So I've finally begun playing Atlus's version of Demon's Souls, and the improvements are apparent right from the get-go. They really took the time to make the interface that much cleaner. Item and weapon descriptions that were nonsensical in the Asian version now make perfect sense, and the messages you can leave for other players are cleaner as well. Other than that, it seems to be pretty much the same game.
Anyways, I started my character as a Wanderer, who comes equipped with a falchion and some very light armor. He's agile, able to dodge easily, but he gets hit pretty hard as a result. After playing for several hours over the course of the day, I've completed World 1-1 and 1-2, the Phalanx and the Tower Knight. The former I'd seen in my playtime with the Asian version, but the latter was new, and spectacularly epic.
Imagine a typical knight with a spear and shield. Now imagine that he's two stories tall. Now imagine trying to fight this behemoth. It was pretty intense. Ultimately, going up against him in melee combat proved fruitless; I was making headway for a while, but it was just too dangerous. I ended up taking time to buy a good supply of arrows and shooting him from the ramparts surrounding the battle site. It was still a crazy fight.
At this point I've pretty well determined how I'm going to build my character. I bought some plate gauntlets and a helmet to accompany my leather armor and boots, and with a large shield equipped, I'm still light enough to dodge-roll. I'm going to make sure I'm always light enough to be able to do that, as I've always preferred dodgier characters, but I'd like a nice balance of defense to go along with it. If all goes well, I'll be able to dodge with full platemail. That would be awesome
I also spent half an hour or so shooting a giant dragon out of the sky. It was well worth it; 17,000 souls and an irritation gone forever from two sections of the first world. Also let me get at some cool treasure, including a flame-resistant shield that will be very handy and a ring that increases how much weight I can equip (meaning I can equip more and still dodge effectively)
My plan at this point is to focus on endurance and dexterity primarily, with vitality and strength taking a decent portion of the points as well. The Wanderer starts off with pretty decent luck, so I'm getting lots of healing items. I may increase that a bit as well as I go, but probably not too high.
Oh, I also got some help from someone at Atlus for a while; they took me through the Tower Knight boss fight and got me a body back (which I promptly lost by dying again, but that's the way this game seems to go.) First time I was able to see actual multiplayer in action, so it was definitely a treat. Thanks again to whoever that was over at Atlus that helped me.
The game is definitely hard as hell, though. I've died plenty already, and I'm sure I'll die a lot more. If anyone who's played the Asian version has suggestions on building my character, I'd love to hear them. I'll try to keep this blog updated as I make more progress in the game.
Progress continues. Today I finished off world 2-1 as well as getting through most of 3-1 and 4-1.
3-1 was an exciting adventure, as the entire journey was done with the assistance of Aram Jabbari at Atlus (thanks Aram!) Of course, it didn't start out as assistance, because the son of a gun decided to invade my game as a black phantom first!
For those who don't know, there are two forms of multiplayer in Demon's Souls - co-op and pvp. In the co-op mode, players in soul form can leave a soul sign for players with a body to touch. When they do, those souls infiltrate the bodied player's world. If they successfully defeat the boss for that area, the soul player gets to return to his world with a new body.
The pvp aspect is a bit more vicious. Players can choose to seek out living players and invade their world as a Black Phantom. The black phantom has the upper hand, as it won't be attacked by enemies in the area. If the black phantom successfully kills the player, he gains a new body, but the dead player of course loses his.
In any case, me an Aram had an epic showdown in 3-1, but in the end I was victorious! Bragging rights belong to me!
After that little escapade, Aram joined me as a soul, and we set out through the harrowing world of 3-1. And harrowing it is indeed. There are more than a few enemies here that creep me right the hell out. Most of all are the vicious jailkeepers. They wander the hallways, casting a pale green light and ringing this creepy bell. If they see you, they fire a powerful magical attack at you, and if you get too close, you better be prepared to kill them quickly, because they'll paralyze you and kill you while you're standing there helpless.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to get all the way through 3-1. That place is a bloody maze, and Aram even admitted to me that he'd never managed to conquer it himself. Yikes!
After we ultimately decided to call it quits in favor of having our respective lunches, I returned to the game later to try taking on 4-1. It went pretty well; I'm almost all the way through, but the end is causing me a bit of trouble. A gold skeleton with a massive broadsword blocks my way, and a vicious flying stingray keeps shooting me from the sky while I'm trying to fight it on a narrow ledge with a bottomless cliff on my left. I'm tempted to just grab a few hundred arrows and shoot those damn things out of the sky. They're annoying.
I've started to plan my character out a bit more. I'm going to focus mostly on dexterity, endurance, luck, and vitality. I have my strength at 22 for equipping purposes, but I don't think I'll raise it any higher than that for now. I'm forgoing magic altogether, but I did raise my faith to 10 in order to have access to a single miracle: Evacuation. The ability to return to the nexus with my souls in tact at any time sounds like a good thing to me. Of course, the spell also cost me 20,000 souls. Hopefully it'll pay for itself in time.
