by Professor Layton
previewed on PS3
It’s times like these that I wish I lived in Japan. With a flood of high-quality role-playing games being released across all major platforms, it is pretty hard not to envy the Japanese. White Knight Chronicles, Tales of Hearts, and Dissidia: Final Fantasy headlined December while Fragile, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Echoes of Time, and Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology 2 all shone in the spotlight during January.
In February, the spotlight was all on Square Enix’s hyped RPG, Star Ocean: The Last Hope. Promising an experience like no other as well as high production values, the game gave 360 owners a lot to boast about. PS3 owners, on the other hand, get to experience a lesser-known first-party RPG that may just give Star Ocean a run for its money. Titled Demon’s Souls, this could possibly be one of the first must-have games of the year for Japanese PS3 owners.
Meet the Demon
Players take control of a lone man who stands against the forces of darkness in the mystical kingdom of Bokitaria, a medieval world. The premise is that King Alant – the ruler of the land – decided to play with forces that he couldn’t control, causing an ancient force known as “The Old One” to awaken from his slumber.
Conditions quickly worsen. For starters, bizarre demon-like enemies start to appear throughout the land. These demons feed upon the souls of men and the more souls they collect, the more power they acquire. A fully mature demon soul is said to contain powers beyond the human imagination. If that weren’t enough, a large blanket of dark fog begins to hover over the land. Many have tried to enter the kingdom, but only a single person has managed to get through the eternal darkness.
Outfitted with a sword, shield, and a heavy suit of armor, our hero sets out to stop the demon race from wiping out the human race. Along the way he will have to overcome countless hardships and slay a variety of monsters that stand in his path. Simply put, you will have to dodge every obstacle that is thrown at you by the Demons if you want to help mankind out.
Demon’s Souls is described as an action-RPG for good reason. You will face off against enormous creatures, and need to make use of almost every tool you have. The feel of the action changes depending on what weapon you choose to combat the beasts with. Even the slightest changes such as whether your weapon is being held with one or two hands can alter the action of the game.
In one of the earlier levels of the game, players find themselves crossing a bridge that leads to a castle. Guarding that bridge are basic skeleton-like creatures. In addition to the enemies, wooden carts and stands are also on the bridge. In a testament to the animations, with a few slashes they crumble to the ground very realistically.
When I first saw Demon’s Souls in motion I was very impressed. The details in the character models and environments really add to the game, as does the dark theme. The graphics help establish the atmosphere and mood of the game tremendously, which is definitely a huge plus.
After debuting at number four on the Famitsu game charts for the week ending February 8th, 2009 with 39,000 units sold, Demon’s Souls looks as though it is being received fairly well in Japan. The PS3 hasn’t had too many exclusive RPGs yet, so it is definitely a good thing when you see Japanese gamers supporting exclusives like this one.
Now you are probably wondering what the chances are of this coming to North America. With games like White Knight Chronicles coming overseas, it wouldn’t be too shocking to see Demon’s Souls arrive here someday. For now though, we can only watch and see how it performs in Japan. Will it be a true success or a just another flop? Only time will tell.