Sunday, August 29, 2010
Most "under the radar" game recently
Personally, I'm a PC gamer. As most PC Gamers, I felt I wouldn't need a console. Most big AAA games are usually multiplatform to get the most possible money out of us, the consumer. There were few console exclusives that I may have missed, but ultimately I believed that I could have lived without one................... until now.
This game to change my opinion is none other than Demon's Souls and arguably the hardest game to pronounce since Ehrgeiz. This is a JRPG (yes the only good JRPG to come out since Final Fantasy Tactics for the PSone) that is themed as a western RPG produced by ATLUS and created by the company From Software. I don't know, but I believe from the start, they purposely tried to make this game fail. Seriously, a really hard to pronounce game title, and company that sounds like a joke when asked about ("what company made this game?" "this game was made by From Software") and developed by a very small publishing group that is essentially Japan only. What is also an interesting side note, this game was originally voiced in English with Japanese text. Also not to mention that this is a PS3 exclusive which cuts your demographic to the smallest percentage of gamers.
Now, why is this game so damn good? It's probably one of the most innovative, but at the same time polished games that I've played in a long time. Unlike every game to come out in the past 5 years, this game doesn't hold your hand, doesn't have regenerating shields and doesn't have pause. Yup, that's right. There is no pause in the game. Also, there are no save file like traditional RPGs where you can just reload after you make a mistake. Instead, it autosaves constantly and any thing you do in the game is permanent. Also, there are many enemies that can 1-2 shot you. Fortunately, there is no "game over" screen since even death is a game mechanic.
Although this doesn't seem like fun, trust me when I say that this just makes the game that much more impressive. The mechanics of the game are insanely immersive and the narrative and environment give this game an incredibly unique and "big and bold" feeling. Similar to Shadow of the Colossus, the enemies and bosses truly feel unique and creative instead of the same rooms filled with the same enemies with different color schemes. Each level has its own feel and character behind it and draws you in just like a good horror survival game.
However, the true innovation comes through in the game's death mechanics and multiplayer. When you die, you don't go to a game over screen; instead, you get sent back to the beginning of the level with your maximum health being cut in half and all the enemies in the level respawned with increased stats. However, any progress that you made to the actually level such as opening doors and such will not be affected. When you are dead, you are in a state called "soul form". There are 4 ways to get out of soul form, kill a boss in a level, invade a player and kill them, help another player and beat the level, or use a rare/expensive item to revive.
Wait..... what do you mean "invade" and "help another"? Well this is how the multiplayer works. Near the beginning of the game, you receive 2 items, a blue and black stone. Using a blue stone, you can leave a message on the ground of a level that is visible to any other player in that same area and around your level. They can then summon you to their world where your goal is to beat the level with them, similar to co-op. If you succeed in killing that level's boss, you get sent back to your world and revive on the spot with half the experience you would've normally got. However, if the person that summoned you dies, you fail the mission and get sent back to your world not revived.
Using a black stone, you search for another player's game to invade. Here you aggressively get transported to another player's world to where your job is to kill that player in the level before they reach the boss. If you succeed, you get sent back to your world revived.
So, essentially they combined the death and multiplayer as one integral game mechanic. Without the game being brutally hard with people dying constantly, no one would play with each other since no one would die.
If you have a PS3 or have access to one (friends are good), I highly recommend this game as it's probably THE BEST game of this generation and you'd be a fool to pass it up. Now I only need to save up $350 to get a PS3 and the game...
On a sidenote, with GT5 coming out this November and Marvel vs. Capcom 3 coming out next spring, it's just gives even more incentive to get a PS3 albeit you already own a PC.