Source: YouTube

The most impressive piece of online functionality came in the form of a boss fight. When online, the Old Monk encounter in the dangerous Tower of Latria casts one player as the boss and has them fight against an adventurer on their own journey. It’s an inspired encounter, taking full advantage of the game’s online features to provide players with a challenging test of skill as well as a shocking surprise. Realizing that the Old Monk is actually another player is an astounding moment of discovery. It’s such a good twist that when Dark Souls 3’s The Ringed City DLC expanded on the concept, it made for one of the series’ best boss encounters. Demon’s Souls’ revelatory moment will now fade away as players face off against a generic NPC instead of testing their mettle against other players.

All of the changes beg the necessary question of what it means to truly experience a game. Players exploring Demon’s Souls after the server shutdown will wander through a far more limited and lonely version of the game. Are they getting the core Demon’s Souls experience, or are their adventures an empty echo of what was? In an age where the industry struggles to preserve old games and players must revive old experiences through fan servers, shutting off Demon’s Souls’ servers will render key parts of a formative and important game experience unplayable. The Souls series focuses on decayed and abandoned worlds. With this server shutdown, Demon’s Souls becomes the first of FromSoftware’s games to suffer a similar fate.