Undead Asylum is the first area of Dark Souls, and acts as both a tutorial and a sign of things to come, difficulty-wise.
Before you start, you need to create your character, and we recommendations for the best gift and best class in Dark Souls to choose from.
Otherwise, press on through this opening area, and good luck. We won't spoil the surprise for what's to come right now, but if you get stuck, this page can help!
From the start of Dark Souls, you'll find yourself locked up in a cell. From here you'll want to unlock the door and read the messages on the floor which will get you started with the basic controls of the game. After clearing the room that teaches you to target enemies, you'll want to make your way up the well and light your first bonfire.
Before continuing, make sure to rest at this Bonfire, as it may come in handy for the fight ahead. After going through the double doors ahead of you, you'll want to walk forward until the Asylum Demon appears.
From here, you have the choice of running to the left and fighting it again when you're fully equipped, or taking it on Asylum Demon to get a Demon's Great Hammer. Whether your choice is fight or flee, our dedicated Asylum Demon page can help.
If you kill it here, you will then need to make your way through the tutorial and over to Oscar of Astora (who we will talk about later) in order to get the Big Pilgrim's Key to go to Firelink Shrine. If you decide to run, you'll make your way into a corridor to another Bonfire. Rest here to regain any lost health.
From here, you'll encounter a corridor with an archer, in an indentation to the left, you'll find a shield that you'll be able to equip. If you're not sure how to do this, have a gander at the message in the attached room. From here, proceed up the walkway and as the Archer runs, pick up and equip your class' weapon. Then, head up the stairs and through the fog gate.
In this open area, from the left of the message on the ground is a dead end, so head right and up the stairs, but you'll need to react quickly as a bouder will hurtle towards you, dodge out of the way and look to where the boulder hit, where you will encounter Oscar of Astora.
After talking to Oscar, he will give you Estus Flasks. From there, head right down the stairs to unlock the gate to the bonfire that you lit before you encountered the Asylum Demon. Head back up towards oscar and up the stairs.
If you are playing a class that requires a catalyst, or bow, you'll be able to find this on a corpse on the right wall. Equip this, and you'll be able to cast your equipped spell or shoot arrows. There are two Sword-Hollows here, which you'll want to take out. There is also a hollow with a bow that you'll want to kill. Lure the two sword-hollows away from the bowman, take them out, then deal with the archer.
If you're looking for more help, our Dark Souls walkthrough and guide can help with all other areas of the game, including the dreadedTaurus Demon, Capra Demon, Ornstein and Smough bosses. Meanwhile, we have explainers on how to access DLC Artorias of the Abyss, the best gift and best class in Dark Souls, Dark Souls' best weapons, Dark Souls Covenants, Dark Souls Estus Flasks locations, Dark Souls Titanite Slab locations and NPC quests including Lautrec of Carim.
Ignore the fog gate, and you will be able to encounter a soldier, who looks a bit different to the sword hollows that you've encountered before. Most notably, that they have a shield. Press forward and R1 / Right Bumper in order to knock this hollow off-balance while it is guarding and use that window to take them out.
If you're lucky, it will drop a Hollow Soldier's Shield, which is a pretty decent upgrade from some classes starting shield.
After dealing with the Hollow Soldier, head back to the fog and get ready to rain sweet justice on that Asylum Demon. This time, you will be able to get the drop on it. Again, our Asylum Demon boss strategy page will give you all the pointers you need. Good luck!
Once you have killed the Asylum Demon, open up the gate in front, and you may be able to spot Snuggly the Crow, who you will encounter again in your travels across Lordran. Head up the steps, and after a cutscene, you'll arrive in the Firelink Shrine.