Demon’s Souls is back! While seasoned veterans of the franchise know very well what to expect, the remaster is a good chance for new players to jump back in. That said, this is one of the most unforgiving franchises out there so we want to make sure you’re equipped with all of the knowledge you need. We’ve prepared ten tips for the new Demon’s Souls players full of information you should know before you start playing.
Lock-On 99% of the Time
One mistake beginner players tend to make often is that they forget to lock-onto their enemies. If you don’t lock-on, you’re going to have a bad time. Not only does locking-on allow you to ensure your strikes connect, but it also guarantees that you’ll hit the correct enemy.
When facing off against larger groups of enemies, you might want to prioritize a certain opponent over others. These are enemies that might have a powerful long range attack, or ones that simply hit harder than the rest.
Despite that, there are some rare instances when locking-on is a bad idea — particularly in close quarters situations where the camera can get wonky. These are locations like in Valley of Defilement, or in the narrow corridors of Boletarian Palace. Likewise, if you’re facing off against a large boss like The Adjudicator or Tower Knight, you can probably get away with free aiming instead of locking-on. Nonetheless, make sure you’re locking-onto most enemies you come across to ensure you’re taking them out effectively.
It Pays to Wear Light Armor
Demon’s Souls is hard — that’s not a controversial statement. Because of that, it might be tempting to wear the heaviest, most durable armor you come across. As tempting as it might be, we advise against this for a couple reasons.
The obvious reason is that it will slow your character down tremendously. You’ll have an easier time getting through difficult sections if you’re fast and nimble. Why withstand an attack and take damage when you can roll through or past it? If you’ve got a ton of armor on, you won’t be able to roll as effectively.
The other reason to avoid wearing heavy armor is that it will teach you to master the art of movement. Wearing heavy armor will likely instill bad habits into your play style, so make sure you start off right by being light on your feet. You don’t need to be naked, but the lighter the armor, the better off you’ll be (in most cases).
How World Tendency Works
The World Tendency system in Demon’s Souls is not self explanatory, so allow us to explain. Each of the five areas of the game feature a morality rating that changes based on your decisions. Make good decisions like defeating bosses and not dying while in human form (easier said than done, of course), and you’ll shift to White Tendency.
Make bad decisions like killing NPCs or dying while in human form, and you’ll shift towards Black. Both Black and White Tendencies have pros and cons. For instance, White Tendency features easier enemies, but the items they drop won’t be as rare. The opposite is true of Black Tendency — it has harder enemies, but they drop more Souls and better items when you take them out. The World Tendency ranking is on a scale, and there are eight total ranks, ranging from Pure Black to Pure White. You can check the ranking of a world by looking at the World Tendency sub menu.
You’ve noticed we keep referring to dying in “Human form.” This is the form your character takes when you defeat a boss (or consume a Stone of Ephemeral Eyes.) While in this form, your health is maximized and your character looks alive. If you die in Human form while in one of the five main worlds, your World Tendency will shift to Black.
However, you will not be penalized for dying while in the Nexus. Because of this, we advise to always kill your character in the Nexus before heading to a world. It will be tough, since you won’t have as much health, but if you equip the Cling Ring (found in 1-1), you’ll have more health while in Soul form. If you use this method, you’ll never have to worry about shifting to Black when you die.
Consider Using a Magic Build
There are many builds you can use in Demon’s Souls, ranging from Strength, Dexterity, and Magic. While it’s easy to want to go in Rambo-style and put all your stats into Strength, you should consider using Magic because it absolutely shreds in Demon’s Souls.
Not only does using Magic ensure that you can hit your enemy from afar, but many bosses are extremely weak to certain types of spells. For example, the Tower Knight is very weak to standard magic, while most other bosses like Maneater or Leechmonger can be easily taken down with Firestorm. It’s possible to defeat the Old King Allant boss by two uses of Firestorm, so believe us when we say it’s useful.
Take Advantage of Invulnerability Frames
This is a bit more of an advanced technique, but one that you should be aware of early on. There are numerous instances in Demon’s Souls in which your character will have invulnerability frames (I-frames).
In essence, these are moments when your character is locked into a specific animation that prevents you from being damaged. You’ll want to take advantage of these animations and use them wisely. For example, executing a backstab on an enemy will give you I-frames.
One tactic we like to use when taking down a large group of enemies is to backstab an opponent right before a different enemy is about to strike. That way, we avoid the attack while dealing high damage to an enemy.
Try to Pick Enemies Off One at a Time
Though it’s possible to damage multiple enemies with one swing of a sword, it’s often safer to pick enemies off one-by-one. This is especially true when facing off against multiple foes in narrow hallways.
We recommend to grab the attention of an enemy and then back away until you can safely get a couple hits in. This way, you won’t have to worry about multiple enemies attacking you during your swing. Plus, you’ll have an easier time if you dwindle down the number of enemies rather than trying to take them all out at once.
Make a Beeline For These Weapons
Many of the weapons you come across are useful in their own ways, but there are a few you should prioritize getting your hands on as soon as you can. These are weapons you can get very early on and are ideal due to their high damage output.
- Crescent Falchion+1: Found in the first part of 4-1, just past the first fog gate and immediately to the left. Head outside and you’ll see a Dual-Katana Black Skeleton guarding the weapon.
- Dragon Longsword+1: This one’s tricky, but absolutely worth it. You’ll find it in 2-2, in the maze-like tunnel that has the two Giant Bearbugs. The Dragon Longsword+1 is found down the left path that comes just before you drop down into the circular pit of Rock Worms.
- Compound Longbow: The Compound Longbow is also found in 4-1. Head down the lower, underground section behind the Vanguard mini-boss, and take the path that leads to the pressure plate trap. Ahead is an illusory wall, so hit it, and then take a right down a path that leads to yet another illusory wall. Then head up the steps to the top of the tower to find the bow on the right, by a Skeleton.
Keep a Backup Save File on a USB Drive (Or the Cloud)
In Demon’s Souls, your game saves automatically when anything of significance happens. It saves when you die, when you kill an enemy, when you enter a new area, and pretty much every time the world changes. Since it saves automatically, there isn’t anything you can do if you misstep and fall off a ledge or if you die while holding thousands of Souls.
There is one way you can get around this, however, and it’s kind of cheesy in a way. If you move your save to a USB drive or to the cloud and then turn off automatic cloud uploads, you can actually revert to an old save. This will come in handy if you’re trying to shift your World Tendency to Pure White, so make use of it.
Read All the Notes on the Ground
All around you are notes left on the ground from real players and you should stop and to read them. Oftentimes they will hint towards something that could be useful — especially things that aren’t so obvious. Try to read every note and examine the world around you to see what they could mean.
The notes are written using a template system, meaning the sentences won’t always read the way you’d expect. Other times, notes will lead you to a trap or are just there to troll you. Either way, it pays to at least read them.
There is a Recommended Path You Should Follow
Demon’s Souls allows you to tackle its worlds in any order, so long as you’ve defeated the first boss in Boletarian Palace, the Phalanx. Though it can be tempting to run through each world chronologically, we advise against it. Here’s the recommended path you should take:
There’s room for experimentation here, but at the very least, save the later portions of Boletarian Palace until the very end of the game. Tower of Latria is also quite tough, so you should go there when you’re properly leveled.