Demon’s Souls: 7 tips to conquer its brutal world

7 tips to conquer Demon’s Souls
(Image credit: Sony)

Bluepoint Game’s long-awaited Demon’s Souls re-imagining is finally here, and in typical Soulsborne fashion, players are getting their butts whooped. Thankfully, Bluepoint Games didn’t make many drastic changes to the gameplay, meaning the sanctity of its exploits have remained intact.

These games have never been easy, but Demon’s Souls is by far the easiest in the franchise. If you have the correct information, no foe can stop you. Here are seven things you should know to help conquer the unforgiving world of Demon’s Souls.

Magic is overpowered

In Demon’s Souls, all forms of magic are terribly powerful. This isn’t the case in any other Soulsborne title, so feel free to abuse this system as much as possible. If you’re new to the series and need a relatively easy way to deal with most encounters, you’re definitely going to want to put some points into Intelligence. 

You only need 10 Intelligence to acquire one Magic Memory slot. With this, you can equip any ability that only needs one Magic Memory to use. Abilities like Soul Ray and Soul Arrow are powerful one-slot spells, especially if you’re looking to get offensive. 

Keep in mind, at 14 intelligence you get a second Memory slot, which allows you to equip greater abilities like Fireball and Ignite. Increasing Intelligence takes this number further up to three slots (18), four slots (24), five slots (30) and six slots (40).

Even if you’re planning for a Dexterity or Strength build, there are tons of additive Spells that can make you far more powerful. For example, Warding requires two Memory slots and increases your physical damage resistance by 70% when active. Something like Water Veil is also useful, as it only requires one Memory slot and increases your water resistance by 45%. One of my favorites, Enchant Weapon, allows you to imbue your blade with magic power that greatly increases its damage.

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

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Demon’s Souls also has tons of powerful Miracles too, similarly only requiring 10 Faith to unlock one Miracle Memory slot. Increasing the Faith stat will allow you to go up to two slots (16), three slots (24), and four slots (36).

Miracles are typically more about utility and practical use, allowing the user to cure themselves of ailments, teleport back to the nexus, and restore HP. Arguably, the most powerful one is called Second Chance. This requires two Miracle Memory slots, but it brings the user back to life after death (you have to recast it once you come back). Obviously, this is incredibly powerful, and is useful even if you want to remain melee-based.

Shield-meta for the win 

If you’re new to Demon’s Souls, it functions similarly to the original Dark Souls, where it’s primarily focused on defensive play. If your dodge timing is poor and you’re generally not experienced with the series, keeping your shield up in the face of danger will typically result in success. 

However, keep in mind that not all shields are built the same. Some provide full resistance to physical attacks while others do not. Additionally, heftier shields will give further protection from elements like fire and magic. If you’re not planning on levelling up your Strength much, one of the best early-game shields that fully protects you from physical attacks is the Spiked Shield, and it only requires 11 Strength to wield.

To get this shield, teleport to the second Archstone in Boletarian Palace and move ahead until you’re at the start of the bridge. Run to the first watchtower and wait patiently. You’re gonna have to be careful now, as the Red Dragon’s fire breath deals tons of damage. There are several items between the first and second watchtower on the bridge. One of these is Spiked Shield. Good luck!

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

(Image credit: Sony)

If you are planning to build your strength a bit more, I recommend the Purple Flame Shield. Not only does it provide 100% physical resistance, but it’s also 90% resistant against fire. It may require 22 Strength, but at least it’s not as insanely heavy as the Tower Shield, which requires 30 Strength.

Finding the Purple Flame Shield is a bit of a daunting task. It’s on one of the bodies near where the Red Dragon and Blue Dragon rest in the first selection of Boletarian Palace. Teleport to the second Boletarian Palace Archstone, turn around, step outside the gate, and go through the shortcut you previously opened to the left. Head up the stairs until you’re outdoors, looking at the bridge where a dozen or so archers are waiting to shoot you to death. Run past them (or try to) and turn right. Keep going forward until you’re outside, with the two dragons in sight. 

There are a ton of items beneath them, and the one closest to you will be the Flame Resistance Ring. Wait for the Red Dragon to breath his fire, and as soon as he’s done, run up and grab that item. Quickly get back to safety and equip it. Now, you’ll take less damage from his fire breath. Do the same thing over and over until you’ve managed to grab every item out there. Also, be careful for the Blue Dragon’s tail whip, as it deals devastating damage.

Farming Grasses 

Demon’s Souls possesses the most fascinating healing system in the Soulsborne series, as it focuses on a number of unique consumables that can heal you rather than one item that returns whenever you sit at a Bonfire.

This makes the game easier, as you can stock up on dozens of Grasses to ensure you’re always in a position to heal yourself, but it does mean you’ll typically have to farm for these Grasses.

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

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One of the best early farming spots is available once you defeat the Tower Knight. Teleport to the third Archstone and turn around to see two Blue Eye Knights with their backs turned to you. Every time you kill one, you’re guaranteed two Half Moon Grasses (and sometimes a Late Moon Grass, which is a more potent healing item). Return to the Archstone and teleport to the same spot again (you don’t have to return to the Nexus to respawn the enemies).

A great late game farming spot is located in Boletarian Palace. Teleport to the fourth Archstone and proceed into the building with two Red Eye Knights. Everytime you kill them, they will drop four Full Moon Grasses. Return to the Archstone and repeat.

How to get lots of Souls quickly 

If you’re looking for quick ways to farm Souls, there are two effective methods of doing so. While it’s not necessary to have one, it’s optimal to invest in the Ring of Avarice, as it increases the amount of Souls you gain from each kill by 20%. This can be purchased from the Singing Lady inside Tower of Latria for 50,000 Souls. This ring can also be found in the second part of Tower of Latria, without the need for spending a ridiculous amount on it.

