Secret areas are awesome, and Dark Souls: Remastered loves itself some secret areas. Not only are they cool location in their own right, with unique enemy encounters, hidden bosses, and special items to find, they’re just cool looking. They’re also really easy to overlook if you’re new to the series and haven’t poked or prodded every inch of Lordran. If you’ve got that sneaking suspicion that there’s something left to explore in the kingdom, then we’re here to help you out.
There are four specific locations we’ll be looking at here. One of them isn’t technically a secret area, but returning totally is secret — then there are two hidden locations linked together. The other two are their own weird things, including the ‘Artorias of the Abyss’ DLC zone that’s still requires a pretty complicated quest to actually unlock. If you’re lost, confused, or just want to see how early you can hop on over to these areas, this guide should have you covered.
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How To Access Secret Areas | Ash Lake, Painted World & Oolacile Guide
Secret areas are hidden locations with unique title cards. One of these “secrets” is actually the DLC expansion — but unlocking it is pretty difficult, so we’re lumping in those whole section as a single secret area. Really, it’s more like three or four secret areas.
Northern Undead Asylum (Revisit)
The first area of the game can actually be revisited. To go back, you’ll need to unlock the elevator shortcut from the Firelink Shrine to the Northern Undead Parish. While riding the lift, step onto the ruins and follow the narrow path up to a large nest.
Interact with the large crow’s nest up high in the Firelink Shrine to transport back to the Northern Undead Asylum. On your return trip, you can fight the Stray Demon boss and collect the Strange Doll key item.
Great Hollow / Ash Lake
To reach the Great Hollow, travel to the swamp at the bottom of Blighttown. From there, follow the path up the roots of the enormous tree and attack the walls to reveal a hidden room with a chest. Attack the walls in this hidden room to reveal another entrance to the Great Hollow.
The Great Hollow is a long, dangerous drop that eventually leads to Ash Lake. Beware the tough enemies here — they can curse you, and if you misstep you’ll die from a long fall. If you can survive the trip down, you’ll eventually enter the Ash Lake.
The Ash Lake is another small area with tough enemies — you’ll have to avoid Man-Eater Clams and a Hydra, but the path leads to one of the best covenants. The Dragon Covenant is at the end of the path, and accepting it gives you the power to transform into a dragon. Or, well, you’ll get a Dragon head that breathes fire.
The Painted World of Ariamis
The Painted World of Ariamis can be accessed through the massive painting in the Anor Londo cathedral. To actually enter the Painted World, you’ll need a unique key item called the Strange Doll.
The Strange Doll is found in a cell in the Northern Undead Asylum when you revisit the area. Use the giant nest in the Firelink Shrine (described in the first entry) to revisit the Northern Undead Asylum and collect the Strange Doll — it’s in the cell where you first started the game.
The Painted World is a massive castle zone with unique, engorged enemies and an undead dragon. To leave, you need to travel to the opposite tower from the bridge and talk to Halfbreed Priscilla. This is an optional boss, but she’ll only fight if you attack her.
Oolacile of the Abyss (DLC)
The large expansion area is included in Dark Souls: Remastered, but actually accessing the zone is pretty tricky. You’ll need to follow specific steps to ‘rescue’ Dusk of Oolacile, an NPC, and collect the Broken Pendant.
NOTE: Some of these steps can be completed early, but it’s better to wait until after you’ve defeated Ornstein and Smough and collected the Lordvessel.
- Travel to the Darkroot Basin and kill the Hydra.
- Leave the area and return later to the cave near the Hydra’s spawn in Darkroot Basin.
- A golem will be inside the cave. Kill it and Dusk of Oolacile will appear. Talk to her.
- Now that you’ve rescued Dusk, travel to the Duke’s Archive. Destroy the Crystal Golem near the entrance — if you’ve rescued Dusk, it will drop a Broken Pendant.
- Return to the cave where you found Dusk with the Broken Pendant. In the back of the cave, a cutscene will trigger, transporting you to Oolacile.
The DLC area has four bosses; Sanctuary Guardian, Artorias the Abysswalker, Manus, Father of the Abyss, and the Black Dragon Kalameet. You’ll also find new spells, new armor, new vendors, and new weapons. There are multiple large areas to explore, including the Royal Woods, Oolacile Township, and Chasm of the Abyss. It’s a high-level area, so go in when you’re ready.