Praise the Sun Dark Souls Remastered is available now on PC, PS4 and Xbox One! Yes I meant that rhyme. To celebrate the launch of the title, we’ve put together an absolutely spoiler free beginner’s guide for anyone jumping into this legendary series for the first time. Without any further ado, let’s go!
Where do I go?
- Don’t go into the graveyard at Firelink Shrine – Ignore it. Don’t even look at it. The skeleton enemies will absolutely annihilate a new player. Eventually the area will make sense and you’ll be encouraged to visit. For now, leave it be.
- Don’t go below Firelink Shrine – Essentially part 2 of tip one, below Firelink Shrine lurks a great evil that is not worth messing with yet. Whether that be the New Londo ruins where your attacks are meaningless or the Valley of the Drakes where you armor is useless, you aren’t ready yet if this is your first visit to Lordran.
- Blocking is beautiful – This isn’t Bloodborne, blocking is a perfectly viable tactic against most enemies. Blocking attacks, circling round and then pressing R1 to backstab is going to be your go to method for dealing with most humanoid enemies, it is incredibly effective. Some enemies will have heavy attacks which cannot be blocked, these normally take time to build up and you’ll have a chance to move. The other advantage to blocking is that you’ll slightly stagger smaller enemies allowing you to move in for the kill. This tip is especially handy for Sen’s Fortress.
- Parrying Perfection – The evolution of blocking is parrying. If you press L1 marginally before an enemie’s attack connects with your shield you’ll pull off a parry. This allows you to move in on the enemy and press R1 to do a riposte attack, essentially a backstab to the front, for absolutely massive damage. Learning this is useful early on in Dark Souls but in a very particular late game moment it is a vital skill.
- The five Ds of Dodgeball – Dodging is another skill worth learning early. Especially when if comes to the aforementioned unblockable attacks. By pressing O on PS4 / B on Xbox One, you can roll to whichever side you push the stick towards. By locking on you can use this to circle round enemies giving you a precious few seconds to attack.
- Aim for the back – You’re always safest an enemies’ back. Well as safe as Dark Souls allows you to be. Enemies will do sweeping attacks in circular motions, but by being at their back you’re as far away from their weapon as possible giving you precious extra time to maneuver.
- Luring – Don’t allow yourself to be outnumbered. Groups of enemies will destroy you in Dark Souls. Using a bow and arrow you can manually aim. Using this to shoot an enemy will cause them to come towards you and remove them from their group making the fight significantly easier. You should never run in a big group, if you ever find yourself significantly outnumbered then try to escape, literally just run back where you came. Another clever tactic is to use corridors, if you line enemies up they can’t all attack you but you can control the flow of them. With a long weapon you’ll be able to damage several of them at once and do some great crowd control.
- Bonfires – The checkpoints of the Dark Souls Universe. Every time you rest at a bonfire every enemy you’ve defeated will respawn. This allows you to constantly farm them for XP. They will be a constant sign of triumph in your play through, indicating that you’ve made progress in the game. Always be on the look out for one, they offer much needed rest as you cannot be harmed while resting at a bonfire. They also replenish your Estus flasks, which allow you to recover HP while exploring. A feature later in the game lets you use bonfires to gain extra Estus flasks and will be the difference between life and death.
- Humanity – Absolutely vital to the lore of this series, humanity is a gameplay mechanic you’ll know everything about very soon. You’ll find plenty of the item as you play, and you’ll find other ways to farm it. What does it do though? If you have 1 humanity (number in the top left corner) you can become Human at a bonfire. This means other players can invade you. It also means you can summon other players and engage in jolly co-operation! You can also summon certain NPCs in the game. It has other bonuses, such as increased item drop rates.
- Souls – Unsurprisingly the core of the series and the gameplay. They function as both XP and currency, you’ll use them to level up at bonfires, buy weapons and items and even to upgrade your equipment. You earn this from killing enemies and you’ll get larger amounts when you kill bosses. If you allow yourself to be summoned by another player and kill a boss with them you’ll gain souls, co-operation is a great way to earn extra XP!
- Summoning – Early in the game you’ll meet a gloriously incandescent character. Seriously, this will be your new real life best friend. You’ll form a bond unrivaled by anything in the real world. He’ll also give you an item, the White Soapstone. Using this you can place a summon sign and other players can bring you into their game! To summon someone else you must be Human and be standing where they’ve placed their summon sign. Just follow the prompts on screen and you’ll have a friend ready to take on every challenge with you. In your settings you’ll find a new feature in the Remaster. By setting the same password as a friend you can specifically summon certain people into your game. This really streamlines co-op play.
- Invasions – The big downside to Humanity. If you’re running around as a Human you can be invaded by enemy players. They’ll appear as Red Phantoms and be immune to enemies in your game. They function as you’d expect another player to. Some will be amazing at the game, some will not. These can be really intense tests of your skill and for a new player can be really daunting. Don’t fret, one day you’ll have access to all that cool equipment your enemy possesses. Even series veterans still find PVP challenging so don’t be discouraged if you get killed multiple times by invaders. You don’t suck at the game, the enemy is just brilliant at it.
- Humanity and Souls – Throughout the game you’ll find Souls that can be consumed to grant you the currency Souls. This is the same for the Humanity item which will grant you plus one humanity to the counter in the top left hand corner.
- The Drake Sword – Early in the game you’ll see a huge Red Drake. You’ll also see a bridge which you’ll have to travel underneath. See the Drake’s tail? If you shoot at it with enough arrows you’ll actually cut it off. This grants you the Drake Sword, an incredible weapon early on in the game, especially for beginners.
- Havel’s Ring – Another amazing item for beginners, in the tower leading to the second boss you’ll be able to head downwards. If you have the Master Key you’ll unlock the door, if not you’ll visit later. Unlocking this door leads you to a very difficult fight with a heavily armored Knight. Use backstabs and stay very agile to kill him and you’ll get his ring which increases your equip burden 50%.
- Titanite Shards – Early in the game you’ll meet a Blacksmith. You’ll also find Titanite shards from many of the enemies around this area. By bringing these to the Blacksmith along with Souls you’ll be able to upgrade the majority of the early weapons in the game. The extra damage will win fights for you.
That’s all for now! There is so much more I could divulge on this game, but a big part of the Souls series is discovery and learning things for yourself. I wouldn’t want to spoil a single moment for anyone out there and can’t wait to hear stories of new player’s first experiences. Good luck to you all, always remember two things though.
- Praise the Sun on every possible occasion.
- Under no circumstance go to the Graveyard or underneath Firelink Shrine.
Our review is on its way, just like E3 2018!