As I recently got lucky to acquire a PS5 finally, I can enjoy all of the latest tech and games for the newest PlayStation generation. While I have Sackboy: A Big Adventure and Spider-Man: Miles Morales to play, I first jumped into Astro’s Playroom and Demon’s Souls. The Bluepoint remake is an absolute masterpiece, making it one of the best games I have played. That said, it is known for being difficult, or really anything that Hidetaka Miyazaki has touched, like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro. So, for the start of FromSoftware’s journey into making difficult RPGs (that are also weirdly wet), I thought ranking all five of the worlds in Demon’s Souls from easiest to hardest would be a great idea.
Before we dive in, let’s look at how I will determine my rankings. First of all, I played as a Royalty class, the magic build that essentially makes the whole experience way easier, a trend across the Dark Souls trilogy too. So, my time going through each level might differ if you were more of a tank or a bleed build or whatever else you decided to choose when embarking on this brutal journey. Secondly, I am looking at the enemies; whether that means the challenge of fighting average foes or defeating the epic bosses that this fantasy landscape offers, I will take this into account. Finally, I will consider the level design as some make it so infuriating purely on the structure of these labyrinths.
If you are having a tough time with Bluepoint’s remake, you should check out this beginners guide to help you survive.
5. Archstone of the Shadowmen “Shrine of Storms” – World 4
I was debating on the first area of the game to kick things off, but honestly, Archstone of the Shadowmen is by far the easiest place when appropriately leveled. The enemies consist of Reapers who control shadowy figures (Shadowlurkers), giant worms, flying stingrays, an optional fight of a samurai-like character, and skeletons. If it weren’t for some narrow halls where the Shadowlurkers wouldn’t blast me to oblivion, I would have had a much easier time here.
It is not that bad, despite some of these threats sound pretty scary. Shadow monsters will die instantly and stop responding after killing the Reaper who sits around in the room you find yourself in, which has a slow attack that you can dodge. The flying Steve Irwin killers (good motivation to slay these monsters) die within a single hit if you have some decent ranged attack. The worms can be avoided and even then die quickly if you have to fight. Then you have the skeletons, which require some caution and skill, but I managed just fine with my sword and spells.
The bosses are a breeze. I was careful of the Adjudicator who can get in heavy hits, but staying above him and firing Soul Arrows at his head made it a piece of cake. The Storm King, a giant flying stingray, is a joke if you either have any long-range abilities or find Storm Ruler, a sword with a magical twist that will annihilate this creature that should stick to the water, not the sky. Finally, the Old Hero is blind, so if you have a thief ring to make it harder to be detected, you should wipe the floor with him. I will say, I did die a couple of times on him as I got cocky, and the trek back to him is horrible, making that the only challenge that I found.
I should mention that the Vanguard from the tutorial area is found here so that you can get your revenge. Since I have spells, I shot the beast to death. It turns out it does not move at all toward you unless you actually get up really close. I was not that far away, I was a moderate distance, and it is until it died.
4. Archstone of the Small King “Boletarian Palace” – World 1
I could argue that this palace deserves to be on either end of this ranking of the Demon’s Souls worlds, but after a lot of thought, I decided to put it here. The main reason is from the non-red-eyed knights and normal soldiers that walk its premises, even though most of the bosses are brutal.
Average Joe soldiers, crossbow-wielding dudes, and a few knights make this pretty easy. Later on, some new people get thrown into the mix, but overall it is not that bad. The red-eyed knights are a pain, though. Those two gave me hell when trying to reach the final boss, even with the shortcut on the way.
Despite some tight halls, it was pretty easy to roam around, whether to get around someone trying to kill me or find new items. The layout is pretty forgiving, especially when looking at later environments that do quite the opposite.
Okay, let’s talk, bosses. The Phalanx is a joke, just a blob with blob protectors that easily die by fire. It did lead me to a false sense of security as everyone else smashed me to the ground, well, almost. The Tower Knight is a mighty foe, but finding the right advantage above him made it a breeze as I did not die once. Penetrator will surely penetrate, but by not stopping and casting Soul Rays at the right time, I put him in the grave (or more like blue sparkles). Technically, Old King Allant is not the final boss; the Under the Nexus barely counts as it has the final “boss” who requires a few hits to kill for the ending. The possessed king is the true final fight to test your skills, and man, he is tough, so much so he can suck a level out of you. Seriously, who thought that was a good idea at FromSoftware?
The dragons are not too bad once you get the timing down to avoid their fire. Plus, you can kill them. The blue one is a bit harder, but positioned correctly, the red one is pretty easy aside from time-consuming.