I decided to do something different today. After hearing about how useful magic can be, I created a new character starting as a royal to test it out. And I see what everyone was talking about. It actually seemed a bit too
powerful. At least in the first couple of stages. I didn't even have to get behind the Phalanxes to kill them; I just blasted them from the front and they went down with ease.
I got through 1-1 and 1-2 with that character fairly easily, and after considering it for a while, I decided I was having more fun with my melee character. I'm capable from a distance using a bow if I need to shoot something anyways. So I'll be going back to him from now on. However, I have decided to increase my magic/intelligence to 10 so that I can learn a spell. I think Enchant Weapon would be fairly useful every now and then, if I need a little magic damage for whatever reason.
I didn't have all that much time to play today; progressively earlier shifts at work meant I basically went to bed after getting home, got up, went back to work, came home, and now I'm going to bed again so I can get up for my next shift. After tomorrow, though, I've got two full days of Demon's Souls waiting for me
In any case, I played for maybe two hours total today. I bought Magic Weapon (and discovered it really wasn't that useful), farmed up a bit of half moon grass because I was running low, and then this evening went and finished off 4-1. The boss was VERY easy... once I figured out where to stand to avoid getting slaughtered. That seems to be the case with most of the bosses in this game. I just shot him in the head repeatedly until he went down. A bow is a perfect replacement for magic. The gold skeletons proved to be easy even with physical attacks, by the way. They were just too slow for my sword.
In my acquisition of magic, I did discover one interesting thing... the Wanderer class starts off knowing three magical spells: Soul Arrow, Flame Toss, and Water Veil. All three are available to be memorized when you have high enough magic. Likewise, he also inherently knew the Heal miracle. Unfortunately, he doesn't start off with a talisman or a catalyst, so he can't DO anything with them immediately...
Anyways, now I must decide whether to continue and try to finish 3-1, or start on 5-1. Either way, I'm in for some excitement tomorrow.
Today has been very productive so far. I've completed 3-1 and 5-1, which puts the first dungeon of each world out of the way.
5-1 was a very annoying place. The entire world is made up of ramshackle, rotting boards strewn together in the most psychotic ways, with plague-infested locals all over the place. There are so many places to fall to your death, it can be a very annoying area to get through.
Luckily, the boss is a piece of cake. His attacks are pitifully slow and weak, and the only thing that makes him even remotely frustrating is his ability to heal. Ranged attacks just aren't quick enough, so I had to go into melee to take him down.
From here, I'll be pressing forward into 1-3 and 2-2. Wish me luck
My character is getting pretty damn strong
I'm somewhere around soul level 55ish and my equipment is nicely upgraded. I've got a Dark Purple Flame Shield +2, a Viscous Compound Longbow +3, a Kilij +8 (which I'm getting ready to upgrade to a Large Sword of Searching once I get my strength up a little bit more), and a Sharp Winged Spear +3. Upgrading further is getting to be a bit difficult.
I finished 2-2 yesterday evening, and this afternoon I completed 4-2, which was an incredible area. Took me a while, but I ultimately managed to get through. I had to reorganize a fair bit of my equipment, but in the end the boss fell.
And what a boss. The Blind Old Hero, who's literally blind. He wanders around trying to find you, swinging his huge sword around randomly. You just keep out of the way and slowly shoot him in the back over and over
It seems that DQ5 was right about 1-3. It looks like I have to finish all the other second-level areas first. I guess 3-2 and 5-2 are up next.
Today I vanquished 3-2, and I have to say, it is easily the creepiest, most atmospheric level I've seen in the game so far - unquestionably my favorite at this point. The level is made up of stone catwalks suspended between several towers. There are bodies everywhere, and an insane amount of blood all over the ground.
At the center of this area is a huge tower with a pulsating monstrosity in the middle. It's got several tentacles that stretch out and block certain paths, and they're most populous at the base of the tower, where a creepy wooden dock hangs over an eerie purple lake.
As you explore, flying gargoyles regularly attack you; they're not too hard to fight, but they can easily surprise you if you don't see them.
The boss of this area was particularly difficult, mainly because a second one shows up halfway through the fight. However, he's also got much less health than most bosses, so you can take one of them down fairly quickly, which ended up being the key to my success.
At this point in time, I'm actually eager to get my retail copy so I can start over from scratch with a new character. I've taken what I've learned from the game so far and designed a character I think will work extremely well. I'm fairly certain I won't be able to beat the game before the servers go down in four days, but regardless, you can expect a review then; we won't keep you waiting, and I've pretty much made up my mind on this game.
This will be my last entry. Keep watch next week for a Demon's Souls review.