Special Edition Unboxed – Demon’s Souls: Black Phantom Edition
It’s been a while since our last Special Edition Unboxed article, but now it’s back with a vengeance as we look at the Europe-exclusive Black Phantom Edition of Demon’s Souls, which was finally released yesterday thanks to Namco Bandai acquiring the PAL publishing rights.
The contents of this edition are similar to the deluxe version of Demon’s Souls that was released in North America way back in October last year, and includes an artbook, the soundtrack on CD, and a strategy guide that was specially put together by the good folks at demonssouls.wikidot.com.
Sounds like it’ll cost quite a lot, right? Well, no actually. In fact, Demon’s Souls: Black Phantom Edition is on sale for the same kind of price you’d expect to pay for a standard game, and can be found for as little as £34.99 if you shop around.
First up is the artbook, which you probably won’t be surprised to hear contains concept art of many of Demon’s Souls’ characters and environments. It’s nicely presented, with a hardback cover and 44 pages of carefully chosen artwork, but (like all other special edition artbooks) realistically you’re unlikely to look at it again after you’ve had a couple of flick-throughs.
Found on the inside back-cover of the artbook is the game’s soundtrack on CD, which features 24 tracks totalling over 70 minutes of music. The mournful strings and choral melodies fit the game’s gothic atmosphere perfectly, and, in a word, it’s awesome. Whether the soundtrack works outside of the context of the game is debatable, but it’s still a very welcome inclusion.
Finally, due to Demon’s Souls’ unusually high difficulty level, the best thing about the Black Phantom Edition is definitely the wikidot strategy guide. The main purpose of the guide is to introduce the game’s unique features and hopefully get beginners through their first playthrough (relatively) unscathed. Across 156 pages, you’ll find information on specific classes, weapons, armour and much more.
There’s even a 50-page mini walkthrough for the game’s main story, which is both easy to follow and extremely useful, as it has already helped this writer get through the first world. However, please take note that, like the rest of the guide, the walkthrough is aimed specifically at newcomers to the game, and is not likely to help players who have already imported the game from the US or Japan.
From Software and Namco Bandai have put together a brilliant package for PAL gamers, and any RPG fan would be crazy to not pick up the Black Phantom Edition of Demon’s Souls while they still can. We’d happily have paid £10-15 more for the extras, so to get it for the same price as a standard game is a fantastic deal.
The artbook is nicely presented, and the soundtrack is incredible, but without a doubt the star of this edition is the strategy guide. The game’s unforgiving difficulty has been well-documented, so it’s unlikely you’ll be interested in Demon’s Souls at all if you’re not after a challenge, but it’s very good to know it’s there if you need it (and you will!).
For the full game review, please go here.
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