[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/demons_souls_8768.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[MercyMode Easy-mode?]] [[NintendoHard Pfffthahahahaha]]!]]
->''"Soul of the mind, key to life's ether. Soul of the lost, withdrawn from its vessel. Let strength be granted so the world might be mended. So the world might be mended."''
-->-- '''The Maiden in Black'''

''Demon's Souls'' is a {{Playstation 3}} game made by Creator/FROMSoftware and published by {{Atlus}}.

The game is set in the Kingdom of Boletaria, which was led to great prosperity by [[RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething King Allant XII]] with the use of the power of souls, until it was beset by a strange [[FogOfDoom colorless fog]] that isolated it from the rest of the world and brought soul-hungry demons with it.

After the world was let known of Boletaria's plight, legend spread of the chaos within the kingdom wreaked upon it by a beast from the Nexus and of the demons that grew ever more powerful with each soul they devoured. Many people went to Boletaria, either to save it from its plight or lured by the prospect of the power of souls, but all were lost in its chaos.

You are one such person, like many others now dead and trapped in the fog with your soul bound to the Nexus. From there, your journey begins...

Infamous for [[NintendoHard being extremely hard]] due to the game playing with TrialAndErrorGameplay. For this, it has [[SleeperHit gained wide praise]], as the game manages to be hard but fair.

In reality, it's hardly Nintendo Hard -- rather, it's DifficultButAwesome in game form, as it encourages you to learn from your mistakes to become an experienced demon slayer. Running headfirst into battle swinging the sword like a madman hoping to hit something will only get you killed, again, and again... and again.

The game includes a very unusual online multiplayer mode that avoids direct interaction almost entirely. You will often see ghostly forms of other players fading in and out of your game; you are unable to interact with them in any way, but it adds even more to the atmosphere of the game. When other players die in a dungeon, they leave behind a bloodstain which shows a replay (in ghost form) of how they died or a message that can contain a helpful tip. The ghost-replay can be helpful in showing you how ''not'' to die just ahead like that other guy. Useful tips can be rewarded, which gives the player who left them a temporary power boost; however, this doesn't stop some players from giving deliberately bad advice ForTheEvulz. Under certain conditions, you can receive direct help by sending out a summons that will randomly pull another player into your world, while others are out to kill you for the Souls that you hold and can enter your world uninvited. Fun times.

A SpiritualSuccessor / NonLinearSequel, ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'', was released on October 4th, 2011. A second SpiritualSuccessor for {{PlayStation 4}}, ''VideoGame/{{Bloodborne}}'', followed in 2015.

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!! This game provides examples of:

* AbsurdlyHighLevelCap: The highest level for any single stat is 99, making the highest possible Soul Level 712, with all individual stats at 99. The maximum is far beyond what's needed to complete the game.
* AlwaysNight: Tower of Latria and Valley of Defilement, it's possible that this was caused by the Colourless Fog.
* AntiVillain: Garl Vinland.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Some of the gear you get later in the game, like the Brushwood Armor set have high stats, but they're incredibly heavy and have high stamina penalties.
** Also, [[UnforgottenRealms DUAL-WIELDING SHIELDS]].
** Some of the higher level spells and miracles, like Firestorm, Soulsucker, and God's Wrath, fall under this in PVE. Sure, they do huge amounts of damage to enemies. But their charging times are painfully long (Sometimes reaching up to 4 seconds) and can only be done at very close range. And with enemies that can close the distance between themselves and you pretty quickly, and can often kill you in less than a handful of hits, it is usually far too risky to try and use them.
*** They are very helpful against certain swarming enemies, however.
* BaldOfEvil: Patches the Hyena.
* BatmanGambit The Maiden in Black [[spoiler:can wait for someone or a collective to clear the way so she can lull The Old One back to sleep. Of course, the player can decide to double cross her at the end, making himself the SpannerInTheWorks.]]
* BeefGate: Happens a lot in this game, Shrine of Storms being a notable example.
* {{BFS}}: A few of the two-handed weapons, such as the Northern Regalia or the Dragon Bone Smasher. The latter doesn't even have a blade, it just crushes enemies.
** Some enemies can also wield this, such as the Penetrator and the Gold Skeletons in the Shrine of Storms world.
* BigBad: The Old One.
* TheBlacksmith: Ed and Boldwin.
* BladderOfSteel: You cannot pause the game at all. The game continues to run whether you're checking your inventory, writing messages, or even changing game options. The only way to stop the game is to quit from the menu. However, enemies don't respawn or chase you without attracting attention, so it's generally safe to park yourself somewhere unless a black phantom invades your game.
* BlobMonster: Phalanx. Played with however, since it's actually some kind of magical glowy thing covered in slug-like, shield and spear wielding Hoplite monsters.
* BloodstainedGlassWindows: Possibly the creepiest fight with a demon happens in the church in the Prison of Hope.
* BoringButPractical: You can get through certain stages by sniping the demon to death. It takes a long time, so you better have a ''lot'' of extra arrows in case you miss. And even then, you might need to go back and get some more.
** The official strategy guide even flat-out states that the easiest way to kill the red dragon is to do this. Sure, you ''can'' kill it with melee weapons, but why the hell would you when it can kill you with one swipe of its tail?
** Spears. Sure, you can use all kinds of exotic and/or gigantic weapons, but the simple combo of excellent range and accuracy is hard to pass up. Not to mention the ability to poke your opponent from behind a shield, especially if you have the Endurance to block ''boss-swipes'' and still attack without lowering it.
* BossBattle: Happens at the end of every section of every level.
** AttackItsWeakPoint: [[spoiler:The Adjudicator boasts not one, but two weak points -- a giant gash in its side and the bird on its head.]]
