GameSpot has kicked up their usual end-of-the-year awards, with Dragon Age: Origins taking home the Best PC Game award and Demon's Souls securing the Best PS3 Game and Best RPG awards.
Demon's Souls isn't suitable for everyone, but many of us were swept into the dark and gloomy Kingdom of Boletaria, even knowing that what awaited us was death...and then, more death. As one of the most challenging but rewarding games of the year, Demon's Souls stands out among the competition for its brilliant atmosphere, unrelenting difficulty, and dark beauty. Not only does the game immediately immerse you into its gloomy world, but it uses a unique online system that lets you interact with other players by leaving messages along the way to warn them of upcoming hazards. There seems to be some reader backlash over Demon's Souls taking the top RPG spot, but what's done is done. Personally, Demon's Souls is just too damn frustrating at times to make it a top pick for me.
While death is the theme (and a common occurrence) when playing Demon's Souls, your untimely demise could also save the life of another player. When a player dies in his or her own game, a blood stain is left behind so others, like you, may stumble upon it and see what happened. The multiplayer component is integrated seamlessly. By dropping or picking up soul markers, you can summon players into your game or you can find yourself whisked away into someone else's world and take on challenges together in co-op battles.
All these never-before-seen elements are incorporated in a universe where each region offers something new, and being able to explore each of these authentic realms is an experience in itself. Monsters aren't going to just let you pass without a fight, and fighting takes careful timing, precision, and patience. The story may not be as prevalent as in other RPGs, but the backstory and characters that you'll come across are enough to give you a reason to become engrossed in this world. Demon's Souls is one of the most innovative and engaging games to have captured our imaginations and our spare time this year. It is also GameSpot's best RPG of 2009.