Does the phrase “best graphics of the year” compel you to buy a video game?

Sony likely hopes that bullet point, as applied to this week’s Demon’s Souls remaster, will put you over the edge to buy not only that new game, but also its required $499 PlayStation 5 console. And while I’m cautious to put graphics over gameplay, there’s really no getting around it: Sony made the right bet with this masterpiece as a console-launch showcase.

Super Mario 64 has long stood as the benchmark for a system-selling console exclusive, one that exploits its hardware to incredible effect, and Demon’s Souls is the closest we’re getting to that lofty mark in 2020—a hair better than March’s incredible Half-Life Alyx as a VR system-seller. Crucially, Bluepoint Games’ remaster pulls this off while remaining faithful to 11-year-old gameplay, which means the game earns its next-gen stripes entirely through performance and aesthetics.

If you own a PS5, you owe it to yourself to experience how beautiful and haunting this game is. Just keep an asterisk in mind: if online PS5 shopping-cart woes or anxious, mask-clad waits for a new, sold-out console already sent your blood pressure soaring (on top of everything else in 2020), tread very, very cautiously with Demon’s Souls. Chill vibes, these ain’t.

From Shadow to Souls

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