Feared and loved alike for its stern difficulty and brooding atmosphere, the Dark Souls series has now reached its third release - although it's the fifth in a broader family of From Software games made under Hidetaka Miyazaki that also includes the PS3's Demon's Souls and the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne. The seven years since Demon's Souls release have seen the games go from a cultish acquired taste to big sales and huge critical acclaim, without ever compromising on the core that made them special.
The consensus is that Dark Souls 3 recaptures the fearsome magic of the first Dark Souls, after the slightly wayward 2, with Miyazaki taking a firmer grip on the reins after Bloodborne's release. We at Eurogamer completely agree, having awarded the game an Essential recommendation.
That means that it's a game of formidable complexity, mystery and challenge, and we're here to help with a comprehensive game guide on day one. Though we've left plenty of secrets and subtleties of the game for you to discover, we've got a complete walkthrough for every area in the game and strategies to defeat every boss, including the five optional bosses. You'll also find a beginner's guide below, as well as advice on the best farming spots and the New Game Plus mode, how to join all the Covenants and how to unlock all the endings.
Just as crucial as any of this is the most important advice you can give to any player of any Souls game: take your time, be patient, watch your enemy carefully and don't take too many risks, and you'll prevail in the end.
You can find advice on specific topics immediately below - scroll down for our detailed walkthrough of each region and boss.
If you're finished with the main game meanwhile, don't forget we've also put together a Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel guide and walkthrough, and a Dark Souls 3: Ringed City walkthrough and guide, too.
Dark Souls 3 - The basics and the best farming spots
Everything you need to know, from class selection to combat and consumables, loot, levelling and the best places in the game to farm souls.
Dark Souls 3 - Estus Shard locations
Locate the Estus Shards you'll need to boost your health and make your journey through the game if not easy, then at least less brutal.
Dark Souls 3 - Bone Shard Locations
Find those calcified collectibles and get a bit more of a kick from each Estus charge.
Dark Souls 3 - Illusory Wall Locations
Our rolling record of all the phantom walls we've discovered so far.
Dark Souls 3 - How to join every Covenant
Our guide to joining every multiplayer Covenant in Dark Souls 3 - whether PvP, PvE or defensive - plus details of their effects and rewards.
Dark Souls 3 - New Game Plus
Everything you need to know about Dark Souls 3's super-hard NG+ mode: what you keep, what changes, and what to do before you start.
Dark Souls 3 - How to unlock all three endings
Our guide to how to see the all the variations of Dark Souls 3's ending: The End of Fire, The End of Fire+, and Usurpation of Fire.
Dark Souls 3 - where to go, with map
Struggling to find out where you should be heading next? We've prepared a (handy reference for how you should proceed once you're past the first section, with as few spoilers as we can manage.
Dark Souls 3 - summoning and multiplayer
The complete guide to summoning including co-op, invasions, the different colours of summoning stones and sending messages.
Dark Souls 3 - how to complete every NPC quest in one playthrough
Want to complete every sidequest in a single, heroic, thoroughly dangerous run? Start here. Armour unlocks await.
What does it take to run Dark Souls 3 at 1080p60?
The hardware you'll need to get top-tier PC performance.
Dark Souls 3 - Why you should install patch 1.03
Digital Foundry's in-depth analysis of the first patch.
On this page:
Dark Souls 3 - Cemetery of Ash and Iudex Gundyr
A quick run through the relatively gentle introductory section of Dark Souls 3.
Dark Souls 3 - High Wall of Lothric and Vordt of Boreal Valley
How to survive the High Wall of Lothric, then beat down the first main boss in the game.
Dark Souls 3 - Foot of the High Wall and the Curse Rotted Greatwood
Clearing the Foot of the High Wall, then putting the Curse Rotted Greatwood boss to bed.
Dark Souls 3 - Road of Sacrifices and the Crystal Sage
Travel the Road of Sacrifices in safety and finish off the Crystal Sage.
Dark Souls 3 - Cathedral of the Deep and the Deacons of the Deep
How to make it through the Cathedral of the Deep and beat the boss Deacons.
Dark Souls 3 - Farron Keep and the Abyss Watchers
Our guide to exploring Farron Keep safely and killing the Abyss Watchers.
Dark Souls 3 - Catacombs of Carthus and High Lord Wolnir
How to clear out the Catacombs of Carthus and beat the next boss, High Lord Wolnir.
Dark Souls 3 - Irithyll of the Boreal Valley and Pontiff Sulhyvan
How to polish off the Pontiff Sulhyvan boss encounter.
Dark Souls 3 - Irithyll Dungeon
Our walkthrough for the Irithyll Dungeon region of the game.
