When you first crack the spine on this book, the guide tells you to prepare to die less and then asks how many times you did die before diving into this collection of tips. From here the guide is broken down into six sections of which the first two may seem like something you can skim over, but I’d argue they are quite possibly the most useful for anyone deciding to torture their thumbs in this dark world.
The first two sections are dedicated to game mechanics and the various enemies. You may think you can skim over the game mechanics portion, but I’d urge you to take some time and study this as it’ll make character planning and development much easier. Not only does this cover souls needed for leveling and hit point curves, but it also dives into how humanity works and is useful at certain times while still detailing the basics of battling and defending. There is great advice here, so don’t skip it.
Following the 101 of how to swing a sword and not die every two minutes is a lengthy section on enemies and bosses. Hit points, attack types, and clues on how to destroy the foe at hand are listed here. I found myself coming to this section after turning into a blood stain for the 10th time and then destroying the vile beast shortly there after. It does feel a bit out of place as you have to use the index at the back to hunt down whatever it is that is blocking your progression. However, it does make it easier to study thy foe.
After reading about enemies you get to the area walkthrough portion. A rudimentary map along with item and enemy locations are provided. Key strategies, such as falling off a ladder and pulling switches to move bookcases, are pointed out and clearly marked on the map. You will be flipping among this and the enemy section a lot so utilize the index as it will save you hours of flipping pages.
Sections four and five are dedicated to the vast amount of weapons and items scattered about the world. These end up being a nice complement to the first section as it provides a great aid for planning out your character. All sets and upgrade benefits are listed here. It is also very handy to know where to find specific magic items so you don’t accidentally kill the NPC that holds that one rare ring you wanted.
The last portion of the guide covers not only how to obtain the Achievements/Trophies in the game, but a thorough breakdown on the new covenant feature. A smattering of NPC data, maps, and weapon upgrades are included too. It is a nice way to finish the guide while still providing plenty of useful and pertinent info.
Sadly, it is not all greatness here. It takes some time to get used to how this guide flows. I found I had to read sections–like how to beat a boss–a few times to get the gist of what needed to be done. Also, due to updates to the game, some content in the guide is outdated. It does not make the guide less useful, but if something is not working from the printed text then jump online for more up-to-date info.
While I still died a lot, my controller thanks Future Press for all the hard work that went into this book. It made a game that gives the player with very little plenty of ground to stand on and the tools necessary to succeed in this grim and dark world. Do not buy Dark Souls without giving this guide some serious consideration.