• Publisher: Atlus
  • Release Date: Oct 6, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 81 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 81
  2. Negative: 0 out of 81
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  1. 100
    Beyond the initial threat of difficulty there waits a remarkable combination of accessibility and challenge, of risk and reward, punishment and empowerment.
  2. AceGamez
    Its appeal may be niche, but for those who appreciate a challenging and ultimately very rewarding game in a genre that's poorly represented not only on the PS3 but in this entire console generation, Demon's Souls is an absolute must have. [JPN Import]
  3. 100
    The game is very hard, but not unfairly so; each time you die, you'll learn a bit more about the level, and you'll be able to progress a bit further. I was very surprised with what I found in Demon's Souls.
  4. 100
    If you like RPGs in general, though, you'll find one of the better, most challenging quests of your life -- one well worth picking up. But you may want to clear off any games in your backlog beforehand.
  5. 100
    Never have we played a game that punishes so much while constantly providing a reason to keep pushing on and see what brilliance lies beyond the next hurdle.
  6. Once it sinks its claws in, you'll find it nigh on impossible to escape until the Kingdom of Boletaria is free from the horror of The Old One. In short then – Demon's Souls is a modern classic.
  7. One of the best experiences on this generation, with the best online mode we've seen in ages.
  8. Demon's Souls can do no wrong in my eyes. It reinvigorated my love of RPGs and video games as a hobby, not just a job. Its punishing difficulty is a throwback to the brutally unforgiving games of my NES childhood, and the feeling of accomplishment in the face of innumerable odds is truly unlike anything I've experienced with a controller in my hands.
  9. The difficulty level is just right, it's enough to keep your entertained that is sprinkled with enough frustration to keep you going. The environments are well designed and the gameplay is pretty much flawless… this is how RPG's should be made!
  10. Demon's Souls is one for the history books. It simply improves the recently stale action genre, and is way ahead of its time with its vision of online play.
  11. Without question, Demon's Souls is one of 2009's finest titles, and an amazing, challenging journey without equal.
  12. That said, Demon's Souls is a terrific game. It sets such a high standard for dungeon crawling titles that can only be matched by the best of them.
  13. Play Magazine
    The word of mouth on this game is going to be great, unless your friends only play WiiFit. Demon’s Souls is what an 8-Bit game would play like if it were popped open and dumped out in your lap. Gorgeous, thoughtful, and complete unto itself, it’s the second-best title I’ve played this year. Maybe even better.
  14. Demon's Souls uses sprawling, atmospheric worlds, haunting game concepts and mechanics, an unconventional control scheme, and formidable difficulty to envelop players in an experience that is easily one of the best of the year.
  15. It's a shoo-in for Game of the Year contention and will likely go down as one of the crown jewels of the PlayStation 3's exclusive lineup.
  16. This game will steal your soul, and comes highly recommended.
  17. Demon's Souls is an amazingly deep RPG which every true gamer will fall in love with. The high addiction factor will make you put hour after hour into this unique adventure. But especially the mysterious atmosphere, crazy challenging gameplay and grand bosses make this game an experience for which you'll sell your soul to the devil.
  18. This is a truly exceptional RPG experience that hasn't been offered by any other game in its genre. It all comes down to whether you're brave enough to explore its savage environments, but if you are I can promise that you won't be disappointed.
  19. Between its active battle system and its online functionality, there is a whole lot that separates Demon's Souls from other games in the dungeon-crawling genre, bringing it into the current generation.
  20. 94
    Every single person that owns a PS3 should at the very least rent this game to see what all the fuss is about, and those that can remember the good ol' days when games taught through the highly effective use of negative reinforcement and a heavy price for not playing it carefully should scoop this up instantly. It's utterly unique among the offerings on any console right now, and absolutely, positively should not be missed.
  21. 94
    It is an almost perfect game in what it offers. Although it might be further polished in the visual aspect, or have a better adjusted difficulty curve.
  22. If you are not a hardcore gamer or a gamer who can play your average action RPG on a difficulty above easy you probably will hate yourself for putting a single dollar out for this game. But if you are a gamer looking for a true challenge with plenty of extreme action, fun replay value, great multiplayer and a unique twist on everything then this is a game you must own.
  23. Pelit (Finland)
    Sword and sorcery has never been so satisfying, every reward in the game have to be earned. The action RPG is so hard that it feels like it has been made in 90s. [Feb 2010]
  24. 92
    Demon's Souls is a fantastic game, with great environments and amazing boss battles. Unfortunately, most gamers will never see most of them. The bottom line is that this game is for the hardest of the hardcore.
