The tough-as-nails action roleplaying game Demon’s Souls hit the scene in 2009 and has been bitch-whipping gamers ever since. And we keep coming back for more, despite the pain.
The game is set in the fictional realm of Boletaria. A “Deep Fog” has surrounded the realm, cutting it off from the rest of the world. Many heroes have attempted to penetrate the fog but have never returned, becoming trapped within it. And before you say it, of course it’s their own damn fault. What idiot runs into the danger?
Apparently you do. You are the latest brave hero who dares to penetrate the dangers of the mist and rid the land of —
You know what? Forget about all of that. That plot is inconsequential. The real plot is this:
You’re going to die. A lot.
The Demon’s Souls franchise is known for its difficulty. It doesn’t matter who you are or how skilled you are, you’re going to die in new and creative ways. And the penalties make it even more of a challenge: when a player dies, they’re returned to the beginning of the map with all enemies (minus the bosses) respawned. To make it interesting, players also lose a big chunk of health and the souls they’ve collected thus far. To regain the stats, the player must fight their way back to where they died. It’s not uncommon for players to die before they get back to the point of death, resulting in more losses — like your dignity.
This game brings out the best and the worst in you. For example, you’ll teach yourself five new languages just so you’ll have more curse words to scream as you throw your PS3 out of the window. Or possibly as you’re beating your PS3 with a bat in a field, a la the printer scene in Office Space.
Warning: the song played during this scene is not safe for work. Or moms. Yes, I’m talking about f-bombs. If you want to watch safely, make sure it’s muted.
By the time you’ve finished up with Demon’s Souls and moved on to its successor, Dark Souls, you’ll have run out of curse words and will be in dire need of fresh ones. For Dark Souls, I recommend making up your own swear words like “furtymcturdskin” and “shoofoomuckyballz”. Don’t worry about what your neighbors think as they hear the loud shouts and squeals coming from your domicile — they’ll see the rabid foam around your mouth as you’re hanging out of your window, slinging extra PS3 controllers at innocent neighborhood children who, unlike you, have the joy of not knowing the Demon’s Souls franchise. Your neighbors will either understand or be too afraid of your retribution to call the cops.
Of course, many say the difficulty and death penalty are what make the game so intriguing. And in my opinion, that’s exactly right. The game knows how to make you feel so low that your achievements are an ultimate high. It’s an abusive relationship we keep coming back to, drawing out the best and worst of our gaming selves. Mostly the worst.
And it’s about to get darker. An online petition signed by 92,000 gamers has convinced Namco Bandai, the publisher of the Demon’s Souls franchise, to make a PC version for the masses. So they’ve taken Dark Souls and souped it up with extra bosses, a PvP system, new maps, new gear, and of course, more death.
It’s a smart move for the company. By now gamers have destroyed their consoles in anger, and PCs are naturally the next money-making frontier. But for gamers everywhere, it’s a terrible idea. No one in their right mind should play it. We all know what’s going to happen once we sit down to play: the game will turn us into crazy people. It’s self-inflicted abuse that only a masochistic moron would entertain.
And before you ask, yes, I already pre-ordered my copy. Can’t wait!
Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition is available August 24. You can pre-purchase a copy from Steam. If you’ve never tried this series, I highly recommend it. If nothing else, pick up a cheap, used PS3 copy of Demon’s Souls and experience the mind-numbing rage.
Er, joy! I meant joy. Yeah. Definitely joy.