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Demon's Souls (デモンズソウル Demonzu Souru?) is an action role-playing video game developed primarily by From Software with assistance from SCE Japan Studio exclusively for the PlayStation 3. It was released in Japan on February 5, 2009 and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. In North America the game was released on October 6, 2009 and published by Atlus; Namco Bandai Games published the game for Australia and Europe on June 23 and June 25, 2010, respectively.
Set in a dark fantasy world, players take control of a hero who has journeyed to the fictional kingdom of Boletaria, which is being ravaged by a cursed fog that brings forth demons who feast on the souls of mortals. The game has been described as a spiritual successor to the King's Field series of games. The gameplay involves a character-creation system and emphasizes gathering loot through combat with enemies in a non-linear series of varied locations. It has a unique online multiplayer system integrated into the single-player where players can leave useful messages and warnings for other players' single-player game worlds, as well as joining other players in their world to assist and/or kill them.
Upon its release in Japan and North America, Demon's Souls was met with acclaim from critics, winning numerous awards. The game was praised for its dark fantasy art design, variation in combat choice and integrated online interactions. The game is particularly notable for its high difficulty level, with many critics noting it as a genuine challenge. The game has a spiritual successor titled Dark Souls.
Players take control of the main character in a third-person view who, at the start of the game, can be customized by choice of gender, appearance, name and starting class. There are 10 starting classes, ranging from knights and barbarians to thieves and mages. Each class has its own starting statistics, starting gear, weapons and type of magic used which all emphasize certain approaches to combat depending on the player's preference.
As players kill demons, they gain souls which act as currency that can be used to buy, repair, and upgrade weapons as well as increase player statistics such as strength, luck, and endurance. Along with souls, players can retrieve items such as weaponry and ore for upgrading. When a player is killed during a level, they are sent to the beginning of the level with all non-boss enemies re-spawned, and the player returns in soul form with lower maximum health and the loss of all unused souls. If the player manages to reach their bloodstain at the point where they were last killed, they regain their lost souls. However, if they are killed before then, the souls are lost permanently. Upon defeating a boss, the player can choose to re-spawn back to that location, marked in the form of an Archstone. When not exploring a level, players reside in the Nexus, a realm of souls that acts as a hub where players can exchange souls, store items and travel between regions. After completing the initial portion of the first region, players can choose to progress through any other of the newly available regions.
Gameplay can change depending on both the World and Character tendency, which can be either white or black. Tendency depends on the actions of the player such as helping or killing NPCs. When white, enemies are easier, yet the soul and items rewards are fewer; when black, enemies are stronger and give greater rewards. Players can manipulate their tendency to suit their current needs. Character tendency affects the player throughout, while World Tendency only affects the region where an action was taken.