Wait... what spoilers? There aren’t spoilers. There’s hardly much story.
Here’s the deal: you’re some adventurer (knight, thief, priest, etc.) who gets killed, ending up in the Undead Asylum. A giant bird chooses you to be “the one” to free the land from this dark undead force.
I know there’s more, so don’t all jump on me. But the game doesn’t tend to strive for much story. Is that bad? I don’t know. I am one who enjoys a good, deep story in pretty much everything (movies, TV shows, video games, comics, books, and – yes, on occasion – music). But let’s be honest: do we play Super Mario for the engaging story? No (though the Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door game had an interesting tale). In some ways, I guess this game is a homage to the video games of old that focused on gameplay above all else (and were exceedingly more difficult than current-gen games).
Just from the get-go, let me say that I did not play Demon’s Souls. This is the first time I played the “series,” if it can be called that. So this is rather fresh for me.
Honestly, the game isn’t that hard (WAIT. Let me finish...). The enemies and bosses in this game are not that hard compared to a lot of games I have played. But... well, really, it’s the checkpoints, mercilessly respawning enemies, and the fact that you lose your XP/currency (souls) when you die. In most games, there’s a checkpoint right before the boss, allowing you to do it over and over until you win. In this game, you have to trek through a few groups of enemies, some doing damage on you if you screw up, until you get back to the boss.
So yes, this game is hard. But it most certainly offers an extremely satisfying experience when a boss meets his end.
For the gameplay, it is quite good and a lot of fun. It has precise controls and difficult enemies to fight. I love the parry system (which I screw up on a lot, but still) and the many types of weapons (currently using the Drake’s Sword and Black Knight Greatsword – yes, I beat the Black Knight in the Undead Burg).
For multiplayer: honestly, I did it by accident. I was unaware that turning human made me vulnerable to invading hostile enemy players. Yeah, got the crap beaten out of me. Got a good hit once...
Yeah. Not in a hurry to do that again.
You can’t. Sell. One. THING. That really sucks for me. Not a game breaker, but it annoys me.
The fact that the Estus Flasks are limited to just 5 before visits to Bonfires / Checkpoints (which refills them... and respawns enemies...) makes it even more difficult.
You lose the item that you just used. It’s not like if you die you get it back: no, anything you do is permanent. And that includes killing certain NPCs (you sure that obnoxious merchant who sells the arrows is worth killing him? Think carefully, now).
You die, you drop souls. Souls are currency and XP. You get one chance to get them back, and if you die along the way you lose them forever – FUN!
People say Skyrim (which I also recently acquired – don’t know if I’ll review it) is the game for people with no lives. I beg to differ: that is Demon’s Souls / Dark Souls. Why? I can save and quit any time I want in Skyrim. Can’t do that in Dark Souls. And I don’t lose hours worth of progress from one screw up in Skyrim.
Going by what I’ve said, it sounds like I hate this game. I don’t, not at all. It is extremely fun to play, has flowing combat, and victory is extremely rewarding upon each defeated enemy. But I realize that I cannot and will not dedicate much time to it: a couple of times a week at max, and that’s during my less busy weeks.
I give this game a rating of: