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Choosing a Level Order in "Demon's Souls" for Beginners

Demon's Souls is far from a one-and-done experience. Thanks to the five Archstones that unlock early in the game, you can choose how to play through the game in almost any order you like. This will allow you to traverse more difficult areas earlier and gather items and equipment that will make other areas a breeze.

But how do you decide which order you should take through Demon's Souls? Let's start by breaking down the areas.

All images copyright Sony Interactive Entertainment.

All images copyright Sony Interactive Entertainment.

The Five Worlds of Demon's Souls

There are five Archstones you can access in Demon's Souls, and once you complete World 1-1 you can enter any other world that you please. The main areas of Demon's Souls are as follows:

  • Boletarian Palace. The longest and most restrictive area, Boletarian Palace is the first place you'll visit (besides the tutorial) and is designed to be your final destination before the ending. The enemies here are a combination of ranged and melee, and the bosses some of the game's more straightforward.
  • Stonefang Tunnel. The second world, built into a sandy cliffside, is full of powerful melee combatants and twisting-turning tunnels. Two of the area's three bosses are pretty easy, though the second can be a major stumbling point if your reflexes are poor.
  • Tower of Latria. The third world, a lengthy, doom-and-gloom area dominated by instant-death pitfalls and narrow walkways. Navigation through here is both unforgiving and tricky, though on the plus side most of the enemies are not that difficult to defeat. The same can't be said for the bosses, the second of which is easily the hardest in Demon's Souls.
  • Shrine of Storms. The fourth world, a combination of open battle arenas and narrow corridor encounters. It's difficult to get around a lot of these enemies, though if you can the bosses aren't too hard.
  • Valley of Defilement. The fifth world, a horrid bog where the poison status reigns supreme. Foes will dog your steps relentlessly as you pick your way down perilous walkways and plunge into a sludgy wasteland. On the plus side, the bosses here are the easiest in the game.

Which areas you tackle, and in which order, will likely depend on your build. Some areas are better suited to melee fighters, while others are a cakewalk with ranged weaponry or magic. Regardless of your focus, however, most players going through Demon's Souls the first time will probably want to walk a singular path, with few ventures into other areas.


The Beginner's Path

Once you're out of World 1-1 you'll unlock the other four Archstones, and you can immediately jump into World 1-2. This opens up a wide range of possibilities. If you're just starting out, however, it's best you move with the difficulty level. This is a good path for beginners to take:

2-1, 1-2, 3-1, 4-1, 2-2, 2-3, 4-2, 4-3, 3-2, 3-3, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 1-3, 1-4

Let's look at why. Unless you're strictly a magic user you'll want Sharpstone and Hardstone to upgrade your early weapons, making 2-1 a logical first stop. You'll get a ton of upgrade materials by killing the miners, and getting halfway through the area will unlock Blacksmith Ed. You'll need him soon for more advanced upgrades. Once you've killed all the miners once you can move on to 1-2, where you'll find Hoplites in abundance just past the Archstone. They'll help you upgrade your weapons further. The bosses in these two areas also aren't that difficult to beat early on.

3-1 is a must-have level for magic users, as the Mind Flayers will regularly drop Spice. Even if you don't beat the boss right away unlocking the various doors will allow you to quickly farm Spice. Doing 4-1 in conjunction with 3-1 is wise, as you can use the Skeletons at the beginning of the level to earn Souls and build your levels. 4-1's a tricky level, but its boss is very easy, and unlocking the beginning of 4-2 will grant you access to a Reaper that you can use for more quick leveling.

Once you're strong enough - say, between Soul Levels 30 and 40 - 2-2 is a good next destination. There are a ton of items in this area, and though Flamelurker at the end is tough you can usually summon help to bring it down. The Dragon God that comes right after Flamelurker is easy once you figure out its puzzle, and the sheer amount of Souls you'll earn beating these two bosses one after the other will catapult your character into a new realm of power. 4-2 and 4-3 will do the same, and though 4-2 is a big difficulty jump the boosts you get from Flamelurker and Dragon God should be enough to get you through.

(Make sure not to use the Searing Demon Soul you get from Flamelurker for Souls. Give it to Blacksmith Ed to upgrade your weapons. You can get Souls anywhere.)

