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Dark Souls walkthrough

Getting Started

Character Building

Your choice of starting class does not confine or define you. The variance in initial stats is not that significant, so if you decide an hour into the game that you don’t want to be a sorcerer, simply stop increasing your intelligence stat.

What does matter is the starting equipment of the classes, which you should check carefully. The starting gift is also crucial. If you do not choose the Thief class (which starts with the Master Key in hand) we highly recommend choosing the Master Key as your gift. This opens up shortcuts early on and can save you the hassle of having to hunt down specific keys. Every other gift can be obtained another way at some point in the game, so if you are a Thief, pick the Black Firebombs (for use on the first boss).

Above: The hormones slider is far more disturbing than any enemy you’ll encounter

Your character name and appearance is permanent, so make sure to tweak and tweak and tweak until you are satisfied. Even in subsequent playthroughs, you cannot alter these parameters.

For this walkthrough, we’ll be playing as a Pyromancer who has chosen the Master Key as her gift. Even if you choose a different class and/or gift, the walkthrough is designed for all contingencies. 

Combat Tips

Movesets: Always test out a new weapon before heading into combat. RB is the standard attack, RT is the strong attack, and repeatedly pressing either will usually result in a combo. The exact moves can vary wildly depending on which weapon you’re holding, and further still if you press Y to hold the weapon with both hands. Also make sure to try attacking with both buttons after a roll or after sprinting.

Above: The Drake Sword’s special attack

For certain special weapons and shields, pressing RT or LT unleashes a special attack as opposed to a standard heavy swing. For example, if you hold the Drake Sword in both hands and press RT, you’ll send forth a vertical shockwave. These moves can be very useful, but they almost always severely degrade the integrity of the item. Visit a blacksmith to repair broken weapons.

Backstabs: Backstabs are high-damage attacks that are accomplished by pressing RB when you are close to and directly behind an enemy. This triggers a special animation and always results in a knockdown. In most cases, only humanoid enemies can be backstabbed (for instance, you cannot backstab a rat or a dragon).

Above: Are you not entertained?

Circling around an opponent’s left side and backstabbing them should be your primary means of engaging enemies that seem too powerful to attack head on.

Parry and Ripostes: Pressing LT with most shields or weapons equipped in your left hand will cause your character to perform a parry move. If you parry just before the enemy makes contact with you, the blow will be deflected The exact animation and timing varies wildly depending on what’s equipped, so make sure to practice every time there’s an equipment change. Not all shields and weapons parry (for instance, greatshields do not), and not all enemy moves can be parried.

Pressing RB immediately after a parry usually results in a riposte. Like a backstab, a successful riposte will trigger a special animation and result in high damage and a knockdown. Parrying and riposting can be extremely difficult, but is sometimes the only path to victory. If you plan on doing any PVP battles, learn these moves.

Kicks: If you press forward and RB at the same time, your character will perform a quick forward kick (a small number of weapons do not allow this move). This serves as a means of knocking away an enemy shield, or staggering/pushing an enemy back. In many instances, drawing your opponent  near a cliff and kicking them off the edge will equal instant victory. 

Human Form, Hollow Form, and Humanity

Hollow: You begin the game hollowed. Whenever you die, you’ll respawn at the last bonfire you rested at as a hollow. You aren’t weakened in this state, but there are several restrictions and disadvantages. In order to reverse your hollowing (become human), consume at least one Humanity, rest at a bonfire, and choose the ‘reverse hollowing’ option. This will reduce your Humanity count by one and return you to human form.

Human: In human form, you can directly interact with other players in the online community. This encompasses summoning allies (even offline NPCs), invading, or being invaded. (You can be summoned as a hollow, however.) Curse resistance and item discovery are increased when you are in human form, and further increase as you raise your Humanity count, though these values stop increasing once your Humanity count passes 10. Also, you can only kindle bonfires (boost the Estus Flask count output) while in human form.

Humanity: Humanity are consumable items dropped by enemies, found in the environment, bought from merchants, or automatically obtained (in special cases). They can remain in your inventory indefinitely, but once you consume Humanity, your Humanity count increases and the item is permanently removed from you inventory. Like your soul count, your Humanity count drops to zero if you are killed. You can regain your Humanity and souls by finding your bloodstain - assuming you don’t die again before doing so.

