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1  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Demon's Souls on: April 11, 2009, 11:41:21 PM
Nothing of the last three generations. Console RPG's usually have sporadic difficulty, a hard section or area, or boss. Most of the time you can just back track and grind your way to victory. This game is far more challenging than even SMT games on hard mode, and is beyond any FPS or hack-and-slash title I can think of. Granted I haven't played every single game, so I'm sure people can think of balls hard games that might compare.

One thing that makes it tricky is that grinding is very hard in Demon's Souls because of the risk of losing all your souls from an accidental death. Even if you spend hours boosting stats, the difference is relatively small since you are boosting one stat one point at a time, and each successive boost costs more than the previous. It gets expensive after a while and the law of diminishing returns kicks in. Grinding is kind of good after you beat the first boss. I recommend grinding enough to get some basic magic and upgraded weapons, but character advancement overall is really incremental.

The best analogy is really Contra or Ninja Gaiden on NES. You only beat those games without cheat codes in one of two ways: Get really good, or memorize every scenario by rote and through grueling trial and error you might win. Demon's Souls is like that.
2  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Demon's Souls on: April 11, 2009, 07:50:21 PM
Japanese version has English voices.

Asian version has English everything. Import that.
3  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Demon's Souls on: April 11, 2009, 07:30:05 PM
Review posted!

Whad'ya think?

Worried about the difficulty?

Turned off? Turned on?

Maybe I exaggerated a bit much with the Iron Maiden analogy...
4  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Megami Tensei Topic on: March 11, 2009, 01:40:09 AM
So my review for Devil Summoner IV is finally up and I figured now might be a nice time to see what people think about this series overall.

As I mentioned in the review, a lot of Megaten games never made it out of Japan. Since Persona 3 though (or really since Nocturne) the series has started to become more popular in the west. Just like the Watchmen movie has attracted thousands of people to the graphic novel, Persona 3 and 4 have really broadened the appeal of the series.

I don't write off these folks as posers as some people do on other boards. I like it when quality works get more attention, which isn't to say that there is a lack of pretentious n00bs. I just want to hear what people think about the series. How'd you get into it? What's your favorite game? Do you absolutely hate it, love it, or like some of it?

I got into it when I came to Japan a few years ago. First game was Persona on playstation, which took forever because I couldn't read Japanese that well. After that I got into Soul Hackers and Nocturne and by then I was hooked. Really dark and cool stories with some great soundtracks and best of all, challenge. I'm playing Devil Survivor on DS now and it is balls hard.

While I haven't played every MegaTen game, none of the ones I've beaten so far have been bad. (Although Devil Summoner 1 on PSP isn't great)
5  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Re: Demon's Souls on: February 07, 2009, 04:07:07 AM
Actually all the voices are in English. The instruction booklet and in-game menus are Japanese, but I haven't heard one Japanese voice in the game. It's kind of weird. It's mostly localized but there isn't even a release date yet for the west.

And it's definitely an RPG. The story is variable and you can choose sides in a massive demon war. You learn magic and gradually improve your stats and skills based on which of the ten classes you start with. I can't remember all of them, but there is Barbarian, Knight, Soldier, Magician, Thief, Nobleman, Hunter, and a few others. They are really well differentiated too. It took me forever to decide who to start with because they all have distinct advantages and weaknesses. I went with knight because you start off fairly durable and I wanted to be able to shrug off a few blows while I warmed up. I just started a second game on another save slot as a Noblemen because they're a good mix of speed and light magic.

I think I'm getting used to the difficulty too. The sword-fighting takes some getting used to if you've played too much Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry. You'll run out of stamina and get owned very quickly if you just spam the attack button. You have to block, parry, dodge, roll, look for openings and try to catch the enemy off balance. Basically you have to be a little patient. Sometimes you need to buck with your shield, and other times it's better to go two-handed with a sword, or sneak around and catch them with a crossbow. You have to try all kinds of shit to beat bosses. You can toss fire fire canisters or light your sword a blaze, use magic, or try spears or clubs. The character's sense of gravity and environmental physics generally are really nice. I can't believe I compared WKC to The Lord of the Rings. THIS game actually reminds of some of the massive monster fights from those movies. I'm really digging it.
6  Media / Single-Player RPGs / Demon's Souls on: February 06, 2009, 03:04:13 AM
From Software's way under the radar adventure / action RPG. I sampled it at TGS and just got it yesterday, and let me say it has been kicking my ass.

It's sort of like The Legend of Zelda meets Resident Evil. The physics of sword combat are excellent and you don't get much more energy than regular enemies. Drop your guard for a second and you're dead. It got panned by Famitsu basically for being too hard. There are very few cinematics or cut scenes, and when they pop up they are short. There's no in-game tutorial, no throw away first boss: pretty much everyone gets raped by the first big monster. Respawn points are few and far between and you WILL get killed a lot. It's not like typical JRPG's where for each boss there is a save point and you have team of super-powered spikey-haired teens with three who can always cast cure 4 in a flash; the giant monsters and bosses are terrifying, they usually pop-up with little warning (unless someone leaves a message - see below) and often you're tired or not at your prime. There's a real sense of dread for these encounters, which adds to the game's atmosphere. It's superbly done, but definitely not for everyone.

The online component is done in a very interesting way. You can passively and directly interact with other players in a lot of ways. For example, blood stains in the environment mark where someone died. If you touch them, you can watch the player's death. Sometimes you'll just see their silhouette run around a corner and then just fall or get launched backwards KER-SPLAT!. That always makes me a bit nervous. You can also leave messages for people, and if someone positively rates your message, you get your health back. There's also cooperative play but I haven't gotten that far.

Gotta add this to the old import review pile. Pretty sweet so far.
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