Zero Punctuation: Demon's Souls

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In all honesty, I don't think that Yahtzee's review did this game justice, just so many aspects of it were either omitted, forgotten, or just not funny enough to talk about maybe. And I don't know how thoroughly, (if thorough at all) he played this game, because there is nothing unfair about it, and dodging and blocking all work extremely well. At no point in this game can you legitimately say, "That was unfair, there's no way I can do that." Whenever you die, and you will, at least on your first few hours, you know that it was your fault, there's never a time where it was unfair, if you die, it's your own fault, for not being careful, not blocking, not dodging, etc.

I'm not going to lie...I thought everything he said was true, but I still love the game. Just beat it a few days ago and my senses truly are numb. The concrete wall was sufficiently smashed with one's head! ^_^

This review was hilarious, and actually mirrored my experience with my first four hours in DS. But the key is, I didn't say "fuck you, Demon's Souls" at the part Yahtzee did, I said "fuck, I am beating this level by the end of the night." And I kept going. And I beat the Tower Knight. And felt my bones flood with relief and accomplishment, and leveled my character a bunch, and felt ready for anything.

And then I tried 4-1... and died to the first enemy I saw 20 feet from the start of the level. But I kept going. And soon I could take those skeletons down in 5 seconds a piece. And I struggled carefully forward, got some delicious revenge on a certain tutorial boss, and eventually stabbed the Adjudicator into a cold, silent grave.

Soon I beat another level, and another level, and another. The feeling of incredible achievement never goes away. That is not something many games can pull off. And though the initial hours of fumbling inexperience are difficult, they give way to a level of skill-based play that is simply unmatched. By the time you've beaten a handful of levels and collected tens of thousands of demon's souls (awkward as it may sound... and it does... it makes sense in context: boss demons are composed of masses of souls of lesser demons), you may still find yourself frustrated when you die unexpectedly; but you will be frustrated with yourself for mistiming a dodge, not looking before you leapt, running into a new room too confidently- not angry at the game for being unfair.

What I really want to say is this. If this review is the most information you've been exposed to about this game, please also consider that it was Gamespot's Game of the Year, beating out some pretty hefty competition. And it was with good reason.

The comparisons made to "I Wanna Be the Guy" are idiotic, and this is why:

IWBTG was made to BE like old, difficult games such as Megaman, and take the inherent difficulty presented by those games and simply maximize it to the most frustrating extreme.

Demon's Souls FEELS like those old games, because of the way it makes you play. For me, it was a feeling that hadn't been evoked in me as a gamer for years. You couldn't simply progress in Super Mario Bros. by continuing to play it for enough time until you saw the ending credits. If you ran out of lives, it was "game over." Think about what that phrase really means, and think about how often it's seen in modern games and how different a connotation it carries. In SMB you literally had to START A NEW GAME after you saw those words.

Demon's Souls isn't THAT unforgiving. But it truly does evoke the same feelings. If you were lucky enough to be a gamer when Battletoads was released for NES: remember thinking to yourself, "I can't believe how far I am making it now when an hour ago I couldn't even beat the second level, I can't give up now no matter what gets thrown at me, and I wonder what's next" then this game simply is, unequivocally, for you. You will love it, and you will pour MMO-style quantities of time into it. Seriously, it offers hundreds of hours of replayability if you let it, be it a month after your first playthrough or years later when you've forgotten the weaknesses of each boss. You can make characters that play nothing like each other at all. You can explore the worlds in almost any order you desire. You can play multiple New Game+'s, and the max level is something like 700... I'm sure I'll never hit it.

The number of comments on the first few pages of this thread calling the game "terrible" are kind of a joke. It is epically, cosmically good. It is reason enough to own a PS3. It MAY- absolutely possible- be too hard for you. But it is one of the defining games of this generation, and will likely be remembered as a classic for decades.

amen to that my friend im still playing it oddly enuf it was Yahtzee's review that made me pick it up again (i forgot i had it after i played Borderlands with my 3 friends and went apeshit crazy about guns and stats)

I'm NOT really good at action games (couldn't beat DMC or Ninja Gaiden) but I did managed to beat Demon's souls. The hardest part is the beginning. Once you figure how things work, it's not that hard. It requires brain power, not quick reflex.