** BaitAndSwitchBoss: [[spoiler:At the end of 1-3, you find a typical Fat Official, the likes of which you've been fighting as regular enemies before. At first it looks like he would be the boss, but suddenly he gets stabbed from behind and thrown out by the real boss, The Penetrator.]]
** BossArenaIdiocy: [[spoiler:So, just why ''does'' the Dragon God park itself right in front of two ballistas?]]
*** [[spoiler:They were placed there by the Burrowers to be used in the event the Dragon God ever resurrected. They performed their duty admirably.]]
** BossCorridor: [[spoiler:A tunnel leads up to the room where you battle Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland. The corridor leading to where you fight the Dragon God gets extra points for giving you a view of the boss and its primary attack in all its glory. Finally, an example before the False King, after the Blue Dragon. Partial examples before the Storm King and Old Monk - they are only empty after you fight and beat the Old Hero and Maneater in each corridor, respectively.]]
** BossInMookClothing: [[spoiler:The Black Phantoms]]
** CognizantLimbs: [[spoiler:Two for the Maneater (body and tail), and an impressive five for the Storm King (both wings, tail, body, and head).]]
** DualBoss: [[spoiler:Maneater, to the dismay of many a player who did not expect last-minute reinforcements]]
** FlunkyBoss: [[spoiler:The Phalanx Demon, The Tower Knight]]
** HopelessBossFight: [[spoiler:The Vanguard at the end of the tutorial, to [[ButThouMust serve the plot]]. Beating him is acknowledged by the game, earning the player a decent reward for his or her trouble...and also nets the player the privilege of being killed in a cutscene encounter with the Dragon God, [[FinalBossPreview end-boss of Stonefang Tunnel]].]]
** MirrorBoss: [[spoiler:Old Monk, of the "equivalency" rather than "identical" type. You actually fight another player in Black Phantom form if you are online.]]
** StationaryBoss: [[spoiler:The Adjudicator (which isn't actually stationary, but is so immobile it might as well be), The Leechmonger, The Dragon God]]
** TeleportSpam: [[spoiler:Fool's Idol, combining with DoppelgangerSpin for ShellGame shenanigans]]
** TurnsRed: [[spoiler:The Flamelurker]]
*** Also a WakeUpCallBoss. [[spoiler: Every boss prior (Phalanx, Tower Knight and Armored Spider) is generally easy to beat once you figure out how. Flamelurker is hard even if you know exactly what to do.]]
*** [[spoiler: Abuse the AI by sneaking behind it and sniping it with spells, bolts, or arrows?]]
*** [[spoiler: The only spells that won't trigger the Flamelurker AI (and a [[CurbStompBattle Curb-stomp on the player]], after getting trapped in the very narrow blind spot behind him) are Plague and Poison Cloud. They're both derived from Boss Souls, and both bosses are in the Valley of Defilement.]]
** ZeroEffortBoss: [[spoiler: Maiden Astraea, if you kill Garl Vinland.]]
* ButThouMust: When the Monumental tells you its plan to defeat the Old One, you get to decline to helping it. It then points out that your only other option is staying in the Nexus for all eternity, slowly withering away.
* CallARabbitASmeerp: The Mirdan Hammer, called a Lucerne hammer in the real world. Justified trope; there's probably no Lucerne, Switzerland in the Demon's Souls world.
* CaptainErsatz: The assassins that you see after the Tower Knight's arch stone look a lot like [[Franchise/AssassinsCreed Altair]]. The Tower Knight himself bares a striking resemblance to [[{{Berserk}} Grunbeld.]]
* ChainmailBikini: Notably averted. All character classes wear the armors the way they should be worn.
** Though, played straight with some of the starting outfits - women knights' fluted plate leaves their faces visible and emphasizes their buttocks, while female thieves masks are see-through and their shirts are V-neck.
* CherryTapping: Ever killed a boss with a broken sword?
%%* CompetitiveBalance: Each character class has (or at least, starts with) its own specialty so as not to make any single one stand out (at the start).
%%** FragileSpeedster: The Thief, The Wanderer.
%%** GlassCannon: The Barbarian.
%%** MagicKnight: The Magician, The Priest.
%%** JackOfAllStats: The Knight, The Hunter.
%%** MightyGlacier: The Temple Knight, The Soldier.
%%** SquishyWizard: The Royalty.
%%** The various weapons and spells also have their strengths and weaknesses.
%%*** FragileSpeedster: Daggers and Fist Weapons. Unless you cast Light Weapon on them, then they become [[LethalJokeCharacter something else entirely.]]
%%*** GlassCannon: The Morion Blade and Clever Rat's Ring turns anything into one.
* MagicKnight: Moon and Crescent weapons can give any mage power in a melee fight.
%%*** JackOfAllStats: The Knight Sword. The Blueblood Sword is [[MovesetClone similar, but]] [[LightningBruiser has a longer blade and deals much more damage]] in exchange for being [[FatalFlaw dependent on a temporary buff that is difficult to cast mid-battle.]]
%%*** MightyGlacier: The Dragon Bone Smasher and Great Axe.
%%*** GradualGrinder: Status effects and Firespray.
%%*** LightningBruiser: Dual Katanas.
%%*** StoneWall: Estoc and Spear, when used in conjunction with a shield.
* TheComputerIsACheatingBastard: In the Valley of Defilement, AI human black phantoms (who normally operate under the same limitations as you) are not encumbered (or poisoned) by the swamp at all.
** Neither is any enemy for that matter. That includes the [[DemonicSpiders Giant Depraved Ones]], who can't be stunned, have loads of HP, and will relentlessly pursue and attack you with their heavy-hitting giant clubs. Their Black Phantom versions are probably the most hated enemy in the game.
