Now that Dark Souls: Remastered has released its serenely dismal world upon video game audiences, once again it’s time for players to come up against what can seem to be an invincible foe — the game itself. Fear not, for this will be a guide from one who has been playing in the Dark Souls universe since its original heyday however terrible that guidance might be…picture me cackling to myself like one of the NPCs throughout Lordron. In all honesty, though, this will be a fun guide that gives out some helpful tips that might not be so obvious at first but could help in the long run.
I Want to Play Defense, Coach
Starting out with the most obvious one here, but this is going to serve anyone new to Dark Souls best in the long run. Having spent some time with Dark Souls: Remastered now, it’s safe to say (along with our review) that nothing was changed about Dark Souls except the 1080 and 60fps. For anyone coming from Bloodborne or Dark Souls III, this might take the most getting used too because certain habits have formed from the other games.
Remember this is OG Dark Souls and nothing has been refined so the way enemies move as well as the PC are different. It’s like moving through mud constantly while watching enemies swim through water, which is why it is always a must to have your shield up no matter where you’re going. More times than not it will save your life. Oh, and Dark Souls has a surprising (no pun) number of traps.
Dark Souls puts the saying “A good defense is a good offense” to use. Playing on the defensive is the name of the game and the more aggressive Dark Souls is played the easier it becomes to fall victim to a pattern of defeat. Shield up!
Most people might tell you Dark Souls is hard, brutal, masochistic and a number of other words that having nothing to actually do with what encompasses Dark Souls. When stepping into Lordron for the first time, take your time. Seriously, you have all the time in the world, you’re a cursed undead who wanders aimlessly until you either succeeded in finding the flame or whither away forever. Dark Souls isn’t going anywhere which means there’s no cause to rush. If it’s your first time, don’t be intimidated by the sound of bells constantly going off with that first trip through the Undead Burg, those players aren’t your concern, focus on your goal and speed.
It will be extra important to take it slow because Dark Souls more so than other Souls games and Bloodborne holds secrets in strange places with much more to hide. If rushing through, a ton of good stuff might go completely by the wayside and not having certain items later or killing certain NPCs early will surely be something to regret. No take backs.
Dark Souls rewards players who are patient.
Being a Farmer is Rad
This tip ties into the one above; along with taking ones’ time through Dark Souls: Remastered comes learning where one can farm. Due to Dark Souls being a much slower game and lack of certain mechanical innovations, it means much more time farming for souls needed to do everything. If farming in games is not for you, I don’t know how we made it this far in the first place, but keep going!
Along the pilgrimage to the flame will come certain impasses where enemies have suddenly increased in power, which means (like most games) it’s time to farm or maybe you just like being extra strong before heading somewhere new. Dark Souls has it covered and there are ample opportunities to farm, like on the bridge where the Red Wyvern hangs out; just run up and down the stairs forever roasting those skeletons waiting to kill.
Figuring out spots where the most Souls can be gained will be crucial to having a successful play through while helping fill in certain strengths or items that might be missing early on. If taking it slow these areas will stick out more, not getting overlooked.
The cycle of Dark Souls is the cycle of regaining one’s lost humanity and gee-whiz does that humanity get lost all the freaking time. The trick to getting that Humanity in the first place is a number of things, mainly laying down notes, defeating certain enemies along with some other random factors that this wiki will do a better job explaining. The point is it’s going to be tempting to use that Humanity because being Human has benefits such as summoning others NPC/PC and becoming stronger. In the early game, though, it’s advised to hold on to all of it. Don’t be greedy gulping down Humanity like some glutenous slug, then you’re no better than all those other undead.
Use Humanity sparingly unless you know you’re good for it or just want to play the game stealing form others knowing highway robbery ain’t no thing. Unless you want to go on the naughty list.
Humanity in the early game should be used for upgrading the bonfire (along with the Firekeeper Soul) and in turn Estus Flask. Having ten+1 Estus Flask is tremendous in easily getting ahead of whatever Dark Souls is getting ready to throw at you and will make breathing easier for early areas.
If I May Make a Counter Point
This is another obvious one but pulling a proper parry off can prove particularly tricky when first getting used to how Dark Souls handles. It doesn’t help that the number of enemies varies greatly which means learning all sorts of timing to pull of an already skillful move.
The parry in Dark Souls proves that Bloodborne was really fan service (not a bad thing). Dark Souls set itself apart by having players master a certain set of skills that can prove difficult to learn at first. Use the early areas of the game for practice and don’t be too worried about dying if taking it slow as you’ll be doing plenty of it anyway and learning how to parry early will ease things up later down the path. I know I keep saying that, but all of this pays off!
Don’t actually play dirty, that would just be bad conduct, but do play however you see fit. Picking a starting class in Dark Souls is as bland as a stale jelly bean, and the player experience will prove much more interesting building out the character you want. If copying a build out seems to fit, do it. If making the most min-maxed character possible works, then go for it. If wanting to stick with what the starting classes offer, do that as well.
One of the best parts of playing Soulsborne games is their ability to give the player freedom to play how they want. With a stat tree that can fit whatever playstyle, and enough weapons, magic and items at one’s disposal, it makes playing the game how one wants a reality. Instead of bogging the player down with structured play, Dark Souls embraces the player’s creativity in getting through their Pilgrimage.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
If digging into the more antagonistic side is for you, then PvP is the way to go and finding respite in invading other players worlds will be as easy as breathing. A big part of the Dark Souls universe that seems to only get passing mention is the fact that many planes and timelines are connected. This is the reason players are able invade other players worlds. While it might be written off as a cheap go at connecting a narrative thread to the game, it’s still cool that Dark Souls is able to tie in PvP at all.
The world of Lordon provides ample opportunity for players to invade others worlds, participating in what can only be called grief. Not in a bad way, just an extra element to the Dark Souls formula that adds a certain texture to the experience.
Above all else, have fun with Dark Souls: Remastered. While seemingly nothing has changed, aside from the 1080p by 60fps, DSR is a trip down an all too recent memory lane. If anything, Dark Souls: Remastered is a reminder of a game that spawned a slew of play for titles years to come. Even From Software bowed to itself and created Bloodborne for the players and that is something special.
If it’s your first time with the title, please do take it slow. Dark Souls has so much to offer with a world rich in lore and fantasy that is sure to sweep anyone off their feet.