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Demon’s Souls PS5 review: A gorgeous game worth dying (repeatedly) for


Demon’s Souls Review (PS5)

Demon’s Souls PS5 review. When Bluepoint Games said back in 2019 that its next title would be its most ambitious, they really weren’t lying. Pulled from the depths of PlayStation’s third home console generation, FromSoftware’s Demon’s Souls was the game that indisputably kicked off a revolution in the action RPG genre and now here it is, eleven years later remade from the ground up for PlayStation 5.

Demon’s Souls PS5 Review

A Rejuvenated Masterpiece That Soars As One Of The Best PlayStation Games Ever, At Launch Or Otherwise

Of course, the challenge with any remake is that you run the risk of potentially losing or diluting the essence which made the original so preciously great in the first place. Though remake virtuosos Bluepoint Games have more than cemented their own reputation with its fantastic remake of PS2 Team Ico classic Shadow of the Colossus, something like Demon’s Souls is a whole kettle of fish – a call back to the developer’s own modesty in acknowledging the project as by far its most ambitious to date.

The first Souls title to be fully developed by a western team, it’s entirely understandable that some fans would feel trepidatious about what Bluepoint Games has wrought here – but you needn’t have worried. The absolute crowning jewel of the PlayStation 5 launch line-up, Demon’s Souls gets so much right and nails so much *perfectly*, that it’s frankly ridiculous.

After an especially bombastic and epic introduction that frames the fringes of the Demon’s Souls narrative with newfound vigor and verve, the character creation side of things opens up and it’s here, before you even take your first step into the foreboding realm of Boletaria proper, that the enormity of what Bluepoint Games has achieved starts to take hold.

Though all the usual options are available, including broad body type selections in addition to more nuanced design work such as tattoos, scars, eye colors and other incidental detail, Demon’s Souls character creation is the first exposure that players will have to the grand miracle that Bluepoint Games has worked, clearly showing the extent of the transformative visual upgrade that Demon’s Souls on PS5 boasts over the PS3 original.

Skin is now pockmarked with imperfections. Individual and detailed stitching can be made out on robes. Armour glistens as light strikes metal and leather straps exude ultra-fine texturing that makes them look authentic in a way that such materials just haven’t looked before. These are quite simply the best character models ever glimpsed in a Souls title.

Once you’ve generated your character and taken your first steps into Boletaria it then becomes clear that sheer scope of Bluepoint Games visual talents is far beyond anything we’ve previously seen. I found myself frequently marvelling, slack-jawed, at what the Texan based studio has been able to achieve across a near infinite scale of spectacle.

From just watching the lazy sway of ivy bound foliage which has draped itself over a wall, to silently screaming at the terrifying incendiary apocalypse of a crimson Boletarian Dragon setting ablaze some castle ramparts (and everyone on it) in the Lord’s Path, through to the subtle, moody lighting which follows the shuffling gait of the Cthuluian looking jailers in the Prison of Hope, Demon’s Souls is one of the most gorgeous, detail stuffed games I have ever seen.

While it’s easy to take visual improvements in remakes and remasters somewhat for granted, in Demon’s Souls, every single visual makeover has been done with painstaking attention to detail and most of all, purpose. You’ll never look at Latarian jailers the same way ever again.

There’s just so much going on here in a technical sense that it borders on sensory overload. Every single step you take and just about every camera angle is absolute screen capture bait. Though this might be something of a dramatic platitude, it holds true all the same. This is Hidetaka Miyazaki’s magnum opus reimagined in a level of fidelity that many of us have only dreamt of until now.

In the run up to the release of Demon’s Souls much has understandably been made of the two very different visual presets that Bluepoint Games offers in the game, and the difference is absolutely stark. With the cinematic setting, ultra high quality detail is applied to everything with much more detailed textures, better lighting, superior shadowing and of course, a sizable bump in native resolution. The trade off? The framerate locks at 30 frames per second.

Now of course, if you’ve played Demon’s Souls on the PlayStation 3 back in the day, a 30 frames per second lock might well suit you fine as Sony’s third-generation home console would often aim for that target but usually fall short. The fly in the ointment here however, is that we’ve had Dark Souls Remastered spoiling us in the interim and now we know what a massive difference having 60 frames per second in a Souls title can make.

And this is where the performance preset comes in. Once activated, the framerate shoots up to a liquid smooth 60 frames per second and immediately Demon’s Souls not only looks more fluid but becomes much more responsive too and thus, much more satisfying to play. Split-second evasion rolls can now be executed with ease and ripostes all of sudden become much more achievable than they ever were at 30 frames per second.

Happily, I can also report that the trade off in visuals is not anything close to severe either. In performance mode, Demon’s Souls still looks absolutely stunning and rife with all of those small incidental and yet massively pleasing details that I mentioned earlier in this review. So to me at least, this makes the choice of performance mode over its cinematic counterpart an easy one. Trust me, once you see Demon’s Souls running at 60 frames per second, you won’t be able to go back. Not now, not ever.

Further afield, the PS5’s lightning quick SSD also means that loading times are extremely fast – getting you back into the fight after an untimely death quicker than ever before. This is something that cannot be understated really, as the lengthy load times between deaths and even between areas in the PS3 original could sometimes prove sufficient enough a barrier to prevent an immediate replay of a particularly challenging area. Not here though – the only barrier is your mental fortitude and ability to take punishment, learn and then adapt. As it should be.

Staying on the technical side of things, the DualSense wireless controller is used in satisfying, if not unexpected ways too. With a staunch focus on the haptic feedback capabilities of Sony’s next-generation controller, Bluepoint Games have been able to strengthen the link between the player and the realm of Boletaria, making you feel every successful melee attack, every spell thrown and every blow absorbed.

Put simply, when the Tower Knight slams down his gargantuan, cinema-screen sized shield in front of your face, you’ll feel it, you’ll love it and then you might relieve yourself in the process too.

As to the actual guts of Demon’s Souls, Bluepoint Games has thankfully opted to enhance rather than eschew what Miyazaki and his team created back in 2009. Indeed, Bluepoint Games’ own reluctance to create a sixth Archstone is testament to its humility and respect for the original work and that level of deep regard for Miyazaki’s work extends throughout the core of this remake too.

Demon’s Souls in 2020 wouldn’t be Demon’s Souls at all without the sort of persistent, interconnected realms that have defined the Souls series. Be prepared.

