After putting in around 60 hours of game time in the new Demon’s Souls remake, I feel educated enough to help beginners new to the game get started. Although FromSoftware’s games have a reputation for being difficult and not very noob friendly, there has never been a better time to give this genre a try, as the Demon’s Souls remake does seem to have been toned down a bit since the original, as well as having some of the most beautiful graphics and audio I’ve ever witnessed in a game.
For more on FromSoftware’s games, check out these articles:
- Top 10 Most Difficult Souls Bosses
- Demon’s Souls: Trophies and Achievements List
- Demon’s Souls Remake developers show the character creator and photo mode
The PlayStation 5 Remake
They say classics never die. And while that may be true, I don’t know that we can call Demon’s Souls a classic in the strict sense of the word, since the title did fall into relative obscurity when it first came out. This is not to say that it did poorly, because it didn’t. The game did sell and was well-received by the critics, with most if not all of them acknowledging the difficulty and the learning curve that would become a recognized staple in the series, along with the mechanics such as the invasions and summoning of enemies and allies respectively, not to mention the nightmarish creatures.
But it is undeniable that it wasn’t until the release of Dark Souls and the subsequent internet and meme culture that accompanied it that both the developer and the Souls series really made it into the spotlight. Up until 2021, and previous to the release of Elden Ring, ScreenRant had listed all Souls Games in order by number of sales, and Demon’s Souls is sitting dead last, while the original Dark Souls as the runner-up in second place only behind Dark Souls 3.
Demon’s Souls even only sold half of the next title of the list: Bloodborne. Still, FromSoft would not be where they are if it wasn’t for Demon’s Souls, which could account for the reasoning on why it needed a remake. It was also one of the announced launch titles for the PS 5, which would serve to showcase the power of the console, which, along with the Xbox Series X and S, seemed to finally be closing the gap with PCs, if only for a brief moment. The improvement was noticeable for gamers, particularly in the visual quality of the experience, as those that played the original attested.
So PlayStation Studios and Bluepoint Games joined efforts into bringing the experience to the new generation, and in that quest, they delivered an amazing experience.
How Souls and Levels Work
Souls are the main currency of the game; players must kill enemies and bosses in order to receive them while subsequently trying to stay alive to prevent losing them all. If you do happen to die with an abundance of souls, you can head back to the location you died and collect your souls again. As well as buying items and upgrading weapons, souls are also used to level your character’s stats, increasing a player’s overall Soul Level. Complete worlds and die as least as possible in order to retain souls and eventually return to the nexus to level up. However, keep in mind that the ability to level up through the Maiden in Black is locked until you defeat the game’s first boss, the Phalanx.
Human Form and Soul Form
In Demon’s Souls, players will be experiencing two-character states, the soul form and the human form. While you are in human form, the player has full health and can see their character’s body without the blue aura of the soul form. Of course, being in human form means you can sustain more attacks due to your health bar being full; however, if you happen to die as a human, your game’s World Tendency will decrease for whatever Archstone you died in (more on Tendency later). It is important to note that players who kill bosses in human form will increase their World Tendency towards Pure White, incentivising players to attempt bosses with a risk of affecting their World Tendency.
Once you die in physical form, the game will put you in soul form, which is noticeable by the blue aura around the player as well as the shortened health bar. While in soul form, players have less of a health pool unless they use the Cling Ring, which increases soul form health. Although this is a disadvantage, while you are in this form, any deaths you experience will not affect the World Tendency of that particular Archstone; thus, many new players should consider playing most of the game in this state until they are more confident.
World and Character Tendency
Arguably the most confusing part of Demon’s Souls is the Tendency mechanic. During the course of your playthrough, player actions will either increase World/Character Tendency towards Pure White or Pure Black. Things like dying in human form will decrease your World Tendency towards Pure Black, while killing bosses in human form will increase it towards Pure White. Character Tendency is separate and rather influenced by a character’s interactions with the game’s NPC’s and online players. For example, invading other players online and killing them will restore your body form but also decrease your Character Tendency.
Each end of Character and World Tendency will unlock different events in-game, causing players who want the best items to experience both Pure White and Pure Black Tendency. However, be careful, as the further you delve into the Pure Black side of Tendency, the harder the game will become. Players can find the Primeval Demon in the worlds after entering Pure Black, which once killed will return the World Tendency of that particular Archstone back to neutral. It is useful for new players to be aware of this mechanic; however, they shouldn’t have to worry about it until the endgame/new game plus. To find out all the best events to experience in both ends of World and Character Tendency, check out these useful guides on IGN: Pure White Tendency Events, Pure Black Tendency Events.
