Demon’s Souls Remake Has Set the Standard for Next Gen Gaming

Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls remaster has received near-universal acclaim since its release in November of last year and other developers should take notice.

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It has to be said that the term ‘next generation’ has been bandied around for some time now and, in recent years, has often not had a lot to show for it. The leap in graphical fidelity between the PlayStation 3 and the PlayStation 4, for instance, was certainly not one of immense difference.

Gone are the days when video games were making stratospheric bounds from simple, 2 dimensional, 16-bit graphics on the Super Nintendo to the 3D realms of the Nintendo 64. These days, ‘next-gen’ is something a lot more subtle and nuanced. What Demon’s Souls and the PS5 are showing us though, is that aside from glaring graphical overhauls, slight improvements can bring a very palpable sense of immersion to gaming.

More Than Just 4K

Visually speaking, Demon’s Souls is simply a cut above the rest. The game has two distinct graphical options: a ‘cinematic’ option, which runs the game consistently at 4k resolution, 30 fps, and a ‘performance’ mode, where the game will push for 60fps with dynamic 4k. This dynamic option allows the game to maintain a higher framerate while dipping the resolution down slightly in areas where a lot is happening on-screen. While playing the game, you’re basically never going to notice this occurring and the framerate will remain buttery smooth.

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While all of this is happening under the hood, what you will actually notice is the incredible texture fidelity and phenomenal lighting. Every surface looks tactile, from worn-down stone pillars and weather-beaten cliffsides, to the flesh and scales of the monstrous bosses you will encounter as you plumb the depths of Boletaria for more souls.

The lighting is gorgeous. It shimmers on water and bounces around scenes with intense realism –all without raytracing mind you– and more than that, it breathes life into a world defined by its darkness.

The Bluepoint Engine

The game runs on Bluepoint’s own engine, the same one used for Shadow of the Colossus, and it obviously does a lot of heavy-lifting in terms of the game’s success as a remake. Having said that, it seems that while there is often a lot of emphases placed on engines, resolution and such in the discussion of next-gen, perhaps the decisions a developer makes should be just as important.

Demon’s Souls looks and feels fantastic not only because of its engine. The animations are second-to-none. You can feel your weapon hit home in a satisfying fashion, helped along by the vibrations of your PS5 controller —the haptic sensors on the triggers allow you to physically feel the weight of your sword or axe as you plunge it into monsters.

On top of all of this is a remastered score and impeccable sound design. There were times playing this game where the crunch of sand underfoot was honestly just as satisfying as the death rattle of a conquered demon.

What Demon’s Souls has done for the next generation of games is to put them on notice. Fashioning next-gen titles won’t be about using ray tracing or high-resolution textures, it will be about incorporating those elements into something atmospheric and tangible.

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