Dark Souls 3 - Profaned Capital and Yhorm the Giant
Clearing out the Profaned Capital and dealing with Yhorm the Giant.
Dark Souls 3 - Anor Londo, Aldritch and Dancer of the Boreal Valley
How to beat Aldritch, Devourer of Gods and Dancer of the Boreal Valley.
Dark Souls 3 - Lothric Castle and Dragonslayer Armour
Making your way through Lothric Castle, and how to defeat the boss Dragonslayer Armour.
Dark Souls 3 - Smouldering Lake and the Old Demon King
How to clear the optional Smouldering Lake area and its boss, the Old Demon King.
Dark Souls 3 - Consumed King's Garden, Oceiros, the Untended Graves and Champion Gundyr
How to find and defeat two more optional bosses: Oceiros in the Consumed King's Garden, and Champion Gundyr in the Untended Graves.
Dark Souls 3 - Archdragon Peak, the Ancient Wyvern and the Nameless King
How to find Archdragon Peak and defeat the last two optional bosses, the Ancient Wyvern and the Nameless King.
Dark Souls 3 - Grand Archives and the Princes of Lothric
Clearing out the Grand Archives and beating the penultimate boss encounter, the Princes of Lothric
Dark Souls 3 - Kiln of the First Flame and Soul of Cinder
How to beat Dark Souls 3's final and hardest fight: Soul of Cinder, found in Kiln of the First Flame.
Starting Dark Souls 3
The starting area gives you an introduction to all of the basic movement and combat controls in Dark Souls 3, so read the marks as you make your way forwards to learn what does what.
Just ahead of your starting location you'll encounter a fairly weak enemy that can be dealt with in one hit. Kill him, take the narrow path to the right and collect the soul, then backtrack and collect the Ashen Estus flask from the corpse.
Head right up a short flight of stairs and backstab the enemy, then cross the river to take on a pair of the same creature.
Turn left, head up the steps and dispatch another, and then backtrack, taking a left to backstab the final enemy, before heading to the cliff path ahead.
Follow the steep path up and around in order to find your first bonfire. Light it, rest up if you took any damage, and then press on down the slope.
Cemetery of Ash
There's another enemy ahead, so take him out. Next, dash and jump from the edge to land on the coffin ahead to collect a Titanite Shard - the timing can be a little tricky here, but don't worry if you miss it as we'll be circling around again.
Turn right and perform a drop attack from the ledge, and then get ready to dodge any incoming fire arrows as you approach the enemy in the archway ahead. Kill the archer, then turn right and head back up the slope.
You'll come across a solitary enemy with his back to you, so quickly take him out and then do a drop attack on one of the two enemies directly below you.
Kill the other, loot the corpse, then head up the slope. As you round the corner you'll face another enemy who may try and rush you. Kill him, then veer left to face a pair of sleeping enemies. If you need to retry the jump from earlier, simply carry on up the slope, or head back down if you're ready to move on.
Cemetery of Ash farming route
Note that this section can be easily farmed for around 200 souls a minute. Not a huge amount later on in the game once the levelling gaps expand, but in the early stages it can give you a level or two's advantage.
Follow the route above, returning to the bonfire each time to respawn the enemies, and you'll also get a few random item drops that can be sold for souls once you reach Firelink Shrine.
How to kill Iudex Gundyr
Through the archway ahead of you you'll enter a large open area with a suspicious looking motionless enemy in the centre. Approach him and pull out the sword that he holds, then get ready to fight.
In his first phase he makes use of two main attacks: a wide double sweep, and a jumping overhead blow. He also has a handful of minor attacks to dodge as well.
Make sure you keep your distance from him, and when he leaps towards you simply dodge-roll to one side, and then get in a couple of attacks before retreating.
Once his health is down to around 50% he'll transform into his second phase form. He still has sweeping and jumping attacks in this second half of the fight, but they have a larger range and do more damage.
Just as you did in the first phase, keep your distance and only strike while he's vulnerable after his jumping attack, and he should go down fairly quickly.
Where to find Firelink Shrine
Once he's vanquished, take a deep breath, light the bonfire, and then rest to recoup health and replenish your Estus flasks before heading through the large doors on the far side of the arena from where you entered.
Pillage the corpse just ahead of you, then head to the cliff edge and follow the path to the right. Fight off a couple of easy enemies and pillage the corpse at the end of the path for a Homeward Bone before backtracking and climbing the main path.
At the fork you can either go left and defeat a few enemies, or head right and avoid the encounter, but either way you'll end up at Firelink Shrine, where the game proper really begins.
- The next part of our walkthrough explains how to survive Dark Souls 3's High Wall of Lothric and Vordt of Boreal Valley.