Getting to play Demon’s Souls was a journey. First you have to show your ID with a passport or other valid identification to certify you’re over 18 years old. Then you walk through a small hallway with trailers of Sony’s 18+ PlayStation games like Resistance 2 and Resident Evil 5 to get behind the booth and pick a single 18+ PS3 demo to play. Since I was there during the media days the wait wasn’t that long, but you have to run through the gauntlet for each game. So, while there was a long queue for Resistance 2 and Killzone 2 I was the *only* person waiting to play Demon Soul’s then.
From Software started their Tokyo Game Show demo with a story, complete with English voiceovers, explaining demons are claiming and enslaving the souls of men. You’re the only one who can save them. A generic set up for what ended up being a twelve minute slashfest.
Well, Demon’s Souls could have been different since there are a handful of character classes you can pick from. There was a light armored warrior, a knightly fellow, an archer, but I picked a muscular character with a humongous Zweihänder. You get a chance to customize your character too with a decent character creator. I changed my facial structure, but I didn’t spend too much time with it since the clock was ticking.
OK, into the castle. An onslaught of mind corrupted humans tried to attack me, but they were no match for my giant blade. Nearly every enemy died from one hit. The downside is my barbarian-like character was swung slowly. This wasn’t a problem since the sword was so gigantic I could sweep the screen hit and kill multiple enemies with a single swing. Similar to King’s Field a power meter charged up. If you wait for a few seconds you should be able to deal more damage, but with my mammoth blade this was completely unnecessary. Archers were the only threat, but these were dealt with by simply walking up and stabbing them. I had a few items with me like a firebomb, healing potions, and picked up a few more from glowing bodies, but all I needed in the demo was my sword.
Also like King’s Field you aren’t really given a goal. I spent my time wandering around the castle trying to figure out where to go just killing things as they came to me. This probably wasn’t the best way to show Demon’s Souls. I ended the demo feeling confused since I didn’t have enough time to explore the atmospheric castle.
The other mystery is why Demon’s Souls was thrown into the 18+ section. I see the plot is dark, but Demon’s Souls doesn’t have any gore. No chopped off limbs or anything like that. The only questionable material is rag doll physics for the fallen bodies which is somewhat of an issue in Japan. If Demon’s Souls sees an American release I imagine it will get a T rating, but I’m not convinced Sony will publish Demon’s Souls in other regions. Demon’s Souls’ is an abstract game rooted in slow exploration, totally unlike action RPGs with stories to push players along and exciting quick time events.
Images courtesy of From Software.