Short of 50,000 Souls? No problem. For a solid early-game farming strategy, head to the first Archstone in the Shrine of Storms and kill the five Silver Skeletons on your way to its entrance. That alone should reap a solid reward, but if you turn left at the wall and enter that hallway (make sure you block the arrow trap), you can turn left again and head outside, face to face with a red-eyed Black Skeleton. These fellas are pretty tough, but they guarantee over a thousand souls per kill. Once you finish that, turn around and head up the stairs. On the wall will be three more Silver Skeletons. Kill them, return to the Archstone of the area, and repeat.

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

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However, this farming method is obsolete if you have access to the next Archstone in the Shrine of Storms area. This one can be pretty dangerous, so prepare for the possibility of frustration.

Teleport to the second Archstone in the Shrine of Storms and move forward until you find yourself standing in front of two narrow platforms overlooking the Reaper with a scythe. If you proceed on one of these parallel platforms and position yourself right above the Reaper, you can drop down and pray that your falling movement staggers him temporarily. If it does, quickly begin slashing at him with your weapon to prevent him from casting any spells. 

Killing the Reaper will cause all of the Shadowmen in the area to perish, reaping 5.5k souls (assuming you have the Ring of Avarice equipped). This can be pretty difficult to get right, especially if you have an early-game weapon without many upgrades, so be careful. And for the sake of your World Tendency, don’t do this while in Body Form.

Be wary of World Tendency 

Demon’s Souls possesses a unique mechanic called “World Tendency,” which determines difficulty, the spawning of certain characters, how many souls the player gains, and whether or not certain areas are accessible. World Tendency applies to each of the five Archstones individually and can shift between seven different states: Pure White, White, Neutral White, Neutral, Neutral Black, Black and Pure Black. Players will always start at Neutral in a respective area, and their decisions over the course of a playthrough determines how it changes.

An example of World Tendency in effect can be seen if you teleport to the first area in Boletarian Palace. Move a bit forward and turn left at the very beginning. There’s a downwards staircase leading to a closed gate. This gate can only open if the player has a Pure White or Pure Black World Tendency in this area.

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

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So, how do you successfully shift your World Tendency? If you’re looking to shift an area towards Pure White, the most casual way to do so is to simply beat the bosses within that area. Every defeated boss contributes to a White World Tendency.

However, here’s a warning: if you die in Body Form, your World Tendency shifts towards Black. If you’re worried about risking the state of your World Tendency, you can play throughout the entire game in Soul Form. This will cut your HP in half (unless you use the Cling Ring), making most encounters far more difficult. If you’re already in Body Form, you can return to the Nexus and jump off of a high ledge to drop to your death. Doing this won’t impact World Tendency in any areas.

However, if you’ve already beaten all of the bosses in an area, things can get a bit more difficult. One last resort involves defeating players who invade you. However, this is risky, as you can only be invaded while in Body Form, and dying in this form contributes to a Black World Tendency as much as defeating invading Black Phantoms contributes to a White World Tendency. 

Essentially, if you’re only winning half of the fights you get into, your World Tendency will stay the same. As long as you’re winning more than you’re losing, you’re on your way to a White World Tendency.

Additionally, there are sometimes additive methods of achieving a White World Tendency in an area. For example, if you’re trying to get the aforementioned Boletarian Palace gate open, you could try to kill the Red Dragon and Blue Dragon. 

How to kill the Red Dragon 

Both the Red Dragon and Blue Dragon can only be killed with an ample supply of arrows or Magic. If you’re using Magic, I recommend stocking up on as many Fresh Spices as you can to ensure you don’t run out of MP in the middle of the fight. I personally bought these from Graverobber Blige, who can be found shortly after the second Archstone in Shrine of Storms (assuming you let him out of his cage in the previous area). Unless you’re boasting a powerful bow-based build, using arrows isn’t as effective as they take up more inventory space and deal far less damage.

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

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Once you’re stocked up on arrows or Fresh Spices, you’re ready to visit the Red Dragon. Teleport to the second Archstone of Boletarian Palace (the one you unlock after defeating the Phalanx) and proceed ahead onto the notorious bridge it viciously breathes fire down upon. Run to the very first watch tower, climb the stairs, kill anyone who gets in your way, and wait atop it patiently. The Red Dragon will continue to breathe fire upon the area you had just run through, and if you wait for him to get close enough to the watchtower, you can cast a spell (I personally used Soul Ray) or shoot an arrow to start chipping at his health. Repeat until the Red Dragon is dead.

How to save Biorr and kill the Blue Dragon 

Killing the Blue Dragon is far more difficult. You’ll need to teleport to the fourth Archstone of Boletarian Palace and proceed ahead to the shortcut you opened after the first encounter with him on the tower.

If you haven’t opened this shortcut yet, you’ll want to proceed on the regular path until you come up to a large flight of stairs where the Blue Dragon is breathing fire down upon Biorr (assuming you rescued him). If you look straight ahead (or to your left assuming you’re going up the flight of stairs), there’s a giant lever that you can pull.

7 Tips to conquer Demon's Souls

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Return to the Archstone of the area and teleport back into the world, which will reset the encounter. Now, go to the shortcut you just opened by climbing a ladder at the highest point inside the building with the two Red Eye Knights. Take baby steps through this door until you’re close enough to hit the Blue Dragon’s body and begin casting spells or shooting arrows. Once he’s at half health, he’ll fly back towards the cathedral and start breathing fire down on the staircase. 

Run up the stairs and avoid his fire until you’re directly beneath him. Now, you can lock onto his head and begin unleashing your arsenal upon him. This will require better timing, as his head bobs around a lot. Regardless, if you stay persistent, he’ll be dead before Biorr is in any serious danger.

Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.