Demon’s Souls...hardcore or hard-headed?
I started three “new” games and a new audiobook this week, so I’ve been thoroughly bathed in a myriad of new worlds and I am still getting settled in.
I went back to Demon’s Souls after putting it down a year or so ago. I don’t think time or distance has made me understand the appeal of this game any better. So, this isn’t technically a new game for me, but considering the time away from it, it feels new again. (oh, and these are not my screenshots of Demon's Souls, thank Google image search for them).
I love the look and the atmosphere; the creature designs are really amazing. The combat is great, the audio is excellent, and the drops are infrequent enough to keep me out of inventory management for long periods and very exciting when I find new equipment. It really seems like something that should be right up my alley. However, key gameplay elements are really a recipe for boredom for me.
Much of Demon’s Souls is about memory work. Remembering where enemies are, how to fight specific baddies, what traps are where, etc. This reliance on memory work is a pretty strong element of the game since you are forced to replay sections over and over until you get it right. I wouldn’t mind it so much if lots of it felt more “fair”. I can get whacked by hidden traps or simply miss a hole in the floor and it is back to the beginning of the section for me and it is this rinse and repeat gameplay that really bores me.
If it wasn’t bad enough that the game can be somewhat unfair, the repetition wears on me after a couple restarts. You go back to the beginning of the area and this can be a LONG way back and then proceed to play the SAME game you played before. The enemies are in the same places, with only the demon’s remaining dead, and you fight the same baddies in the same way that worked for you the first time. I can replay a section for a half an hour and get nailed by a trap and have to repeat the whole thing over again. Let alone meeting up with a demon. You can play a good hour before meeting the demon and then it kills you right away because you didn’t know how to kill it at all. Then you get the pleasure of doing the entire section all over again just to get back to the demon so you can die again and repeat the process over and over until you are victorious.
I get it, it is a grinding game and I'm not fond of that element in most games to begin with. I understand that you need to repeat everything over and over so that you can advance your character. However, having everything exactly the same every time is absolutely no fun for me. I can clear a whole section up to a demon without breaking a sweat and then die at the demon and then have to trudge through the level yet again, fighting stuff that wasn’t really a problem the second time through and I know exactly where every encounter will occur.
People say this game is hardcore, maybe the fans are just hard-headed and determined to play on no matter what? I’m not belittling anyone’s enjoyment of the game, I simply don’t understand it. At least if the game offered me random enemy placements on the replay of a section, I could see it being much more interesting, but having the same enemies in the same place for 4 or 5 replays of a section really doesn’t seem like fun to me.
I’ll maybe pick at it some more, but I knew when I started playing around with Burnout Paradise to put off playing Demon’s Souls that I simply wasn’t enjoying it.
So, I started X-Com: Enemy Unknown.
Tactical games like X-Com are sort of an unknown quantity for me. I haven’t played enough of them to really form an opinion and when they get much more complicated like something along the lines of Final Fantasy Tactics, then I generally don’t have much interest in playing them. Vandal Hearts and Shining Force where my favourite of this genre and those old examples should give you an idea of how little I’ve played these types of games.
I’m liking it so far. It looks really nice and controls very well. It seems simple enough with the potential for a level of complexity that isn’t overwhelming. I can’t say I’m in love with it yet, having only played 4 missions, but it makes me want to play it which is something lacking in my experience with Demon’s Souls. Also, the new Stephen King audiobook I am being read is Dreamcatcher and it is about an alien invasion. I had no idea at the time what it was about as I received the audiobook as a gift. The theme and atmosphere in both the game and the book gel so well together, I really couldn’t have planned it any better.
Finally, I also started Dead Space 3 with my buddy on our weekly game night. Great to be back in that universe, even though the scares seem lessened with the addition of a friend. Certainly the best functioning Dead Space on PC so far, at least the one with no technical issues. I’m excited to get back to it next Wednesday.
I mentioned last week that when my wife and I were done with Season 4 of True Blood that we would be starting The Darkness II, unless The Last Of Us went on sale. Well look at that, nice Halloween sale on The Last Of Us for PS+ users. Simply couldn’t pass up $35 for the game. Downloaded the 27GB of it tonight...two more discs of True Blood seems like a long time to go now.
So, what are you playing this weekend? Anyone start something new this week?