I guess I should just ignore any review I see from Yahtzee ever again, because I've played Demon's Souls and I love it. It's not really as difficult as everyone says, it's just that there's just a few nuances that aren't really that emphasized in the instruction manual (although just spending about two minutes reading any sort of beginner's guide on the internet will tell you the important things).

One example would be the back-step that was lamented in the review; if your character has equipped a certain amount of weight in armor/weapons/whatever, any sort of quick movement (i.e. a roll, dash or back-step) will be significantly slowed down. So, let's say a professional game reviewer pops in the disc and picks the pseudo-default class of the knight (you know, the guy on the box art), who wears incredibly heavy armor and packs two swords and a medium shield. You will be well over the limit that would allow you to dodge like another class, for example the thief or royal class.

A legitimate criticism would be to say that "there is no point in wearing the encumbering, heavy armor as pretty much one really strong attack would probably be enough to kill a new player so you might as well get used to doging and playing defensively." An ignorant complaint would be to say that a game mechanic you don't understand (because you didn't take the time to read anything more than the one-sentence tutorial messages) is broken or pointless.

Anyway, I know that Yahtzee probably doesn't even read these comments. I just want other people to know that this game is actually good if you like situations where you have to exercise caution and observation (for Christ's sake, there's a giant pile of charred, smoking corpses wherever that dragon torches the bridge). Just watch the Gamespot Game of the Year award video for 2009; there is a reason so many people like this game. Don't just flippantly say "lol I like winning sso Im definatly not going to pick this up lol yahtzee" based on an arbitrarily negative review. At least go rent it if it sounds interesting.


EDIT: I guess I should take the time to read the latest posts in a thread, because many other people have said what I just did, but in much more elegant, detailed ways. Particularly this:

"Whenever you die, and you will, at least on your first few hours, you know that it was your fault, there's never a time where it was unfair, if you die, it's your own fault, for not being careful, not blocking, not dodging, etc."

Well done, everyone else.

I know some poison swamp level in this game got a top ten worst enemy of the year in a well known gaming magazine..or it was the creator of the game actually....yeah. after loving Bethesda games that were challenging yet possible...this game was tough shy of the crap pile....I should have listened to the guy at the store who said he played for mega hours to get to level 1.5...and not be so desperate soon after I bought a Bioware T shirt for loving the KOTR games....NOT anticipating Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age: Origins.

I know some poison swamp level in this game got a top ten worst enemy of the year in a well known gaming magazine..or it was the creator of the game actually....yeah. after loving Bethesda games that were challenging yet possible...this game was tough shy of the crap pile....I should have listened to the guy at the store who said he played for mega hours to get to level 1.5...and not be so desperate soon after I bought a Bioware T shirt for loving the KOTR games....NOT anticipating Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age: Origins.

No offense you really suck at games if you can't beat at least a few levels. My friend sucks at video games, absolutely horrible, I handed him frickin Rolando on an iPhone and he struggled to understand the basic concepts of movement and such. He bought this game because he saw me playing it and thought it looked cool (I was level grinding on an old level too, so it didn't look hard to him). It took him 13 hours, but he beat the first level. It took me 4 hours to beat the first level when I first played it. Now, that same friend's data erased entirely from his PS3, so to save him the 13 hours I beat the first level for him. It took me about 30 minutes. I didn't die once and I don't think I took damage until the boss.

