seppli's Demon's Souls (PlayStation 3) review

It's like an exclusive club with a though bouncer

Gaining entry is freaking hard, but once you're in and start picking up the dance moves, you'll start moving up in the world.
 
Demon's Souls has it down - the crack-cocaine addictiveness of an MMO. MMOs are generally quite frustrating at the beginning. There's a mountain of information to work through and ravines of depth to be explored. The further the player progresses, the less frustrating the game becomes. The difference between initial frustration and current frustration is usually being understood as (part of the) fun by the MMO-player.
 
You'll start out weak. Borderline frail. Everything can kill you. Quickly. You will succeed in killing the easier foes right away. There are more challenging enemies around. You'll have to beat a handful of those, to get the door to the first real boss unlocked. The Bouncer-Boss - so to speak. To me, this was the hardest part of the game. Once you are past that boss, you can start to level up your character. Every statpoint will make the game easier. Every bit of gear will make you more powerful. Less frustrating, more fun.
 
My avatar ended up clad in the thickest armor, wielding a ginormous dragonslaying sword and being protected by the Towershield, which puts an estimated metric ton of steel between me and any harm. Also, I can perform miracles. Like an anti-magic zone, which gives me the double-advantage. Superior melee capabilities, as well as total range magic suppression. I can perform a lot of other cool, Jesus-like miracles, like resurrection (revive others), second-chance (revive myself) and cure (all ailments) - as well as teleport from anywhere back to the Nexus. All in all, Demons Soul's has become downright easy. I cleared 3 of the 5 levels in one evening. I didn't die once and wasn't close to dying ever.
 
To be honest, I grinded a few hours, since there is a perfect spot, once you've beaten the 'Penetrator' bossfight, which is easy, if you invite a couple of blue phantoms (other players) to your instance. Since the Dragonsword (or so) and the Towershield both weigh a shit-ton, I had to take off my armor.Stats-wise, I wouldn't be able to use them otherwise. So I ended up grinding the 3 red-eyed blackknights (over 2k souls per knight) with the lances and shields, at the stairs of where the Penetrator Nexus Portal is. Once I figured out, how incredible my sword and shield are, grinding these enemies became easy and a great skill-training, to perfect my feel for these hard-to-handle weapons, as well as getting the timing down, Soon, I was able to wear my armor again. Also, because of that, my stats where generally off the hook.
 
Now, the game is downright easy. As long as I don't act foolish or stupid, like running off a cliff, I am in barely any danger ever. There are couple of environmental hazards, like the dragons in Boletaria Castle, which remain very deadly, if I don't pay attention, otherwise, I am boss. So much, that I'm looking forward to griefing some newbs as a black phantom, once I'm through with the story content.
 
It's the classic MMO scheme. The player starts out with an underpowered avatar into an overwhelmingly complex world. With every little success, the avatar grows stronger and task at hand become easier. The initial frustration stands in stark contrast to the ease of which the seasoned player can traverse the world. The difference between the two is the amount of perceived fun/success.
 
The good thing is, the combat is actually thight, fair and deep. It's timing, tactics and skill over stats. Stats govern things, like which kind of weapons you can wield and how much damage you deal with them. Putting the hurt to the enemy without getting stomped yourself, is all about skill.
 
Demon's Souls is the Ninja Gaiden of Action-RPGs. Anybody who enjoys this kind of challenge and likes some RPG in the mix, will love Demon's Souls. All of this is seasoned by a small pinch of MMO, which makes pimping out your avatar into an iron-clad god of war even more worthwhile.
 
Highly recommend for those with the accuired taste for MMO-style designer-drugs and Ninja Gaiden-difficulty combat. 5 out of 5 stars. Everybody else, should at least give it a look/rent. If you can get past the very first boss (not the tutorial boss of course), then you will be able to handle anything the game throws at you. Sooner or later.
 
Enjoy! And watch your stamina. Seriously. Watch it!

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