As the architect of the Souls formula that not only other games would follow but which FromSoftware would iterate on themselves in the years to come after Demon’s Souls original release, Bluepoint Games remake steadfastly embraces the essence of the game which kicked off an entire subgenre. Broadly, the premise is to unseat the corruption which has invaded the kingdom of Boletaria by working your way through five very different worlds as you learn enemy patterns, adapt your class and style of play to fit and finally, uncover well hidden secrets to bolster your prospects further.

With minimal hand-holding beyond the initial control tutorial at the very beginning of the game, everything that happens in Demon’s Souls feels precision engineered to surprise and delight. Whether that’s the discovery of some hidden secret loot, or the cathartic, fist-pumping defeat of a boss that you previously spent tens of lives trying to overcome, Demon’s Souls boasts rewarding satisfaction by the truckload and it feels great.

Though the difficulty of Demon’s Souls, while not quite as onerous as that glimpsed in the Dark Souls games, still remains substantially challenging, it makes for a masterclass in gamifying the archetypal risk/reward dynamic that further contributes to that feeling of great satisfaction. Do you cautiously farm an area for souls in a bid to slowly upgrade yourself, or do you push your luck like a win-intoxicated gambler, carving your way through an area until you hit a brick wall of opposition that murders you a single strike?

And it’s this level of challenge, coupled with the emergent possibilities afforded by how it permits players to face up to its many challenges that has made FromSoftware’s defining title age so very well over this past decade. Demon’s Souls has always been about players pushing the possibilities and boundaries of their own capability and in 2020, despite the introduction of high-end SSDs, fancy RDNA 2 architectures and all that other jazz, that fact has not changed one bit.

That said though, if Demon’s Souls game length of between 50-60 hours isn’t enough for you, Bluepoint Games have thrown in the new ‘fractured mode’, which is exclusive to this version of the game. Here, after paying a sacrifice of some 25,000 souls (not a paltry sum, I’ll say), a version of Boletaria emerges in which the player tackles its numerous worlds and areas in reverse and can even pay to have a seperate version of their own character exist in this mirror world, too. Sure, it’s more of an eye-brow raising distraction than anything, but veteran players will surely appreciate this additional fresh take on a world they have loved for so long.

A fact that is often overlooked is that despite its high difficulty relative to other games that exist in the Souls series, Demon’s Souls is actually at its heart, extremely welcoming to those folks who have yet to sample its myriad of delights. Nowhere is this concession to accessibility and easing of the usual brutal difficulty that we’ve come to associate with the Souls games better enshrined than in the Nexus hub area.

In all of gaming, there is still nothing quite so satisfying as feeling ‘powerful’ in Demon’s Souls and finally laying waste to an area or a boss that has long plagued you.

Marking a noted departure from the Dark Souls games that would follow, the Nexus hub area in Demon’s Souls allows players to dip into each of the five worlds (via a series of archstones) and their subareas from a central point. By presenting and essentially dividing up the game in this way, Demon’s Souls becomes a much more digestible proposition than any of its successors, though fans of the Dark Souls titles may well bemoan the lack of a single, massively connected world in this regard.

In terms of making Demon’s Souls seem far less like an indomitable task, the PlayStation 5’s Activities functionality also does some fine work here too. By aiding the break up of Demon’s Souls otherwise monolithic offering into more easily consumed morsels on a per boss and event basis, PlayStation 5’s Activities function ends up giving rise, somewhat ironically, to the notion of Demon’s Souls as the sort of game that you can hop in and out of for a brief spell and still manage to accomplish a great deal. Who’d have thought it?

In this sense then, Demon’s Souls surely looks set to repeat history once more, ushering in an entirely new generation of gamers into its fold and reigniting the bonfire of inspiration that defined a decade of action RPGs. Easily the best launch title to ever grace a PlayStation console and equally one of the best launch titles on any system, Demon’s Souls soars as the quintessential next-generation PlayStation exclusive. T hat’s gotta be worth a ten right? Well yeah, it is.

Demon’s Souls is out now for PlayStation 5.

Review code kindly provided by Sony UK.


The Final Word

An absolute blueprint on how to remake a beloved title and meaningfully improve upon on it in ways that new cutting edge technologies make possible, Demon’s Souls on PlayStation 5 is more than just the best launch game for any system in recent memory. Its re-emergence and digestible approach to its seemingly daunting challenge now opens the door once more to an all-new generation of PlayStation gamers to a kickstart a second coming for Souls subgenre. Demon’s Souls is nothing less than a breathless triumph in every way.

Обзор Demon’s Souls Remake

Умираем на PlayStation 5

Оригинальная Demon’s Souls оказалась знаковой для индустрии, ведь она стояла у истоков хардкорной серии Souls, которая вернула моду на сложные игры. В далеком 2009 году я был одним из немногих, кто сумел сразу разглядеть в эксклюзиве PlayStation 3 шедевр. Но это не единственная причина моего трепетного отношения к данному проекту.

Когда на нашем сайте начали появляться рецензии, написанные авторами из редакции, моим первым материалом в разделе как раз оказался обзор Demon’s Souls. Во многом именно после этого во мне активнее стал проявляться интерес к написанию больших статей.

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Игру от FromSoftware я проходил очень много раз, поэтому, запуская ремейк от техасских специалистов из Bluepoint Games, мне было интересно, насколько точно они сумеют сохранить дух первоисточника. Давайте разберемся, удалось ли студии справиться со всеми элементами хардкорного хита при переносе на новые рельсы.

Все начинается с эпичной заставки, повторяющей ключевые моменты из оригинального вступления. Далее необходимо создать своего персонажа, и уже на этом этапе можно заметить, как разработчики переработали визуальную составляющую игры. Высокодетализированные лица и костюмы сразу говорят, что перед нами игра нового поколения. У оригинальной Demon’s Souls был неплохой редактор, но из-за недостатка детализации в 2009 году игроки мало уделяли внимание внешнему виду протагониста. Как правило, пользователи облачались в тяжелые латные доспехи, через которые вряд ли можно было увидеть какие-то особенности героя. Однако теперь визуальная составляющая значительно похорошела, поэтому многим однозначно захочется уделить больше времени созданию своего героя. Тем более в опциях появилась возможность отключать отображение шлема, а некоторые комплекты брони специально создавались для разных вариантов тела. Кстати, вместо выбора пола тут предлагают подобрать просто “тип тела”. А — женский вариант, Б — мужской. В целом при должном старании персонажи получаются очень красивыми и приятными на вид, что действительно радует.

