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Dark Souls Easy Mode – Walkthrough and Thoughts

June 29, 2013

After seeing the uproar created by the comments of the Dark Souls 2 developers hinting at easier gameplay, I decided to do a walkthrough for Dark Souls with two objectives:

1. To show that the game’s difficulty can already be “adjusted” by using a pure INT build.

2. To show strategies and tactics that new players can use to minimize the risks and overall difficulty of  the game.

Here is the link to all the videos in my walkthrough:

Tech PhantomReviewer’s Dark Souls Easy Mode Walkthrough

My goal was to make sure that new players were not put off by the learning curve and not give up before they were able to gain enough knowledge and skill to progress into later areas in the game.  I purposely used only the most basic of melee techniques (no parrying or last second dodging was used, and only a few backstabs were thrown in).

The walkthrough is also my attempt to show that there are already varying degrees of difficulty in Dark Souls even though the game does not have a selectable difficulty level.  How is that possible?  Here are 4 different ways that new players of the same skill can experience varying difficulty even without any prior knowledge of the game:

1. A player who decides to summon white phantoms or NPCs for the boss fights will have an easier time than one who does not summon.

2. A player that selects the Master Key will have immediate access to significant early game shortcuts and buff consumables.

3. A player that chooses a pure INT build with high ATT and buys all sorceries will have immense firepower that can be dealt at range from a safe distance.

4. A player that receives a drop of a black knight weapon in early game, and adjusts his melee build accordingly, can max out the weapon and be overpowered for at least half the game.

There are other scenarios I can think of but I will stop at 4.  My point is that, even without taking a player’s skill into account, the inherent difficulty of Dark Souls will vary from player to player.  What appears to be universal for all players that decide to persevere and finish the game is a sense of achievement and satisfaction after each milestone and boss fight is conquered.

The uproar from the souls community may be due to the fear that an easier game will lack the sense of initial dread and then the final accomplishment that makes souls games unique.

Luckily, the new developers have clarified their statements. Follow up interviews and the demo gameplay at E3 show Dark Souls 2 as a true successor to the series and hints at better combat mechanics.  The developers have said they want to be true to the core values of the game  but make the game more accessible (without watering-down the experience).  I hope their statement means they will keep the good things, tweak others and eliminate nuisances, such as the heavy backtracking in early game.

Until Dark Souls 2 is out and we can each pass our own judgment on the game, I hope you will enjoy my posts and videos on Dark Souls.  I look forward to your comments.

  1. Thrillhouse permalink

    Very true, i had a hard time until i found the lightning spear and right after that upgraded to black knights halberd. After that it was easy, took down ornstein (smaug first) in 3rd try, manus second and gwyn 3rd. This was my first time with the game. I also suspect i was ahead in level compared to most.

    So i totally agree the game lets you choose difficulty. It lets you level up at your own pace, the grind is easy and even ejoyable and if you run into trouble there is almost always something else you can do for a while and then return to where you got stuck.

    Also, thanks for a good blog. I tried not to check to much stuff up on the web, but when i did this blog was great. Not least the post where you explained the plot, it added alot to my game experience. Thanks!

  2. onomonopea permalink

    Just wanted to say I really enjoyed your lore and easy mode walkthroughs. Have you ever thought to give a drop to Siegmeir or Solaire to keep them from going hollow? Like maybe a lantern for Solaire or the cast light spell? Maybe a weapon for onion bro? I dont play the game myself so i cant try it. Also just wanted to add that you can homeward bone out of ceaseless discharge after getting armour. Also, during first fight with Seath you can hug fog door so your souls can be retreaved.

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