* ConservationOfNinjutsu: One lone human soul against a veritable army of demons...'''[[WrongGenreSavvy AHA! ]]'''[[TemptingFate Those demons won't stand a chance!]]
** Despite the [[DifficultButAwesome particularly steep learning curve]], once you get [[TaughtByExperience accustomed to a particular style of play]] you will eventually be successful against the horde of demons.
* ContractualBossImmunity: Mostly averted; status effects can help a lot (or even be gamebreakers with exploits) when fighting most bosses and strong normal enemies. They are also helpful in PVP.
** Closest it gets is the tutorial. After that, you kill everything and everybody (and some of the [=NPCs=] can be so hard they might as well be bosses). 2nd place is the dragon god, because if there weren't balistas on his stage you would be done for.
* ContractualImmortality: The Monumental is the only NPC that reacts to being attacked without taking damage and it chides you for wasting your energy.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Played straight with lava, as the player can walk right up to the edge without injury. Somewhat (maybe accidentally) averted with the various dragons' firebreath, as it has a pretty messy hitbox and may cause damage without actually coming in contact, though a fire that size should still have a much larger area of effect.
* CosmicKeystone: The Monumental [[spoiler:and the player, depending on his or her choice.]]
* CounterAttack: It may be pretty hard to pull off (as in if you're timing is off by a millisecond you're eating whatever attack you were trying to stop) but you can parry the attacks of most humanoid enemies, at least those with weapons, if you're using a small shield, some weapons, or even with your empty offhand by hitting L2 at the right time. If timed right it staggers them back and leaves them open, hitting the light attack button immediately after a parry executes a downright ''brutal'' counterattack. Swords, spears, and other stabby weapons impale your enemy before you slam them to the ground for more damage than you could hope to do with any other physical attack, usually [[OneHitKill instantly killing the poor sap you just parried.]] Blunt weapons smash your target in the pelvis before slamming them in the chest and crushing them to the floor, doing, wait for it, just as much damage as their stabby counterparts. Oh, and the one boss 1-3 that's human? And the sub-boss Garl in 5-3? [[ForMassiveDamage Yeah, these work on them.]]
** You are, however, advised not to attempt to parry Garl's Bramd when he starts two-handing it. He'll just plow through your parry and kill you. Similarly, the Penetrator's most dangerous attack, the lunging impale stab of death that autotracks to an extent, is unblockable and can't be parried, and will almost certainly kill you on the spot if you try.
* CrapsackWorld: Let's see, there's Boletaria, a kingdom that is considered a paradise on Earth in comparison to other lands, but is supported by an army of slaves (the Dreglings). The land of the burrowers is a dangerously difficult-to-navigate system of mines and caves that go all the way down to molten magma, wherein lie a powerful fire demon and the bones of a dragon god that the burrowers actually expected to revive one day (given that they created a sword with the sole purpose of killing it, as well as two giant javelin launchers to pin the sucker down). The Tower of Latria was taken over by a madman an unknown amount of time ago, but couldn't have been a land of sunshine and roses before the Old Monk showed up, seeing as the place had obviously been set up as a prison from its construction. The land of the Shadowmen is the home of a long lost tribe of warriors who gave far more care to the dead than they ever did to the living, and whose "gods" include a gigantic man-eating monster and a monstrous flying manta ray. Finally, there's the Valley Of Defilement, where all the garbage is sent, whether it's things, animals, or people. It's the garbage dump of the world, and it was a nightmarish place even before the demons came: when [[spoiler: the Maiden Astraea came and became a demon]], conditions actually ''improved''. The water is toxic, poisoning anyone who isn't a local, and there are plague rats, gigantic man-eating insects, the nightmarish plague babies, a monster that is nothing more than a horrendous mass of leeches, and apparently some of the garbage was there so long that it actually gained sentience and started moving around! [[spoiler: And let's not forget: [[DevilButNoGod There is no god, only the Old One]]]] This game brings "Crapsack" to a whole new level.
* CreepyCrows: They're present in various locations, usually feasting on the abundant corpses. The Shrine of Storms implicitly even has a ''talking'' crow (popularly called [[FanNickname Sparkly]]) who you can trade "sparkly" items with (see also ThievingMagpie).
* CuteWitch: Yuria.
* DarkActionGirl: Mephistopheles.
* DarkIsNotEvil: The Maiden in Black. She has a pretty sinister moniker and an overall creepy vibe (what with her [[EyeScream wax-covered eyes]]), and happens to be one of the most powerful demons around. However, she is the only one who can lull the Old One back to sleep, and wants nothing more than to do so.
** Astraea, the maiden saint; you find her [[spoiler: on a pile of human corpses in an enormous pool of plague-infected blood, surrounded and worshiped by the vile things dwelling in the swamp. On the other hand, she seems to genuinely care for the poor once-people in the valley, she doesn't attack you at all, and it's very likely she killed only in self-defense.]]
*** [[spoiler: Those vile things in the swamp? '''Fucking aborted fetuses'''.]]
* DeathIsASlapOnTheWrist: You can die as many times as you want; the only penalty is loss of your currency and a shift in your World Tendency. In-story, this is explained as a phenomenon that only happens when one dies in Boletaria, and continues after the soul is bound to the Nexus.
** It becomes a lot less cheap if you take the World and Character Tendencies into account. The more you die (except for spirit form deaths, if you've patched), the blacker it gets, and when it's all dark, it becomes harder.
* DeathMountain: World 2, the Stonefang Tunnels, complete with falling rocks, [[LethalLavaLand hot lava]] and multiple opportunities to [[BottomlessPits fall to your death.]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: If some of the bosses have names like Dragon ''God'', then yeah.
* DirtyCoward: Patches the Hyena.
* DiscOneNuke: The crescent falchion in 4-1. Although it can carry you pretty far into the game if you know what you're doing.