Далее начинается пролог, где игрока обучаю азам боевой системы. Сильные и слабые удары, кувырки, парирование с последующим мощным выпадом — вся эта механика работает примерно так же, как и в оригинале. В одном из интервью разработчики говорили, что перенесли основы и общий баланс практически без изменений. Это действительно так, однако есть некоторые моменты, которые подверглись небольшой корректировке. Например, изначально во время схватки с “Богом Драконов” колонны, которые нужно разрушить, чтобы добраться до баллисты, ломались от одного взмаха щитом, а теперь требуют несколько полноценных ударов основным оружием, из-за чего нельзя просто так прошмыгнуть мимо гиганта. В остальном это все та же увлекательная боевая система, заставляющая рассчитывать тайминги и сгорать от злости после очередного проигрыша.

Здесь, правда, стоит отметить, что фанатам серии, прошедшим трилогию Dark Souls и Bloodborne, первая треть игры может показаться легкой прогулкой, ведь последующие проекты после оригинальной Demon’s Souls развивали и местами усложняли её идею. После пролога у меня получилось дойти до Рыцаря Башни, не проиграв ни разу. К слову, моего персонажа убил вовсе не босс и даже не летающий рядом дракон. Я решил вернуться в Нексус, чтобы купить стрелы, где полез на карниз за сгустком душ и свалился оттуда. В такие моменты становится понятно, что расслабляться в этой игре нельзя ни на секунду.

Один из главных моментов, отличающий оригинальных “Демонов” от последующих “Соулсов”, — это способ лечения. Здесь нет волшебной фляги с целебным зельем, которое восстанавливается на каждом костре. Вместо этого тут есть специальная трава, падающая с некоторых врагов и доступная у различных торговцев. Изначально игрок мог собрать большое количество лечебных трав и упростить себе прохождение сложных участков, однако разработчики ремейка решили переделать этот момент, в результате чего у каждого типа “зелени” есть ограничение на количество, которое можно носить с собой. Похожая система имела место в Bloodborne. К слову, последняя была во многом вдохновлена локациями из Demon’s Souls и сейчас за счет возросшей детализации это родство стало ещё очевиднее, особенно во второй половине Обелиска Мелкого Короля и конечно же Башни Латрии.

Bluepoint Games в очередной раз не подвела — ремейк Demon’s Souls получился великолепным.

Художники и дизайнеры постарались на славу и искусно воссоздали все декорации из оригинальной игры. Гулять по просторам замков, подземных городов и различных ядовитых болот хоть и опасно, но очень интересно. Красивые и яркие интерьеры замка Болетарии радуют глаз, а внимание разработчиков ремейка к различным мелочам насыщает картинку деталями и делает её по-настоящему живой. Чего только стоят медленно тлеющие штандарты после очередного пролета огнедышащего дракона или пепел, летающий на подходе к логову Бога Драконов. Огромное количество различных спецэффектов и светящихся объектов делает картинку более кинематографичной и натуральной. Что касается анимаций врагов, то они тоже местами изменились. Поведение некоторых солдат вне боя кажется более живым, чем раньше. Если в оригинале они просто стояли, то теперь, исходя из контекста сцены, могут озираться по сторонам и пугаться каждого рыка дракона, доносящегося откуда-то издалека. Порадовали и гаргульи, обитающие в окрестностях Обелиска Ложного Идола и рассыпающиеся после смерти на части, как и положено каменным существам. В общем, визуальная составляющая ремейка действительно впечатляет и радует.

Стоит отметить, что на контрасте с последующими играми FromSoftware здесь локации кажутся более компактными и местами сильно переплетенными. Чтобы открыть дверь “тут”, надо потянуть за рычаг “там”, а он находится на противоположном конце карты и его охраняют сильные враги. В общем, классическая система “метроидвании”, воплощенная в небольших масштабах. Однако тут нет дополнительных костров — кроме тех, что остаются после победы над основными боссами. Так что приходится раз за разом штурмовать тот или иной участок игры, насыщенный сильными врагами, перед тем, как открыть короткий путь или зайти в локацию с боссом. Учитывая, что в некоторых зонах не выдают лечебные предметы, приходится внимательно вымерять каждый свой шаг или удар. Иногда сражение с могущественным демоном кажется менее сложным занятием, чем путь к нему через армию его приспешников. В этом плане особенно отличается Башня Латрии. Данная тюрьма в оригинале была моей самой любимой локацией, а в ремейке с возросшей детализацией стала ещё лучше. Местность больше представляет собой некую хоррор-головоломку и своеобразную игру в игре. По аналогии с классическими Resident Evil здесь надо в потемках искать ключи и желательно не попадаться на глаза беспощадным Пожирателям Разума. Каждый поединок с этим врагом ощущается как битва с мини-боссом, ведь в его распоряжении есть парализующий снаряд, а атаки способны в два счета убить вашего персонажа. Кроме того, по периметру на локации есть большое количество ловушек и тупиков, которые в определенные моменты могут оказаться фатальными. Из-за мрачного антуража и отсутствия целебной травы в Башне Латрии создается атмосфера опасности, которая нарастает пропорционально исчезающей в инвентаре зелени. Именно такие моменты делают эту игру незабываемой и заставляют продолжать покорять недружелюбный мир снова и снова, несмотря на все сложности.

Одной из интересных особенностей оригинальной Demon’s Souls была система тенденций. Несмотря на то, что многим не нравился этот элемент игры, разработчики из Bluepoint решили его не убирать, а сделать более понятным. Теперь в меню есть отдельная вкладка, которая показывает положение дел в каждом из миров. Золотистая иконка обозначает, что игрок на светлом пути, а чернеющая соответственно указывает на темный путь. Если убивать боссов в своем мире и призываться к другим игрокам, помогая им в схватках с могучими демонами, то иконка мира будет светлеть. А если все время погибать в облике человека и вторгаться к другим игрокам, чтобы их убивать, эмблема будет чернеть. После получения максимально светлой или максимально темной тенденции на некоторых локациях появляются новые персонажи или враги, а также открываются секретные двери, за которыми можно найти полезные предметы.