  25. 92
    Demon's Soul is it. It will kill you, cap your health, break your sword, make you replay the same half hour ten times over and then kill you some more. But, because of this its rewards are infinitely more exhilarating and satisfying. However, the game isn't completely heartless.
  26. Games Master UK
    Horribly, sadistically tough but equally rewarding. [Aug 2010, p.102]
  27. Play UK
    Tough and unforgiving, Demon's Souls is nevertheless a breath of fresh air in a very stagnant games market. [Issue#182, p.72]
  28. I found Demon's Souls to be very addicting, especially when you make full use of the multiplayer features. There's no way to sugar coat the difficulty though, and even I had to put the game down for a couple days just to take a deep breath before going back to it. But, the things that draw you back in are the superior level design, morose artwork, and engaging gameplay.
  29. It is unyielding and relentlessly unmerciful. A single stage will take hours of repetitious practice and cautious progression to complete. The reward is pride.
  30. One of the best games of 2009 and arguably the best RPG on the PS3 so far.
  31. Demon's Souls shatters all Action-RPG conventions with its unique gameplay. A must-have for every RPG fan in PlayStation 3.
  32. It's stoic, uncompromising, difficult to get to know, but also deep, intriguingly disturbed and perversely rewarding. You can learn to love Demon's Souls like few other games in the world. But only if you're prepared to give yourself over to it. [JPN Import]
  33. PSW Magazine UK
    For every moment I spent screaming at my TV and throwing my controller I had four moments of awe. [JPN Import; May 2009, p.86]
  34. LEVEL (Czech Republic)
    Nightmare difficulty makes you die a thousand times but every death teaches you how to get further. True masterpiece of dark fantasy RPG. [Sept 2009]
  35. Demon's Souls is everything we've been looking for on the PS3 - a stellar action RPG boasting a killer online component. The game's uncompromising difficulty may not be everyone's cup of tea, however.
  36. For those willing to put in the effort, Demon's Souls is perhaps the most rewarding RPG available on the PS3 and easily a must-have for any PS3 owner who doesn't mind a bit of difficulty and death.
  37. Demon's Souls knows that winning is something to be earned, and the satisfaction of living up to the challenge it presents is its greatest reward.
  38. Demon's Souls is the antithesis of the fashionable approach to gaming. It encourages mastery over mere perseverance and every reward is so hard won as to make it almost unattainable. But if gaming's ultimate appeal lies in the learning and mastering of new skills, then surely the medium's keenest thrills are to be found in its hardest lessons. For those who flourish under Demon's Souls' strict examination, there's no greater sense of virtual achievement.
  39. If you crave true innovation, a fair but relentless challenge, and gripping exploration in which every step has consequences, then you crave Demon's Souls.
  40. Demon's Souls may make you throw controllers. It could possibly make you hate everything you've ever loved. It will probably make you yell curse words very, very loudly. It's also some of the best fun to be had on the PS3.
  41. The combat system is robust, the amount of exploration is amazing, and the game looks and sounds beautiful. Combine all this with the game's masterful storytelling without hours and hours of dialog, and you have what's probably the best and most frightening role-playing game this generation so far-just in time for Halloween.
  42. This game is tough, but also rewarding, interesting, evocative, and, in its own special way, brilliant.
  43. 90
    Demon's Souls is an obsessive title, a masochists dream, and an utterly amazing RPG.
  44. 90
    Demon's Souls asks much of you. For some it may ask too much, but, if you are prepared to rise to the challenges it presents you will be rewarded with one of the most satisfying gaming experiences of this generation.
  45. Demon's Soul is a hard game that becomes an obsession after first few minutes of play: with a true feeling of danger and immersion in every moment, a innovative online game and a good level of challenge. One of the best PlayStation 3 games of the year.
  46. In a world where multiple save points, extra lives and cheat codes dominate, it's down-right refreshing to see a title step up and proclaim "I am difficult, and that's all right." Demon's Souls is that title, and for that I commend it.
  47. There's nothing you haven't seen before. It only takes a bright solid, arch-depressive medieval world, mixes it with a fantastic battle system and pushing the limits of your patience to the extreme. The result is unique in all the right ways.
  48. There's no gain without pain in this unusual and atmospheric, but incredibly punishing, action RPG.
  49. 90
    It might take a while to get used to the gameplay of Demon's Souls but once the game has you in its grasp, it will not let you go!
