Key TakeawaysDemon's Souls is one of the most challenging games out there right now.It looks gorgeous, but it requires a significant time commitment to master.Don't let the 'git gud' crowd get you down. Bluepoint / Sony
When the PlayStation 5 launch line-up was announced, its list of first-party titles from Sony included Astro's Playroom, Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Sackboy: A Big Adventure, and Demon's Souls. There were other games, too, but these were the big hitters as they were exclusive to Sony consoles.
I eyed up Demon's Souls, tempted. An action RPG, it looked great. Who could resist roaming strange lands hacking and slashing at foes? It looked gorgeous too—a true reflection of what the next-generation can offer even if it's technically a "mere" remaster of a game from the PlayStation 3.
PlayStation 5 games aren't cheap, and peer pressure lured me towards snapping it up, but I didn't. You know why? It's so hard that I just don't have the patience for it, and I know it. Feel free to call me a wimp, but bear with me—I'll explain why it's ok in the eyes of other players and why Demon's Souls is still going to remain tempting.
It's Okay Not To Be Challenged
I've been gaming for about 30 years now. I remember the days when many titles were nearly impossible to beat and required considerable patience from child me and any adult that gave it a whirl, too. Games on home computers like the Commodore 64 or early consoles like the NES were not forgiving. Battletoads continues to be regarded as one of the most challenging games out there, and that was aimed at a relatively young and inexperienced audience on the NES.
"There are plenty of other games out there to keep us all happy."
Games have changed since then. They've become more user-friendly with different difficulty levels ensuring that everyone can take part and enjoy what's there. Some games even describe their difficulty levels as ideal if you simply want to enjoy the story and not be challenged.
Demon's Souls isn't like that. It's known to be unrelentingly hard. Part of the Souls series, which includes Dark Souls 1-3, it's almost become a genre in its own right, being exceptionally hard compared to how most games are nowadays.Bluepoint / Sony
I want to love that concept. The idea of spending hours mastering a tough game despite it beating me down at every turn, but you know what? Life has its own challenges. As a teenager, I probably would have had the patience to stick with it, but my very daily life has enough frustrations going on at times that I don't play games to be tested like I used to. You probably feel like that too sometimes. That's ok. Seriously.
Your Spare Time Is Precious
Spare time is limited for many of us. Commitments both pleasant and not so pleasant are always there, whether it's work-related, spending time with the family, or simply keeping one's home in order. There's always a lot going on, right? Effectively, it's ok to be lazy in games because you're definitely not lazy in life, despite how society may make us feel if we're not productive 24/7.
"Some games even describe their difficulty levels as ideal if you simply want to enjoy the story and not be challenged."
Demon's Souls works on the basis of pattern recognition. Kind of like how Space Invaders and other '80s arcade classics depended on you memorizing how things played out. To succeed at it, you need to devote many hours to learning the patterns and react accordingly. Honestly, if I'm going to spend hours studying and perfecting something, there are plenty of other things I'd rather do. There's a dusty guitar in the corner of the room right now and countless cookbooks in front of me. There's simply too much to focus on and too little time.
Demon's Souls almost had an easy mode included, according to the developer, Bluepoint. It was dropped as it was deemed better for the team to focus on "merely being custodians for this amazing game" rather than upset the balance by adding an easy mode that wasn't originally there.
You Can Ignore Peer Pressure and Gatekeeping
A brief search around the internet will show that the moment anyone suggests that they don't have the patience for one of the Souls games, someone from the "git gud" crowd will inevitably appear to condemn them for being useless at games. "Git gud" is a common phrase in not-so-pleasant gaming circles used to bully and mock players who are inexperienced or who simply don't wish to invest the time into becoming better.
It's an unpleasant form of gatekeeping that holds back gaming at times and isn't really seen in other media forms. At least, not with such vitriol.Bluepoint / Sony
If you have friends who game, they may well be encouraging you to stick with Demon's Souls. Some may do so by telling you fantastic stories of overcoming adversity in-game, while others may be less friendly and simply mock you for "wussing" out, citing that "it's not that hard" and "you just need to put the time in." Arguably, nothing is that hard if you put the time in, but it's your time to spend.
While I might still have that nagging feeling that I should get a grip and master Demon's Souls, I simply don't want to use my time learning patterns in Demon's Souls.
It's okay for you to feel that way, too. There are plenty of other games out there to keep us all happy. You don't have to justify yourself to others about how you wish to spend your time. Life's too short. Go play a quick 10 minute mission in Spider-Man: Miles Morales instead—it's a ton of fun.