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Making a deal with Demon’s Souls

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You might remember my 30-minute dip into From Software's harder-than-hardcore role-playing title Demon's Souls last week. I've put a few more hours into it since that first play session, and I think the two of us have established an interesting "working relationship." Basically, the game has agreed not to help me in any way, and I have agreed to keep playing it.

If Demon's Souls were a person, and it presented this deal to me in a contract, that hypothetical person would likely spend the following few hours picking subclauses out of its teeth. It's a raw deal that places all of the burden upon me, the player, to prove myself in the game's detached, arbitrary (i.e. "bullshit difficult") world. Meanwhile, Demon's Souls only has to sit back and keep throwing dragons at me. Dragons who are also throwing fire.

It's a raw deal, but I ultimately respect the game for it.

 

Let's keep imagining Demon's Souls is a person; for some reason, I find that really funny. This is how our conversations typically go:

Me: Okay, I just killed that giant, fucked-up boss. Where do I go now?

Demon's Souls: …

Me: May I have a hint?

Demon's Souls: …

Me: Please?

Demon's Souls: Well, there's a room behind this one…

Me: Okay, I'll go there.

Demon's Souls: …and it's full of guys you aren't even close to being ready to fight yet. See? One of them just looked at you, and you died.

Me: I had like 5,000 souls, you asshole.

Demon's Souls: …

Me: Fuck you.

Demon's Souls: …

The most important lesson I've learned from playing this game is not to listen to the disembodied voice I ascribe to it. It is a bunch of data on a disc, and it has no larynx.

The other main thing I'm picking up is that I'm on my own. The game won't tell me where to go, what to do, or even how to use the goddamned bow (I figured that out by myself, don't worry). The payoff here is that after a little trial and error — mostly error — I figure out a path that will work for me. This process is way more satisfying than I expected it to be.

"Hey, I figured it out!" I tell Demon's Souls when I finally make some progress. "Aren't you proud of me?"

Demon's Souls does not reply to that, because it is an asshole.


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