Demon’s Souls is a cult classic PlayStation 3 exclusive, considered to be the forefather of FromSoftware’s Souls series, known for their extremely unforgiving, but fair and rewarding gameplay loop. To the delight of many, Demon’s Souls has finally been remade from the ground up as a showpiece PlayStation 5 exclusive launch title, allowing a new generation of players to experience one of the best PlayStation 3 titles in a stunning new light.

Bluepoint Games were tasked with the massive weight of faithfully recreating Demon’s Souls, however, there was no reason to believe that they couldn’t deliver on that goal following on from their fantastic work on the Shadow of the Colossus remake. This, however, is a special remake. Never have I seen such respect shown to the source material in a recreation of any form of media; Bluepoint have done a stellar job of ensuring that every last detail of the core gameplay loop and world layout have been reproduced identically to FromSoftware’s original vision, while updating every other aspect in profoundly positive ways. It is evident as to why FromSoftware gave their blessing to Bluepoint Games for this stunning project.

The game is precisely as difficult as it always was; if you’ve never played a Souls game, you are going to be in for a rough time to start off with. I played and completed the original Demon’s Souls on PS3, however, I found my skills to be extremely rusty when starting to play this remake, owing to not having played any Dark Souls games in all the years since. Despite the frustration of many deaths, Demon’s Souls feels extremely rewarding when you finally manage to beat a boss. I would say that no other game series comes close to delivering the same type of feeling of success when completing a level as the Souls games and the patience and persistence you put in pays off in spades. Even unlocking a shortcut so that the next run is that bit shorter feels like a huge victory in a game such as this.

Of course, every item has been carried over from the original game with identical statistics and every enemy is placed in the same location in the world as in the original. For those unfamiliar with the original game, Demon’s Souls consists of five worlds connected to a central hub, The Nexus, and each of these worlds have sub-levels culminating in a boss encounter, which must be defeated in order to progress. The world itself ends in an encounter with an archdemon, an even more difficult boss encounter than that of the sub-stages. If you fail at any stage through a sub-level or boss fight, you must start from the very beginning of that sub-level once again, without checkpoints. Once a boss is defeated, that acts as permanent progress in the game. If you rush into combat, the game will be extremely unforgiving. Demon’s Souls is all about patience and learning attack patterns. Many levels, however, have unlockable shortcuts, which allow you to skip parts of the level on subsequent attempts, should you go out of your way to unlock them. Killing any enemies in the game rewards souls, which can be used to level up your stats, buy and upgrade weapons and learn magic and miracles, however, you will lose these upon death, with one chance to retrieve them on your next spawn.

One thing which is completely unlike the original game, however, is the visual presentation. Demon’s Souls on PlayStation 5 looks astoundingly good and is undoubtedly one of the most visually impressive games in existence at present. Every single texture in the game has been crafted in a mind boggling high level of detail and the sheer amount of geometry on screen at any given moment is surely pushing the PS5’s hardware quite substantially. The stunningly fluid and smooth sixty frames per second mode is breathtaking, offering visuals which would be extremely impressive even at a thirty frames per second target. The game looks crisp and sharp, feeling more atmospheric than ever; I found myself almost enchanted by the immersive, dark environment which Bluepoint have meticulously crafted. Suffice to say, this is THE title to show off your next-gen hardware at launch and it is very exciting to see developers achieving results of this quality with the new hardware this early into the generation.

Visuals are not the only area which have been beautifully upgraded, however. Bluepoint Games did not skimp on attention when it came to audio design, a crucial factor in creating the immersion mentioned previously. The new soundtrack is astounding and delivers a perfect backdrop for every single area in the game, from the striking, imposing orchestral melodies accompanying boss fights, to the subtle, subdued tones conveyed at the more calm sections of each level. Sound effects are expertly mastered with the score and also serve as an important part of the gameplay loop itself, sometimes warning you of attack patterns or nearby foes. I found that the Tempest Audio Engine was demonstrated extremely well by Demon’s Souls, with the directionality of enemy sound effects and atmospheric ambient noise really shinning through using my headphones.

The Dualsense controller is another new PlayStation 5 feature used to great effect in this game, with every sensation in-game accompanied by a convincing yet not overwhelming utilisation of haptic feedback. The bows and crossbows of the game do also employ the adaptive triggers, however, this is a very subtle effect. The user interface of the game has also received an overhaul and I found the serviceable, simplistic UI to be great at showing you the key information which you need to know, without being too distracting.

Overall, Demon’s Souls is a magnificent launch title for PlayStation 5 and delivers everything that was brilliant about the original title in a gorgeous new coat of paint, matched with an audio design overhaul which will prove a delight for the ears. This is a brutally unforgiving yet extremely satisfying title, oozing atmosphere and grandeur. Bluepoint Games’ stellar recreation is a must-play for every PlayStation 5 owner, provided you have both the courage and the patience to tackle the challenging gameplay loop. Demon’s Souls will surely cement itself as one of the best console launch titles of all time.

DISCLAIMER: This review was carried out on PlayStation 5, using review code kindly provided by the publisher.