Wednesday, 10 December 2014

A Revisit: Demon's' Souls

Do you remember dying 10 times straight? Do you remember getting crushed by Dragon God? Mauled off the arena by the Maneaters? Succumbing to the poison of the Valley Of Defilement? What about getting chopped to bits by the skeletons in the storm of shrines? Roasted by a dragon in Boletaria? Well, we all did, but of course, it doesn't hurt to do it all over again after not touching the game for about 2 years or so, that's what I did. With a bunch of free time in my hands and not much new games to go around, I tortured myself by going back into "Demon's' Souls", two years after finishing the game for good and putting it aside. How was it like, playing this game again after two years?

Nothing short of amazing.

When I first booted up the game, I was greeted with the all so familiar character creator. Sure, that things is a lot better now when I'm playing "Dark Souls 2", but for a game made back in 2009, it still kicked a lot of ass. I started off playing a build I've never tried in previous playthroughs, a DEX build character. Immediately the game felt fresh and new, playing with a new fighting style, a new weapon, a new build throughout the game. I knew I was going to have a blast, tackling all these old foes of mine using weapons and tricks that I never bothered to think about before.

I was reminded that the game had unlimited play ability, because the amount of builds that existed was crazy. Its even crazier now in the current "Souls" games, but even back then, you could practically do all sorts of crazy shit. I already knew that the game would still be fun, playing a different character. The levels were as dreadful as I remembered, but with almost 5 freaking years of experience with the "Souls" games, and having seen them before, I didn't succumb to them as much as before. I then realized that of all the "Souls" games, "Demon's' Souls" had some of the easiest levels. Easy they may have been, but they were still masterfully crafted, and after not playing this for 2 years, the 2nd stage of the mines f**ked me up really bad.

Slashing and cutting mid way through my game, I was invaded by an enemy player. Then I thought to myself, "Who the f**k is still playing this game?". Turns out I got destroyed, since I was running a DEX build and this bugger was using the Scrapping Lance, my Katana was shredded in a matter ot hits. He switched to a great sword and I knew it was over. PVP in "Demon's' Souls" was pretty good back then, and even now, the hardcores still linger around, hoping the crush the new players or look for fellow hardcore loyalists for a duel. It reminded me to stay in soul form my way through the game (was not a huge fan of PVP).

There was also a shocking amount of bloodstains throughout the game. There were more players than I thought there would have been. People are still falling prey to the same traps laid by the developers many years ago, though for some, it may have been their first time. Enemy encounters seemed to vary. After fighting more and more BS enemies that "From" has come up with in the recent "Souls" games, not much of the enemies in "Demon's' Souls" seemed to give me much trouble. Sure the gigantic molten bees were annoying as hell, but as long as you have a crescent falchion or any form of magic damage, these things go down easy. This game may have been punishing as hell before, but now, its not too bad.

Then as I fought the bosses...I felt like a whole new person. Even if I've fought these guys before 2 years back and remember some of their moves, fighting them again felt amazing. I was reminded of GOOD boss design (not the mostly sub-par ones in "Dark Souls 2"). The Tower Knight was a refreshing change of pace from the mostly straightforward battles in "Dark Souls 2", the Flamelurker actually moved like a beast meant to KILL, and the Maneater's ganking shenanigans reminded of the Belfry Gargoyles, only more menacing. Sure there were a share of pretty...meh boss fights in this game. I wasn't a fan of Dragon God, despite how amazing he looked. The Storm King was also a pretty sad fight, as you'd honestly spend most of your time killing his lackeys more than him.

Then the REALLY good ones. Obviously, Old Kind Allant was still one of the toughest "Souls" bosses to date, and it felt really good to have a rematch with him 2 years later. He's fast as hell, he hits hard, he hits from almost anywhere, and his kamehameha explosion ability still catches me off guard, even today. The Old Monk was another good one. Surprisingly, I got matched up with a human opponent instead of the standard AI...people still actually WANT to BE the Old Monk and f**k shit up. Of course, there were other things I had to mention. It felt pretty stupid to grind all those suckerstones again for my Katana, since that was the ONLY way to upgrade my weapon. There were too many different types of stones, I'm glad they standardized the currency for upgrading weapons in the future installments.

End of story: two years later, "Demon's' Souls" is still one hell of a kickass game. The brilliant level design, the boss battles, and the way the game encourages you to try different builds makes this game have somewhat an infinite amount of replay-ability. Its the same game every time, but if you go around it a different way all the time, every time, its still pretty damn fun. The surprise factor is still there. And since there are practically an infinite amount of ways to build your character, this game is worth a revisit every time you want to do a "Souls" marathon.

Replay Value: 10/10 (Would die again)