Другим немаловажным элементом игры является добыча специальных камней для усиления оружия. Сверкающие ящерицы уже давно стали символом серии “Souls”, однако в оригинальной Demon’s Souls их убийство превращалось в боль. Если игрок упускал ящерицу в первый раз, когда встречал, то она не появлялась больше вплоть до “Новой игры +”. Однако в ремейке заветная ящерица появляется до тех пор, пока игрок её не убьёт. Более того, после каждого изменения тенденции мира она вновь показывается даже там, где вы её уже убивали. Такой подход позволил избавиться от лишнего стресса и разочарований. Кстати говоря, сами пресмыкающиеся так красиво сверкают, что хочется бросить все и бежать за ними.

Нельзя не упомянуть про виброотдачу DualSense. Она здесь не настолько продвинутая, как в Astro’s Playroom, но, например, во время атаки дракона или взрыва бомбы под боком обратная связь в тандеме с некоторыми звуками, исходящими из геймпада, создает некий эффект присутствия. То же самое можно сказать и про сопротивление кнопок L2 и R2, которые затрудняют нажатие во время прицеливания из лука. Это особенно заметно во время выстрелов по дракону. В момент, когда эта огромная тварь пролетает мимо, контроллер начинает вибрировать в такт его огню, и чем ближе он подлетает, тем больше усилий нужно для выстрела.

Помимо обновленной графики, разработчики отлично поработали над звуком. В наушниках PlayStation Platinum хорошо чувствуется объем, а также позиционирование различных аудиоэффектов. Стоя около прохода, за которым скрывается “синеглазый рыцарь”, можно услышать его томное дыхание. Когда он начинает движение в сторону героя, то появляется многослойный шум доспехов. Это не просто звонкие шаги. Каждый элемент на его броне издает какой-то определенный звук, а размеренное дыхание сменяется на пыхтящие сквозь шлем всхлипы. Даже не видя картинки, можно понять, что к вам движется тяжелобронированный рыцарь, а не простой страж. Нечто подобное можно было услышать в Red Dead Redemption 2, но с поправкой на то, что здесь аудиопоток кажется более разряженным и чистым. Практически каждое действие, происходящее в окрестностях подконтрольного нам персонажа, имеет свой звук, который к тому же меняется в зависимости от локации. Капли дождя, свирепый рык или то самое дыхание рыцаря воспринимаются по-разному в зависимости от местности. В здании будет чувствоваться легкое эхо, а на открытом пространстве шум будет расходиться максимально широко.

Demon’s Souls PS5 review: A gorgeous game worth dying (repeatedly) for

To get to gaming’s rendering future, you must strike through its unforgiving past.

Sam Machkovech — Nov 13, 2020 1:07 pm UTC

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Game details

Does the phrase «best graphics of the year» compel you to buy a video game?

Sony likely hopes that bullet point, as applied to this week’s Demon’s Souls remaster, will put you over the edge to buy not only that new game, but also its required $499 PlayStation 5 console. And while I’m cautious to put graphics over gameplay, there’s really no getting around it: Sony made the right bet with this masterpiece as a console-launch showcase.

Super Mario 64 has long stood as the benchmark for a system-selling console exclusive, one that exploits its hardware to incredible effect, and Demon’s Souls is the closest we’re getting to that lofty mark in 2020—a hair better than March’s incredible Half-Life Alyx as a VR system-seller. Crucially, Bluepoint Games’ remaster pulls this off while remaining faithful to 11-year-old gameplay, which means the game earns its next-gen stripes entirely through performance and aesthetics.

If you own a PS5, you owe it to yourself to experience how beautiful and haunting this game is. Just keep an asterisk in mind: if online PS5 shopping-cart woes or anxious, mask-clad waits for a new, sold-out console already sent your blood pressure soaring (on top of everything else in 2020), tread very, very cautiously with Demon’s Souls. Chill vibes, these ain’t.

From Shadow to Souls

Demon’s Souls [PS5]

Put Demon’s Souls next to its 2009 original, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single mechanical difference. (The 2020 version will be referred to through this article as «Demon’s Souls» for simplicity’s sake.) This lines up with Bluepoint Games’ track record, as it’s the studio that delivered a stunning, note-for-note remake of Shadow of the Colossus in 2018. You may find the mildest differences with camera rotation speeds or other minutiae, and maybe a hidden Easter egg or two, but big-picture stuff like world structure and enemy attack patterns remains identical.

Further Reading

That challenge comes pretty much from combat, and in Demon’s Souls, death comes easily, while victory must be earned. Your third-person battling arsenal revolves around archetypes like sword-and-shield, two-handed staves, bow-and-arrow, and magic spells, though these vary based on your starting class and experience-point upgrades along the way, while enemies range from hulking beasts to out-of-nowhere zombie ambushes. In some ways, the whole affair resembles the Monster Hunter archetype established by Capcom in 2004, requiring you to study enemy attack patterns and use that information to dodge, parry, and counter.

Notes, specters, and light sources

But Demon’s Souls stood out in 2009 by deliberately forking away from Capcom’s outdoor monster battling and toward cramped, surprising environments. It’s in this aspect that the game’s PS5 transition really shines.

While the game starts softly for newcomers, giving them a mix of simple foes and ample health items, it doesn’t take long for brutal foes and situations to emerge. FromSoftware originally eased players into this reality not with a useful instruction manual or in-game tutorial, but with messages crafted by other players. Demon’s Souls, like other Souls-branded games, is designed to be played online, and one reason is that players can leave notes on the ground after surviving perilous moments; these notes can be read by other players as they stumble upon the same locations. They can only be written using pre-made templates, and their vocabulary is robust enough to offer useful or silly information but not, say, hateful speech. This feature is still here—and whenever your messages are rated «useful» by other real-life players, you’ll receive an instant notification that boosts your in-game health a bit. (Plus, you can see how other players rated messages, which, as of press time, seems to prevent spam.)

The system does a fine job of reminding players to generally watch out (as do «bloodstain» specters showing silhouetted versions of where and how other players died near your current location). But I’d argue that Demon’s Souls‘ gorgeous updates to art, design, and sound do an even better job of reinforcing this caution.

