Eurogamer is taking a look back at some of the standout titles of 2009, and Atlus' highly rated Demon's Souls is one of the first games to fall under the microscope.
The enjoyment is all about the context. For all its RPG leanings, it's undoubtedly the survival-horror element that works best on me. Each and every encounter, from the very first shambling tutorial grunt onwards, is filled with the kind of eerie tension that keeps your heart rattling like a knackered clock.
Thanks to a masterful art style and imaginative character design, basic exploration becomes a key element in its appeal as you take every tentative step forward. The fear infused into every mist-shrouded stair and dank corridor ensures there is never any room for complacency, and it's this inherent need to focus every step of the way that makes for such a darkly compelling adventure.
The cold fact is that if you try and play Demon's Souls like a normal game you'll probably hate it, and question the sanity of those who find it so appealing. The complete abandonment of modern concessions is refreshing, but completely contrary to the way most people like to play games nowadays.