Prepare to die a little less with these handy pointers.
As the remake of one of the most beloved games of the PS3 era and perhaps the only major next-gen-exclusive launch title, Bluepoint’s Demon’s Souls is a game that millions have been looking forward to for some time now. The game’s now out in parts of the world, and will be out globally soon enough, giving everyone the chance to jump back into its nightmarish world once more. For veterans of the series, there isn’t much that we can tell you about it that you wouldn’t already know, but most likely, many newcomers and series beginners will be jumping into the game for the first time. If you’re such a player, the beginners tips and tricks we’ve compiled in this feature will be very handy in the early hours of the game.
The Vanguard is the first boss in the game, and entirely optional, too- you can die early on in the tutorial and never get to the boss fight, if you wish. But if you do manage to make it to this demon and actually defeat it, you’ll have some nifty rewards in store. Defeating the Vanguard will net you wish plenty of early souls, a unique Grey Demon’s Soul, and open up a checkpoint stone to a path that has some useful consumables and loot lying around. Not crucial by any means, but a nice bonus nonetheless.
Other than the Vanguard, the Phalanx is the first boss you will encounter in Demon’s Souls, and arguably the first real boss fight of the game, and while it’s an appropriately challenging encounter, there’s one trick you should keep in mind while taking it on to make life a little easier for you. This fight sees you going up against not only Phalanx, but also plenty of smaller enemies as at the same time as well, and it’s recommended that you make it a priority to take out all of those small guys first. Phalanx can’t protect itself anymore once you do that, which makes attacking it and bringing down its health to zero that much easier.
Of course, one of the most difficult decisions you’ll be making in Demon’s Souls early on is that of what class you want to pick. There’s no wrong answers, to be honest, and a lot of great choices, but some classes are better than the others for beginners. The Royalty class is probably one of the best choices for newcomers. Its focus on ranged attacks and skill with the dark arts makes it a great starting class, and hanging back, locking on to enemies, and firing Soul Arrows from a distance is a great way to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed by enemies early on.
The Temple Knight is another great starting class. In many ways, this is your stock warrior class, and for those who’re looking for a good, versatile, melee build, this is the way to go. The Temple Knight has decent armour, high stamina, and good reach with its sword, and combined with a high strength stat and the ability to heal itself, makes for a solid first choice for beginners and newcomers.
If your playstyle is the kind that tends to focus on healing and self-healing, the Priest class might be the way to go. Priests have deficiencies in other areas, and aren’t necessarily the most well-rounded characters in the beginning, but for newcomers who’re looking to have plenty of healing spells and abilities in their arsenal right off the bat, the Priest class is the way to go.
Demon’s Souls’ World Tendency system is a crucial element of the game that defines much of the experience- it’s basically a difficulty setting, even though the game itself doesn’t have actual difficulty options. Pure White World Tendency is the easiest, and Pure Black is the hardest. Helping other characters, defeating bosses, and beating invaders pushes it toward the former, while dying a lot, invading other players does the opposite. It goes without saying that if you’re a newcomer and on your first playthrough, a Pure White run is probably the best choice- though you will get fewer souls and loot drops on Pure White runs.
Again, this is specifically for newcomers, and specifically if you want to keep your World Tendency as close to Pure White as possible- but playing the game offline is recommended. If you play online, you always run the risk of getting invaded and dying, which will mess up your World Tendency. Playing offline does mean you lose out on some features, such as summoning help or helping other players, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
This is another crucial tip that you should keep in mind while playing Demon’s Souls, especially if you want to keep your World Tendency as close to Pure White as possible. When you’re playing in Soul Form, you have lower health than your human form, but dying when in Soul Form has no negative impact on World Tendency. As such, beginners who want to keep the Tendency close to Pure White and keep the game a little easier should always play in Soul Form.
Soul Form does have some disadvantages, of course. For instance, as mentioned earlier, you always play with the handicap of a reduced total health bar when in Soul Form- which is why the Cling Ring is a crucial item that you should be on the lookout for. Found very early in the game in the Boletarian Palace, the Cling Ring increases your ghostly form’s health- so keep an eye out for this one, and make sure you don’t miss it.
Killing bosses will net you with special boss souls (or Demon’s Souls), and while you might be tempted to spend them haphazardly to power up your character, it’s important to be careful about you do so. These are best used for things such as weapon upgrades and Miracles, so plan ahead on what you want to buy with your boss souls, and spend them wisely.
Demon’s Souls differs from other Souls games in one very crucial way- encumbrance. So even if you’ve played a Dark Souls game and are coming in to this one with that prior experience, that’s something important to keep in mind. Set out from the Nexus only with the things you’re going to need, otherwise you’ll end up having to drop items and loot to make room for new stuff. Healing grasses only take a heavier toll on your encumbrance now, so think carefully about how many of them you want to bring along with you.
All gamers have that twisted desire to take swipes at NPCs just for the lulz, but we can’t stress this enough- don’t do that in Demon’s Souls. Attacking NPCs, even if you do it accidentally, will turn them hostile, which means you’ll end up having to kill them. And once you kill NPCs, you lose access to any and all amenities they may have provided, such as stores they may have had open for you to peruse later in the game. So when around NPCs, it’s best to keep your trigger finger relaxed.