Dark Souls Remastered - Promo Image

How to get started with the Dark Souls series

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Jun 2, 2018, 12:03 PM EDT

With the debut of Dark Souls Remastered on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC (and later Nintendo Switch), you might be wondering what it is about this series that makes people go totally wild. It's widely regarded as one of the most difficult games around, and for good reason. It's hard. But it's nothing you can't handle. Given that the game has been re-released for a new crop of players who never experienced the start of the well-received franchise from the beginning, you don't even have to go back and force yourself to play a mediocre version.

You can experience From Software's excellent dark fantasy from the beginning, though as a newbie you'll want to take heed of these tips before trying to proceed. Running straight in and treating it like any other game certainly won't work here. We've got some important tips for those of you looking to start playing Dark Souls for the first time, so you can hopefully avoid any broken controllers out there. 

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Dark Souls - Campfire

Bonfires can be friend or foe

If you're a big RPG fan, it might be tempting when you reach a bonfire to think there's nothing to worry about, that it's like a save point or an inn/tent that you can heal at and go on with your day. But the truth is, while it will restore your health and magic points as well as offer the cure to a litany of different status ailents, it will also respawn a ton of the same enemies you just fought off to reach it. You'll have to respawn at a bonfire too, when you die, and it might force you into a precarious position where you might find yourself stuck in the middle of a dangerous set of enemies that you can no longer fend off because your weapons are broken or you don't have enough curative items to forge on. They aren't the "cure-all" spots you might think they are when just starting out, so beware. 

Dark Souls - Praise the Sun

Slow it down

The worst thing you can do as a newbie Dark Souls player is freak out and start swinging your sword at everything that moves. Yes, you'll need to be skilled and agile for certain situations, and you'll need to keep an eye on every corner. You also want to bring your fury down upon any monsters who dare cross your path. But don't go looking for a fight, because you'll just die endlessly over and over. You're going to die anyway, that's a fact. But don't come back to the game each and every time thinking you're going to immediately be forced into your grave. Use a calm and steady approach when playing Dark Souls, and understand that this is a game that requires patience. Take breaks when you need to. Come back when you can and try, try again. It's not a race, and you can't treat it as such if you want to emerge victorious. 


Become a packrat

It can be tempting in most games to throw away things you don't think you'll need. But in Dark Souls, you should go ahead and keep just about everything you pick up. You don't have to worry about resource management or anything like that, thankfully. You've got free license to hoard every single item you find, because guess what? Sooner or later, you're probably going to need it, whether you need to sell it for some extra cash or you end up needing to use it for some sort of predicament you need to get yourself out of quickly. It's a good idea to hold onto as much as you can, so be smart and don't start throwing things out as soon as you think you're overburdened.

Dark Souls - Classes

Your starting class doesn't really matter

In many games, it's important to choose a starting class that you'll want to play with for the entirety of the adventure. In Dark Souls, that's not really the case. While whatever class you pick at the beginning of the game will affect the few opening hours, you'll be able to change a multitude of things, if not all, by the time you make additional progress through the game. So if you decide you want to be a tank at the beginning but decide to alter your specialties halfway through Dark Souls, that's perfectly fine. Leveling up allows you to create a build that works best for you as you play, so you always have a chance to respec your character into something that feels much more suited to your play style. So don't fret, because you've still got plenty of leeway to work with. 

Dark Souls - Battle

Don't be afraid to take down huge bosses

Throughout Dark Souls, you'll often be met with behemoths of monsters. Just because they're bigger doesn't mean you ned to be afraid of them. Well, you should be afraid, but not for the reasons that you think. But the closer you can get to them, the better. They're typically built for ranged attacks with a wide attack radius, so if you can get out of that range and closer below where they might be able to reach you, you'll be better off.