Demon's Souls

GOTY 2020: #6 - Demon's Souls

Bluepoint Games took an iconic classic and somehow made it better.

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People have been eagerly waiting for years to get their hands on the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony, and in November it was finally time (at least for some of us). However, the big games that most players hoped for were largely absent when these systems launched. So, instead of diving into new game worlds, most of us ended up replaying their old libraries since the games of previous console generations are broadly available on PS5 and Xbox Series thanks to the platforms respective backward compatibility programs. Most ironically, one of the few outstanding new-gen games is the remake of a game from 2009 - because it connects the best of both worlds.

Demon's SoulsDemon's Souls

Bluepoint Games revived From Software's iconic action RPG from 2009 with amazing graphics, enabling a new generation of gamers to experience the very first Soulslike just in time for the launch of the PlayStation 5. The original is a brutal, merciless gaming experience that is entirely designed to break the player's spirit. This overly strict game design is so stringent that the title is often mentioned when discussing the most difficult games of all time. While long-time fans learned how to identify and avoid the rage-inducing difficultly with a stepping stone style formula crafted over the years, Demon's Souls is - without a doubt - even for today's standards a real challenge. However, this is intended, because only those who master a seemingly insurmountable task by their own means can enjoy the view to the fullest afterwards. That's one of the game's principles.

Bluepoint has not changed this focussed approach, but they made great efforts to restore the atmosphere of the ruined kingdom of Boletaria. Demon's Souls is currently one of the most beautiful games on the market and while Raytracing effects were not included, the medieval surroundings, wrapped in clouds of mist, regularly make our jaws drop. We noticed countless visual details that were either not recognisable in the PS3 version, or simply not there to begin with. Because of this careful treatment, even old veterans get to know a new facet of the game they are familiar with.

The look is only one area that Bluepoint has addressed in the remake of Demon's Souls, since the soundscape that supports the PS5's special audio technology Tempest 3D has gotten much attention, too. When a fire-breathing dragon flies overhead and the majestic creature's roar slowly disappears in the distance, the crackling flames slowly take over the sound of our environment. Until the sturdy wings of the mythical creature announce coming disaster on the horizon once again, way before we can lay our eyes on it.

Demon's Souls

The studio made use of the DualSense's integrated vibration technologies, to ensure a similarly subtle result when playing Demon's Souls on the PS5. The haptic feedback of the gadget is used when a lot of force is released close by, so the PS5 controller will shake if the mighty Tower Knight hits the ground with his gigantic tower shield, for example. We noticed another adjustment when drawing our bow, because Bluepoint used the bowstring's pressure point to express the functionality of the DualSense's adaptive triggers. Both mechanics are not a real game changer just yet, but they show new players in a subtle way what their new game console has in store for them.

The latest work of Bluepoint Games allows the original with all its unique elements to shine in a new guise through the use of clever technologies. Therefore, a new audience can immerse themselves in this most memorable game without getting the feeling of playing an old game. For us, Demon's Souls is not only one of the best games of 2020, it is a testament to the far-sighted, outstanding game design of the Japanese developers at From Software, which has been lovingly and painstakingly restored by true masters of their art. Do we need to say anymore?

Demon's SoulsDemon's Souls

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