The Demon’s Souls remake is here for PS5, and judging by its reception, it’s one of the best PlayStation launch titles ever. The team at Bluepoint Games worked hard to preserve the original, while making the remake feel and look modern for current hardware. One thing that remains intact with the remake is its unrelenting difficulty, throwing challenging enemies at you, along with deadly levels that can cause death before you realized what happened.
Fortunately, we’ve spent quite a bit of time with Demon’s Souls on PS5 and have decided to let you in on a lengthy list of tips and tricks that are sure to help you out. Whether this is your first Souls game or if you just need a refresher, this guide will come in handy. This is our list of Demon’s Souls tips and tricks for the PS5 remake.
- The best PS5 exclusives
- Assassin’s Creed Valhalla review: One of the franchise’s best
- The best PS5 controllers
Magic is great for newcomers
In a dark fantasy RPG like this one, your initial go-to might be a sword, axe, or other melee weapon. These are excellent but can be challenging to master if you’re a new player. Instead, pick a starting class that gives you magic right away, like the Magician, Temple Knight, or Royalty, so you can learn how to cast spells as soon as you begin. Keep in mind, you are not bound to your starting class — it merely serves as a means to start you off with certain equipment and items.
When using magic, whether it be pyromancy, miracles, or spells, you’ll need some sort of device to cast it. Talismans are for miracles, while catalysts are for spells/pyromancy. If you have the Talisman of Beasts, you can cast both miracles and spells, but otherwise, they work independently and require separate devices. Make sure you attune your magic with one of the NPCs in the Nexus, like Saint Urbain, Yuria the Witch, or Sage Freke. Attuning will dictate the magic you have equipped to your character and can be changed at any time when you’re in the Nexus.
In terms of magic to use, we highly suggest Firestorm, which deals devastating AoE damage; Homing Soul Arrow, a spell that shoots multiple Soul Arrows at once; and Evacuate, a miracle that warps you back to the Nexus without wiping out your Souls. Pay attention to these spells and see which works best for you and your playstyle.
Learn to observe enemy animations
Demon’s Souls is not a traditional action game. You can’t really get away with hacking and slashing your way to victory. Attempting to rush your foes — especially bosses — with melee attacks will likely get you killed, so instead, you need to learn when and how to strike. If you’re facing off against a regular enemy, the best way to deal with them is by executing a critical attack from behind. You can hold up your shield and circle around to the back of them to unleash a backstab. This will deal devastating amounts of damage and will put the enemy on their face for a couple of seconds, giving you a chance to back off and heal or replenish MP.
Whether you’re fighting a standard enemy or a boss, the strategy you want to use is to only strike after the enemy has just finished attacking. They’re vulnerable for a moment after the animation is over, so use that as an opportunity to get a few hits in. To effectively use this strategy, you’ll need to watch an enemy’s attacks and learn when their animations start and end. Then, you’ll be prepared to lay down attacks of your own.
Here’s how to play online
Regardless of if you’re a good player or not, you’ll probably eventually come to a boss that seems undefeatable. These are bosses like Maneater, Old King Allant, or Firelurker. A great way to take down a tough boss is to play co-op! You can summon up to three additional players to help you take down a boss, but before you do, there are few things you should know. In order to summon a player, you must be in Human form, which is the form your character takes after defeating a boss or after using a Stone of Ephemeral Eyes. While in Human form, your character gains more health and will be able to see the summon signs of other players.
These signs are often found around boss fog gates, but can be left nearly anywhere throughout the levels. To be summoned, you must be in Soul form, which is the form you take after you die in Human form. This depletes your total health by half, but can be mitigated with the Cling Ring. While in Soul form, you can leave your summon sign using the Blue Eye Stone — an item acquired from the Maiden in Black at the start of the game.
