When battling, there’s a lot to be impressed by visually as well. You’ll make realistic cuts, stabs and swipes with your weapons, you’ll utilize the parry and riposte buttons in order to stave off enemy attacks and open up an advantage for yourself”"all of which animates well when you succeed”"and the look of magical spells, explosions, fire and the like are all well done. ‚ The game is very dark in many places, but everything will be lit up when you are close enough to shed some light on it, so it’s not a hindrance or an eyesore. These visuals carry over to the rest of the game”"there are plenty of “wow” moments in this game for your eyes, whether it be gargantuan bosses, a beautiful view from a mountain or bridge, or just the art style in general, which is inspired and well done throughout.

As for sound, the effects are great and the music, when utilized, is very effective at setting a mood. The grunts and groans of your character and the enemies sound as they should, and as sickening as the sound of blade on flesh is, it’s satisfying to hear when you’re the one doing the cutting. The music has two speeds: somber and frantic. When you’re in the Nexus, which is essentially the hub world for the game, you hear slowly plucked strings”"it’s a soothing sound, and one that lets you know you can relax because you’re safe. Otherwise, the game world is devoid of music, except for when you take on one of the game’s impressive bosses.

With those bullet points out of the way, let’s focus on what makes Demon’s Souls one of the best games on the Playstation 3. You will die in Demon’s Souls. There’s no getting around it, really. Death is how you learn how to play, and how not to play. Demon’s Souls doesn’t care how many third-person action RPGs you have played or mastered; this one is going to leave a lasting impression on you with its style and brutal nature, and you’re going to have to learn how to succeed at this game and this game alone in order to make your way through it.

The good news is that death is not the end for you. When you die, you return to the Nexus in soul form. You have half of your health, but slightly increased strength; the only way to get your body back (other than through the use of an item, and you don’t want to just waste those) is to defeat a demon boss. Yes, the game punishes you for dying, but it’s not cheap in how it does this. It’s negative reinforcement that teaches you what you have done wrong and attempts to let you know how to handle the next situation. You will be surprised by how well you play and how long you survive with half of the health you could have as you play more, because you are learning to adapt to the world of Demon’s Souls and the situations before you.

It’s important to realize that death in Demon’s Souls is inevitable, and that the deaths are not cheap. You weren’t paying attention to your surroundings, you tried to be a hero and wipe out a large group of foes, you were tricked into dying via ambush, you fell into a trap, you attempted to take on a foe that you should not have”"these are all reasons to die, and if you noticed, none of them are capricious in nature. Each death is important though, because it grants you an opportunity to learn. Try to name a few games that force you to think this way, and you won’t be able to name many. A few of them would be survival horror games”"describing Demon’s Souls as a Survival Horror RPG is probably the most apt thing you could say.

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About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at m[email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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