It's not an unfairly hard game, you just need to learn the ins and outs of blocking and dodging to survive, then learn some good spells and miracles and make sure you upgrade towards a specific build as your goal (for example, I'm a magic and intelligence build, so I upgraded those, got strength to 24 and everything else to about 18 so I could wield everything I want). Put just a little time in the game and you'll start having fun. Then keep playing and really learn how to play the game and it'll become one of your favorites, like me. I now have a spell called Firestorm, which has killed 2 out of the last 3 boss Demons I've fought in about two hits since I have high magic (Old Hero and Maneaters both in 2, Old Monk required more hits). The game becomes all about preserving resources and being careful.

And the worst enemy of the year was probably the Giant Goblin. Those things are evil. Luckily I have strong magic and can kill them from a distance and can even avoid a lot of them using the Thief's Ring....

Yes this all sounds complicated but it's a deep game with an unmatched sense of satisfaction. Considering how amazingly incomprehensible your post is I'm not surprised you found a game with any sense of depth hard. You along with Yahtzee probably didn't realize that after beating the first level you can look for Soul Signs to call Blue Phantoms (other players who want to recover their body) in to play co-op with you to beat the level. Also that if you die you don't need to kill a boss to get your body back you can a) help someone beat a level and get it back or b) invade their game, kill them and steal their body.

Neither of you realized that the Cling Ring, found in the first level, changes that 50% health reduction to a 20-30% reduction when worn.

It's a deep game and unless you have a good mind for such things, stay away. Everyone else, and I mean anyone who's not stupid, try it.

If you hated this then don't play Resonance of Fate. The Japanese managed to capture my love of guns (being I'm American) and my love of flipping round like I'm Tequila Yuen (Being I'm American and love action movies) and then ramped the difficulty curve to the point where I don't give anymore.

This review actually worked as an introduction for me. Bought it a little while back, when the bargain edition came out. Although I can tell this is not a game which fucks around, it's not as hard as many claim it to be.

As Mammon said, this review was an introduction to me too.

I love difficult games and any games i do play i go for hard difficulty just to make it a bit of a challenge.

I've already pre-ordered Black Phantom Edition for european release.

You can see a fair review of this game at

It's twice as funny :P

This game is awesome.
But yeah is frustating.
And the review is the best of ZP

Yep, pretty accurate. Seeing as i'm at the same point you ... were... i understand your frustration.

I feel bad Yahtzee and so many others seem to not like the game much if at all.

All I can really say is try it again sometime after the frustration wears off. I know when you're starting it's easiest to start with a Royal as they get the Fragrant Ring (regen MP overtime) and Soul Arrow (decent range spell).

Those two things will save you a lot of frustration and angst. The only draw back to the class is your starting stats are a bit weaker than others like say a Knight. But you can easily compensate by farming some souls later on.

I also have to say that the first boss is a bit of a let down for sure. But the Tower Knight more than makes up for what he lacks. It's like fighting a giant Gundam mech with a toothpick. More strategy than brawn. Which for me was a welcome change from games that give you such a vast arsenal of weaponry that the only time you'll likely take damage or die is in the middle of a reload or a bio break.

As far as dodge goes. It works well provided you aren't encumbered with 100 pounds of loot. Keeping your gears weight down makes you dodge with the quickness of a ocelot. Also blocking works well too if you're shield based. Take minimal damage from a huge attack and only lose a bit of stamina. Also use your bow to pick off enemies from afar if they're apt to slicing your face off to quickly.

btw I too found it odd not to have a pause button that stops the game. But even if you're in one of the worlds you can quit the game and it'll save your entire progress. No enemies will respawn and you'll be back right where you were when you quit. It just goes for that Dead Space feel of being in the moment entirely forcing you to plan ahead quite a bit.

