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Webb: That's What She Said

Posted Feb 09, 2010 by Jon Wood

Webb: That's What She Said columnist Justin Webb writes this week's article on difficulty in games, looking back at a past where games were just... harder.

This week I have mostly been playing Demon’s Souls. In addition to its mischievously placed apostrophe, it’s also astonishingly hard.

Its learning curve is more like a learning crevasse, where every mistake is rewarded by being flung flailing into the abyss. Some of the design decisions in the first level are astonishing:

  • You can’t exit the level without beating it.
  • Every time you die, you must start the level again… and all the monsters respawn.
  • Many monsters can kill you in one hit if they get the drop on you.
  • Every time you die, you drop all your souls – the game’s xp and currency. If you die again without picking up those souls, they are gone for good.
  • You start out in human form. If you die, you turn into a spirit with reduced stats and half as many hit points. To resurrect, you must finish the level.
  • It can take a good 15 minutes to fight your way back to your dropped souls.
  • There is a “go left/go right” decision halfway through the first level, where going right takes you to a monster that is unkillable.
  • After finishing the first level, to be able to level up, you must talk to an NPC who is hidden so well that you will want to tear your face off.
  • It has a PvP mode where other players can “break into” your game and hunt you down and kill you.

Read That's What She Said.


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