What Class Should I Use?
During the customisation of your character, you will be asked to select a Class, which should be chosen wisely based on your preferred playstyle and experience. Many experienced players already know what kind of build they will be attempting to create from the start. For example, one player might choose the Barbarian class to begin with as they know they start out with the highest strength stat at the beginning, allowing them to wield certain weapons earlier than others. Further, one might want their character to be a ranged mage, wielding Spells and Miracles rather than a melee weapon, provoking them to select the Magician as they start with a high Magic stat.
In my opinion, new players who are unaware of how they want to play and what build they want to strive for should select the Royalty class, as this class is very well rounded, allowing you to wield both spells and melee weapons effectively. This class is known as the most beginner-friendly due to its balanced stats and versatility, allowing players to choose what build they want to focus on after getting to grips with the game. Further, this class is useful for beginners as it contains the Providential Ring, an item which boosts item discovery, useful for picking up more heals and weapons during the start of the game.
Keep Your Shield Up and Be Patient
Now, as for the combat, players inexperienced with FromSoftware’s slow, melodic style of fighting may struggle with the game’s pace at the start. However, practice makes perfect, so persevering through enemies you are struggling with, learning their attacks and the best time to get on the offensive is exactly what Demon’s Souls is all about. Keep your shield up, be patient and understand how your weapon moves. All the weapons in-game have their own move sets, attacking differently out of a roll, a run or even a backstep. Gaining knowledge on the best way to dance around your enemies via your weapon’s move set is the key to success. Don’t worry too much about parrying enemies, as this a tactic for more advanced players. Instead, keep your guard up, go for backstabs and ultimately choose your attack windows wisely.
When to use heals and how to get more
Healing comes thick and fast, especially with the Providential Ring, so don’t be afraid to use them. Many of the NPC’s you find throughout the Archstones and the Nexus will also sell you heals for fairly cheap; however, you won’t have to worry about purchasing heals until much further into the game. For those wondering, though, the NPC Patches the Hyena will sell you heals for a good price after interacting with him in the Archstone of the Burrow King. If you do run out of heals, the best place to farm them is the Inner Ward in the first Archstone, as the two blue-eyed knights that respawn prior to the Tower Knight boss arena both drop 2 healing items each.
Upgrading weapons in Demon’s Souls can also be confusing for new players, as the original intricate upgrade system remains the same in the PS5 remake. You can upgrade weapons in the Nexus using Blacksmith Boldwin; however, the better upgrades using boss souls need to be done through Blacksmith Ed, who can be found after activating the elevator above the Filthy Man in 2-1. Although you can unlock him before doing so, players must kill the Flamelurker boss in order to unlock the ability to upgrade weapons using boss souls. The items you will need to actually upgrade weapons can be found in a variety of ways. Of course, generally, looting and killing enemies will acquire these items for you; however, the Crystal Lizards are definitely the best way to get the most upgrade items. Crystal Lizards spawn in a variety of areas, which can be found by ultimately playing through each of the Archstones. However, you can find a Crystal Lizard cave guarded by two Black Phantoms in 2-2, where a bunch of them spawn. This is a great place to farm upgrade items you’ll need for the best weapons in the game.
For more information on boss soul weapon upgrades, check out this very helpful Boss Soul Weapons chart on Fextralife’s Demon’s Souls Wiki.
Finally, bosses can be very intimidating and stressful for new players; however, all the bosses in this game have weaknesses and can easily be defeated with the correct preparation. For example, the Tower Knight’s ankles can be hit to emit a blue glow, eventually making him fall to the ground, allowing players to get to his head and do damage. Further on in the game, the Storm King can be defeated by finding the Storm Ruler weapon in the boss fight arena, which can be used to take the boss down from the sky. Knowing these weaknesses can be life or death in these boss fights, thus do your homework and seek advice on how these bosses can be taken down. New players also shouldn’t be afraid to play in online mode and call upon the blue Soul Signs for other players to join their game and help them defeat the bosses. This can make a hard boss much easier, taking some of the pressure off of your shoulders with help from a more experienced player.
I hope these tips helped those new to Demon’s Souls on PS5 improve and become more knowledgeable on the way the game works. If so, do leave a comment and let us know, or if I have missed anything, feel free to share more tips in the comments.