Set in a dark fantasy medieval Europe-inspired world, players take control of a custom hero who has journeyed to the fictional kingdom of Boletaria, which is being ravaged by an accursed fog that brings forth demons that feast on the souls of mortals. The game has been described as a spiritual successor to the King's Field series, a previous series of games from the same developer. The gameplay involves a character creation system with emphasis on gathering loot through combat with enemies in a non-linear series of varied locations. It also has a unique online multiplayer system integrated into the single-player where players can leave useful messages and warnings for other players' game worlds.
Upon its release in Japan and North America, Demon's Souls was met with a positive response from critics, winning numerous awards. Praised for its dark fantasy art design, variation in combat choice and integrated online multiplayer, the game is particularly notable for its high difficulty level with many critics praising it as a genuine challenge.
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