  50. Even though it does not introduce any innovations compared to its original counterpart, the European edition of Demon's Souls confirms itself as one of the best exclusives currently available on PS3. Its hard but rewarding gameplay will in fact engage any fan of the genre, assuring a fun and long lasting experience.
  51. Demon's Souls is a pitch-perfect example of how great risk can make the rewards taste all the sweeter.
  52. Demon's Souls offer plenty of satisfaction to players that don't want to be guided through every challenge they encounter. The rich, deep gameplay make this a pure action-RPG.
  53. It's a fantastic RPG and after a few hours you'll be slaying demons and enemies like the badass knight in the opening cinematic.
  54. Anyone weaned on Zelda and tempered by Diablo will have a strong attraction to the wonders of Demon's Souls.
  55. We've been waiting for Demon's Souls to come to Europe for what seemed to be an endless time, and the wait was well worth it!
  56. 89
    Demon's Souls is a pretty hard RPG, but besides the difficulty it's a great game. The graphics are very good, the audio is great and the gameplay is genius. The release in Europe is far too late, but the game is totally worth your money. Only the story isn't very interesting, but that's just one point, the rest of the game is great.
  57. For what it wishes to be, Demon's Souls hits the mark. Perhaps the audience in question is too niche to yield huge sales, but I'm confident in expressing my praise for this production and I expect many gamers to reward Atlus for this effort.
  58. A startling, yet satisfying experience - if you can handle it. [Christmas 2009, p.86]
  59. A surprise hit par excellence! The charm of it lies in the dark, atmospheric levels, tough enemies and intensive, demanding combat mechanics whereas the unforgiving level of difficulty will drive you nuts. But we promise: After defeating the first cruel boss-encounters, you'll definitely come back for more since Demon's Souls is as satisfyingly great as it is insanely challenging!
  60. 86
    All-in-all, Demon's Souls is a game every PS3 RPG fan should buy just to say that they own it, just to say that they've played it. It's up to you as the gamer to figure out if an incredibly difficult, incredibly unique game is the game for you.
  61. It's a solid and competent RPG with some innovative and really cool online features, and it goes highly recommended.
  62. As is, it'll likely be adored by those who go out of their way to embrace it, but ignored by anyone intimidated by old school difficulty.
  63. While it is hard to give the advice to run out and purchase this game, it deserves a rental and a couple of hours of play. If you can make it through inventing curse words during that time, it is a clear purchase.
  64. Demon's Souls: Unbelievably hard and unbelievably satisfying at the same time. If you accomplish to get through your initial rage attacks, you will experience an outstanding action-RPG with a tense and dark atmosphere.
  65. A deep and complex action RPG, hard but rewarding.
  66. 85
    Souls is a top notch title that is impossible to put down.
  67. Despite its uncompromising attitude, Demon's Souls is a rare and unexpected treat.
  68. Playstation Official Magazine UK
    Demon's Souls is difficult. Really, really difficult. [JPN Import; July 2009, p.100]
  69. 80
    In short, you'll have a blast but you'll pay a heavy price for it sooner or later.
  70. Playstation: The Official Magazine (US)
    A game best left to the most masochistic, hardcore game. [Dec 2009, p.80]
  71. 80
    Demon's Souls is undoubtedly a tough nut to crack, but if you're prepared to dig beneath its hard shell, you'll find a game that is compelling and deeply rewarding in equal measure.
  72. Challenging with great controls and engaging battles. This one almost lasts forever, and we've lost track of the hours spent fighting.
  73. Demon's Souls is a very good game. It's not a fabulous game. On the one hand, it's hard to recommend to anyone who isn't a hardcore RPG fan or who doesn't have a mountain of patience at their disposal. On the other hand, Demon's Souls rarely puts a foot wrong – the game mechanics are tough but fair.
  74. Demon's Soul provides a great RPG to the PlayStation 3. It's as simple as that.
  75. Demon's Souls is an addictive and challenging role playing formula that offers tons of hours of entertainment for those who aren't afraid to dig down and invest hours of effort. With tons of content, a battle system that rewards player skill and great online functionality you really shouldn't miss out on this great role playing experience.
  76. It's hard not to rant about Demon's Souls, while trying to figure out how it really works. Hard to put up with its intense difficulty, which can make you turn off the console and kill your desire to come back to the game for quite a while. Hard not to curse its incredibly unforgiving death penalties, its try-again-from-the-start philosophy, and punishing systems. But if you do, the gameplay finesse, subtle exploration vibe, well-thought customization system, and fulfilling power grinding proposed by its dark and enticing world are reason enough to dive back in and try to master the game. The online gameplay is brilliant and fresh, and all in all, if you can put up with the first few punishing hours and figure out how to work the game correctly, its multiple endings, old school vibe and memorable boss battles will reward you with this beloved feeling of being a real achiever. Thank you From Software, for this gift to hardcore gamers.
