Every other week on Game People Calling, I'll be bringing the best of our reviews, art and other novelties to The Escapist. This week I'm exciting to introduce Adam Standing, our writer who likes to get to the heart of his games.
His Soulful Gamer column picks a path through titles that have come to mean something more to him than just leisure. Games that tell a meaningful story, tackle larger issues or connect him to an inspiring story. Games that are quite often overlooked.
A month or so ago Adam wrote our review on Demon's Souls, and here he is revisiting both the game and his write-up to see how it sounds in hindsight. Over to Adam.
I started my review by reflecting on the unusual nature of Demon's Souls:
It took me a handful of failed attempts at the first level before I realized this needed to be played differently. Instead of expecting to waltz through the opening levels and have the strategies of the game explained to me in a digestible form, I had to use each of my attempts as a self-styled tutorial, teaching me the intricacies of the environment and the methods which worked best to advance.
At times this was more a puzzle game than a fighter - the further I progressed, the more pieces of the puzzle I unlocked. Whether it was merely opening a side door to serve as a shortcut or memorizing the enemy locations, the way through became shorter with each attempt until I nailed it down to an almost rhythmic level of speed and precision.
Even though all the levels are open from the start, I still return to the Boletaria Palace level time and again. The sense of satisfaction of taking a new character through those familiar ramparts and getting to the Demon to reclaim my body in one go is still incredible. It's like completing Through The Fire and Flames on expert or, God forbid, finishing a S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game with your sanity intact. I still believe that these are some of the best levels ever created in a videogame - the subtle nuances sit wonderfully at odds with the harsh nature of instant death in a way that I have come back to time after time.
I went on to talk about multiplayer in Demon's Souls.
Multiplayer is never an aspect of games I talk about because it lacks any soul or heart to its creation. The prime directive for most games is the wholesale slaughter of your opponent. Nothing too complicated or deep about that, but Demon's Souls integrates a system that fosters such a sense of community, in a subtle and anonymous way, that makes it worthy of mention. At any point during the game I was able to observe ghosts battling unseen foes or running alongside or through me.