In order to pair with another player, you must be within a certain Soul level. The formula is 10 levels +/- 10%. For instance, if you’re a level 20, you can match with levels 8-32, while a level 100 can match with levels 80-120. With that in mind, if your character is a really high level and you try to summon help during one of the earlier sections of the game, you might have trouble finding someone, since higher-level players tend to only request help during late game areas.
The way to mitigate the Soul range system is to use a password. To use one, head to the Options, then Settings, followed by Network. Here, you’ll be able to place a password restriction. This feature, much like newer FromSoftware games, allows you to specifically match with other players who have the same password as you. You can bypass the Soul range system entirely when playing with a password. So, regardless of your character’s level, you can play with any of your friends who just got the game.
Many bosses can be cheesed with Poison Cloud and Thief’s Ring
Sometimes, even with an over-leveled character, or if you get assistance from other players, it’s still difficult to take down certain bosses. Luckily, many of them can be cheesed with a certain combination of items. In the original game, nearly every boss could be cheesed, but in the remake, much of the exploits have been removed. One that remains is the Thief’s Ring + Poison Cloud combo, which lets you sneak up on bosses to unleash a slow, poisonous death.
The Thief’s ring makes you harder to detect, while Poison Cloud slowly drains your opponent’s health. Even without the Thief’s Ring, you can still poison the boss and run around the arena as their health slowly drains. Here are the bosses that can be cheesed with this combo:
- Dirty Colossus
- Flamelurker (you have to alert him and then cause him to turn your back on you, but it can be done)
- Old Hero
- Old King Allant
- Tower Knight
These bosses can also be cheesed with arrows or other ranged attacks by sitting in specific areas:
- Armor Spider
- Blue Dragon
- Maiden Astraea
- Red Dragon
- Storm King
Don’t neglect to upgrade your stamina (Endurance)
Many players — even the experienced ones — will opt to focus only on upgrading strength or vitality. While these are useful in keeping your health and damage output high, you should not neglect to put some stat points into Endurance, which determines your stamina. Your stamina dictates how your character moves. Pretty much every type of movement will deplete your stamina, from running to swinging your sword and rolling. Your stamina quickly recharges, but can put you in a bind if you don’t know how to manage it properly. Always make sure your stamina is upgraded alongside your character, especially if you’re using a melee build.
Pay attention to what your weapons scale with
At the bottom of each weapon’s stat screen is a section called Attribute Bonus. This informs you of which stats your weapons scale with, and you’ll want to always keep this in mind when choosing your main weapon. A weapon can scale with strength, dexterity, magic, or faith, meaning the higher those stats are, the more effective the weapon is. There are different scale rankings, from S to E, with S being the most effective, and E being the least.
In other words, a weapon that scales with magic at an S level will be tremendously boosted as you upgrade your magic. The opposite can be said if it only scales at an E level, in which you’d only notice a slight difference when improving your magic stats. When you upgrade weapons, the stats they scale with will often increase in ranking, so don’t be alarmed if your weapon only scales at the E level to start with. Some weapons don’t scale at all, so keep that in mind, too.
Do not visit each area chronologically
Demon’s Souls is quite linear compared to other Souls games. It’s broken up into five distinct worlds that can be explored in any order. While it can be tempting to explore them in the order they appear, we highly recommend saving certain areas for last. For instance, the later portion of the first world, particularly 1-4, is an absolute nightmare and should be visited much later on. Likewise, the majority of the first world, Tower of Latria, is quite difficult as well, particularly the Maneater boss.
Other locations like Valley of Defilement are much easier, despite being “late-game” areas. This world in particular scares players off due to how dark and menacing the level is, but the enemies themselves are way easier than those found in the third world or portions of the first world. In essence, you can — and should — explore in a non-linear order.
Understanding World Tendency
Demon’s Souls features somewhat of a morality system called World Tendency. This changes based on decisions you make, whereby “bad” decisions, like dying in Human form or killing NPCs, will shift toward Black Tendency, while “good” decisions, like defeating bosses and helping other players, shift toward White. The World Tendency of a particular area will determine certain events. For example, if you get the first area, Boletarian Palace to Pure White Tendency, a secret door will unlock. In fact, all areas feature a hidden area that only unlocks if you reach Pure White Tendency. Black Tendency makes enemies harder, but they have a higher chance of leaving better drops and give you more souls, so it’s not a bad idea to shift to Black.