* TheDragon: [[spoiler:Garl Vinland is this to Maiden Astraea, the BigBad of the Valley of Defilement. When he's gone, she doesn't even bother defending herself.]]
** In Boletaria Palace, [[spoiler:you'll have to slay (or at least evade) two literal dragons serving the False King Allant.]]
** [[spoiler: The Real King Allant to the Old One]]
** Essentially, the game revolves around you slaughtering your way through the ranks of the Old One's flunkies [[spoiler: so you can become its Dragon. Of course, you end up betraying it. [[MultipleEndings Maybe.]]]]
* DrivenToSuicide:
** [[spoiler:Ostrava kills himself, after seeing his father as a demon.]]
** [[spoiler:Saint Astraea kills herself too, if you eliminate her knight first and then talk to her.]]
* DualWielding: Can be done if you want to, although you need the strength to be able to properly wield both weapons one-handed. [[AwesomeButImpractical And if you want to get ridiculous, you can dual wield two-handed weapons.]]
** DualWielding in game is about like DualWielding in RealLife, AwesomeButImpractical. While you can do all sorts of nifty attacks with the weapon in your right hand, the weapon in your left can parry and do a single, half-inept slash.
* DugTooDeep: Implied in the backstory of Stonefang, when [[spoiler:the precursors uncovered the Dragon God... and ever since, took measures to ensure it does not get out.]]
* TheDungAges: The entire game world (spearheaded by the Valley of Defilement) seems to contain nothing but pain and despair. Made obvious through the vendors, who in several cases are covered in crap and seemingly unable to stand upright. Most of the Mooks have the appearance of terminally ill humanoids.
* TheEeyore: The Crestfallen Warrior.
* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler:The Old One.]]
** Also, [[spoiler:the Storm King.]]
** And then there's... [[spoiler:''whatever'' that huge thing is in the second part of the Tower of Latria.]]
* EliteMook: The Red-Eyed Knights. Can become DemonicSpiders.
** There is usually one of these per world. In Boletarian Palace, we have the Red-Eyed Knights; in Stonefang Tunnels, there are the giant bearbugs; in Shrine of Storms, both the Dual-Wielding Black Skeletons and the Golden Skeletons can count (even worse with their [[BossinMookClothing Black Phantom]] counterparts). The winners, however, are the Giant Depraved Ones from the Valley of Defilement, what with being [[LightningBruiser extremely powerful and fast]]. Their Black Phantom counterparts? Oh boy.
** The Giant Bearbugs are giant and hugely armored, but extremely slow, and they deal fairly low and easily dodge-able damage. Really you just need to quickly move around them and be on your way. The tower of Latria's prison guards could also count as this. They have powerful long range attacks that will tear you to bits if your character doesn't have good magic defense, and if you try to close the distance, they can hit you with a paralyzing attack before running over and eating your brain.
*** A problem with some of the Giant Bearbugs, though, is that they're in the way so you can't just go around them.
* EquivalentExchange: A demon's soul for your life.
* {{Engrish}}: Fixed in the USA and European localisation. But in the Chinese/English version, while the [=NPC=]s and most important information show SurprisinglyGoodEnglish, some of the flavor text is borderline gibberish (although it's generally comprehensible).
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Patches, the backstabbing thief, will warn you to stay away from Yurt the Silent Chief.
* EvilPaysBetter: Doing generally evil things, like murdering friendly [=NPCs=] or other players, darkens the World Tendency, which causes slain enemies to drop more souls and items.
** Opting for the ending where you [[spoiler:kill the Maiden in Black and become the new demon lord awards you 200,000 souls in NewGamePlus, as opposed to the 60,000 souls you get for the other ending.]]
** However, [[spoiler:the Maiden's soul is the only way to gain the Soulsucker spell, which can give you plenty of souls if you pull it off well. So Evil only pays better in the short term.]]
* EvilPlan: [[spoiler:The Old One has a simple one: collect souls for eating. Allant found this out the hard way.]]
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Most boss names say it how it is: [[spoiler:Tower Knight, Armored Spider, Phalanx, Penetrator, to name a few.]]
* ExperiencePoints: Souls are both these and currency.
* ExplodingBarrels: Found around the place, although they explode only when set on fire. Hitting them with regular weaponry just breaks them.
** Of course, God help you if your weapon is on fire when you hit it.
* FakeDifficulty: Normally, the game avoids this. Deaths are due to mistakes, and generally your own fault. However, it's in full swing in the Valley of Defilement. The problem is that your enemies are fast, painful, and hardy. You can be painful and hardy, but 95% of the second stage of the Valley of Defilement severely inhibits your movement, disallowing you from running normally, sprinting at all, and rolling, which is the only thing that keeps you alive in this game. The result is being forced to get smashed by giants with clubs when you're barely able to evade them, and even less able to retaliate, the only exception being if you can engage the enemy on the very scarce land, which isn't possible in some cases.
* FakeUltimateMook: The Blue-Eyed Knights. They can do a lot of damage to you early in the game, but their attacks are predictable and they're quite easy to outmaneuver.
** The fireball-using Fat Officials in Stonefang Tunnel can count as this to players who first meet them, as they are the first enemies that use spells if the player hasn't been to the Tower of Latria yet.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: The tutorial ends with you coming face-to-face with the monstrous Vanguard in a very enclosed space. You're supposed to die so that your soul can be bound to the Nexus. If you're good enough, however, you ''can'' kill the Vanguard, which nets you a lot of souls. And then you die anyway, [[ButThouMust so that your soul can be bound to the Nexus.]]
* FatBastard: The Fat Officials; the Adjudicator.
* FirstEpisodeResurrection: The tutorial ends with your death.
** Likely a foreshadowing of how many times you will die in the game.
* FlamingSword: Just add turpentine.