The order you do Worlds 4 and 5 depends on your level of comfort with beating the Maneaters. They're the toughest bosses in the game, and you likely won't get any multiplayer help while fighting them thanks to the Old Monk summoning mechanic. Having a Soul Level of around 60 should make the battle significantly easier on most builds. If you still can't beat the Maneaters, head to World 5 first and blow through it. The Valley of Defilement is generally a gross area to navigate on your first time through, so going in with a high Soul Level is recommended. The three bosses in World 5 are far easier than their levels.

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Once that's all done you can head back to World 1 and finish off Demon's Souls. You can take out 1-3 earlier if you wish - it's accessible once you defeat one of the Archdemons - though the Penetrator at the end is tough enough that you may want to wait. False King Allant is a strong boss guarded by some very tough enemies, so leaving him until the end is more or less the intended route.

Note that this path is flexible, and some players - and builds - will find certain areas easier than others. World 5, for example, is much easier if you're using a ranged weapon such as a bow. Rearrange your approach as you go.


Alternate Paths

Once you've got a single playthrough under your belt you'll have a better understanding of what you're getting into in Demon's Souls, in which case you're free to change up your order. Here are some tips for choosing your next trip through the game.

Melee Path

As with the original path you'll want to get to 2-1 and 1-2 as early as possible. Upgrading your early weapons will make a huge difference when killing enemies. That said, you'll also want to jump straight to 2-2 and fight Flamelurker early, as its Searing Demon Soul will unlock more upgrade options via Blacksmith Ed. A little leveling against the Skeletons in 4-1 will help you take down Flamelurker if you're having trouble. Blow through the Dragon God after that for a big level boost.

Once you're leveled enough you'll find most of World 3 pretty easy, up until the Maneaters, and the rest of World 4 is much easier for melee combatants than players fighting at a range. So long as you're confident in your reflexes you can fit the remainder of World 1 in anywhere you like in here. World 5 is a nightmare for melee characters, so consider leaving most of it for last.

Ranged Path

Arrows get expensive when you're buying off Blacksmith Boldwin, so while you want to spend time in 2-1 early on you'll also want an alternative vendor. The most convenient Arrow vendor you'll find is Graverobber Blige, whom you can save in 4-1. He's a quick jaunt from the Archstone when you open up 4-2. This will also open the path to Patches, who sells alternate arrow types that you'll find helpful in other areas. Between the two of them you should be set for most of the game. If you're using a crossbow instead you'll need Bolts from Boldwin, and the Former Noble's Wife in 3-1 can help you out as well.

The only spot where you'll have a lot trouble with a ranged specialty is in 4-2, thanks to its narrow paths and excess of close encounters. You may want to save this area for last, and make sure you have a solid melee weapon ready in case your bow fails you.

Magic Path

Mages need Spice, so World 3 is a must-have. More than that, though, you'll want to complete 3-1 first so you can unlock Sage Freke as a merchant in the Nexus. His spells and the Spices will allow you to level up easily via 4-1 and 4-2, so long as you're careful. World 2 is in general easier for ranged fighters up until you reach Dragon God, so going here next to beef up your levels isn't a bad idea. You can use a heavy melee weapon or carefully-aimed spells to take out the Dragon God's debris clusters.

Once you have an Archdemon under your belt you can move on to 1-3. Again, you'll need to be careful, but this level is quite doable for magic users at a low level. Make it halfway through and you'll find a key to release Biorr in 1-2, which in turn allows you to free Yuria the Witch in 1-3. Yuria will supply you with some powerful spells in exchange for boss souls. From there you can tackle the rest of the game in any order you want, likely putting 4-2 and 4-3 somewhere near the end.

Miracle Path

Miracle wielders are more weapon-oriented than mages, so you'll walk a hybrid path here. Build up your store of upgrade materials and Spices early on, then make a beeline to 4-2 to save Saint Urbain. (Don't go too far into 2-2 or you'll change Patches' location and make Urbain temporarily inaccessible.) Urbain is your primary Miracle-slinger. Where you go from here depends on your backup weapon, since Miracles are almost exclusively supportive in nature.

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