowered to 45%.
- Mephistopheles shows up on the Nexus’ 2nd floor after the player released and finally killed Yurt on World 3-2. When the player speaks to Mephistopheles, she offers the player a few assassination quests to complete for rewards.
- Player Character’s attack power is heightened when when in Black Phantom mode.
Let’s talk about the second Tendency now. The World Tendency exists separately from Character Tendency, with it affecting different values and things. Black World Tendency increases the game’s difficulty by giving enemies more HP. The trade for this is that those same enemies also give better and more valuable rewards. Meanwhile, White World Tendency ensures that enemies become weaker and drops more items. However, this comes at lowering the chances of rare items appearing. The World Tendency that’s on the game’s servers would also affect your World Tendency if you’re playing online. Lastly, exclusive and special events, quests, and even new areas can be unlocked at either end of the Tendency spectrum.
Online World Tendency
On the Demon’s Souls Servers, there’s a server median that calculates online World Tendency through accounting for the aggregated World Tendency events all around the network. In short, if a lot of players at one point in time are doing actions on their Worlds that change their World Tendency towards the Black end of the World Tendency, then the entire server median will shift towards a Black World Tendency and so on.
If a player is playing online, the effect that the game’s server median has on the playthrough is session-based. The server median that’s currently on the server is applied whenever the player loads a game. This server median will then become the starting point for the game’s World Tendency for that particular session. On the course of that particular play session, players can then influence the various World Tendency events by their actions. Finally, when the player quits the game and ends that play session, the current World Tendency status that the game has will then be lost. The players will have to work towards their intended Worlds Tendency Status again when they boot up the game.
Offline World Tendency
If a player starts a New Game offline, all the Worlds will be set to Neutral. After that, World Tendency will begin to shift towards either Black or White according to the player’s actions. The game’s server median will not affect while a player is playing offline. Whenever the user loads any saved game, the character’s World Tendency status will be the same as when the player last turned off that game. This makes it more consistent in comparison to Online World Tendency.
How to Change World Tendency
Demon’s Souls is a pretty brutal game, and it’s a real possibility that most players will have an uphill struggle on their first playthrough. However, manipulating the World Tendency can help make their playthroughs a lot easier. While it’s true that it’s a very demanding thing for new players to even attempt a Pure White World Tendency on their first playthrough, it’s not game-breaking.
However, it’s also important to consider that New Game+ has a significant uptick in difficulty compared to a regular New Game. Getting both White and Black World tendencies on a player’s first playthrough is almost certainly a good idea due to the various items and benefits that each end of the spectrum will give you. After knowing how to do this, players will typically have no real problem in obtaining either White and Black tendencies on their New Game+ runs. From that pointon, the decision to run either Tendency is really up to the players themselves.
Whenever a player is playing online, the game’s world tendencies shift under an invisible, unpublished global server that gives out the World Tendency setting for online players. Due to this, it’s a really hard endeavor to keep either Pure Black or White states that the player wants to have in their game. It’s much better to play offline when the player wants to control their world tendencies.
Next, we need to discuss how to shift World Tendency. The first thing you need to know is that each Archstone Region has its World Tendencies. There’s no disadvantage to having one Region be at Pure White while another Pure Black. This is advisable since each World Region has its rewards and items based on their World Tendency.
White World Tendency
Shifting a World Tendency is not an easy feat to accomplish unless you’re going for the Black World Tendency. In terms of shifting it from Black to White, there are a few things that you need to do. First thing you must accomplish is defeating a Demon Boss. This shifts the World Tendency of that area ever so slightly towards White. The second method is by defeating invading Black Phantoms. However, that’s only possible when you’re playing online. There are, however, five Unique Black Phantoms that spawn in each World that shifts World Tendency towards the White when you kill them. Here’s all five with the World where they appear:
- Executioner Miralda Black Phantom in World 1-1
- Black Phantom Scirvir, The Wanderer in World 2-2
- Black Phantom Lord Rydell in World 3-1
- Satsuki Black Phantom in World 4-1
- Black Phantom Selen Vinland in World 5-2
Black World Tendency
Finally, let’s talk about shifting to a Black World Tendency. Well… It’s pretty simple. You just need to die.
Specifically, you need to die when you’re inside your own body and you’re outside the Nexus. This shifts the World Tendency slightly to Black, with the World Tendency shifting all the more to Pure Black the more times you die. In addition to this, you can kill specific NPC’s while they’re in their Body form to reduce your World Tendency by a significant amount. Here’s their names as well as the worlds they’re located in:
- Old King Doran in World 1-1
- Body Form Executioner Miralda in World 1-1
- Body Form Scirvir, The Wanderer in World 2-2 (Note: This also lowers your Character Tendency)
- Blue Phantom Lord Rydell (-3) in World 3-1 (Note: This also lowers your Character Tendency)
- Body Form Satsuki (-3) in World 4-1
- Body Form Selen Vinland (-3) in World 5-2 (Note: This also lowers your Character Tendency)
Comparing The PS5 Remake to the Original
The news of Demon’s Souls Remake was a surprising bit of news for some Souls fans, even if there were rumors and leaks ahead of the formal announcement. However, one thing remains certain: the hype for the game became so high amongst fans that some would say it confirmed their decisions to buy a PS5. In addition to this, the Remake is a project of Bluepoint Games. Bluepoint Games was also responsible for the Shadow of the Colossus Remake. There’s a possibility that they’re going to add in a few twists of their own to the main game.
However, that’s just speculation. For now, let’s talk about some improvements.
Improvements & Changes Made
As of right now, the game looks beautiful thanks to some next-gen console graphics and loving care put in by developers at Bluepoint Games. There are major overhauls in enemy design that still holds on to the game’s roots. Among such overhauls include the Vanguard Demon, the Flamelurker, the Storm King, and several other bosses.
Other bosses and enemies are still unknown as of this moment. These changes also include the look of most of the playable areas. Another world element in question is the sixth Archstone as well as additional lore.
Another thing that people want the Remake to change, though, is the Item Burden Mechanic, which some people say is an utter chore to play around. This mechanic limits the amount of unequipped items you can carry at one time. Coming over that hard limit will ensure that you won’t be able to pick up any other item for fear of overburdening your character. There’s a lot of clamor on changing this mechanic, with some even calling for its complete removal.
For now, those are things that are still in the dark.
What Remains Unchanged?
A lot of things remain unchanged from the OG Demon’s Souls. For one, there’s no mention from Bluepoint about revamping the World and Character Tendency Systems. Also, we don’t know if the atmosphere will receive an overhaul or stay faithful to the original. Weapons and other items might get a graphical upgrade, though the gameplay and the general feel of the game are things that Bluepoint doesn’t plan on changing anytime soon.
Why Should Gamers Be Excited For Demon’s Souls Remake?
It’s simple. Demon’s Souls is an important piece of gaming history that people should experience at least once. The game is the origin of the Souls genre and is a great game to play thanks to its awesome plot. If you have the time, and the PS5 to run it, Demon’s Souls is a game that you should try and play.
Check the game out on Amazon today and play it when the PlayStation 5 launches later this year.