Not All Shields Parry
Most shields you get are essential not only for soaking incoming attacks, but performing perfectly timed parries by pressing L2 right as a blow is about to land. However, not all shields are built equally – some are lighter but don’t provide 100% melee reduction, but can still perfectly parry attacks. Others however, like the hulking Steel Shield, provide a huge amount of defensive bonuses, but are too heavy to parry with. They can still have unique uses though, big shields can often be used as a damage source all on their own to crush unwary foes.
Equip Load Ratio
A little known stat in the top right corner of your equipment screen is your Equip Burden and your Weight Ratio. Your equipment load measures your total weight carrying the items you currently have equipped (up to two right and left hand weapons, two rings, and four armor slots). You won’t be able to surpass your total Equipment Load number, which will require more stats to increase your load.
Your Weight Ratio measures your maximum load divided by the amount currently carrying. At a lower ratio, you’ll be able to dodge very quickly from one spot to the next, though at the same distance traveled. However, surpass 50% weight ratio, and your character will only be able to roll slowly along the ground, putting you at risk of being caught in the middle of a slow roll. Hit over 100%, and you won’t be able to roll at all!
For most players, keeping your ratio under exactly 50% is key to be able to stay mobile, and those who forsake this threshold should only do so with a good amount of armor and a large shield.
You CAN Beat the Tutorial Boss
It may seem impossible, but there is a way to kill the Vanguard Demon you face early on in the Tutorial. You don’t exactly need to, but it will provide you with a small amount of extra items to give you an edge for the rest of the game, as you can transport to a place that has a few healing items, blacksmith shards, and souls.
If you’re feeling gutsy, just try to stay behind the demon at all times and attack his backside after one of his swings, and be ready to back off if he hops into the air. But if you die, that’s your one and only chance gone.
You Can Pause the Game (In Photo Mode)
Like all From Software games of this type (except Sekiro), you can’t just pause the game to get a reprieve from combat – but there is an exception. Utilizing Demon’s Souls photo mode pauses the game entirely while you line up the perfect shot – but it can also be used to strategize.
By default, you need to access your tool belt via the touchpad to get to the Photo Mode – but you can actually configure your controls in the options to customize what the touchpad does, and access Photo Mode simply by touching either side of the touchpad in an instant!
You Can Still Rest at an Archstone Bonfire
Those who fondly remember resting at bonfires in the Dark Souls series may become surprised at interacting with an Archstone only gives you the option to teleport, and not to rest up and recover.
It is actually still possible to some extent to rest at these Archstones – you need only select the area you are still currently in, and fog will envelop you, healing you while resurrecting all enemies in the region.
Areas Can Change Due to World Tendency
World Tendency is arguably the most well known secret in Demon’s Souls. You’ll see references to it everywhere – including in your character page, but knowing what it does is often left up for new players to discover themselves.
In short, your actions in a world can shape the tendency from neutral to white or black. Kill bosses and demons, and it will move to a white tendency. Die and lose your Body form, or kill NPCs you shouldn’t, and it will move towards a black tendency.
Reaching either of these states will not only affect the difficulty of an area, but it will also reveal places that may not have been accessible before, like the door to the Execution Grounds on the bridge of the Boletarian Palace entrance. Be sure to re-explore worlds as you progress further and shift the balance to see what else may have been changed!
Recovering your Body Form can Trigger Invasions
Once killed, you’ll be stuck in a Soul Form (a light blue glow) that will halve your HP until you can claim a Demon’s Soul for your own.
However, regaining your old Body Form and your full HP will put you in the cross-hairs of invading players, so be wary of any enemy players who may decide to come hunting.
Quickly Cycle Back to Moon Grass
If you have many items usable items equipped and find yourself dying mid-fight because you couldn’t find your Moon Grass, try holding Down on the D-Pad to quickly cycle to the first item you have equipped in your consumables in your inventory. Usually this should your most plentiful Moon Grass so it makes finding it a lot easier in the middle of a tough fight.
Note that you can also equip items to use quickly on your tool belt (by hitting the touchpad), but items cannot be listed on both tool belt and your quick inventory list – so choose carefully!