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.
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).
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.