Despite some bumps in the road, there is a good reason this is the first main area in the game, whether or not half of it is not available until later. This is some easy stuff, for a Souls-like.
3. Archstone of the Tower Queen “Tower of Latria” – World 3
With bad footing, this is a nightmare. After the first section, Prison of Hope (3-1), things escalate with narrow paths and deadly falls in the other areas. Outside of the Old Monk (I will get to that agonizing experience shortly), Archstone of the Tower Queen is not that bad, leaving it in the middle of this ranking of the worlds in Demon’s Souls.
The toughest foes are the gargoyles, who I was careful enough around to note have issues with, and the awful Mind Flayers. Either I got lit up into blue flames by their Soul Rays or electrified, making me briefly paralyzed enough for a melee attack that takes away a majority of my health. I will say it right here and right now that this is the worst enemy in the game. They can go to Hell.
The bosses start with the Fool’s Idol, who has an ability to stun you and fire you up with Soul Rays, but all in all, fighting her is not that painful. Now, the other two are another story. Maneater can easily knock you off, but on top of that, after nearly killing it, another one flies up. While backup arrived, I still managed to get through without dying all that much. However, the Old Monk is another one of those gimmick battles where you have to face an invading player, who may end up being the death of you if you get someone really skilled. Thankfully it changes every time you die. The issue that made me want to jump out a window is that you have to go up an incredibly long, thin staircase with two black phantom Mind Flayers. Those two Cthulhu-looking spellcasters were nearly the death of me, and I mean the journalist writing this, not my character Harry Pooter.
2. Archstone of the Burrow King “Stonefang Tunnel” – World 2
If it wasn’t for the fact I got through Maneater, Mind Flayers (not the black phantom ones), and the invader so easily, plus not falling off much, then I would swap these this entry with the last one for this ranking of the Demon’s Souls worlds. What changed my mind stems from how lost I got in the tunnels in The Tunnel City (2-2), which lives up to its name, and how annoying the gimmick is for the Dragon God.
Split paths really confuse me as I have a terrible sense of direction in video games and life. Having choices of where to go really messed me up, especially all the ways to go through the tunnels filled with fat fire slugs (Giant Bearbugs).
World three did not get me on falling, but the amount of times Archstone of the Burrow King requires falls on platforms was more hellish than all of the spicy creatures that plagued these tunnels. I think I fell to my death more than enemies slaying me.
Armor Spider was the most adrenaline I felt in a game in possibly years, but I managed to squish this arachnid after two tries. The Flamelurker and the Dragon God were different stories. While it did not take me over a day, like climbing stairs to face two Mind Flayers to then fight a fellow player, I still found it stressful on the former and annoying on the latter. The “twist” to make the Dragon God stand out from everyone else by stealthily going past it to shoot gigantic spears was both not fun and irritating. At least he looked pretty cool.
1. Archstone of the Chieftain “Valley of Defilement” – World 5
This “valley” can burn. Swamps are in every Souls-like FromSoftware has developed that I can think of, and it is almost always the worst level. So, it is quite fitting that the end to my ranking of the Demon’s Souls worlds is a damn swamp. Also, fun fact, this is the inspiration behind the whole article as I have to vent my anger somehow.
Funny enough, none of the threats are that bad, both in bosses and the residents who call this disgusting place their home. Starting off, the Depraved Chasm (5-1) is both narrow with plenty of deadly drops and little guys who like to sneak up to stab you in the back because they are cowards. I thought it could not worsen, then I found myself in the Swamp of Sorrow (5-2), which has the most fitting name out of any section. It is exactly that as the sludgy water slows you down to make it impossible to dodge tougher threats, and it poisons you. If you have not experienced this place, you may not be too sure what the big deal is, but trust me and anyone else who has played, it sucks so bad that I had to take extended breaks without losing my mind.
Thankfully the Dirty Colossus and Leechmonger are easy, filthy behemoths that die easily to fire. Then there is Maiden Astraea, who has plagued blood across the bottom floor with fetuses that will quickly make you into breakfast. But staying up top to fight her guardian, Garl Vinland, is the way to go. For me, he did not do anything really. I would make him attack with his heavy hammer; then, I go in for a few slashes with my sword as he recovers. For whatever reason, the guy did not walk anywhere, just stood in one spot trying to attack me.
I am sure people may disagree with my ranking of the Demon’s Souls worlds. In that case, what are the easiest and hardest areas for you? What did you slay in or find troubling? Let me know in the comments.