** Then there are the Dragon weapons, which have ''permanent'' fire effects.
* ForMassiveDamage: Counter-attacks and backstabs are the most basic ways of achieving this, however some weapons have 'sweet spots' that deal extra damage when you strike an enemy with a certain part. Note that counter-attacks can be trigger on any enemy whose attacks you can block; those Blue-Eyed Knights? One good counter-attack (which is actually easy enough to do ''consistently'') and they're done for the count. You can, in fact, kill everything in 1-1 with a single counter attack before you even level up.
** The epitome of this is the Secret Dagger, whose sweet spot damage triggers (and thus adds onto) backstab and counter-attack strikes. Add to this that this dagger can have its damage in this area further enhanced by imbuing it with Marrowstone, and your potential for massive damage sky-rockets.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: One of the spears you can find is called a revelation from god. It's made completely from wood. [[spoiler: Since there is no god, only the Old One, that means the spear was made from a piece of the Old One himself.]]
* FriendlyFireproof: Generally played straight. An arrow launched at you by an enemy will just pass through other enemies, though averted in the case of the Blue Dragon, who will toast anything, allied or not.
* GenderRestrictedGear
* GodIsEvil: [[spoiler:There are hints implying that God, the deity venerated by Urbain and his followers, and the Old One responsible for this whole mess, are one and the same.]]
* GiantFlyer: The Storm Ruler. Because giant flying doom mantas just aren't giant flying doom mantas unless they're big enough to [[spoiler:sweep most of the arena in massive spines in a single strafing run]].
* GradualRegeneration: The Regenerator's Ring, Adjudicator's Shield and any type of blessed weaponry have this power.
* GrumpyOldMan: Blacksmith Ed. Boldwin counts, too, but isn't nearly as grumpy as his brother.
* GuideDangIt: The official strategy guide is only available in the Deluxe edition. Of which production ceased two weeks after the game was released.
* HardLevelsEasyBosses: Occurs on a few levels, most notably World 5.
* HeroicFantasy
** MedievalEuropeanFantasy
* {{Homage}}: Tower of Latria's swamp looks a lot like ActRaiser's Bloodpool, down to the red bloodied waters.
* InfiniteFlashlight: The light stone on your belt.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The Meat Cleaver, a large sword made from the Adjudicator demon's soul, has the best stat boosts in the game (it gets boosted by YOUR stats, not the other way around), having A's in strength and dexterity, and an S in Faith, meaning that as long as you work on those stats, its damage scales up much faster than any other weapon in the game. Although it is a bit bigger and slower than other swords, once the player passes a certain threshold, its damage leaves all other weapons in the dust.
** The Blueblood sword is probably closer; it requires you to finish arguably the hardest world before it can be forged, it requires a large spread of stats, and its true power requires an unorthodox stat-spread (it scales best off Luck, which is otherwise considered useless). It's quite fast, has massive power, and can be enchanted (most of the other candidates can't be), making it an almost instant gamebreaker. As a bonus, it requires forging from a [[MagikarpPower broken sword]].
** While not necessarily superior to either the Meat Cleaver or Blueblood Sword in performance, some of the fully upgraded weapon paths can fall under this due to how many of them require [[RandomlyDrops farming for ore to forge]]. The fully upgraded "Sharp" path is particularly infamous as it requires getting a rare ore which can only be dropped by 2 types of enemies (of which there can only be one of each in the area they drop them) and the possibility of them dropping is incredibly low. Comparatively speaking, forging either the Meat Cleaver or Blueblood Sword is relatively simple (or at least less of a test in patience).
* InsurmountableWaistHighFence: You can't jump even by running off ledges, and just about any ledge higher than your knees is off-limits, but with short ledges that aren't meant to block off out-of-bounds areas, you can move against them and hoist yourself up.
* {{Jerkass}}: Patches the Hyena, Satsuki, Sage Freke's disciple, and the Filthy Woman.
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: [[spoiler:Sage Freke originally starts out as a wizard seeking to understand the power and nature of souls. The further into the adventure, the more... disturbingly fascinated he becomes with the power and knowledge they grant him, until at the end, he urges the PlayerCharacter to ''not'' lull the Old One to sleep, and let the world continue on in its broken, chaotic state, so he can continue to utilize the Soul Arts. By following this advice, the PlayerCharacter does as well.]]
* JustifiedTutorial: It's your entrance into Boletaria. It can be skipped, though, but it's recommended to go through it for the souls and extra items.
* KarmaMeter: Soul Tendency.
* KatanasAreJustBetter: Katanas are only better if you have the DEX to back them up. They also have some of the lowest durability in the game, making you a fine target for those that enjoy the weapon breaking spear. They are, however, very good on your stamina, have a very long range, and can exploit a tactic called pushlocking in PvP to make it all but impossible for the player it's used on to strike back.
** ...Until the PvP gamers figured out that the easiest way to break pushlocking is to switch weapons.
* {{Kevlard}}: The Adjudicator qualifies, although the Meat Cleaver stuck in his chest was a pretty good indicator of where you had to hit him.
* KillItWithFire: An effective tactic against the Phalanx demon.
** And every enemy in the Valley of Defilement. All that filth must be very very flammable.
** The three primary damage types are physical, magic, and fire, 'nuff said.
* TheKingdom: of Boletaria
* LadyAndKnight: Maiden Astraea and Garl Vinland, respectively.
* LargeHam: Biorr of the Twin Fangs.
* LastOfHisKind: The Monumental. It sits on the higher of two floors, each with long walls lined with dozens of its similarly-dressed companions, all dead, each with a snuffed candle in front of them. The one living Monumental is the only one with a lit candle.
