In 2009, FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls ushered in an age of challenging action / RPGs that featured amazing worlding, beautiful environments, epic boss battles, and player selection. During a time when players were inundated with lengthy tutorials and highly guided gameplay, Demon’s Souls kept us exploring, discovering, and triumphing incredibly dangerous opponents. Today, Bluepoint Games’ remake of FromSoftware’s PS3 original shows awe and adherence to the classic and offers a whole new adventure for those who later joined the series. This new vision of Demon’s Souls looks, feels and runs like a dream.
If you’ve never played a soul-like game, you know the path is difficult. The road is tough. The street will chew you up, spit you out, and then stomp on your splintered corpse. Demon’s Souls has bosses who are likely simpler than FromSoftware’s recent projects, but some of the level designs can be incredibly unforgiving in comparison. As with modern Souls games, Demon’s Souls isn’t really about difficulty; It’s about ultimate victory, the best of the unbeatable, and knowing that you can do it.
PS5-exclusive Demon’s Souls are a carefully reworked ode to the original that veterans will be instantly familiar with. From updated and improved graphics to minor quality of life improvements, Bluepoint can make the slightest gameplay changes to an already performing design. Bluepoint’s nifty overhaul allows for updated technology to improve on what was already a great game, but rough around the edges in terms of implementation. The strong gameplay of the original shines through everything.
Demon’s Souls challenges the player to be curious, careful and brave. It’s about a wild evasive action, a hectic lunge or the self-control not to fall prey to greed and to wait until the right moment for that final blow. It’s about turning an often chaotic chord into smooth jazz, digging deep into the spirit you still have and pushing through the deadly dragons, brutal knights, and hideous necromancers. Shouting into the void (or your living room) that today is not the day you will fall without a fight. The possible wins are moments that you will never forget.
Choosing how to accomplish these goals is a big part of the fun. Whether you want to use your options with a shield and heavy armor, attack the enemy with magical volleys, or run stabbing enemies in the back and shoot arrows, the world is yours to deal with as you wish. For my first playthrough of the remake, I went with a huge two-handed gun, loads of stamina, and loads of roles. It feels as good as ever to smash enemies into dust while balancing on my own weak spots.
One of the most important changes Bluepoint has made is changing the number of healing items. Realistically, this won’t affect your PVE experience as you can still carry a huge stash with you to deal a ridiculous amount of damage. This change will have more of an impact on online interactions. Players are no longer able to carry absurd amounts of consumables into other people’s games as they carry out epic invasions with the intention of murdering them. Unless you feel like you are being slaughtered by someone who wants to make an already intense game even more extreme, always remember that you can play in soul form to keep things to yourself.
Bluepoint’s creation takes a few liberties here and there with the art direction of the source, but the overall redesign is vibrant and impressive. The bizarre majesty of the Storm King in the pouring rain, the labyrinthine prisons and towers of Latria and the depths of the stone trap tunnels shine in a brilliant new way. These are not just levels; You feel like real worlds. When lightning hit the tree in the Shrine of Storms, I gasped audibly. I felt like I could feel the wind and rain when I faced the Storm King – and that’s not even an exaggeration. The constant 60 frames per second makes a huge difference in terms of responsive, fluid fights compared to the original. The Archstone system allows you to move from world to world at will, which means that you can record the encounters in any order and explore areas outside of your level / gear area when you feel keen, which is a freedom that a adds a lot to the game. This is not a new system, but it is different from how the Souls games were constructed below.
Yes, the remake gives a bit of light and visibility to humid and rundown areas like the Valley of the Defilement. Will you still turn around and get lost in the poison dung and slowly wander in the dark until you die? Absolutely. Do the new Fat Officials look weird once you get used to the old design? Yes sure. And I prefer part of the original soundtrack to the new takes. While some small details can upset the Demon’s Souls purists out there, the vast majority of the changes, additions, and designs to the remake are impressive. The PS3 version didn’t go anywhere, and you’re welcome to play it if you prefer.
Demon’s Souls is the predecessor in a series of FromSoftware titles, and players can see tons of inspiration for environments and encounters that would later reappear in the Dark Souls franchise. After not playing the original in ages, this remake was in some ways like walking through a fascinating interactive museum that saw the forerunners of Blighttown, the Chaser, and many other staples. If you’ve already played Demon’s Souls to death, the new Fractured mode can add a bit of variety to your runs by changing the maps a bit, hopefully to lose your muscle memory and stance.
For newcomers, Demon’s Souls will be the first exploration of the duality of despair and triumph and hopefully it will be a starting point for new Souls fans. For veterans, it’s a tribute to an experiment that sparked a fantastic genre. In any case, it is wonderful that the emerging ethers of the original classic have grown together and given us this wonderful pleasure.