GameSpite Journal 11: Demon’s Souls

And hey, we’re back to GameSpite Journal 11. Remember that one? The one where writers revisited games they’d shared a rocky relationship with in the past and gave them a second chance? Yep.

Some of these efforts resulted in a newfound appreciation for the games under scrutiny. Others… didn’t. Alex Reo’s tango with Demon’s Souls is an example of the latter. I’m pretty neutral on this game (my one attempt to get into it was thwarted when my Internet connection died and I lost two hours of enjoyable but hard-fought progress), but this is probably the only interesting negative critique I’ve ever seen of the game. Usually the complaints are simply, “This game is dumb because it’s hard!” so seeing more nuanced opinions makes for a refreshing change. Bottoms up, kids.

11 thoughts on “GameSpite Journal 11: Demon’s Souls

  1. I’ve only played the sequel, but I think the same holds for Dark Souls (with names like these, why aren’t these games portable?). It’s a great tool to retrain your personality to prefer incremental, conservative progress over creative exploration. It’s a game that gives you a world and boldly proclaims that it might one day all be yours, if you eat your vegetables, invest in your 401k, and remember the precise order of stabs, parries, and rolls that will get you from here to the next bonfire.

    Which I suppose is all well and good, but I have real life for that. (Except for the stabbing bit, anyway.)

    At least it’s pretty.

  2. You’re glancing over a third resource type in addition to souls and items/grass. It’s skill and experience. The longer you play, the more you get, and you don’t lose it upon death.

    Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. And if you put the controller down for a while and did something else, and tried flamelurker again with a clear head and maybe a different perspective I’m sure you would have got it down. But I think you’re bigger point is that you didn’t have the patience for it, that’s cool, the game definitely isn’t for everyone.

    • I think this is another reason people get fed up with the game: Its defenders feel the need to insult detractors while veiling it behind false blandishments.

      • I didn’t think I was defending the game, or insulting the author. In any case, very quick to white knight the author as someone pretty neutral on the game!

      • Yes, that’s another Internet habit I see a lot: Belittling someone who contradicts your negativity by making a condescending remark about their bleeding-heart white knighting.

        I kind of miss the old days when people were content with a flame instead of the passive-aggressive pretense of civility that’s all the rage now.

    • I get what you’re saying and I tried to mention that in the piece, but the bottom line was that it’s a game that demands a lot of patience and I didn’t have that. When I ended up hitting a roadblock and dramatically reducing two of my resources in a few hours without making any progress, I got frustrated and gave up

      It’s a fine game and I’m glad I tried it, but it’s not for everyone.

  3. Agreed – his opinion does in fact hold water. I would concur that the game is AI is pretty stupid, and I would say that the game is not simply “hard”… but the latter I would argue for different reasons. I’m one of those gamers who likes subjecting himself to brutal challenges every now and again, and as “hard” games go, Demon’s Souls is pretty generous on certain fronts.
    You don’t lose equipment or items when you die, and although the souls you need to level up and buy things are left on your corpse, the difference a level or two makes doesn’t seem to be as drastic as it is in other games. A lot more revolves around good reflexes and strategy, as well as good equipment (which, again, you don’t lose when you die).

    By comparison, the original Wizardry will beat you down just as fast and force you to create a rescue party to scoop up the corpses of your fallen comrades, and even then, they might disintegrate into ashes (or be wiped from existence completely) when you finally *do* revive them. But then again, that’s the stuff of another era, and most modern developers would not be nearly so insane as to take that approach anymore. And I suppose I’m comparing apples to oranges anyway…

    • Yeah, that irritated me. It’s such a dumb, thoughtless expression. It seems stereotyping is bad, unless it’s about the mentally ill and handicapped.

      Don’t insult gays and minorities, but people with mental and physical handicaps are okay, because they aren’t real people.

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