Review | Demon's Souls Remake
"In a world full of demons and darkness, you will be that light that will save the day - said no one ever if they've played Souls games!"
Wether we like it or not, a new remake is in front of us. The first remake of the new generation and one of the games that trod this action RPG genre. We used to not die so much in games, we knew where we were going, what we were doing and how to get to the finish line. From Softvare decided to slap the entire gamer nation. Not only did they divide the audience, but they introduced their vision of difficulty and frustration. For some, it’s just artificial difficutly spike, but I wouldn’t agree. We got a real "men's" game where no one will lead us by the hand, where it is easier to get lost than to spend the last penny on a good discount (on games of course). Why do we need another remake? Because Bluepoint knows its business and because there is just not enough souls games!
A juicy and effective overture to the ultimate Demon’s Souls experience.
It is now clear that Bluepoint is the name you want behind a game that is ready for 4K transformation. Nothing is different here either - this is a school example of how to "turn" a really ingenious game into a next-gen without creating new problems. I fully understand why many are still disappointed with the launch offer of the new Sony console (since this is an "old" game), but trust me, Demon's Souls is 1:1 compared to the original, and at the same time it's so new and fresh that you won't mind playing it for the seventh time.
What will surely delight many is the "Performance mode" where we "hack" in a stable 60 FPS, but it comes at the price of upscaled 1440p, while "Cinematic mode" provides native 4K with 30 FPS. I absolutely and strongly recommend "Performance mode". I’ve never played a more stable souls game, I just, look and behold, I get satisfied every time when I’m dying so fluently as I fall through an abyss for the 12th time in a row. You can also turn on the film grain to make you feel the PS3 generation. You can do without it, trust me. At least the first playthrough.
Left - without, right - with the film grain effect
Nexus, here I come
This is a cursed game. Cursed in every way, and the curse has never been more appealing. It says and explains little, but actually gives a lot.
The Nexus is the first real depression where other warriors have found their place, but many no longer have the will to seek for redemption. I really love this gloomy world. Damned souls and those who feel that way eventually end up here. It is also the hub of the game itself, from which you choose the direction where to go next. All your friends and those who are yet to become one are inside. Everyone is here! The path to redemption of soul and body lies in 5 worlds that protect much uglier figures than the character you will create at the beginning of the game.
It doesn't matter if you are a mage, warrior or thief, it is important that you are ready to bite your tongue every time you die and raise your head with the last atom of strength and nerves shouting "moth** *****“ (Insert swear word or blessing according to personal preference). It’s just a matter of how willing you are to get better and better every time you die and try to get 2 steps further. It pays off every second of your time, even when you don’t move for 5 hours.
I’ve died a few times because I’ve been looking around and admiring the locations - the same awaits you.
Lively locations worhty of your time
I almost always play Knight or Warrior. I just like to wield swords 12 times bigger than myself while rolling slower than 200 pounds of gelatin because I carry 2 tons of armor. And when I saw the first animation I just wanted to be the same character as from the intro animation. My time has come, too, the time of holding the shield in the air. It cost me hours and hours of adjustment when I played Sekiro. But let’s go back with the shield in the air to the beginning.
The first location in the game is simply beautiful. You will move through the sun-drenched ruins of a once living city - now just another in a series of ones where dragons and humans will be complemented by gelatin enemies with huge armor and spears. I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned the 1: 1 copy ratio of the game. Demon’s Souls is faithful to the original to the ultimate atom of its existence. Enemies are at the same points, using the same dirty moves and I don’t even want to know what they are doing to you when they kill you.
Don't worry, even though everything is "the same", this generation has absolutely been used to give you the ultimate experience. All these enemies are full of details, better mechanics of movement, maybe even more dangerous because they are more realistic. It was a pleasure to meet all these figures. When you get to know them well enough, things will definitely turn in your favor. I don't remember the last time I was so fond of stabbing the man's chest with a sword and denying other beasts their attack. Denied! All this while navigating never more beautiful walls, swamps, tombs, etc. The locations are beautiful, the level of detail is just right to keep you occupied as you examine everything, turn the camera and pick up the hidden treasure. One thing bothered me - the falls from the edges are perhaps more sloppy than before. How many times have I been killed because I bounced off a corner and fell 3 feet away.
No Photo mode for me - I died too much times anyway
Bluepoint did what I wanted it to do - to make the old game fresh. Every inch was measured even though I know where I am and what I need, but a dose of panic was still present. This is certainly because everything is so beautiful and fluid, and exudes the energy of game. I did not feel the loss of that atmosphere from the original, on the contrary, the new generation brought some new expressions. There is still ubiquitous darkness and depression, but there is also much better lighting of the rooms and dungeons. I watched some old videos to find some hidden things and you can really see how technically and graphically they have improved things here. I always raise brightnees high in soul games because the game really know how to be dark. I didn’t have those problems here, I saw everything clearly and my darkness disappeared as I made my way through the poisonous mud of the darkest hole you could be thrown into.
Too bad the animations aren’t more frequent and longer, I really wish they had expanded the story and drowned my eyes in that beauty I had the opportunity to experience. You will look forward to animations before boss fights - they are masterful in the sense that they will present to you what awaits you in a nice way. They gave the bosses a decent "upwork". It was even nicer to slaughter them.
Boss fights are a delight. The only thing that was killing me was the road towards those fights; they're not very close.
Heptic vibration in this game?
Haptic vibration is there, but weak. I played Astro Bot and was thrilled with the capabilities of the new controller. However, the potential of this technology is much better used there, while here you will feel it quite faithfully when the stone comes from the stairs towards you or when you decide to quickly shoot an arrow from the bow. In that case, the trigger will stiffen a bit and give you the impression that it’s not just easy.