Boss Battles (Solo vs. Team)

All boss strategies in this walkthrough assume that you are fighting alone, with the exception of a few cases in which you can summon offline NPCs. Nearly any boss battle can be made markedly easier by touching a summon sign (usually found in front of fog doors) left by an online player. These summoned phantoms have nothing to lose during your personal boss battles, and will likely bear the brunt of the damage while you pick and choose your moments to attack. 

Above: Despite her name, Maneater Mildred is actually quite lovely and willing to help

If you’re having trouble with a boss, we recommend utilizing summon signs, which are quite common if playing while connected to the internet. Remember: you must be in human form to summon allies.

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16 comments

  • Verum - July 29, 2013 3:30 a.m.

    big guy* sorry for my grammar, ive been losing my mind over this
  • Verum - July 29, 2013 3:17 a.m.

    i have this issue with sens fortress, i cant access to it, i went to the church thing and killed the gargolite twins, but i didnt bang the bells cuz (in my mind) i sayd to myself "better clear the secondary misions before ringing the bell so you dont lose anything" so i did, killed every boss except the undergroud ones, i did the minotaur, the dragon tail thing, the buy with the big hammer, hydro, the moonlight butterfly one, all those, now when i had enought souls to gear up some stats & upgrades, i go to the church and ring the bell and it didnt happen anything, and i went to check sen's fortress and is still closed.... what to do ?
  • Misfire - July 29, 2013 5:58 a.m.

    There are two bells. You need to go to Blighttown and kill Quelaag to ring the other bell. Shes in the bottom of the swamp thats below the Depths which is shortly after you fight the Capra Demon. :P
  • stefan-chircop - June 25, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    I have a question about page 8. I managed to kill Laurec, and obtained some ring. I killed him so he would run and kill the other Npc. Would it have been better to let him live?
  • Sinxar - January 20, 2013 6:29 a.m.

    I assumed you needed to kill the Stray Demon for the ring, turns out you don't to get the Rusted Iron Ring. So just walk around the room to avoid it and still loot the place. It drops nothing of value anyway.
  • matt-mcsavaney - January 14, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    How does a caster beat the asylum boss? He one hits everytime i miss a dodge, i cant do that hit and run tactic the melee uses because of cast time which in turn gets me killed, help please?
  • isaac-long - April 28, 2014 3:04 p.m.

    You have to just stay behind the demon and get in as much DPS just remember always be up his butt :D
  • Sinxar - January 6, 2013 6:49 p.m.

    In "The Depths", you can take the path behind the first butcher and kill the giant rat with a bow from the ledge you land on. It won't jump up to defend itself.
  • yuwendi-gozali - December 20, 2012 12:45 a.m.

    have some question, when went to ring second bell , im not enter blight town form depth but dark root secret road that lead to valey of the drake. so after i rang second bell im went to the depth to look for zena shop but i didnt find him anywhere. after i back to firelink too zena didnt appeared :( (i just read that zena going to fire link after u rang two bell in another walkthrought). the question is, how i find zena? should i have to NG+ first? i really want that armor from knight of atorias in new content (cos the armor is f*cking cool X( )
  • yuwendi-gozali - December 20, 2012 6:51 a.m.

    about my post... , nevermind, i just found him :] btw great walkthrought thx!!!
  • Iwaskia - October 21, 2012 6:25 a.m.

    whats that sword you used to kill the four nights? and how can you get it? i folow the walktrought so far but i dont think i have the sword.
  • Matt Hughes - October 23, 2012 9:10 p.m.

    If you mean the Four Kings boss battle, that Quelaag’s Furysword. You can find the details on how to obtain it near the end of pg 44 in this guide.
  • Iwaskia - October 26, 2012 5:19 a.m.

    thanks men that was a great help.
  • NEPAL - October 20, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    Thanks for the effort you put into the guide, really helped me with the game.
  • Matt Hughes - October 21, 2012 6:13 a.m.

    Sure thing - glad it helped!
  • grappler51 - September 11, 2012 6:17 a.m.

    Awesome guide! Got this recently for PC and was really confused about the humanity system, cleared a lot of things up!

Showing 1-16 of 16 comments

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