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bluexy avatar 9:31 PM on 10.22.2009  (server time)
I Give Up: Demon's Souls

It's the latest game to take Destructoid's community by storm. Demon's Souls has captured the hearts of retro gamers and modern action gamers alike. Stuffed full of swords, sorcery, huge bad guys and their larger bosses, Demon's Souls is unrelenting. The game will grab you by a sensitive area and never let go. You'll die over and over, throw your controller against the wall in frustration, and then find yourself thinking about strategies during the night. Extraordinary settings, realistic (and deadly) combat, and some great innovation piled on top of a level of challenge you've never encountered before will keep you playing for hours on end.

Not me though. I give up.

My experience started like most others': Charging into a crowd swinging your sword/axe/dagger like a motherfucker. Then quickly realizing that kind of exuberant play just won't cut it in Demon's Souls. I switched to a shield bearing class and cautiously approached every corner and doorway as if Nosferatu, Megatron, and Jared from those goddamn Subway commercials was waiting for me. It was tedious, it was slow, and it was probably going to give me a heart attack if I drank anymore coffee. At that point I didn't know why I kept going.

Truthfully, I was considering just returning my rental as I walked in to the gateway leading to the first boss. I walked out with renewed hope. That big blob with all those bastard shield blobs protecting it? Ya I trounced on that son of a bitch. And wow did it feel good. Bloodstains covered the floor from other fallen players who likely caught a thrown spear as they tried to munch on some healing herbs. Me though, I ran circles around that guy, got him stuck behind a pillar and mowed through his little bodyguards. I even let the poor, doomed thing wander around after I'd finished the little guys off. Stalking him around the room made it all the sweeter.

The game began anew the second day. Each of the 5 new areas were patiently trekked through as I wrote each separate challenge to my memory. Another boss fell before me, but I wasn't the same. Or perhaps the problem was that it was the same. I pushed on and encountered another boss, and couldn't conquer it. Then another boss I couldn't beat, and another. My third day, now into the work week, was spent studying online. Searching through FAQs and walkthroughs I researched methods to destroy the bosses I had lost to before. Tonight I dined on demon soup.

I didn't play that night, or the next night either. I haven't put the disk back into my Playstation 3 in a week now, and I won't be likely be playing it again.

No, at some point after my research I actually stopped to think about my experience with Demon's Souls. I just wasn't having any fun. Certainly though, I felt compelled to continue, to defeat the all the challenges ahead of me. To take in the beauty behind the desolute and broken world. I find it akin to hiking a tall mountain. It's almost more enjoyable after the hike is done and you're with friends drinking a beer, reminiscing about what a pain in the ass hiking that mountain was.

So I weighed that in my head, and found that I didn't want gaming to become a hike, a marathon. I couldn't enjoy Demon's Souls despite what I might think about it when it was completed. That's no insult to Demon's Souls as a game, or those who do enjoy it though. It's akin to the movie Requiem for a Dream, which I think is a masterpiece. I'm still never going to watch it again because it's practically torture.

Do I have to give up my hardcore gamer card? I give up. :)

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