‘Dark Souls III’ Survival Guide: Five Tips to Stay Alive

Doug Trein

Dark Souls III is out and players are anxious to explore a new, deadly world filled with powerful, nightmarish creatures. Whether you’re a veteran of the Dark Souls franchise or a new player, countless enemies, traps, and challenges will test your skills and wits. While you explore the world of Lothric, it’s best to be prepared for everything, and while death is inevitable in any Dark Souls game, hopefully these tips can keep you from dying too often in Dark Souls III.

Always Keep Your Shield Up


The Dark Souls series prides itself on throwing the player into unpredictable situations. If you leave your guard down for too long, you might spring a trap in the floor, or a group of enemies might ambush you. To help prevent any cheap shots from taking you by surprise, make sure to always keep your shield up — especially when you’re trekking through new terrain. Blocking the first few blows will allow you to easily gather yourself for a counterattack. Hold down that shield button every moment you are moving.

Summon Help


Dark Souls III can be a big challenge to players not familiar with the series’ difficulty. One easy way to turn the tide is to summon help from other players. Players can find summon signs on the ground to invite other players to join their world for co-op play. This strategy is commonly used against major bosses to help even the fight, but summoning players while progressing through a new area can also be immensely helpful. Since summoned players are not penalized for dying, allow them to lead the way while you follow closely behind.

Lure Enemies With Ranged Attacks


Enemies in Dark Souls III don’t like to play fair. The moment a group of them spot you, they will often chase you down in large numbers. Most players can find ways to win one-on-one matchups with most enemies. However, each additional enemy on your tail will significantly lower your chances of survival. A great way to avoid dying is to “pull” individual enemies towards you with ranged attacks or spells. If you spot a group of enemies ahead, pull them towards you one-by-one instead of rushing in and trying to fight them all at once. Keep a constant eye out for any idle groups as you progress.

Take Your Time


Slow and steady wins the race in Dark Souls III. Not even the weakest enemy should be underestimated, or they might surprise you with a flurry of attacks that end in your death. It’s very important to prevent yourself from rushing forward, especially if you’re looking to reclaim a pile of lost souls. There are few feelings worse than losing thousands of souls because you ran by a group of enemies that then tracked you down and killed you. No matter how many times you’ve traveled through an area, or how overleveled you might be, it’s important to progress at a moderate pace. Every time you skip a group of enemies, it raises your chance of being overwhelmed as you progress forward.

Memorize Enemy Locations & Movesets


Perhaps the most important element of surviving in Dark Souls III is simply memorization. Each enemy type has their own unique moveset, consisting of 4-8 specific attacks and attack combinations. When fighting a new enemy for the first time, it’s important to observe their moves closely. What attacks will enemies use when you’re close to them or far away? Do they have any ranged attacks you need to worry about? Once you become comfortable with the attack styles of enemies, you’ll be able to find ways to block/dodge them and counterattack. Memorizing enemy locations will also help give you an edge in defeating them.


Lastly, it’s important to embrace death as a necessary part of Dark Souls III. Each death can give you a blueprint for how to correct your playstyle. When you do die, think back on what led to the death and how you can best avoid that situation in the future.

Best of luck on your adventures! You’ll need it.

Doug Trein
Doug Trein is a staff contributor at Fandom and focuses primarily on video games and animated television shows. His game genre favorites include strategy and turn-based role-playing games, first-person shooters, 2D fighting games, and action/adventure titles.
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