* LightIsNotGood: [[spoiler:Maiden Astraea. A once pious person, she did not take it well when her faith shattered, taking on the soul of a demon and ruling over the corrupted denizens of the Valley of Defilement. She is described as having "the most impure soul."]]
** [[spoiler:Granted, her alleged impurity becomes more of an {{Informed Flaw}} when you realize that switching her loyalty from God to demons wasn't really much of a change at all -- see below.]]
** [[spoiler:Miracles may seem all dandy and righteous, but when you realize they require demon's souls to learn (not at all unlike spells) and that God might not exist or even be the Old One, well...]]
** LightIsGood: [[spoiler: Astrea's soul is impure because she is absorbing as much of the filth as she can, to make the Valley a slightly better place for the denizens. She is not so much ruling over them as comforting them.]]
* {{Like A Badass Out Of Hell}}: Or out of The Nexus at least.
* LordBritishPostulate: The HopelessBossFight at the start of the game has a health bar just like all the other, non-hopeless bosses. The dev team anticipated this trope and added a scripted kill-the-player-instantly sequence in the very next hallway, just in case.
* LostForever: Many, ''many'' items and demon souls. The main reason for this is because reloading a previously saved file does not mend your mistake; once it's done, it's done for the entirety of this playthrough. For example, if a crucial NPC dies, anything related to them are lost until you start New Game+. In some cases, you have to make a choice on which item to obtain, losing the other in the process. World Tendencies also seem to affect this greatly. One of the biggest replay values of the game is trying out different options and [[HundredPercentCompletion collecting previously unobtained items]].
* MadeOfIron: All of the [=NPC=]s are incredibly sturdy and have a lot of health, but special mention has to go to Biorr. He helps you in your fight against the Penetrator and the Blue Dragon, and both times, he takes the brunt of the punishment, the kind which you'd die from easily, yet he can keep taking all the damage and keep standing up to charge.
** To put that into perspective, when you see him the second time, Biorr takes repeated blasts from an enemy that would kill you in one hit (at around 600 HP). Biorr takes 20 HP from the attack. This becomes less fun when dealing with enemy unique {{NPC}}s (Rydell has more HP than you can max out at in the game).
** This is because has the full Brushwood set, a Purple Flame Shield, and possibly a Flame Resistance Ring, meaning that he laughs at flame attacks. This set up can turn make Flame Lurker reasonably easy as barring his claws, he loses much of his fire power.
* TheMagicComesBack: The awakening of the Old One marked the return of the long-forgotten Soul Arts. Magic could be cast and miracles of God could be invoked again.
** TheMagicGoesAway: When the Old One is lulled back to sleep, the Soul Arts disappear once more.
* MegaManning: You can learn powerful magic or abilities from boss demons by taking their souls to Sage Freke, Yuria or Saint Urbain.
** By taking them to Ed the Blacksmith you can make powerful unique weapons with different effects and uses.
* MoreTeethThanTheOsmondFamily: The Dragon God.
* MsFanservice: Yuria, if the fan art is anything to go by. Furthermore, some players get a giggle out of leaving "Sticky White Stuff" messages near her in the Nexus.
** While fanarts have made Yuria much cuter than she is (she looks like your standard Western concept of witches, big nose and all, only younger), the Maiden In Black, on the other hand seems to be hitting the right spots for some people's... tastes.
* MultipleEndings
* MysteriousWaif: The Maiden in Black.
* NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast: Mephistopheles [[spoiler:(she will task you with killing the other inhabitants of the Nexus, and will attack you with the Soulsucker when you've accomplished it)]], Miralda the Executioner [[spoiler:(will attack you whether she's alive or a Black Phantom)]], and Yurt the Silent Chief [[spoiler:(one boss fight after you free him in the Tower of Latria, he starts assassinating people in the Nexus).]]
** The Penetrator.
** '''The Dragon God'''.
* NewgamePlus: After completing the game, you return to the beginning with all your stats, souls, items, equipment, and spells on hand. [[HarderThanHard And the enemies are even tougher now.]]
* NiceHat: The Fat Officials wear them. Also, in order to rescue Yuria, the player has to wear one of these hats as a disguise.
* NintendoHard: The game demands impeccable timing to attack and block in a sea of enemies who'll stun-lock you to death - if they won't nail you from afar.
** HolidayMode: [[http://kotaku.com/5393483/demons-souls-gets-even-harder-for-halloween Halloween 2009]] temporarily made it ''harder'' by upping the damage of the monsters.
** The series as a whole is considered the modern reigning champion of this trope, along with the ''ShinMegamiTensei'' series. Oh, and ''[=DS=]'' was published by ''Creator/{{Atlus}}'', ''[=ShinMegaTen's=]'' developer. Coincidence? Pfft, no.
* NobleTopEnforcer: Garl Vinland.
* NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished: [[spoiler:Release Yurt from his prison, and he will happily begin butchering all the various helpful [=NPCs=] in the Nexus. And when he's done with them, he'll come for ''you!'']]
* NotSoDifferent: [[spoiler:Sage Freke and his follower despise Saint Urbain and his followers as fools worshiping a false and most definitely malevolent god. Likewise, Urbain condemns Freke and his ilk as heretics who rely on demon magic for power. ''Both'' sides are absolutely correct!]]
* ObviouslyEvil: [[spoiler:Yurt the Silent Chief. The menacing voice... the Sauron-like armor... the sinister sickle-like weapon... the statement that "Life is not so precious." Really, though, he's in a cage when you meet him. If he is anything, it is not good.]]
* OminousFog: With soul-hungry demons in it.
* OnlyTheWorthyMayPass: Only when you impress King Doran with your fighting prowess will he let you have the Demonbrand.
* OurGhostsAreDifferent: When you die, you return in "Soul Form" (this will probably happen a lot). There are also friendly blue phantoms as well as hostile black phantoms, unusual in that players as well as [=NPCs=] can become them. While [=NPCs=] and their black phantom incarnations are gone for good when you kill them, there are a number of ways for players to come BackFromTheDead.
