|past years||2020: #10, 2019: #11, 2018: #9, 2017: #13|
It is often said that the games of the Souls series are punishingly hard. I don't feel that way. A death is cheap, even if you can't recover the souls. And most of the problems are solvable if you go into them calm, cautious and patient. But this style of game is probably difficult for many gamers, who are trained to go in guns blazing and rely on their fast reactions. Demon's Souls takes the speed out of the battle, but you need to learn your enemy and wait for openings in their attacks.
I like a lot about this game. I like how the game keeps you on your toes. Even going through previously cleared areas can be lead to death, if you aren't cautious. But exploring new areas has dangers at all corners. I also like how exploring is despite the dangers so rewarding. You find items, other paths or simply things that put together the lore of the game. And yes, I very much like the lore. The intro namedrops a lot of heroes who vanished into the fog, but while playing you find them and learn about their fate. I love the Nexus as safe base, but also an area that in itself has ways to explore the lore. This all fits neatly.
Another way this game shows it's strengths is in the design of the monsters. They are inventive and all fit in the general theme of the demonic infestation. And the online features even support the general feel. I remember seeing these ghosts of other players in their last moments before death, but the monster doing it isn't visible. So I saw a ghost doing fighting moves and then suddenly freeze and start floating, only to fall down and die shortly thereafter. I hadn't met the monster, these brain-eating prison guards, at this point, but as I did I learned how the ghostly picture had died, as the same happened to me. These moments are simply incredible.
This game projects a cool feeling. Learning about the demise of Boletaria and all the heroes trying to fight the demonic invasion. The dark and trapped surroundings and the ruins of the once great kingdom. Everything is connected, everything fits the lore. This is one great gaming experience. Sadly the online servers are shut down, which severs a part of what made the game great.
The PS5 now has a remake of the game, which apparently is true to the gameplay but updates the graphics and has a renewed online. If that is true, then it keeps all the things that made the original great while updating others and therefore it should be recommended.