Still, with a very juicy shield deflect (you literally feel the opponent’s sword strike on the L2 key) they somehow stayed short. I felt the haptic more as a simple vibration and as something I had already experienced. Too bad, there is a real potential here. For example, I would like it when you are surrounded and you do not have the space to swing - in which case the triggers become tense and faithful to the situation. It would also be great that when you barely wear a shield it’s harder to hold the trigger in the air, especially when your character isn’t strong enough to handle it. Maybe in another game. And maybe not, if I barely held a button for 10 hours I think my hand would dry out.
Imagine what would haptic offer when you're locked inside. Oh, and I'm just pulling a Matthew McConaughey here.
Back to basics
Demons are a real little RPG treat. Depending on which class you are, you should develop attributes in this way. You don’t want to be an obsessed magician who doesn’t know what intellect is. I think the whole nation already knows how much I love these soul approaches to their games. I just like it more when I can play a "different" game 5 times and develop in the direction in which I feel at the moment.
There are no surprises, every enemy you defeat will give you their souls. You will turn those souls into self-advancement (if you don’t die without picking them up). Working on yourself is important, both in real life and here. Let’s say you won’t be able to use the strongest bow properly as long as you’re weak (strenght and dexterity, I’m looking at you!). The same goes for everything else. The only thing that doesn't make much sense are the armors, only a few rise above the average, and certainly above the ideal load capacity.
You want to be an upbeat young man / girl / something third. Make sure that your load capacity does not exceed 50% because then you are in the peak of strength and movement. I don’t know how I’ve played tank build before. Now just a shield and a dodge, then a dual wield and that’s it. It’s a lot easier when you’re faster, but then you’re also weaker. A good balance needs to be found. I was also a healer; not only striking with a glowing sword that I forged at a blacksmith.
A quite small blacksmith. Bring him the soul of the demon of hell and he will make you weapons from the souls of the boss demons.
How long is this game?
If you are skilled you can finish the game in some 25-30 hours. I’m not skilled, I’m just persistent. It took me a good 40 hours to gather almost everything I could in the first playthrough and prepare for the second. They added 4 additional rings that were not in the original game. This means that the trophy collectors will have to dig extra to collect them all. On the other hand, there are no more of those grind trophies to upgrade weapons, so you can take a breather and count on one relatively fluid platinum.
When I say 40 hours, I also mean all the side things like the various stories of the side heroes trapped through the dungeons. In some levels you help them, in some they help you, but ultimately you want to be good to everyone because many come to Nexus and there they will teach you the strongest magic or sell something you would not otherwise find on a regular basis.
I also welcome sending anything that doesn’t fit in the inventory to a shared box where you pile things up - as far as I can remember this wasn’t in the original. In fact, it’s not clear to me why they avoid such mechanics in games at all. Let me put everything in one place and not worry about how much of it fits in my backpack.
I have to look back at the camera a bit too. Although I think they did a great job, they really killed the camera in some situations. For example, you fight a boss on a bridge. You lock the camera on a flying gargoyle. As he flies everywhere, the camera tilts in all directions, and if you thought you were going to roll in the direction where the camera is looking at you, boy you are wrong. You are going in the direction you made the first dodge. This has cost me countless lives and I definitely recommend you work on lock-unlock mechanics because the camera can make your life miserable. Add to that the narrow corridors where you will barely pass the enemy and your experience will be disrupted.
Micromanagement is lesser and important, but by no means boring. Classic. The only thing that bothers me is that they didn’t give a comparison of the equipment while buying a new one.
World Tendency and loading times
I had to leave for the end what you were surely looking for in the beginning. Maybe someone reads to the end. Loadings are… Something best I have ever experienced after Tsushima. Are you dead? No problem, give the game up to 5 seconds to get you back to the last checkpoint. This reduces frustration, allows easier grind, repetitions and eventually raises the ladder one level further. It’s never been faster to visit some other end of the game and get back to where you left off. There’s no way I’m going to go back to long loading times, this is an important step in gaming for me. Let's take a step back…
I'm sorry that they didn't explain what world tendency is. In this game, that means a couple of things. For example, when you survive a boss fight in human form without dying, you raise the tendency in a positive way. This means that the same locations have some different paths or enemies. You want to explore everything. This is perhaps the least explained and I am sorry that they did not make more effort to illuminate all the parts and mechanics of the game. Still, they want a new audience, so why not expand a good foundation.
Too bad the story is short and in minority, I would love more focus on the story.
Demon’s Souls Remake is the best version of the game. Just watch out for PS5 rest mode - every time I continued after rest mode I had a crash (five times). I got stuck falling twice and had to turn off the game. This will certainly be fixed with game and console software upgrades, but I'm afraid of such problems (at least these first-mentioned ones), so be very careful.
There was almost no frame drop, technically the game works and performs spectacularly. The sound is also at a high level, the only thing I didn't really like was the sounds of magic. Everything else is at its peak. The game faithfully follows the original and there will be no surprises, but they still added some novelty when we talk about the quests themselves. I really think that the time spent in this next-gen title will be a very pleasant and useful experience for you.
If you like games of this type, I think it pays to pay the full price for Demon’s Souls because this will surely be played couple of times. Polished graphics, a beautiful world that has no problem with loading times and display of distant polygons are just a cherry on top. I’m glad there are developers like these from Bluepoint Studios who will convey the game with maximum respect for the original while injecting a grain of welcoming change. See you next time, and until then, remember - whoever rolls will survive.