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Letters from the Front

( Played on PS5.)

A relic of the late 2000’s, Demon’s Souls is just as iconic as the rest of the influential games that released in its era; from Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Call of Duty set of games, BioShock, and the rest of the games that made the later half of the 2000s a great end to a rather memorable decade for gaming. Granted, I never really owned a Playstation 3 until we were in the middle of the generation, I grew up with the words of others on how games like Demon’s Souls were an absolute must play and 11 years after its release, I finally get a chance to play this influential game that introduced the world to the Souls set of games. I’m happy that Bluepoint decided to remake the one game that is neglected when it comes to the Souls games, reminding us how strong of a foundation that Dark Souls was built on.

Like its well known sister spin-off and Bloodborne, the appeal of Demon’s Souls is that it’s an action-RPG that prides itself on difficult combat, as well as extraordinarily deep character build customization that influences the way you play. Demon’s Souls may be the game that started it all, but it’s very different to that of the Dark Souls trilogy and Bloodborne that really makes it stand out.

In combat, every action poses a risk. Just like in the rest of the sub-genre, Demon’s Souls relies more on making smart decisions and making the right decisions in order to overcome tough challenges that ends up feeling incredibly rewarding in ways few other games can match. The biggest departure from the rest of the Souls games is that it isn’t really an open world, it’s more of something like BioShock where the game is split into different levels. Demon’s Souls is split up in five isolated worlds, each made up of three to four levels, each offering their own different quirks. The greatest thing about this is that it reminds me of the games of yesteryear where you can pick your shit up, leave, and try out a new area. Each level is difficult, but in very different ways, and never for simplistic reasons that most games suffer from.

So far, at this time of writing, the first two worlds are extremely difficult. World 1 is tough because of the dragon that tends to harass you and burn down bridges which forces you to find another route, and World 2’s enemies are resistant to most of your weapons outside of piercing. What’s clever is that all playthroughs will be extremely different and that not one game is going to be the same game.

The real star of the show is the obvious upgrade in the graphics department. It is breathtaking to look at, it properly feels like a next-gen game. There is a staggering amount of attention to detail here. It’s a magnificent showcase of the power of the PlayStation 5 and an enticing taste and what’s to come if games can look this unbelievably good on the system. Bluepoint had the task to remake a game from 2009 and bring it up to speed and they delivered. Demon’s Souls offers two visual modes labelled “Cinematic” and “Performance.” It’s the split that has been a thing since the introduction of the Playstation 4 Pro and the Xbox One X with the cinematic mode targeting 30fps with a true 4K resolution, and the performance mode keeping a consistent 60fps at 1440p, which is then upscaled to 4K. I’ve always been a framerate over a resolution guy, but playing the game on the cinematic mode is breathtaking. It is a stunner but it comes at a cost: cinematic mode runs at 30 frames so if you don’t mind the frames, play it on cinematic mode.

On that being said, Bluepoint had the task of recreating an 11 year old game with a cult following and turning it into a next generation game using a next generation piece of hardware and play the part of being the very first game to be the standard going forward on the Playstation 5. They did a remarkable job. It is a significant game that keeps what most of made the original such an iconic game of the late 2000s so iconic. It touches upon and modernizes everything and brings them up to speed for gaming in the 2020s, from boss-infused battles to rage filled moments that makes you want to scream and it never sacrifices what made the game such a landmark in 2009. Try it out once you get your hands on PS5 and stay tuned for my review.

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