by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PS3
What is Hardcore?
I was recently asked the question “What constitutes a hardcore gamer?” At the time, I didn't have an answer. What is it that separates the hardcore from the casual? Is it the amount of time spent each week playing videogames? Is it perhaps the staggering amount of money we spend each year on games, consoles, hardware and periferals? Or is it simply the type of game we play?
After playing Demon's Souls I can honestly tell you that if you enjoy this game, you are a hardcore gamer.
Demon's Souls is a relentless game. It will not hold your hand or help you in any way. It will try its best to demoralize as much as possible. You will die repeatedly and each time you do, you will respawn at the start of that level with all the enemies back for more. At some point, you will ask yourself: “Why am I doing this? Why don't I just quit and go play Civilisation: Revolution? ” That feeling of frustration, hopelessness and, in some cases, pure anger is what separates the hardcore from the casual. The casual gamer will stand up, eject the disk and insert something a little bit easier. Something that he feels more comfortable with, something he knows and trusts will entertain him for a few hours while he calms down from the heart-throbbing state of frustration that Demon's Souls has left him in. The hardcore on the other hand will use the anger that the game has spawned in them as motivation to tame the beast. He will go back and die some more and continue relentlessly until skilled enough so that the game no longer poses a challenge.
Demon's Souls was originally released in Japan in February 2009 by Sony Computer Entertainment who later stated that they had no plans of releasing the game in either the North American or European markets. Following its success in Japan, a relatively small publisher called Atlus decided to publish the game in North America on October 6th the same year. European and Australian gamers would have to wait until June 25th this year for their copies, which were published by Namco Bandai. Despite not being advertised in any noticeable way before its release, being a new IP from the relatively unknown developer From Software and being published by 3 different publishers, the game has sold surprisingly well. The game's success is solely thanks to the quality of the product and can in no way be tossed up to hype.
At the start of the game the player will get to pick one of 10 classes. Choosing a class does not mean that certain weapons or abilities are unavailable to that character, it only means that they are not innate to that character. You are also able to choose the gender and then customise your character in great detail. Once your character is ready, a short cut scene explains how the great King of Boletaria, King Allant the 12th, had planned to use the power of souls to make his Kingdom the greatest in history. The plan worked, at least for a while, seeing the kingdom increasingly prosperous until one day, a colourless deep fog swept over the land and turned everyone mad.
The first level is a short tutorial which serves to teach the player how to control his character, how to attack, how to block and how to use the souls of the demons he slays to better himself and prepare for the battles ahead. And prepare you should. This action RPG is not for the faint of heart and requires a lot of patience and even more skill to master.
A very though game, immense feeling of satisfaction after each battle won.
Slight physics bugs and very high difficulty that will frustrate most, but invigorate some.