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Demon's Souls (デモンズソウル, Demonzu Souru?) is a fantasy action role-playing video game developed primarily by From Software (with assistance from SCE Japan Studio) exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It was released in Japan on February 5, 2009 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment; It was released in North America on October 7, 2009 and published by Atlus. It will be released in Europe on June 25, 2010, published by Namco Bandai.

Set in a dark fantasy medieval Europe-inspired world, players take control of a custom hero who has journeyed to the fictional kingdom of Boletaria is being ravaged by an accursed fog that brings forth demons that feast on the souls of mortals. The game has been described as a spiritual successor to the King's Field series,[5] a previous series of games from the same developer. The gameplay involves a character creation system with emphasis on gathering loot through combat with enemies in a non-linear series of varied locations. It also has a unique online multiplayer system integrated into the single-player where players can leave useful messages and warnings for other players' game worlds.

Upon its release in Japan and North America, Demon's Souls was met with a positive response from critics, winning numerous awards. Praised for its dark fantasy art design, variation in combat choice and integrated online multiplayer, the game is particularly notable for its high difficulty level with many critics praising it as a genuine challenge.

BackgroundEdit

Gameplay

The player confronting a red dragon.Players take control of the main character in a third-person view who, at the start of the game, can be customized in their gender, appearance, name and starting class.[6] There are up to 10 starting classes ranging from knights and barbarians to thieves and magicians, each with their own set of statistics, starting gear and weapons and type of magic used that emphasize certain approaches to combat depending on the player’s preference.[7]

As players kill demons, they gain souls which are currency that can be used to buy, repair, upgrade weapons and increase player statistics such as strength, luck, endurance, etc.[8] Along with souls, players can also retrieve items such as weaponry and ore for upgrading. When a player is first killed in combat during a level, they are sent to the beginning of the level with all non-boss enemies re-spawned, and the player returns in a soul form with lower maximum health and the loss of all unused souls.[9] If the player manages to return to where they were last killed, they regain the lost souls, but if they are killed before then, the souls are lost permanently. Upon defeating a boss, player can re-spawn where they were, further into the level than before a boss's defeat. When not engaged in levels, players reside in the Nexus, a realm of souls that acts as a hub where players can exchange souls, store items and travel between regions.. After completing the initial portion of the first region, player can choose to progress through any other of the newly available regions.

Gameplay can change depending on both the World and Character tendency, which can be either white or black. Tendency depends on the actions of the player such as helping or killing NPCs. When white, enemies are easier, yet the soul and items rewards are less; while when black, enemies are stronger and give greater rewards. Players can manipulate their tendency to suit their current needs. Character tendency affects the player throughout, while World only affects the region where an action was taken.[10]

[edit] Online When connected to the PlayStation Network, online play is integrated into the single-player experience. Throughout levels, players can briefly see the actions of other players as ghosts in the same area that may show hidden passages or switches. When a player dies, a bloodstain can be left in other players' game world that when activated can show a ghost playing out their moments, indicating how that person died, potentially helping the player avoid the same fate in advance. Players can also leave messages on the floor that can also help others such as forewarning safe or hostile positions, trap locations and tactics against enemies or bosses, among general comments.[11]

When playing with other players, co-operative play allows up to three characters team up in the host's game world where visiting players appear in soul form that can only be returned to their bodies when a boss is defeated. In competitive play, players can invade a player's adventure as a Black Phantom to engage in combat with the host player. If the Black Phantom kills the host, they can be returned to their body in their own game whereas if killed themselves, the host gains a portion of the Black Phantom's souls.[12]

[edit] Story The story is set in the medieval Europe-inspired, fictional kingdom of Boletaria, ruled by the aging King Allant XII. Because of his greed, the king searched for power and prosperity through a dark ritual of channeling the power of souls that brought unprecedented prosperity to Boletaria, until the "Deep Fog" covered the land's outskirts, cutting off the kingdom from the outside world. Neighboring kingdoms sent scouts to investigate but none returned after entering the fog.[13] It was only after Vallarfax of the royal Twin Fangs broke free from the fog that the rest of the world could be told of Boletaria's plight. By channeling souls, King Allant had awakened the Old One, a great demon residing below the Nexus. With the Old One's awakening, a dark fog had swept in that within it unleashed demons who feasted on the souls of mankind, where those left alive without a soul became insane and violent. Without resistance, the fog slowly begins to spread beyond Boletaria[14]


The Maiden in Black beckons to the Old One.Many brave warriors attempted to breach the fog and save Boletaria while others were swayed at the prospect of harnessing the demon's souls, either way however many were lost to the fog.[15] The player takes control of one such warrior who breaches the fog and enters the lost kingdom,[16] but shortly after entering however, the lone hero adventurer is killed by a great demon. After dying, the hero, now in soul form, appears in the Nexus. In the Nexus, they are greeted by the Maiden in Black, a mysterious and blinded patron of the Nexus and gives them the quest to travel to each region of Boletaria and retrieve the demon's souls to gain power and eventually free the corrupted kingdom of Boletaria from the Old One. [17]

One by one the hero slays the mighty demons that reside in many of Boletaria's notable locations; the Boletarian Palace, Stonefang Tunnel, Tower of Latria, Shrine of Storms and Valley of Defilement. It is also in these places where they encounter the few remaining great men and women of Boletaria. Once the hero claims all the demon's souls, the Maiden in Black leads them down below the Nexus to the Old One itself. The Maiden in Black beckons the Old One who invites the hero inside where the now deformed King Allant XII remains.[18] During the final battle Allant claims that because of humanity's own violence and suffering, the Old One is acting mercifulyl by putting "an end to our tragic realm of existence."[19] Upon Allant's defeat, his last words are a warning to the hero: "You fool. Don't you understand? No one wishes to go on." [20]

During the end game the hero makes one last choice to either slay or walk away from the Maiden in Black and lose all knowledge of souls arts. If the hero walks away, they have not succumbed to the temptation of the souls when the fog is lifted and the Maiden departs with the Old One back into the fog into its slumber once again, saving Boletaria and the rest of the world.[21] If however they kill the Maiden in Black, they have become lustful for the power of souls, condemning the world with the hero as its ruler at the side of the Old One.[22]

InvolvementEdit

Development Before the start of the two year[23] development period, according to lead director Hidetaka Miyazaki, the studio had previously ruled out the following game to be a new installment to the King's Field series.[23] Instead SCEJ producer Takeshi Kajii described the game to as a "spiritual successor" to King's Field, where he stated "I am a fan of From Software, but naturally that also means there are parts of their games I'm not satisfied with, too", explaining the development choice as opportunity to more creative and potentially innovative, stating "If this was a new King's Field game, there would be areas we wouldn't be able to touch since they're part of the series; working together like this, we can try to make something really new."[5] Many elements from the King's Field series however can be found including the dark fantasy setting, role-playing elements and high difficulty. Besides King's Field, Kajii also mentioned fantasy-themed gamebooks such as Fighting Fantasy and Titan as inspiration for many location and character designs.[24] Other style of characters such as the "Adjudicator" boss taking some influences from pagan folklore, yet rather than exactly deriving from other designs, instead the design process involved "mixing a couple of images of primitive gods together" to create a "raw concept" with "an unusual and chaotic feel".[23]

StrategyEdit

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See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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