* OurSoulsAreDifferent
* PeninsulaOfPowerLeveling: 1st stage after the Tutorial, there's a Red-eyed Knight. You are ''not'' supposed to casually take them on until about 30 character levels later. You can, however, position yourself so the character AI walks off a cliff and kills itself from falling damage. This enemy respawns every time you enter the stage, and you get a lot of souls from it.
* PinataEnemy: The miners with sacks and the Crystal Geckos. Both appear only a set amount of times per playthrough, making them very, very valuable.
* PurelyAestheticGender: Played straight in that gender doesn't affect base stats; averted in that gender does affect which armor the player can wear.
** Further averted by the female having exclusive access to Silver Bracelets (a gauntlet which increases the amount of souls you get every time you kill an enemy), the Binded armor set (light armor with high fire resistance, zero stamina regeneration penalty, and can be acquired as early as after the first boss) and others.
** On the other hand, males have exclusive access to the Old King armor Set (heavy armor with high fire resist and no stamina penalty), Dark Silver armor set (heavy armor with remarkably high magic resistance), and others. Overall, men get more suits of armour.
* RedEyesTakeWarning: The Red-Eyed Knights, The Black Phantoms and [[spoiler:The Dragon God.]]
** One sure way to tell a strong enemy from the rest is whether or not its eyes glow.
* RedOniBlueOni: The two dragons in World 1-1. The red dragon is standing at its nest in an attack position, searching for prey, and will immediately come after you if you dare set foot on the bridge several hundred feet away. The blue dragon, meanwhile, is taking a nap.
** Yet, when you get close to the blue dragon, it's swinging tail will suddenly aim at you & try to crush you. Maybe he's just pretending to take a nap.
* RolePlayingGame: Which is made by [[EasternRPG the East]], but plays like [[WesternRPG the West]] (sort of).
* SaveScumming: Deliberately prevented; the game autosaves almost constantly.
* SequenceBreaking: Normally, while advancing in a level, the player has to go through fog gates, usually 3. In world 4-1, however, it is possible to bypass all 3 fog gates and finish the level in 5 minutes.
* SerialEscalation: Depending on how you play the game, you may end up facing the final boss with the following equipment setup: The armor of [[BonusBoss an ancient demigod king]], a shield dedicated to the judge of fallen warriors, [[InfinityPlusOneSword a spear that is considered a Revelation From God (and boosted five times from the souls of demons)]], a bow forged from the soul of a DemonicSpider, and a divine talisman crafted in the image of the BigBad. Need I go on?
** The game itself pulls one on you: having NewGamePlus means that you can now go slaughter all those hapless Demons with your overpowered stats a la traditional JRPG, right? Wrong, with each successive New Game Plus you take, the game gets '''harder'''! TheDevTeamThinksOfEverything indeed.
** Another example is simply having 99 on all stats, due to the insanely curving amount of Souls needed to upgrade the more you go on. Full Brushwood Armor set (heaviest in the game) and dual wielding the Dragon Bone/Keel Smasher (also the heaviest in the game), ''and'' still able to keep it under half maximum equip burden for normal rolling? Experienced players' responses would be somewhere along the lines of: "Been there, done that."
* ShoutOut: The description of the Dragon Bone Smasher [[{{Berserk}} sounds awfully similar to another sword in a similarly themed world.]]
** One could say the game is at least partially inspired by {{Berserk}}, [[http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o312/oracrest/Demons%20Souls/1271717936246.jpg given the grim atmosphere and many shared elements and aesthetics]]. People have even made a Guts build.
** On a note unrelated to {{Berserk}}, you can get some [[Advertising/TheManYourManCouldSmellLike Old Spice]] in the game.
** The Large Sword of Moonlight is this game's entry in the lineage of powerful melee weapons named Moonlight in FromSoftware games.
** Some of the character names are references to ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore: For Answer''. Examples include Ostrava/Otsdarva, ''Old King'' Doran and Patches the Hyena/Patch the Good Luck (bonus point for both being [[DirtyCoward dirty cowards]]).
* ShieldBearingMook: Hoplites, most [[HeavilyArmoredMook Blue-Eye and Red-Eye Knights]], certain Black Phantoms. Also includes a Shield Bearing Boss: the appropriately-named [[spoiler:Tower Knight, who bears an appropriately-sized tower shield for his stature, and spans several stories in height]].
* SlasherSmile: The Fat Officials sport permanent and ''very'' unsettling rictus grins.
* SliceAndDiceSwordsmanship: Somewhat. The various straight swords (with the exception of rapier-type weaponry) can be used to both slash and thrust, although their effectiveness in doing so varies. For example, the long sword is a balanced weapon and can be used to slash and thrust, although it's not as effective at slashing as the falchion and not as effective at thrusting as the rapier.
* SocketedEquipment: Almost every weapon and shield in the game can be imbued with "[[GreenRocks Transmogrified sprites]]," or shards of special stone, that can affect how weapons deal damage, what sorts of damage weapons deal, what player abilities can affect a weapon's damage output and by how much, etc.; and can even confer small bonuses to health or mana regeneration. By imbuing mundane weapons with certain demon souls, you can change weapons into special unique versions with vastly different properties. These and other special weapons you find throughout the game can be further enhanced by applying the souls of infant demons.
* SoulPoweredEngine:
** Magic is fueled by the energy of souls. The npcs are pretty verbal about this, and is part of the reason why magic in any form is considered a dark art by the church.
** To a degree, the player character and demons. The level-up system works by absorbing the souls of the fallen into one's own soul, thus bolstering it.