While the original game played fantastically, it was unfortunately a casualty of that era’s emphasis on gray and green-brown—think of the original Gears of War or Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Color desaturation was often used as a poor way to make Xbox 360 and PS3 games look «grittier,» while this year’s Demon’s Souls proves that a game can revolve around darkness and gothic horror while opening up the palette without looking silly or overblown. For starters, dynamic lighting rules the day in Demon’s Souls, which means organic light sources like magic, fire, or your character’s built-in, «soul»-driven glow can pump life into any indoor or outdoor scene. These bold sources of light (which look incredible in HDR) not only look realistic, but also confirm that the insane lighting and ambient occlusion system built into this game are not relying largely on «pre-baked» models. (I’m sure some pre-baked effects are in the mix for efficiency’s sake, but when you apply fire to your weapon of choice, then wave it around like a torch of sheer violence, beautifully cast shadows dance around in ways that would be very difficult to fake.)

With more pixel resolution and texture detail in the mix, Demon’s Souls can also subtly pump up the in-game color palette by dropping average brightness in a nighttime scene. As a result, lighting elements like a bed of nearby lava, a blue glow from a monster’s helmet, or a large, blood-red moon fill in the color-information gaps accordingly, all without making the game too dark to maneuver through.

Stop and smell the dead roses

These lighting and color factors combine to make the game feel more real, less video gamey—in spite of, you know, the monsters and dragons trying to kill you. Even more impressive is the astounding geometric detail on every surface. Look at an average tree in the game, for example, and it’s an explosion of detail: an abundance of apparent geometric texture for the wood itself, with zero apparent repeating textures, along with moss and nearby foliage winding around the full shape. Branches and knots sprout off every which way, in ways that look entirely unique for each tree you see. That tree is then surrounded by dense collections of dirt and rock, and that path leads to a building built stone by stone with, once again, dense detail for each stone, as opposed to some sort of flat-with-depth-texture exterior. Shine a single light on that stony building, and the global illumination model will bathe it in proper light and shadow.

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For many video games, this level of rich detail on buildings and foliage might whizz by. In Demon’s Souls, it gives you something to relish as you take your time deciding if, when, and how to move forward, as you take into account where your next foe (or foes) might emerge from. Stopping and smelling the dried, nearly dead roses can be a matter of Demon’s Souls life or death. Bluepoint has also applied clever differentiations from one zone to the next, since the FromSoftware original didn’t do as good of a job with that. Maybe one zone has an undercurrent of lava, while another is draped in swaying-and-sticking spider webs that reflect nearby light in astonishing ways.

Enemy redesigns take the entire PS5 aesthetic overhaul into account, as well, and out of context, some of them look like they’re missing FromSoftware’s original artistic mark. But some of those original designs’ unrealistic colors and baked-in glossiness don’t fit what Bluepoint has rebuilt. In a game universe with so much more detail—more foliage and organic growth clinging to walls, more realistic stonework on buildings and in caverns, and most importantly, a full ambient occlusion overhaul to establish a sense of real 3D space—the original designs are now smothered in compelling lighting and shadow. Seeing them in action will clinch this for anyone who comes to Demon’s Souls with heartfelt memories of the original and worries about Bluepoint’s artistic license.

A great frame rate—and you’ll need it

All of this, by the way, runs at a crisp 60fps when set to the game’s «performance» mode, which upscales a 1440p signal to something approaching 4K. (I only saw a few flickers outside of 60fps through my hours of play.) In action, it’s really quite difficult to tell the difference between an upscaled 1440p signal and the game’s native 4K «quality» mode, which sticks to a lower 30fps refresh, and neither mode suffers from the frame-pacing stutter that has weighed down FromSoftware’s biggest Souls-like hits for years. Seeing all of the aforementioned detail fill a 4K panel with HDR enabled is really unlike any other video game experience I’ve had this year—and much of my fiery passion about this remaster comes from its successful 60fps implementation. Milliseconds matter in deadly games like Demon’s Souls, and with a crisp 60fps mode, Bluepoint has given fans some of those precious milliseconds back.

The biggest catch about Demon’s Souls is how utterly brutal it is to play. There’s no getting around it: when you’re not struggling to face a dangerous foe, complete with tricky, somersault-filled attack patterns, you’re contending with the game world all around you finding ways to test your patience and attention. (Just like in the original, there’s no «easy» toggle anywhere.) If you really want, you can get a leg up on Demon’s Souls by watching complete YouTube guides from years ago; whatever was true then is true now. A bridge that’s patrolled by dragons that will bury you in fire if you don’t run across with perfect timing? A mass of tricky enemies that surrounds a narrow stairwell, such that improper attacks or dodges will make you miss your step and fall to your death? A pack of wild dogs that has decided right now, in this tiny hallway, is the right time to play fetch with your limbs? They’re all back.

As if the game weren’t hard enough for newcomers, Demon’s Souls still makes you experiment with item pick-ups, equipment loadouts, and even starting-class choices in order to understand their differences. If you want to access spells more easily, or understand how the «tendency» system works, or figure out what’s going on when you switch between «human» and «soul» form, a meager series of tutorial pages in the menus won’t be as helpful as you might hope. The same goes for «invasions,» a system that connects online players when anyone takes on the higher-health «human» form and is challenged by other players wanting their own returns to human form. The only really notable thing about this system is that the game’s PS3 version shut down its online servers two years ago, so anyone who missed that interaction finally gets it back starting this week. Otherwise, it works as intended in terms of a brutal risk-and-reward system, for when you adopt human form and enjoy its higher HP limit.

Shortcut tip, in the meantime: magic casters were overpowered («OP») in the PS3 version, and the same is true this time. Roll «royalty» as your starting class, then dump stats into «faith» and «magic» in order to hadouken your way through some (but not all) of the game’s worst challenges.

Die faster, revive faster on PS5

I’ll level with you: I have absolutely bellowed while making progress through Demon’s Souls. This is a butt-kicker of a game once you get past its first kid-gloves hour, and as someone who hasn’t touched the original game since the PS3 era, I had to come to terms with its quirks, particularly its lack of diagonal dodges.

But the original game’s best spots were interspersed between uninspiring PS3-era marches through generic castles. The same absolutely cannot be said about this year’s Demon’s Souls. Bluepoint Games has preserved the delightfully devilish challenge, momentum, and flow of the original, all while making its every level and monstrous encounter something I can close my eyes and firmly remember. And while it doesn’t have every next-gen bell and whistle, its polygon-rich, particle-filled, lights-dancing-everywhere universe is clearly a next-level jump beyond what PlayStation 4 could muster.

