5 simple beginners’ tips for Dark Souls

This past weekend I’ve spent most of my play time on a game that I’ve been waiting for since it was announced last TGS: Dark Souls. I did a review of it for original-gamer.com, which you can read it by clicking here. So far I’m really enjoying the game so far, despite dying many, many times often becuase I wasnt paying attention to my surroundings. Now that the game has been launched, there are a lot of guides, tips and walk-throughs  for it. While they have been very helpful (especially the one on how to get a powerful sword made from the tail of a dragon) there really isn’t one for new players that really want to play Dark Souls but are afraid to due to its unforgiving gameplay and learning curve. So here are some tips that I think that will help new players get into the game.

  1. You will die, learn from it– First thing we need to get out of the way is this: you will die….a lot. The faster you accept it, the less frustrating it will be. But its nothing to be ashamed about. With in death comes knowledge. You know why you died and you know how you died. With that new information, you can go into that same situation and avoid meeting that same death you faced earlier. 
  2. Play as warrior or knight on first playthrough– Now for first time players, it would be wise to pick either the warrior or knight classes. The reason being that both the warrior and knight have high HP and strength starting stats. They might not be as cool looking as the other classes but trust me, if you want to make it to a second playthough, uses these guys first and get a feel for the game.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings– Dark Souls will kill you at every chance it can get, be it from a timed parry from an enemy, walking into an ambush or just dodging an attack to only fall off a cliff. It’s important to know what’s around you and to keep your eyes open at all times. 
  4. Use the environment to your advantage– This coincides with being aware of your surroundings. Littered around the game there will be traps, pits, cliffs and bigger monsters to avoid. But with a bit of smarts you can use these to your advantage. Grab the attention of a few monsters and lead them out so they can fall to their deaths. Shoot the tail of a dragon to have it breath fire on a bridge full of monsters. If the monster starts to turtle, push and attack him till he falls off the edge. Another thing to keep an eye out is narrow corridors. Most enemies are equipped with swords and battle axes that use a side to side slicing motion. When you lead them into the corridor and they try to attack, their range of motion will be limited to to their weapons scraping against the walls. Use the time that they take to recover to get a couple of attacks in. 
  5. Have a long ranged weapon handy– Whither your a warrior, a cleric, a thief or one of the depraved, its always good to have some sort of long ranged weapon handy. Besides having your attack distance increased, long ranged weapons also give a first strike advantage. But remember this: in order to even use the most basic long bow, you must have high enough dexterity to use the bow properly. For warriors and knights, who are primarily melee oriented, their dexterity must be at minimum 12. Also don’t bother with a crossbow. There’s a delay between reloading that takes a few seconds, and in Dark Souls it only takes a few seconds to get killed. The bow is a safer bet, has a faster reload time and can be easily switched from bow to melee weapon. 
So there go, five basic tips for Dark Souls. Like I said earlier these tips are mostly for those who see Dark Souls and think “Hey that looks like a really cool game….but it seems so hard”. Follow these tips and Dark Souls won’t be that painful to play through. All it takes is patients, smarts, and dying a lot. As a follow up, I’ll talk a bit about combat and a few strategies that work for me. Till then,save travels in your dungeon crawl and have fun.


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