I picked up this game after returning to game stop in a depressed state of semi anxiety to sell Borderlands after about 11 hours of monotonous unskilled stat crunching and crappy character building, thinking that gaming had forevermore sunk to the childish depths of ineptitude and treating the agmers as if they were five year old toddlers trying to fit an entire rattle into their teething mouths... that's when the beautiful artwork of a name enticingly titled "Demon's Soul's" caught my eye... trying not to get my hopes up and thinking this was just to fill the void left in my heart after the tragedy that was the sequel to the epic game that was "Morrowind" I purchased the game went home, put the disc into my PS3 and prepared for some button mashing hack-and-slash bullshit... whereupon I promptly DIED! OMFG I thought... did a tier one character ACTUCTUALY put up more fight than a brain-dead chicken in a den of famished pythons?!?! It seemed too good to be true, and after mastering some well timed hacks and slashes rather than wailing on my attack triggers like they were Justin Bieber's skull I discovered a fascinating thing... the control mechanics for DS were not in fact "mash X like an epileptic crack-head" or "flail about like a homicidal retard with hot coals in his shorts", oh no... this game actually required you to do something no game has done for me since I first picked up a consol controller, and that was PAY ATTENTION!

Moving on, I've always been a fan of the stealth-hide -in-shadow-then-jump-out-and-stab-you-in-the-face characters. So you can imagine my joy when I discovered that the stealth mechanic in this game actually made SENSE! That is, if you stand in the middle of a well lit room, waving your sword back and forth like you're trying to hail down Helios from his chariot, then the enemies will actually SEE you BUT WAIT there's more! Unlike some broken stealth mechanics (*cough* oblivion) if an enemy Does see you then only that enemy and the enemies he could logically warn about you will know you're there BUT WAIT there more, more!! If you actually manage to get out of sight for more than ten seconds but less than three days (*cough* oblivion) they will do something that is phenomenal and almost impossible to conceive for the stealth lovers... they will ACTUALY lose track of you! I KNOW RIGHT?!?!
BOSSES Then there's the boss fights, which to be honest I was surprised Yhatzee didn't adore considering his love for massive titans that can smash your miserable brains out of existence with a light sneeze if you go into battle acting like a giddy schoolgirl trying to sell them a batch of freshly baked muffins for her fourth grade class bakesale... no they will laugh at you as then promptly show you what the jelly you call your insides looks like! I almost orgasmed as I got pummeled by my first real boss (not Phalanx: the blob thing lol) for love of an ACTUAL boss to fight, complete with epic moves, retarded amounts of health, nearly impregnable defense and obliterating offence and a weakness you must exploit if you wish to survive to taste tomorrows scrambled eggs. I even started a new game to kill the tutorial boss so I could face off against Dragon God at level one... which doesn't end well let me tell you...
RPG Elements
One of my favorite aspects of this game is the character creation, where I was thankfully saved by prior GOOD RPG experiences (*cough* Morrowind) from reliving the HELL that is multiclassing. No, you cannot weild the big fucking sword and use terrifying tier three magic spells at maximum efficiency at level 30 at the same time. Why? Because the is is a ROLE playing game, wherein you take on the ROLE of a character who expands upon that ROLE to become the best... at that ROLE. Why? Because otherwise it would be called a Role Eclipsing Tumult Amassing Ridiculous Destruction, or RETARD. Although perhaps the most gratifying part of this game is that even if you did have these powers went went gallivanting about like a psychotic Sylvester Stallone with a Gatling gun and three hundred gallons of nitroglycerin on a kitty farm, the enemies would STILL kick your ass because once again, you have to PAY ATTENTION!

So yeah I suppose this game is hard if by 'hard' you mean 'treats you like an actual player with an IQ superior to that of a catatonic beaver stranded in the Sahara desert, hitting a cactus with its bloody tail while a vulture with a flashy game cover and instructions that play the game for you stapled to its forehead, pecks away at its already disembarked brain" for those of you who didn't read that, this game expects you to actually learn... you know... that think you did when you learned to walk, or eat... or press buttons...

I could keep going on because there is just too much good stuff in this game to write on a single thread, but by and by, DS is a great game, a worthy but or at least something every gamer should try if not to chellenge themselves then just to experience something that immerses you in a beautifuly crafted, wonderfuly functioning, elaborat, unique and all round great game world


What a terrible review, and this considering that I'm usually a fan of Zero Punctuation. I guess he just played the game for two hours getting his ass kicked and just gave up on it. I'm also shocked at how many facts he got completely wrong about the game. Dodging is really quite easy, especially if you have a character with light armor. And not all attacks can be dodged, but that's why you have that nifty shield to block attacks with. Learning magic also makes the game quite easier, as its quite overpowered compared to melee/ranged IMO.

