After the first harrowing hour of exploration in Demon’s Souls, you’re dumped into the Nexus and given five portals. There are four different areas you need to clear to progress deeper into the Boletarian Palace — and it isn’t always clear what the best path to the end is. If you’re a new player without much experience in Demon’s Souls, you might want to follow our optimal path, as decided by veteran Demon’s Souls players.
This isn’t Mega Man. Each archstone leads to a lengthy area with three main locations to explore. They’re huge — most of the game involves navigating these four archstones, making careful progress until you can overcome the boss blocking the checkpoint. The different “levels” change drastically in difficulty. Some start easy and get much harder. You’ll need to level up, collect upgrade materials, and spread out your adventuring to all five zones at the same time, making slight progress in each.
Below, I’ll explain the optimal path through the archstones in Demon’s Souls, and what items you need to look out for.
More Demon’s Souls guides:
Beginner’s Guide | Archstone Order
After completing the first section of [1-1] Boletarian Palace and defeating the Phalanx boss, you’ll be able to explore any of the four additional archstones. To progress, you must complete each of the four archstones to unlock the path through Boletarian Palace, eventually leading to the final boss.
After many playthroughs, this is the order we recommend.
Getting Started: 1-1 | 2-1 | 4-1 | 3-1 | 5-1
Going Deeper: 1-2 | 4-2 | 4-3 | 2-2 | 2-3 | 3-2 | 3-3
The End Game: 1-3 | 5-2 | 5-3 | 1-4
Let’s break it down for each section of the game. Here’s why you’ll want to take each path, and what you want to look out for.
Getting Started | 1-1 | 2-1 | 4-1 | 3-1 | 5-1
At the start of the game, you’ll want to experiment and learn more about the game. I highly recommend completing all four of the starting levels. Each one can be difficult, and they can basically be completed in any order you want. My recommendations are based on difficult for beginners — 2-1 is relatively straightforward.
NOTE: While the boss of 2-2 is very difficult, 2-2 is a very important area for upgrade materials if you’re a normal knight build. Go there early to pillage materials!
Here’s a few notes you need to know about each section. Depending on your build, you may want visit other areas first based on the types of upgrade materials you’ll find.
- After completing 1-1, you can continue through 1-2. The boss is beatable, and the area is short.
- Make sure to do 2-1 next. You’ll find lots of upgrade materials in 2-1 and 2-2 for STR / basic gear for your knight class.
- You’ll find the blacksmith in 2-1. This guy is important! Don’t miss him!
- Before going to 4-1, get a Blunt Weapon or run through the skeletons and collect the Crescent Falchion.
- 5-1 has an easy boss, but the area is very challenging. You can find a Blessed Mace here if you’re a FAITH build.
Going Deeper | 1-2 | 4-2 | 4-3 | 2-2 | 2-3 | 3-2 | 3-3
The game is getting much trickier. While you can skip ahead to 1-2 right at the start of the game, I recommend saving the other areas listed here until after you’ve finished each first zone — with the exception of maybe 5-1.
The Shrine of Storms has relatively easy boss fights — if you know the tricks.
Make sure to enter 2-2 early and start collecting upgrade materials. 2-2 is packed with useful items, so there’s no reason to stop exploring. Just don’t expect to finish it until later. The Firelurker is one of the toughest bosses in the game. The area itself is a maze. Don’t worry about dying — you’ll still keep any items you collect.
- The Adjudicator boss is easy to cheese with a bow or any ranged weapon.
- The Old Hero is a blind boss. Keep your equipment weight low, or equip the Thief’s Ring and he’ll have a much harder time finding you. Attack when he loses you and this boss isn’t too bad.
- The Firelurker is a challenge. You absolutely must have a quick roll to beat this boss. Roll through his attacks!
- The Fool’s Idol is a trick boss. Find the path to the upper walkway or you’ll face an constantly-respawning boss.
- The final bosses for all of these areas are trick battles — you need to use the gear and environment to win. To beat the boss of 3-3, just disable online to make the battle much easier. If you feel like cheating.
The End Game |1-3 | 5-2 | 5-3 | 1-4
On the final path! The swamp features pretty simple boss fights, but the areas themselves are a nightmare. I recommend saving those swamps for last — and saving the Penetrator for last. He’s a tough, tough boss that can’t be beaten without a little serious battle experience.
- You’ve made it this far! You can make it to the end.
- Penetrator is a tough boss. A spear / tower shield combo will help — or you can unleash a stream of Fire Spray or Soul Ray to defeat him at range.
- The boss of 5-3 has a powerful knight protector. His shield won’t protect him against fire magic, and learning to parry his attacks makes him a breeze.
- The final boss can steel your souls! Bring plenty of healing grass and you’ll be able to take him down.
That’s our general tips for completing (basically) the entire game. There’s a lot we missed, but we’ll cover more of the details later! For now, enjoy this incredibly beautiful remaster of a classic game that many of us are finally getting a chance to experience.