Hidetaka Miyazaki created one of the most celebrated franchises in modern gaming so let's explore the first 2 entries in his Souls series.
The basic premise of Demon's Souls is that you play as a warrior who enters the distressed kingdom of Boletaria. Upon perishing in battle, you end up in the Nexus where the Maiden in Black resides and you're trapped there until the Old One is put to rest again which will essentially lift the kingdom's curse. When you dive deeper, you'll learn about the horrific Valley of Defilement's disturbing past, how the kingdom's royalty caused its current mess, and the true nature of the Old One. Meanwhile, Dark Souls has you start as an imprisoned undead soldier whose destiny is to dictate which state the world will end up in next. This world is a lot more complex than Demon's Souls' yet the story is much less clearly defined. Learning about the world's past, the mighty Gwyn and his children, and specifics like how the terrifying boss Pinwheel was created makes for an interesting experience to say the least.
I could go on all day about every piece of interesting lore tidbit in each of these fantastic games but it's safe to say that the world of Dark Souls is a lot more complex, interesting, and subtly portrayed so it clearly wins this category.
Demon's Souls and Dark Souls feature similar gameplay yet Dark Souls improves on a few aspects from Demon's Souls. For example, its Estus Flask healing system is more convenient than using limited items, being able to store humanity so you can revert to human form whenever you perish is much simpler than having to beat a boss, and multiplayer is streamlined via its soapstone summoning system. That being said, the World Tendency system in Demon's Souls is an awesome mechanic that alters the world in intriguing ways depending on certain circumstances. However, Dark Souls simply nailed it and its overall gameplay is definitely an improvement so it wins here.
In my opinion, this is the best part of any Souls game as I absolutely love traversing unique locations while battling the distinct enemies within them. First, Demon's Souls contains 5 separate areas with multiple segments that usually feature a boss at the end. Each one is incredibly unique such as the massive castle, the intricate mine tunnels, the dark tower prison, the expansive ruin-filled plains, and the plague-infested valley. Next, Dark Souls boasts a vast open world with its locations being connected. I remember the first time I traveled through Undead Burg to the Undead Parish and ended up back at Firelink Shrine. My mind was blown but that was just the beginning. My favourite journey involves travelling deeper and deeper underground via an enormous tree known as The Great Hollow only to arrive at a long stretch of beach beside Ash Lake which ends up taking you to the giant Everlasting Dragon. Well, Dark Souls wins yet again!
Another stand-out aspect of the Souls series is its memorable boss battles. For starters, Demon's Souls begins with the gruesome blob-like Phalanx then you'll end up challenging a giant Tower Knight, a hulking Dragon God, the disgusting Leechmonger, the tragic Maiden Astraea, and many more. Dark Souls has a ton of great bosses, too, including the epic fight with the Four Kings in complete darkness, the super-tough Ornstein and Smough, a huge dragon named Seath the Scaleless, the creepy Gravelord Nito, the gross Gaping Dragon, and perhaps the greatest boss of the whole franchise; Great Wolf Sif. Needless to say, Dark Souls wins yet another category.
After all is said and done, I think it's very clear which one I'm going to pick so the winner in this Souls match-up is...
Winner Dark Souls
If it wasn't for Demon's Souls, the Souls series wouldn't be what it is. It established a unique action RPG formula that captured gamers' imaginations and immersed them in an eerie and tense world. Dark Souls took this formula and expanded upon it in phenomenal ways to create one of the greatest video games ever and my personal favourite entry in the entire series. From its unforgettable open world to its haunting lore, Dark Souls remains a must-play experience for any gamer.
That's just my opinion. Agree? Disagree? Vote now!