E3 Dreaming - Demon's Souls 2 Vs Dark Souls 2

When it comes to my own E3 hopes and wishes, my most dreamy far-to-the-side stare and it’s accompanying lip bite is saved for sequels to my two favourite games ever. Going head to head.


Before the above biccies hit the side plate, a ‘sup of digressional coffee if I may.

Demon’s Souls turned my world around back in ’09. A game that built on word of mouth. A back and forth betwixt two folks on a forum, one saying the game looked terrible, the other saying the Asian release was one of the best games they had ever played. I’m pretty sure I wrote the name down on a scrap of paper, the back of a chocolate wrapper, the arse end of an envelope and promptly put it in a safe place – undoubtedly ending up surreptitiously in a bin, or the legendary top drawer of the kitchen unit. Regardless, I’m sure forgot the name.

Fast forward a smish to the collide of a game ‘no-one had heard of’ robbing a bag full of stunning reviews, underlined with the red pen of terms like ‘old school’ and ‘incredibly hard’. I read and watched every one I could lay my hands on. It looked *exciting*. The sounds from punters upon release were equally as fascinating to slaver over, each pitching in with their own tales of classes, armour, tactics and of moments which brought forth a hunger for more, more, more. Moreover, it lead to me placing an order to ship the American release to the Queen’s lands, the special edition no-less, whilst pleading to Gods and Demons alike that the dice of the Postal Service didn’t sting me for extra scratch when it got here.

There’s a blur that follows, one of complete and utter ensconced. I drowned in the wonderful character of the art style, fell into the world feet first as if it were my Chuck Taylor’s squishing into swamps, cobble stones and fire pits. I was fascinated by what my brain perceived as ‘physical mathematics’ pertaining to the battles. I had this amount of stamina see, and if I blocked I could stagger them .. and if I swung too much my shield could be overpowers and .. if they leapt at me and I stabbed, their momentum would meet my machinations and said numpty would meet a quicker death. I learned attack patterns, I came to fear giants and ‘Cylon Skeletons’ – I even lost my dreams to Demon’s Souls. At work my faraway stare, hopefully perceived as working hard, wasn’t rumbled as running through the night before and steeling myself for once dinner be done.

Oh and the ‘incredibly hard’ that was brightly lit in ‘most every review, I would counter. I’m far from the greatest gamer in the world, but managed to finished Demon’s Souls. Granted, it took me a-long-time, but I adored that the pace of conquering the great divide was purely down to me. So many hair brained schemes within levelling, equipment and just how the hell I would shiv the grist and get that little bit further, but I got there. Sometimes purely by the plaque on my teeth, like – and I’m looking squarely at you bloody world bloody five – but I got there.

Every step further I got was this mahoosive rush of adrenalin, added to the klaaang of each shield block and the satisfying whooshes and squishes of those attacks; and when I stared down the abyss before the end game, my heart swelled with pride. I think I even cried a bit. : /

The onset of Dark Souls was the adult restatement of being a kid at Christmas. Each new piece of news and sight of artwork edging me closer to the arrival of my lovely Devil-Santa. As E3 2011 brought forth ‘hands on’ previews, December 21st. Then came the actual previews, when journalists were chomping through levels, passing hints between one another and loving it; December 22nd. The reviews, December 23rd. The night before the game arrived, a dark, delicious Christmas Eve.

I think the two games are more apples and oranges than folks give them credit for. Certainly Dark Souls is the more refined game, with it’s more open worlds, a more .. dare I say it .. ‘arcade-y’ feel to the combat and a smoother progression. The weapon customisation is far more expansive and intuitive, compared to the relative question marks than can be branded over the Sony published game. And yet .. Demon’s Souls was my first. I remain spellbound by that world, the art design, the characters – and when The Maiden In Black breathes her faith unto me – I still swallow hard, my heartbeat double kick drums and my breathing becomes a swoon within the majestic.

And so, I bid the two games – WAR.

Sony own the I.P. To Demon’s Souls. From Software has had further success with its cheekily inscribed ‘spiritual sequel’. And I want them to fight, one another, at the same time. And then play nice and release a few months apart. But enough of that nice stuff, back to the RAWR.

Given the inclination to make a sequel to Demon’s Souls, what would Sony do to try and better the original? Would they assign one of their swanky studios to try and best From’s classic? What would it look like? Story wise, could the lead-in be based around the mysterious cracked sixth archstone of the first game? Bring me my Maiden Astraea? Oh sweet romance, take me back to my beloved Maiden In Black!

Knotted in the spite What would From do to eclipse such a curlicue move from their former bedfellows. Surely From have the keys to the car, right – and the car they re-tuned and ran to a brilliant cat purr hum. What kind of ideas have been brewing since their 2011 title to make it better still? The forthcoming PC release, with its extra slice of monsters and time travel suggests there is still so much more to come from the company. The history of the Kings Field titles behind them suggests a determination to make this brand new evolution a certainty.

I want to see Sony and From going all out to make the best game possible, each determined to out-do the other, and the crackle of that competition pushing each on to make the best game/s they can. I want to see all the hoo-haa lavished upon the Battlefield/Call Of Duty rivalry and release dolloped like syrup over each new reveal. I want to nibble on the crumbs of each and every word of each devoted to those worlds; to see those who adore the previous games and those who have yet to taste flavours past getting ever more caught up in the storm. In the spin – and with a hat tip to yesteryear - I want that younger me tummy swirl of all of it, until I have both of the battling blighters in my hands.

May the best Soul win. I’ll be buying both.

So that's my truth, tell me yours!

Whether you think such a battle would work, a favourite title you'd like to see given a modern day shoe shine, or else something you're really looking forward to at the show.

[My first post, hoping you don't mind the rant ^-^]