Finding the Horror: Demon`s Souls

Demon`s Souls, the 2009 hack-and-slash dungeon crawler that won developers From Software both critical praise and the admiration of gamers worldwide, has a dark secret; it is, at it`s core, a true survival horror classic in every sense.

Gamers brave enough to step foot into the game`s demon-haunted kingdom of Boletaria quickly learned of the terrors waiting inside the cold castle walls. The game`s opening sequence drops the player`s avatar- a hearty knight, a magician, or one of the other selectable classes- into a dank dungeon where they are quickly outpaced by a mob of soulless creatures that were formerly the castle`s servants and security, but who have now become twisted and distorted monstrosities by the corrupting influence of the demons. Scabby former servants dressed in flaking rags and wielding torches assault the player relentlessly; surviving this terror, the fleeing player shelters in a large storage room only to encounter a massive demon swinging it`s colossal claws. The few gamers with the reflexes and stamina to have defeated this demon report having been immediately transported from the room to face one of the game`s high-level bosses, who rapidly stomps the new player into oblivion.

Thus Demon`s Souls introduces the player to the nihilistic world he or she will face; a world full of brutal enemies, towering eldritch abominations, and none of the common tropes of ‘easy’ modern games like regenerating health or on-demand saving. As the player progresses through this unforgiving kingdom the game`s difficulty curve rises exponentially, and just when the player begins to adapt, the game introduces it`s other terrifying mechanic- invasions.

Simply put, higher-level players will invade the player`s game world and relentlessly hunt him or her through the game`s unforgiving levels. As the game continues the paranoia increases. As stages grow longer the player`s stock of healing items wears away. As the enemies become more difficult the player`s weapons become less effective. Those few gamers that survive to see the last cutscene know that they have played one of this generation`s best survival horror games, even if it was wrapped in the guise of a hack-and-slash RPG.

~ by Redgoateerob on December 1, 2011.

5 Responses to “Finding the Horror: Demon`s Souls”

  1. Good points here Rob. I like your writing style! I would love to see a post from you about Amnesia.

    Keep it up man.

    • Thanks Vinnie! Will definitely keep it up! Unfortunately my computer is too old to handle Amnesia…but, come to think of it, I do have a copy of Penumbra: Trilogy sitting at my desk…

  2. […] Kotaku, servers for Demon’s Souls will be going dark on 05/31/2012. The game will of course remain playable in single-player mode, […]

  3. […] what had been previously reported, today Destructoid is reporting that Demon’s Souls servers will be staying up.  No specific timeframe has been given in regard to when, or even if, […]

  4. […] thinking back to the very first game review I penned for this site, I described the brutality of Demon’s Souls. The commonality those games shared was that, no matter how difficult they became, while playing […]

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