** The [[BigBad Old One]] is a being that has a literally infinite appetite for souls. It's never said that it actually grows stronger or is fueled off of these, though; rather, a place devoid of souls is open to invasion by the deep fog.
* SpeechImpediment: Scirvir the Wanderer has a stutter.
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''VideoGame/KingsField'', another RPG made by From Software.
** ''DarkSouls'' is this to '''Demon's Souls'' itself.
* StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: In order to save Saint Urbain, you are required to fall for the exact same painfully obvious trap that he fell for -- one which his disciples warn you about multiple times, in fact.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial:
--> '''Patches:''' Nothing here is stolen, I swear. I no longer partake in the whole "corpse-robbing" thing. Yeah… No, I'm completely free from my vice. My old mother would be proud indeed!
* SwampsAreEvil: The Valley of Defilement is a sprawling toxic swamp, populated by all manners of fetid creatures, from giant blood-sucking mosquitoes, depraved people, plagued rats, and is home to the most "impure soul of all." It's also ThatOneLevel.
* TinTyrant: Many enemies and bosses including the Tower Knight and the Penetrator, and quite possibly you as well depending on your armor choice.
* TooAwesomeToUse: Both played straight and averted; averted by the main resource in the game, souls, due to the death penalty that promotes using them up whenever you get the chance, but it's also easy to start hoarding other items, even in situations where they would be very useful.
** The Stone of Ephemeral Eyes certainly qualifies. It can instantly revive you in soul form. But there is only a small, set number of them per playthrough, and the only enemies who have a chance to drop them are the [[DemonicSpiders Giant Depraved Ones]] and the Plague Babies, both located in the much-hated Valley of Defilement.
** Though with the stone, there's also the fact that defeating a boss has the exact same effect. Sometimes you might just feel that you're ''so close'' that you might as well save the stone and defeat the boss in soul form. This won't shift the world tendency towards white (easier) as much as killing the boss in body form, however.
* TortureCellar: All around the Prison of Hope.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: Fitting the game's "hard but fair" image, you're encouraged to repeatedly try against bosses and enemies to try what they're weakest against, and also be aware of what happens if you have to play through a section repeatedly. Messages from prior players can help with this, but there are indeed a few trolls among them.
* TroubledButCute: The Maiden in Black. She's gloomy, she's blind, but her voice and demeanor are just precious.
* TurnsRed: When his health is getting low, the Flamelurker burns brighter and he attacks a lot more aggressively.
* UndeadChild: The Plague Babies are this trope ramped UpToEleven. Why? [[spoiler:They're undead ''aborted foetuses''.]]
* UnexplainedAccent: Just what kind of accent does the Maiden in Black have anyway?
** The kind of accent someone with a name like "Evetta Muradasilova" has.
* UnstableEquilibrium: The more you die (except for spirit form deaths, if you've patched), the blacker it gets, and when it's all dark, it becomes harder. It's not too bad as you don't lose your items, plus some good things only appear when the world is Pure Black.
** Black Tendency is extremely easy to get. White Tendency is ''much harder'' to get, which makes the realization that it makes the game easier kind of a FunnyAneurysmMoment (boosting a world tendency towards White requires ''not'' dying, killing powerful bosses, and certain GuideDangIt moments, in a game that's unashamedly NintendoHard).
* UltimateBlacksmith: Ed, who can upgrade weapons using every kind of ore. And he's one of the few remaining lucid people in Stonefang.
* VaderBreath: The Blue Eye and Red Eye Knights.
* WarriorPrince: Ostrava of Boletaria, [[DistressedDude but he tends to be in need of rescue when you encounter him]] so it stretches this trope a bit.
* WeaksauceWeakness: The Adjudicator, who is every bit horrifying, has one major weakness: people moving clockwise. Every one of its powerful attacks can be dodged if you run clockwise around it.
* WhipItGood: A decidedly non-sexual example: Fat Officials in Stonefang carry riding crops instead of their signature Great Axes. They don't hurt a lot, but if you block it, expect it to take off about 3/4ths of your stamina bar, if not completely guard break it. God forbid they follow up with [[ForMassiveDamage their fire spell]].
* WithThisHerring: You go into Boletaria alone, at no one's behest, so you only have the equipment you came in with, which you get to keep after the Vanguard kills you. [[GlobalCurrency You also wouldn't know that the currency of the Nexus is souls]], so what currency a standard adventurer has would be worthless.
* WorldTree: [[spoiler:The Old One.]]
** Although [[spoiler:according to the Maiden in Black, what we see may actually be The Old One's lair, or at least a massive shell that protects the true creature from harm. Since the Maiden in Black can't actually lull the Old One back to sleep until she's gone a good ways inside, this is a much more likely scenario.]]
* TheWormThatWalks: [[spoiler:The Leechmonger.]]
* WreakingHavok: There's plenty of destructable set pieces in all the worlds, but the real fun comes from killing basic enemies and running into their corpses and enjoying the subsequent flailing of disturbing creature's ligaments.
* XanatosGambit: The majority of the game involves the protagonist doing the legwork for one, since [[spoiler:the Old One will not allow the player near it until there are no longer any demons left to feed it souls. The protagonist has to go out and do the killing before anything can be done about the Old One. So either you feed it souls like it wants, or refuse and wander the fog until you wither away or something kills you, which would also please the Old One.]]
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: The Maiden in Black speaks like this.
** So does [[spoiler:Old King Doran.]]
* YouBastard: When you attack [[spoiler:Maiden Astraea, she]] calls you out on such offensive dickery.
-->''"We have done nothing to you! Leave us be!"''
* YouGottaHaveBlueHair: It's possible to give your character an irregular hair colour.
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'''[[GameOver YOU DIED]]''' \\
[-Phantom, you were not able to achieve your goal. \\
You must leave this world.-]
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