Also, gosh, it’s nice to only wait about eight seconds after a brutal death for the game to load your next life, instead of two whole minutes. That’s just one of many ways Bluepoint makes the die-and-retry reality of a Souls-like so much easier to savor on a new console like PlayStation 5. If you own one, and you’ve got the patience and stomach for challenge, don’t hesitate to purchase this remastered classic.

The good:

  • The ambitious gameplay of the 2009 original has been preserved.
  • Flexes PlayStation 5’s sheer teraflops to push some of the most incredible geometric detail and dynamic lighting ever seen in a game.
  • The newly renovated game universe organically helps players steel themselves in a game that requires serious patience to succeed in.
  • Robust sound design emphasizes atmosphere and monster voices in your vicinity, as opposed to creepy noises for creepiness’s sake.
  • 60fps frame rate transforms the experience, and super-fast loads after dying are equally welcome.

The bad:

  • The incredibly difficult gameplay of the 2009 original has been preserved. You have been warned.
  • Still fails to hold players’ hands along the way, and while the lack of «easy» mode is fine, unclear game-element education feels silly in 2020.
  • Skips many next-gen graphical talking points, particularly ray tracing and seemingly endless virtual worlds, if checking those boxes matters to you.

The ugly:

  • The noises you’ll make after thinking you’ve gotten the hang of the game, then dying carelessly to an animation (dodging, healing) not finishing quickly enough before a monster smashes or burns you to death once again.

Verdict: A must-buy for PlayStation 5, should you have the stomach for the original gameplay formula.

Listing image by Sony Interactive Entertainment / Bluepoint Games

Demon’s Souls on PS5 is a classic reborn

The PlayStation 5 remake of FromSoftware’s RPG is an improvement in almost every way

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Demon’s Souls has good bones. It was true in 2009, when developer FromSoftware released the mechanically groundbreaking role-playing game on PlayStation 3, and remains true for Bluepoint Games’ remake, released alongside Sony’s PlayStation 5 this week.

Over those bones is a gorgeous remodeling. Every texture in Demon’s Souls has been painstakingly repainted, sometimes to the point of questionable reinterpretation. Every stilted animation appears to have been replaced by three or four new ones, all of them remixed with more lifelike flourishes. Many of the original game’s points of aggravation, like long load times and frequent backtracking, have been softened or nearly eliminated. But rarely does Bluepoint muck with the foundation of Demon’s Souls, because to do so would be sacrilege.

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The core of Demon’s Souls remains almost entirely unchanged. It is still challenging and unforgiving. The game’s opaque, esoteric rules and innovative online connectivity are still here. But modern players will already be accustomed to this, because Demon’s Souls’ similarly difficult progeny (Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice) are global hits. They are mainstream.

Some things have changed in the new Demon’s Souls, occasionally out of necessity. The game’s music has been re-recorded and is richly textured and gorgeous. Voice acting has been similarly redone, which changes the mood in certain cases. I loved the contempt of one blacksmith’s dialogue in the original Demon’s Souls, for example, but he now sounds less harsh. I miss his older, angrier delivery. I miss the sadness in Stockpile Thomas’ voice when he tells me that I have a heart of gold, and that I must protect it.

Image: Bluepoint Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

But most of the changes that have come to Demon’s Souls in 2020 are for the better. The vast kingdom of Boletaria, imprisoned in a thick, colorless fog by an ancient evil, is slathered with detail. Sometimes the graphical fidelity — high-resolution textures, mood-setting lighting and shadows, impressive weather effects — creates a dissonance with game mechanics imported wholesale from 11 years ago.

The greatest improvements come from a combination of a decade’s worth of technical advancements. Take, for example, the battle against the Storm King, set on a rocky, barren beach. Prior to arriving here, I am harassed by flying manta ray-like monsters in previous levels. These beasts are huge and frightening. In the final confrontation, their aircraft carrier-sized father, the Storm King, appears.

What’s changing in Demon’s Souls for PS5

The spectacle of seeing this massive creature, while dramatic in the original game, is now astounding. The Demon’s Souls remake’s visual fidelity, its immersive sound effects and score, and the haptic feedback from the DualSense controller together convey the scale of a giant beast tearing through the atmosphere above me. And when I bring down my sword on this demon, I feel the thundercrack reverberate through my hands and my ears as the screen shakes violently. It is an experience far superior to the original.

The scale of Boletaria, its castles and swamps and underground depths, was always impressive. But here, that vastness feels so much more inhabited. Winding corridors and large open spaces are more detailed, and now convey a better sense of place. I once worried that all that extra detail would make the world feel cluttered, but it doesn’t. Boletaria simply feels more lived in — and in its abandoned state, it feels all the more tragic.

I even took time to stop and appreciate the fidelity of the flowing sewage in the game’s notoriously gross Valley of Defilement. And this shit looks good.

Image: Bluepoint Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Bluepoint offers two visual styles for play: cinematic mode and performance mode. The former renders the game in native 4K at 30 frames per second. The latter runs at 60 fps, with a lower resolution upscaled to 4K. After starting the game in performance mode, I found it impossible to revert to the other option — there’s no going back from playing Demon’s Souls at 60 fps.

Why Demon’s Souls is the most important game of the decade

One of the nicest new additions to Demon’s Souls is a photo mode. In addition to giving players the option to actually pause Demon’s Souls — something you couldn’t do in the original — it also takes some lovely screenshots. (See: every image in this review.)

The remake does introduce changes I bristle at, but these are minor concerns, like font choices, enemy redesigns, and amusing bits of charm getting smoothed over. I miss the silly Cat’s Ring icon — a photo of a cat, which I always assumed to be one of the developer’s pets. I miss some of the original translations and language choices. But I can also understand why these changes were made. Demon’s Souls went from a PS3 sleeper hit, one that Sony chose not to publish out of Japan, to a marquee PS5 launch title. The presentation needed to match.

Image: Bluepoint Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

It’s that gorgeous, modern, big-budget presentation that may cause a sense of friction with players who will experience Demon’s Souls for the first time, or will do so in the context of FromSoftware’s subsequent games. Games like Dark Souls refined the formula established by Demon’s Souls, while Bloodborne and Sekiro streamlined it further. Reverting to the hallowed ground of Demon’s Souls, and its experimental and quirky gameplay rules, may feel at odds with its looks.