Having said that, this game can get pretty difficult, so it's a matter on how willing you are to learn about the game and how to do combat effectively. Reading the manual and helps a lot.

This game isn't that much harder than Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry.

1. We need to stop looking at Yahtzee as a reviewer. If anything, he's our Andre Bazin. He's a prototype film theorist. Read between the lines in his videos/writings. In this case, he's showing how game mechanics made to artifically enhance challenge are foolish and alienating to the gamer. A sufficiently challenging game will kill you, but you'll never have a sense of helplessness; you'll think (in that instance) 'I deserved to die.' This game does not adhere to that. Think of Capcom's maxim: 'easy to play, hard to master.'

2. Here's a theoretical dilemma: should a game require external help? You've mentioned that the manual/gamefaqs told you how dodge effectively. What if you had no manual and no gamefaqs? What would your level of competancy be then? Would people still leap to the game's defense?

It's not funny if what he says isn't true though...

Yahtzee, I wish you had played the game long enough to discover where the real problems lie. This game is not hard; it's boring. An excellent combat system was wasted on constantly pitting you against monsters in narrow hallways, ledges, pathways, etc. When I had a fight out in the open, it was thrilling. But those moments were so rare. Most of the time, I was creeping along in levels that would take five minutes to walk through in any game that would strive to make combat fun. At least the bosses were cool.

And why the developer's thought it would be interesting to do most of your stat, weapon, and spell upgrades at a shopping centre called the Nexus is beyond me.

To sum up, Demon Souls was short, boring, and inconvenient.

Thank you so much for that...I spent my last 30 dollars on this game for a long challenge to get me through a semester through school... 'Fuck you demon souls' pretty much sums it up...
The last fucking boss steels your fucking levels(not just one try 20) so when you replay the game through the second with the hope that maybe it will be fun this time not dieng every ten seconds...BAM you suck again.. that's not a challenge as much as it is fucking retarded...just saying

Honestly fuck the fan boys on this one fail game is fail.

That's actually pretty close to how difficult that game is. I don't play a game based on how hard it is but based on the story and re-play ability.

"Being dead isn't the handicap it used to be"

...Is that a Red Dwarf reference? Please tell me it is!

Being a hard game is one thing, but it seems like all these one hit kill deaths are just there to lengthen the gameplay. That's definitely a cheap way out, no thanks, I'm definitely not touching the game.

well, I kinda feel sorry for him since the next boss(and therefore the next savepoint) was just beyond the elite group of soldiers. Since said boss is stupidly easy to kill with a ranged weapon/magic, I assume he could have done quite well. I also assume that he didn't have the sound on while playing as he would have been able to hear the wolves from down the corridor.

All this leads me to the conclusion that no-one would help him in game so apparently the help/invade system doesn't work that well.

One of my favorites! I love this game but it pisses me off so much at the same time lol

The thing that bugs me most about Demon's Souls is that, while the actual combat was fun, the game intentionally cripples itself in several ways to make the game more frustrating and time consuming. For example, in addition to the inability to pause and being forced to redo hours of work after dying like Yahtzee mentioned, the game also takes away all of your souls (money) every time you die, and if you can't reach your dead body without dying again then they're gone forever. This means more grinding to get back the resources you already had that the game stole from you. Also, when you die all the enemies you killed come back but you can't recover any of the items you used, so it's even harder the second time around. Making players go over the same section over and over again by not letting them pause or save isn't difficulty, it's being a dick. The same goes for taking away their stuff as punishment for dying, as if watching their character getting chopped into little bits wasn't incentive enough. I thought we were done with such bullshit after they finally took the ink ribbons out of Resident Evil, but apparently not.

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