In the event that you haven't yet heard enough about Demon's Souls absurd difficulty, there's a new editorial on Crispy Gamer that breaks the absurdity down while also comparing it to the difficulty we experienced with video games many years ago. There's some humor throughout, too:
For those of you who have not yet played Demon's Souls, you read it right: There is no pause. What if your dog has a heart attack? No pause. What if a fire starts in your kitchen? Sorry: Defeat the broadsword-swinging skeleton first and deal with the fire second. "Well," you might be thinking, "surely bringing up the PlayStation 3 network screen pauses the game." Nope. "What kind of person," you are most likely thinking now, "would design a game in which you cannot, under any circumstances, pause?" Pale, dead-eyed sadists, is my guess. Admittedly, there are numerous "safe" points in the game, in which you are more or less protected if you stand absolutely still, but this will not save you if your game is "invaded" by another, living gamer maniacally impelled to kill you. Again, yes -- Demon's Souls allows other gamers to come into your game and kill you, even if you do not want them to and are in the middle of an assault on the Shrine of Storms as intricately planned and complicated as the Normandy landing. I have been invaded approximately 200 times by now, and have tasted victory exactly three times, once against someone who inexplicably stopped fighting in the middle of the battle. (His dog, I suspect, had a heart attack.)
Maybe this does not sound so bad to you. Maybe you think it would make in-game death a visceral, heart-pounding event, unlike almost every other modern game, in which dying is about as affecting as a parking ticket. The complicating wrinkle here is twofold. First, when you die and revert to soul form you lose all the precious experience points ("souls," in the game's parlance, and the game world's only currency) you have been collecting. You can only get these lost souls back if you reach the point at which you expired, but you do not regain your physical body. And, in the meantime, all the enemies have respawned and you now have to do the same thing with half as much health.