But PlayStation 5 owners are getting something unprecedented: one of the best video games of all time transformed into one of the best-looking games ever.

Demon’s Souls was released Nov. 12 on PlayStation 5. The game was reviewed using a download code and final retail hardware provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment. Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.

Demon’s Souls for PS5 review: A remake leads the way into the next generation

Source: Android Central

When it was first revealed, the long-rumored Demon’s Souls remake was met with great enthusiasm, including from me. The original game’s servers are down and it remains trapped on the PS3. There was no way it would stay there forever, however. This is a special title, something of a cult classic that helped spawn the entire «Souls» franchise (and genre) and elevated FromSoftware’s name with spiritual successors in Dark Souls and Bloodborne.

This was a game in desperate need of a remake, but Bluepoint Games and Japan Studio have gone above and beyond in remaking it. Enemies, bosses, areas, armor, weapons and more have all been lovingly redesigned, simultaneously honoring the Gothic, oppressive tone of the original game while elevating the visuals, audio, and gameplay to a level befitting the phrase «next-gen.»

I’ve spent well over 30 hours with this game and I’m sure I’ll be spending four times that on subsequent playthroughs in the months to come. It’s almost everything a fan or newcomer could hope for, with just a handful of things played too safe keeping it from sheer perfection.

Demon’s Souls

Bottom line: Bug fixes, clever DualSense support, and truly stunning graphics turn this iconic PS3 title into the PS5’s standout must-play. Whether you’re a veteran or new to the world of Boletaria, you won’t want to miss this special game.

  • Stellar graphics
  • Fantastic audio design
  • Makes great use of new DualSense features
  • Bug fixes and quality of life improvements
  • Changes to game design are too safe
  • $70 at Amazon

Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review code provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.

Demon’s Souls is a classic made modern

Source: Android Central

TitleDemon’s Souls
DeveloperBluepoint Games, Japan Studio
PublisherSony Interactive Entertainment
GenreRole-playing game
PlayStation VersionPlayStation 5
Game Size67GB
Play Time40 hours, will vary
PlayersSingleplayer campaign, 2-6 player co-op/dueling
PlayStation NowNo
Launch Price$70

Demon’s Souls is a role-playing game, where players customize a hero that must save the land of Boletaria from the threat of Demons who claim men’s souls in service of the Old One. You can make choices, acquire unique weapons or spells, and take on increasingly-difficult bosses all while growing stronger thanks to offering your own captured souls to the mysterious Maiden in Black. If you haven’t experienced it before, I won’t go further into the story, as there’s quite a bit of subtle lore best appreciated as you discover it.

You don’t need to understand the story to see one of the most impressive things about Demon’s Souls right off the bat: the visuals. Dank, moldy overgrowth creeps on castle ruins throughout Boletaria. Slime and sludge are rendered in disgusting detail in the Valley of Defilement, and flashes of lightning illuminate horrors in the Tower of Latria. This is one of the most detailed games I’ve ever played and it looks stunning, especially running at 60 FPS in performance mode.

The blocky, near-textureless foes from the original become nightmarish abominations straight out of The Thing. The armor of fallen knights glints and shines in the sunlight as you traverse blood-spattered streets. I only ever encountered one spot where the framerate felt unstable, and it was on a bridge filled to the brim with enemies and explosions. Otherwise, the entire game can play out silky smooth, which makes the gameplay so enjoyable.

However, combat is the name of the game and if you’ve played Dark Souls or any of its sequels, you know what you’re in for. Combat is grounded and brutal, where enemies can and will fight unfairly with glee. The sense of accomplishment from finally beating a challenging foe or discovering a hidden area is immense.

All of this is taken to new heights of immersion through the DualSense controller. The haptic feedback adaptive triggers pair with the 3D audio in superb fashion. It’s one thing to watch as your character strikes down the undead and impales a skeleton, it’s another to completely hear and feel the difference. Every sword strike and spell blast feel instantly recognizable, while even the creaking of a chain-operated elevator or the pattering of rain add to the overall immersion. It really has to be felt to be understood but the DualSense finalizes this game as having the best gameplay of any «Souls» title.

Source: Android Central

It’s also worth mentioning that the ultra-fast SSD in the PS5 is put to good use here, as the longest loading time I ever experienced while traveling through the Archstones was around three seconds and it was usually a fair bit shorter. Online play works well and the servers seem stable: even with some of us having poor internet connections, myself and a group of friends were easily able to summon each other for co-op sessions, which I highly recommend if you’re finding the game too difficult.

The soundtrack has been rerecorded with a full orchestra, meaning that it loses a lot of the brass and overall sounds far superior to me. Many of the iconic tunes are still there but there’s a newfound epic scale straight out of Bloodborne, something that gives a new artistic invigoration to every boss you fight.

Demon’s Souls keeps to its roots, mostly

Source: Android Central

While these overhauls are impressive, it’s important to recognize that most of the game’s code has gone unchanged. Enemy AI hasn’t been tweaked at all so if you are a veteran who has gone through Demon’s Souls before, you can expect a lot of the same strategies and builds to work, barring glitches and exploits, which have been fixed. If you’re a veteran of the original game, remember cheesing Maneater through the fog door on the bridge? That’s not happening anymore.

Now, I did encounter one interesting change that makes a particular sidequest slightly more complicated. I won’t spoil here but you can read about what has changed, if you want. There’s also a mysterious new door that players haven’t figured out, which could be something or nothing at all.

Perhaps Bluepoint played things just a bit too safe.

The only real complaints I can muster about this game are that perhaps Bluepoint played things just a bit too safe. The imposing and controversial World Tendency system — a kind of morality system that changes the difficulty of the game, opens up new items and pathways, and even unique NPCs — returns essentially unchanged, when some tweaks or more detailed explanations and ways of changing it would’ve been a good idea. I’m also in the camp that would’ve loved to have seen new content in the form of a restored Sixth Archstone. The game is already being remade: seeing new enemies, bosses and regions would’ve been truly exciting.

