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Demon’s Souls Guide |

This is an old 2009 game, but it’s definitely one of my favorite PS3 titles, so here is a guide with some basic tips and suggestions for people wanting to give this game a try:

What is Demon’s Souls?

If you haven’t played it, think of a third person melee action game like God of War with RPG class play styles (mage, priest, rogue, and multiple warrior types). Then, add RPG mechanics, a non-linear level hub system, lots of very challenging optional side quests, item crafting, character customization, and a very creative online PvP and co-op that are tied into the main single player game.

There is a very unique rule system, and the fun is discovering all of it. It can be difficult and there are some really frustrating and confusing parts, but this is definitely a must try if you have any interest in RPG like games.

Starter Character Builds

The most common starter build recommendation seems to be to start with a Royal which starts the game with a range attack fire spell, and a mana regenerating ring. Honestly, this build does make the first level super easy. You can basically insta-kill almost everything from a safe distance. But after 1-1, there are many areas where you can’t hang back and cast spells, and this becomes a harder build to play.

The easiest starter build is probably a temple knight. You have good armor, you don’t die so easily, and you can use faith spells (miracles) to heal yourself between monsters without burning through healing herbs which are in tight supply early on.


At the beginning of the game you are starved for souls (used to level up, repair, and buy vendor items).

After you clear world 4, souls become plentiful. You should be able to get 40K souls fairly easily by doing runs through 4-2 (reverse direction is best). At this point, you generally have as much souls as you want. Unique items, gear, and rare ore are still in tight supply.

“Luck” Stat

The luck stat, seems worthless as far as I can see (raises item drop frequency), *except* that one of the most elite weapons is completely based on your luck stat, so I’ve seen some competitive PvP players make luck character builds exclusively for that weapon.


If you are in “soul form”, you can use your blue soul sign to join another players game and help them defeat a boss and regain your body form.

If you are having trouble with a boss, it’s good to practice helping others fight the boss, and then when you are in body form, summon another player to help you.


If you are in “body form”, lower level players can invade your single player game and try to find you and kill you. I have gotten murdered probably 80% of the time I have been invaded, and even though it disrupts my game, it is absolutely awesome.

Fast, guard breaking weapons seem to be absolutely key. Damage over time effects such as poison and bleed seem to work really well also.

Lastly, you will play most of the game in “soul form” where you can’t be invaded (but can invade others, of course).

Side Quests

There are tons of optional side-quests as NPCs throughout the game. These are often hard to even find if you don’t read about them online first. You will want to get some of the elite gear associated with these side quests, so it’s definitely a good idea to read up on them on the good online wikis (here and here).


There are a lot of difficulty spikes, but most of the game is actually fairly easy. Several bosses can be beat very easily without doing anything terribly skilled or clever.

The world tendency system is also particularly esoteric and non-intuitive. But it’s important to understand to be good at the game. White tendency makes combat easier, black tendency gives you better item drops (more important later in the game). Pure white and pure black unlock all kinds of special world events.


This game can be particularly unforgiving. The game autosaves and you usually can’t just load after you make a mistake. You also can’t backup saves. If you kill an NPC, it’s permanent. Kill the wrong NPC, you are really screwed.

If you miss unique drops, that’s it, you miss them for the rest of the game. If you let the crystal lizards get away, you only have several chances per area and that’s it.

Most boss demon’s souls can be used to buy a special spell or weapon. Buy one, and that choice is completely permanent.

As you level up, it gets more and more costly, so be careful where you spend your stats points. It is hard to delevel.

In each game, you will get a limited amount of rare ore from unique drops. Don’t waste it crafting the wrong gear.

Of course, you can always start a new game or make multiple characters, but this game is very unforgiving.

  • EdEN

    It will probably take me forever to platinum this game. I’ll be sure to follow the guide over at or I might end up making several mistakes along the way.

  • Very interesting introduction to the game, thanks! Could you add a few words explaining a bit more about some of the arcana, like the distinction between corporeal and spiritual forms, going through levels backwards, and white and black tendencies.

  • This was the biggest surprise of 2009 IMO… released first in Asia, sold-out everywhere in its first week… I was one of the Neogaf gang that was tracking this game from the first trailer… amazing game!

