First off, I want to apologize. I know it’s been a while since the last $20 GOTW, but moving, along with an unwelcome hard drive failure have kept me busy. Thankfully now I’m back, and so is the $20 GOTW. Next week, I’ll have something even better. Anyway, with it’s spiritual successor hitting storeshelves next week, now is the perfect time to take a look at 2009’s sleeper hit, Demon’s Souls. Developed by From Software (Otogi, Armored Core, King’s Field), it’s noted for it’s punishing difficulty, deep RPG gameplay, and unique online modes.

Playing as a soldier that you create yourself, you set out to the kingdom of Boletaria. The kingdom is enveloped by a dark fog that spawns soul-sucking demons, driving everyone within to madness. However, shortly after you arrive, you are killed. That’s not the end however. You are bound to a region called The Nexus where you are recreated as a phantom. It’s then where you must explore each of Boletaria’s worlds, defeat the demons within, and regain your physical body. Each of the worlds is governed by a ‘World Tendency’, which changes events throughout the world. THis world tendency is altered by events such as dying, defeating bosses, and regaining your physical form. However, be prepared to die…a lot. The game is very, very difficult. You’ll be going through a lot of trial and error, along with some serious level and equipment grinding. Thankfully, Demon’s Souls is the old school Ninja Gaiden/Mega Man style of hard where your failures only push you to try harder to make it just to see what comes next.

Demon’s Souls has a pretty cool online mode which is integrated into the single player mode. During the game, you’ll spot various messages left on the ground left by other players. You’ll also come across various bloodstains left on the ground. Touching them allows you to view specters of other players in their final moments, serving as a warning of sorts. Multiplayer mode is even cooler. You can enter another player’s game to either assist, or spawn as an in-game enemy. If you successfully help the other guy kill a major demon, or succeed in killing them, you can regain your physical body.

Demon’s Souls may not have celebrity voice acting, some fancy graphics engine, a kick ass promotional tie-in, or online deathmatch. It does however have unique gameplay mechanics, a slick online mode, and compelling gameplay mechanics. Check it out now, and get your training in for the sequel.