Source: Android Central

The big new feature to appreciate is photo mode, which can be used to capture some truly spectacular shots and highlights just how good this game looks. As far as photo modes go it’s one of the better ones I’ve used and I found myself forced to pry away from it simply to progress in the game, quite a good problem to have.

Bottom line: should you buy Demon’s Souls?

Source: Android Central

Demon’s Souls isn’t just a good game — it’s one of the best PS5 launch games available and one of the best launch titles ever. If you’re apprehensive about the difficulty, try to find a friend for some co-op because this isn’t an experience to miss out on. Bluepoint Games’ previous work was well done but this is truly stellar. I don’t envy the team trying to figure out how their next project will be even better but I certainly look forward to it.

Really, the only reason I can find that you shouldn’t buy Demon’s Souls is that you need to have a PS5 first, so if you’re still trying to buy one, you may be waiting a month or four. It’s somewhat fitting that the game which started the «Souls» trend has now been remade, both opening and closing a particular chapter in gaming history.

Demon’s Souls

Bottom line: Demon’s Souls isn’t just a remake — it’s an incredible launch title that truly feels like the way this game was meant to be played. If you’re getting a PS5, you need to grab it. Bluepoint’s work is truly mesmerizing.

  • $70 at Amazon
  • $70 at Best Buy
  • $70 at GameStop
  • $90 at PlayStation (Digital Deluxe edition)

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Demon’s Souls Remake — World Tendency Explained

The PS5 remake of From Software’s classic action-RPG brings back its most peculiar system: here is a quick rundown of how the World Tendency system works.

on November 18, 2020 at 10:57AM PST

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The PS5 remake of Demon’s Souls retains one of the original’s more complex gameplay systems and it remains just as enigmatic. The World Tendency system in Demon’s Souls alters the state of the many realms of Boletaria based on your actions, and the challenge they present, for better or worse. Depending on your choices and mistakes, you could find yourself exploring a dungeon that has increased in difficulty, yet also yields more significant rewards.

On the surface, World Tendency may seem like an odd take on a videogame morality system. But it helps to know what it involves as you may want to make some drastic choices in order to shift the balance from one side to the other. In this quick rundown on World Tendency, we’ll break down just what’s going on with Demon’s Souls’ more complex systems and how this intricate framework can greatly alter your game.

What Is World Tendency In Demon’s Souls?

In Demon’s Souls, your actions and performance will determine enemy aggression, rare item drop-rates, and even instigate encounters with hidden characters. All of these elements are tied into the World Tendency system. Each Archstone for the game’s five realms is assigned parameters that shift between White and Black Tendency, along with the other shades in between. Depending on your interactions with key characters, the circumstances in how you die, or even how you can help or hinder other players online, you’ll see a difference in the realm’s world state. This change is shown off as an icon on the HUD in the top left or in the remake’s new World Tendency sub-menu that shows each realm’s current state and your character’s tendency.

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How Do World Tendencies Change The Game?

From the beginning, it won’t seem like World Tendency has much of an impact on your game. But over time, you’ll notice that it can potentially make or break adventures through the realms in the late game and once you meet more of the critical figures of Demon’s Souls’ story. When you start the game, your World Tendency will be set in the neutral state between White and Black. Once you die during your ensuing runs through the world while in body form, you’ll enter soul form. Soul form is when your character has a faint blue glow and when your health is cut by half. When you enter soul form, the current influence of the realm you’re in will see a slight shift towards Black Tendency. If you keep dying in body form or make evil choices when it comes to the fates of key characters, you’ll dip further into Black Tendency.

To put it simply, World Tendency can influence how difficult the state of a specific realm can be and what kind of rewards you can get out of it. If you aren’t careful and keep running into repeated deaths as a human, you could see your current realm dip further towards Black Tendency, which will increase the aggressiveness of foes and lower the drop rates of some items. So, being reckless and dying repeatedly can potentially make your game all the more difficult.

Another side-effect of the dueling tendencies is that events occur during a specific shift towards either Pure Black or Pure White. One of the earliest World Tendency events you can find in the game appears on the first stage in the Boletarian Palace. If you have Pure White Tendency, you can find a gate downstairs from the first checkpoint open. This pathway will lead to an encounter with Executioner Matilda, who will be hostile towards you. Defeating her will award you with some rare items, adding some incentive to shift the balance from one side to another.

What Are The Tendencies And How Can I Change It?

Both White and Pure Black World Tendencies represent the various threads that will influence the world of Demon’s Souls. Each side of the extreme has its pros and cons, and in some cases, you’ll want to dip further towards one side to trigger some encounters and gain some added perks. Here’s a quick explanation on how the different tendencies work.

How To Get Neutral Tendency

At the beginning of the game, you’ll start with Neutral influence on each of the five realms. Within neutral tendency, which shows up as a grey icon on the HUD and in the Tendency menu, you’ll receive no bonuses, nor will you trigger any encounters. This normal tendency is the game in its standard form. While this can undoubtedly be preferable for many of the game’s more difficult realms, you’ll often be faced with instances of death or will have to make an important decision, one way or another, don’t get too comfortable with staying neutral for long.

How To Get White Tendency

This the tendency you’ll more than often want to stay in. Enemies will be the least aggressive and will have less health, and drop rates for healing and crafting items will be more common. Dipping further to Pure White tends to trigger character-specific events and open pathways to some closed-off sections. To shift to pure white, you should remain in body form as long as you can while defeating bosses, helping allies as a blue phantom, kill invading players (who only appear while you are in body form), and defeating bosses in the game.

How To Get Black Tendency

Pure Black is Demon’s Souls at its most brutal. Not only are enemies more challenging to fight, drop rates for some items are significantly lower. Once you shift closer to Pure Black, the changed state will also put you in a position to be invaded by enemies at a more regular rate while in body form. The upside to putting yourself in Pure Black tendency is that certain items and equipment can drop, and there will be a boost to souls gained from fallen enemies.

Final Advice

The most challenging aspect of the World Tendency system is coming to grips with how unusual and often unclear its messaging can be. It’s a strange system, and thankfully, the remake makes certain aspects a bit more clear. Still, it can be tough to keep track of the meta-changes to the world while also dealing with deadly traps, powerful foes, and seemingly harmless NPCs who might have some evil intent. The sooner you can come to grips with the system, the easier it will be for you to understand your odds of survival in Boletaria and how you can manipulate the systems to shift the balance in your favor.








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