  77. All those who love the dungeon crawling genre, may find in this From Software's game a large number of interesting elements and carefully developed details, while those who prefer a more narrative structure and a more rich gameplay, should perhaps approach the game only after careful considerations. Waiting a more understandable english version, we can only hope that the existing defects can be fixed.
  78. The forced repetition and steep odds could've been a disaster. But the mêlée combat, mapped primarily to the PlayStation 3's rear triggers, is so beautifully precise, it demands to be mastered.
  79. Playstation Official Magazine Australia
    21st Century standards such as midlevel checkpoints and an inventory system that halts the action so you can equip yourself are eschewed in favour of, well, death. You can't even pause the game, so if you're in for this you're in it for the long haul, hours at a time. [August 2010 p76]
  80. The enemy design is, simply put, wonderful, and so many different elements of Demon's Souls call out to me, demanding love and affection. Sadly, I cannot return its calls. It just goes so far out of its way to be difficult that it misses some key, important elements that would have made it a vastly better game.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1985 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. BobG
    Feb 15, 2010
    I have to admit. This game didn't click for me at first. I rented it and beat the first area and couldn't make a dent past the I have to admit. This game didn't click for me at first. I rented it and beat the first area and couldn't make a dent past the lizard people in world 2-1. I didn't think about it for a month, and I had to urge to buy it. So, like an idiot, I bought it. Played the same level and wondered why I bought it. Then it clicked. I blasted through the part that I couldn't get through and was hooked since then. Yes, this game is hard! Yes, you will die, a lot. But, when you do make it and kill the boss it gives you such satisfaction that no other game can give you. Do yourself a favor. Rent the game at-least. Just keep 60 bucks aside because you will buy the game after you play it. It's that addicting. Full Review »
  2. Aug 10, 2011
    This game is hard. I will not lie at all about it. I play video games on hard difficulties just for fun, but this game.... This game givesThis game is hard. I will not lie at all about it. I play video games on hard difficulties just for fun, but this game.... This game gives hard a new name. But enough about how hard it is, this game is legit and fun as anything I've played in a while. I played it once, returned it after i got stuck at some point, and once again i just needed to have the unforgiving win or lose gameplay that you cannot find anywhere else. The graphics are fantastic, the game itself has an ungodly amount of facets to it, you can play it over and over and it will still be new to you. Some things aren't explained at all, however, and this leads to confusion. I've found myself looking things up online myriad times. So, bottom line, if you are looking for a game that's cheap, fun, hardcore, difficult, and you have an internet connection, i strong recommend this game. 9 of 10. Full Review »
  3. Mar 22, 2011
    Once upon a time, before most of you were born, games were tough. VERY TOUGH. No quicksaves, heck sometimes even no saves at all. AhOnce upon a time, before most of you were born, games were tough. VERY TOUGH. No quicksaves, heck sometimes even no saves at all. Ah yes...those were the days. And it seems that the developers of Demon's Souls want to drag us all back to those days. But is this a good idea? Frankly...no.
    As an alleged RPG, Demon's Souls has litte story. Heck, even DOOM has more story. So if you want a narrative, please look elsewhere. So what does this game have? DEATH...YOURS...AND LOTS OF IT.
    Mostly, your death is caused by not knowing your enemy. So you must therefore retrace your steps and fight again. But when you die you lose souls (the games currency) and so you ideally want to get back to where you died and touch your own bloodstain. Naturally, whatever killed you is still there - so be prepared.
    That pretty much is all there is to this game. It's a rinse and repeat hack 'n' slash with no party members and no real idea of what you're doing.
    Oh but there is online isn't there? And here is another major problem. You are basically online all the time, along with everyone else. People can and will, invade YOUR game and they may help you, but more often than not, they will kill you. Charming. Back you go to the beginning of the level AGAIN.
    If you like the idea of all this repetition, then you will love this game.
    Controls feel a bit 'off' unless you use target lock-on, which works, but is a great way to end up dead as you can't move the camera around to see what's behind you.
    Having said all that, the graphics are nice, the sound is OK, and the music is appropriately melancholic.
    It's a tough game, but you are always battling it's design flaws, rather than anything else.
    Full Review »