Demon's Souls should come with a disclaimer on the box that reads : Not for the easily frustrated or discouraged. It should be played in carefully measured doses to keep your blood pressure in check and your controller unsmashed. This game will test your patience but if you stick with it and learn from your many mistakes that you will make along the way you will succeed and feel all that much better for it. Some people have labeled this a niche title made only for hardcore gamers but regular gamers can also do well if they remember slow and steady win the race and always look before you leap.
You start by creating a character with a creator that is similar to the one in ESIV:Oblivion. Then you pick a class. Demon's Souls has a surprising number of classes to choose from Most of the staple rpg classes are there along with a few different ones. Your choices: Solider, Knight, Hunter, Priest, Magician, Wanderer, Barbarian, Thief, Temple Knight, and Royalty. What's the difference between say, a Knight and a Temple Knight? Damned if I know and the book doesn't bother to tell you either. (More on this later.) Suffice to say if you have played rpgs in the past you can expect a Magician to keep their distance and pepper the enemy with spells and a Barbarian to run up and BARBARIAN SMASH things in the face.
After that you are dropped in a tutorial that runs you through the basics of combat and at the end you are thrown in a room with a boss that gives you a sneak preview of what the rest of the game has in store for you by promptly kicking your ass and killing you.
This is actually done on purpose though so you can be introduced to the Nexus which is the main questing hub and also where the majority of the npcs reside. There is a banker type who will hold on to your belonging. This is needed because you will need to keep an eye on your burden (item weight) and your equipped burden (items worn can not be over half your total weight able to be carried. Harsh.) Going over will slow you down and in some areas you will need literally run for your life. Then you have a blacksmith who can sell you items, upgrade your gear or repair it. Keeping your stuff in good repair is important because if you let it degrade too much it becomes less effective. There are also two npc which teach you spells and miracles (another form of spells) and lastly the freaky blind lady who can increase your stats for a price. The price of these stats all increase no matter which you buy so spend wisely. Which are important for which character? Damned if I know again. (More on the later as well.) The currency for all of these things are souls. Souls can only be acquired by killing bad guys. If you die you lose those souls unless you can get back to the spot you died and reclaimed them. If not, they are gone for good. So you see the need to be careful.
Once you get into the levels of the game the thing that hit me right way is the atmosphere for each level is do so well that if you are playing this game in a dark room at night you feel totally immersed in what you are doing. It just feels right. As was mentioned in the original review, the rag doll physics are a little screwy for some reason and they do look pretty stupid but it wasn't enough to ruin the mood for me though.
The game is not without its flaws though. The camera for instance can have trouble in some tight spots obscuring your view which can lead to a painful death from an enemy you can't see or a long fall off or short ramp.
My biggest gripe with this game is the lack of information it comes with. I understand the game is about exploration and figuring things out on your own but for some things there is just no excuse. Like I mentioned earlier, what is the difference between a Knight and a Temple Knight? Why do I have to play all the classes just to see their strengths and weaknesses? Stats are a costly investment to increase. Why don't they tell you which are important for each class? Sure, you can guess from past rpg experience that Dexterity is important for bow users like the Hunter but it's wrong to assume everyone will know these things. The book just does not have enough information for a game this complex and deep. For example it tells you that you need to have a 10 in intelligence and a 10 in magic to cast spells and a 10 in faith to cast miracles but it doesn't tell you that you need a catalyst (wand) and a relic equipped and in your hand to cast those spells and miracles respectively. This kind of information is important and should be included and would not ruin any sense of discovery by having it in the book.
Aside from those negatives though, there is no other experience as deep and complex on the PS3 as you will find in Demon's Souls. Everyone that owns a PS3 should at least rent it and test their mettle against a truly difficult game and for fans of older rpgs it is practically a must own.