    Another surprise was the EU release this year! I’m at the last boss in the Asian version, but I’m going to buy the EU special edition just to have it in my collection.

    I love this game.

  • Brad

    I’ve been playing this game for the last year. There are so many different builds that just starting a new character can be like playing a different game. The whole experience is very unique. The multiplayer adds another dimension. It’s hard not to panic the first time you get invaded. PvP can be a lot of fun, but lag can be a real issue.

  • Easily my favourite game of last year, and one I’ll never regret importing. To add to the advice, I’d simply suggest taking it slowly. I remember even on my fourth playthrough, racing towards Maiden Astraea for one of the final trophies, still managing to run into trouble with the creepy badstuffs in the Valley of Defilement. It only takes a single lapse in concentration and you end up tracking back through the level to retrieve lost souls.

    Lastly, who enjoyed the hunt for pure bladestones, moonlightstones and darkmoonstones? Ha! I killed a particular enemy over 100 times in the quest for a stone! Awesome game (seriously – it sounds like a bad point, but the game was so good I couldn’t resist trying it!).

  • DeadlyWaffles

    This is one of my favorite games. I already platinum it and i dont see the luck stat that worthless, usually for ppl who wants to 100% this game they need a least 30- 50 luck, otherwise farming certain stones like pure bladestone will be almost eternal. Also the blueblood sword is very usefull for PVP since its bonus dmg comes from luk and a little from dex and other Stats.

  • Mike

    I played this in July (hello fellow NeoGaffer). I’m not much into RPG’s but this was a terrific experience. Very innovative online features that I’d love to see worked into an FPS campaign.

    I’ve played about ten hours into NG+ but have so far only gotten one extra trophy out of it (Sharpness) so I’ll probably lay off for a while and wait until a pure black tendency event. Either way I’d recommend to this anybody who isn’t totally put off by putting some forethought into their actions in a game. It isn’t insanely difficult, you just have to approach situations correctly and you’ll be rewarded for it. It’s not an overly long winded affair either. I was just under 30 hours and save for Valley of Defilement, I enjoyed most of it.

  • Darrin


    From what I understood, black tendency was more important for rare drops than luck stat and the luck stat just increased frequency of drops. BTW, trying to farm for rare ore really kills the fun of the game for me.

  • hobbes

    i plat’n this game, such a sense of accomplishment. Bladestone and i think the meltstone were 2 of the toughest to get in the game.

    I’m gonna play some more once world goes to black and may start another character.

  • Jonaskin

    A mate of mine from work got Platinum on this in just a couple of weeks. I borrowed it off him but after the first night of playing it and not beating the first level my launch 60gb PS3 decided not to read disks anymore and I had to send it in for repair. Took a few weeks to fix and in the meantime I gave it back to him but it’s a fantastic game and I totally intend on buying it when I get the chance.

  • I have a friend that swears this is one of the best games ever.. gonna have to borrow it now!

  • Thanks for this article Darrin, reading it has helped me to decide to pick up the game and give it a try. I’ve been wanting to try this game since it was released but have been really turned off by how difficult everyone says it is. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good challenge as much as the next guy but I can’t stand playing a game where the difficulty is so high that it just feels like your being cheated.
    A game isn’t fun to me if I die every two minutes, I play games to relax and be challenged after a hard day at work. I don’t play games to be frustrated and pissed off to the point that I want to throw my playstation out of the window lol.

  • Darrin


    corporeal form: more health, less damage than spirit. Can summon other players to help you. You can be invaded. You generally don’t keep this form for very long.
    spiritual form: less health, more damage. Can be summoned by other players to help them. Your game can’t be invaded by others. You play most of the game in this form.

    going through level backwards: Each world has four portal points to the nexus hub level. At the beginning you can only use the first portal which drops you at the beginning of the world. After you beat the first section and the first boss, you get access to the second portal, and so on. But if you have the second portal, for example, you can portal in there, and reverse run through the first section. Every time you port in, all the regular, non-boss monsters respawn.


    I’m not going to lie, it’s not easy. Also don’t waste your time farming, which is prone to frustration. But the game is really worth it. It should never feel pointlessly hard, like some other “hard” games do.

    Wow, overall, there is a ton of love for this title. Obviously, we will see more games like this in the future, whether they are official sequels or not. I’m sure this game has inspired other developers.