The World Tendency ranking system is on a spectrum, with eight possible rankings ranging from Pure White to Pure Black. You can check a particular world’s ranking by going to Tendency from within the Options menu. Here, you’ll see all five worlds with a dragon eye below them. The brighter the eye, the closer it is to Pure White. Certain actions will raise or lower the Tendency by a lot, and we recommend using this guide here for more details.
Basic combat tips
Let’s go through some rapid-fire combat tips that will help you out in the heat of battle:
- Don’t overburden yourself. Wearing heavy armor will preserve your health, but at the expense of your stamina. It’s better to be quick and nimble than slow and heavy.
- You should almost always lock onto your enemies. There are exceptions, like when facing a huge foe, or if you’re in a confined space where the camera can get wonky, but for the most part, locking-on is essential.
- Always kill your character to revert to Soul form while in the Nexus, before going to one of the worlds. Dying in the Nexus does not impact World Tendency, leaving you free to die as much as you want while in Soul form throughout each world. Remember, dying in Soul form doesn’t change Tendency, but dying in Human form does. Hence the reason for always trying to be in Soul form.
- The Crescent Falchion+1 is an extremely powerful weapon you should get as soon as you can. It’s found at the start of 4-1.
- Certain equipment and Rings stack with one another. For example, wearing the Monk’s Head Wrappings with the Ring of Magical Sharpness and the Kris Blade will all stack to give you a massive magic boost. Read item descriptions for more info.
- Roll through — not away from — enemy attacks for maximum effectiveness. In most cases, you can roll through without taking damage, keeping you close to the enemy and giving you the upper hand.
- Do not kill NPCs! And if you accidentally strike one, you can request forgiveness at the statue on the ground level of the Nexus, beneath the Archstones. It’ll cost you, but it’s worth it.
- Do not consume boss souls! These can be used to craft useful weapons and spells, which are more valuable than the souls you get from consumption.
- Two-hand your weapons for maximum damage (and add enchantments like Pine Resin for a damage boost).
- Save some Stone of Ephemeral Eyes for dire situations, and use this guide to know where to find some. Remember, helping someone defeat a boss will revert you to Human form, so you can always utilize that method instead of using a Stone of Ephemeral Eyes.
Use the cloud to revert to older saves
This final tip is very cheap, but one that you might find useful. Demon’s Souls utilizes an autosave feature that pretty much goes into effect whenever most things in the world change. For example, the game will autosave after you kill an enemy, after you die, after you pick up items, or when you reach a new area. Because of this, you have to restart at the last Archstone you visited after you die, making it super frustrating when making your way back to a boss — over and over and over again.
However, there is a solution! Turn off your PS5’s auto-syncing features with its cloud saves and upload your latest Demon’s Souls save to the cloud. Now, when you die, or if you accidentally use an item you didn’t mean to use, you can manually revert back to your old save. This is especially useful when going for the game’s trophies, as they require you to have certain boss souls. You can pop the trophy for gathering all miracles, then reload the save using the cloud, and use the same boss souls to acquire all spells. No need for additional playthroughs! You will have to manually upload the save you’d like to use each time you reach a certain point. For instance, if you finally made it to a boss door and don’t want to have to make the journey back, upload your save right then and there. Then, if the boss kills you, you can just load the save instead of having to make your way back.
- A Dark Souls II starter guide — trust us, you’ll need the help
- From Kefka to card games, here’s our beginner’s guide to Final Fantasy XIV
- Nioh beginner’s guide: Everything you need to know that the game won’t tell you
- The best indie games for 2021
- Dark Souls III beginner’s guide: Tips and tricks for intimidated first-timers