The RPG where death is always one step away gets a successor. We take a look at the growing demand for this tougher title.
Demon's Souls is one mean game. It was excellent, too. So much so that the originally Japan-only PS3 RPG made the jump to the US market in late 2009 and finally arrived in the UK last year.
But it didn’t just receive an 89 Metacritic score or sell 750,000 units worldwide for its engrossing third-person action. The game was loved for its unconventional take on game difficulty. It was rock hard.
And its spiritual successor – Dark Souls – promises to be even harder.
Although technically a new IP, Dark Souls shares many core gameplay features with Demon’s Souls. For this reason, it has picked up a growing dedicated fanbase online, eager to be fed the latest news and gameplay details.
There are 80 different monsters in Dark Souls – twice as much as the number in Demon’s Souls – while game time has increased from 30 to 50 hours. And arriving on both PS3 and Xbox 360 opens the new game up to a larger audience.
Dying to play it
Like Demon’s Souls, death is a central mechanic in Dark Souls. The game’s many medieval environments are packed with traps and hidden enemies designed to catch the player out. Even other gamers can invade the player’s realm and fight them to the death.
The game can be played in an always-online mode or offline. The former allows users to summon other players’ ghosts, view their recent deaths or leave messages to warn of impending doom or trick them, while the latter users computer-controlled characters.
With its popular predecessor, heaps of new content and ramped up difficulty, Dark Souls is one title core gamers will be dying to play next month.
The day-one Dark Souls Special Edition comes with a downloadable walkthrough, an art book, DVD and soundtrack. It is available for the same price as the Standard Edition – £49.99.
Dark Souls was showcased at E3 and Gamescom earlier this year and it will be playable at Eurogamer Expo, MCM Expo and GAMEfest. Namco Bandai is also pushing the title on Facebook.
Pain and Pleasure
Namco Bandai’s product manager Blaise Rodier explains why Dark Souls is one to stock: “Demon’s Souls became famous for its uncommon level of difficulty. Only hardcore gamers went through the entire adventure.
"The intention is to make this game harder. The intention is not to create a punishing experience, rather one that provides a sense of satisfaction when players overcome difficulties.
"And there’s definitely room for different experiences in this industry. The positive buzz around Dark Souls shows the high level of expectation for difficult games. It’s unique since you have to die to learn how to progress.
"Although Dark Souls may require some skill and provides a challenge, all players of any action game can easily get into it.”