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This page is full of unmarked SPOILERS, being a game literally built upon Story Bread Crumbs.

  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Using the Dark Hand on any human-sized NPC or enemy can, from certain camera angles, look like a rather passionate kissing session.
    • A few character names, such as Maneater Mildred and Ceaseless Discharge.
    • Some of Reah's dialogue comes off as this. She sounds a little too eager to teach you some miracles.
      Reah: "It is a great relief to see you! I was wondering when you would come and visit again. I am ready..."
      Reah: "Let us speak of miracles!"
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • Relating to the Primordial Serpents:
      • Frampt is either willing to do anything to save the world by prolonging the Age of Fire, even if it means manipulating one undead into sacrificing his/her very being to do so, or he simply wants he and/or his allies in Gwyn's family to maintain their power.
      • Kaathe is either being honest about his intention to serve mankind by ushering in the Age of Dark, or he's being every bit as deceitful as Frampt and is pushing his own agenda forward. Either way, as the patron of the Darkwraith covenant, he's utilizing some very violent and shady methods.
      • In the Dark Lord ending, both Frampt and Kaathe pledge to serve you. Does this mean that they were always working together to play both sides, or are they both simply looking out for themselves and siding with the most powerful being nearby?
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    • Gwyndolin. Is he the true villain of the game who drove away the other gods so he could rule Anor Londo himself? Does his desire to continue the Age of Fire at the expense of the player make him the ultimate enemy of mankind? Is he a fiend who uses deception to rule and manipulate others merely to benefit himself? Is he a pragmatist who is aware of how disastrous the coming darkness will be for everyone, not just the gods, and realizes that some sacrifices must be made? Is his status as the last deity in Anor Londo not something he actually intended? Is his use of the illusory Gwynevere a sign of vulnerability rather than manipulation? Is he secretly Velka, the black-haired witch goddess of sin?
    • Griggs is unambiguously a spy for Vinheim. Is he really the Nice Guy he appears to be?
    • Kirk of Thorns, after it was revealed that he's in the Chaos Servant covenant. Speculation as to why a notorious Darkwraith would have such allegiances tends to paint him a little more sympathetically.
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    • Gwyn. Is he a Well-Intentioned Extremist who did everything he could to keep a great(er) evil at bay, a Jerkass God who ordered and/or endorsed a number of horrible things to delay the inevitable waning of his powers, or is he something in between? At the very least, the personal sacrifices he's willing to make suggest that whatever his agenda is, he's a true believer.
    • Alvina of Darkroot Wood. Is she an old, vengeful cat spirit selfishly guarding Artorias's grave from "defilers"? Or is she, in claiming that traversing the Abyss is a fairy tale (which is a lie), trying to prevent anyone else from suffering Artorias's fate, which she was witness to? Is she speaking out of concern for the Chosen Undead who helped rescue Sif and defeat Manus in her past? Or, knowing what the Undead is here for, is she instead trying to protect Sif from the one who saved them, knowing the wolf would die before letting anyone touch its master's grave?
    • Is Solaire merely an odd man who wants to find a sun of his own, or is the whole thing a philosophical search for purpose?
    • The Witch of Izalith. Did she create the Flame of Chaos out of a desire to stop the First Flame from fading, or was her attempt merely a grab for power that would leave her the supreme ruler of the world? If the first, then her transformation into the Bed of Chaos is a tragedy... but if the second, then perhaps it is a just punishment for her hubris.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
    • Miyazaki was disappointed with how cheap the fight against Gwyn, Lord of Cinder turned out. It was originally supposed to thoroughly test whatever character build and playing style you had developed throughout the game. Instead, Gwyn can be easily beaten by any build capable of parrying and riposting, or, due to a programming error, be forced to constantly dodge repeated use of Great Combustion pyromancies. If you complete Solaire's sidequest, he becomes summonable to fight by your side against Gwyn, and his presence trivializes the battle. Once Gwyn has to split his attention between you and your ally, it's far too easy to strike him down from behind, and while Solaire probably won't be able to do much damage, he's so unbelievably tough that you'll have all the time you need to tear Gwyn a new one (or at least heal yourself, something extremely hard to find time to do in a simple one-on-one).
    • The Bed of Chaos hits like a ton of bricks and has a ridiculous number of cheap tricks (bottomless pits, lakes of fire, having to engage in the game's wonky platforming to finish her off), but there's nevertheless much grumbling about any endgame foe that can and should be killed in three hits, especially considering that the boss used to be the Witch of Izalith yet is stuck with a gimmick fight.
    • Seath the Scaleless, the inventor of sorcery and its greatest practitioner (not to mention one of the last living dragons) should be a difficult foe, but in practice he's the easiest of the Lord Soul bosses. He's blind and immobile, only capable of pivoting on the spot, which is a serious problem thanks to the blind spot that none of his attacks can reach on his left flank. Also, for the creator of all sorcery, he has a surprisingly limited moveset that consists mostly of covering the area in front of him with curse crystals and trying to whack you with his tails when that doesn't work, not even using much magic.
    • Gravelord Nito is surprisingly simple to defeat for how late in the game you face him and after the brutality that is the Tomb of Giants. While the boss deals decent damage and can potentially inflict the toxicity status on you if you get hit enough, his attacks are very slow and generously telegraphed at a point in the game where the player is likely used to dodging such attacks in general. The skeletons that join the fight will often get stuck behind Nito and the latter's massive AOE attack does not only give you ample time to get out of the way, but will likely wipe his skeletons as well and he uses it often enough to save you the trouble of killing them. Using a divine weapon to permanently down the skeletons trivializes the fight completely, but even if you don't, you can largely ignore them because Nito's health pool is small enough that you can hack it down faster than the skeletons can do you any meaningful damage.
  • Applicability:
    • Thanks to the vague nature of the game's story and setting, every player is likely to have at least a slightly different interpretation of what everything means. One of the more common interpretations of the game's story is that the whole thing is a metaphor for overcoming depression.
    • "The Political Agenda Of Dark Souls", a video by Jim Sterling, lays out their political interpretation of the story of the game, in which a normal person is pushed to sacrifice and fight for the sake of upholding a malfunctioning, inadequate status quo (the Age of Fire), which benefits nobody but the elite (and even then, the elite isn't really benefiting much from it aside from the fact that they are the elite), all out of fear; the fear of a new age. Jim underlines that this is similar to real world politics, where the elite can appeal to the fact that certain things are how they've always been done to avoid a change that might benefit others, including on subjects like global warming. The video is at least partly satirical and intended to debunk the idea that "video games should be apolitical" by demonstrating that political interpretations are inevitable and natural, but it's still a thoroughly sound and reasonable interpretation of the evidence, as they themselves note.
    • TB Skyen devoted a 40-minute video to "The Many Meanings of Dark Souls", discussing possible nihilist, Objectivist, socialist, hero's journey, and depression metaphor readings, and how well they do or don't apply, plus some from his YouTube comments.
  • Author's Saving Throw: When the Remastered version was announced, much of the existing PC player base complained that they would have to pay full price to upgrade a game that they could already play just finenote . Fortunately, Bandai Namco Entertainment announced about a month prior to the remaster's release that it would be discounted by 50% for owners of the existing PC version.
  • Awesome Art: Even when areas are pitch dark, they still look breathtakingly beautiful.
  • Breather Boss:
    • The Gaping Dragon in the Depths is a bit of a breather after the Wake-Up Call Boss that is the Capra Demon. On one hand, he's the biggest boss you've faced up to that point, none of his attacks are able to be blocked, and he deals massive amounts of damage. On the other, he's also very easily baited into a series of endless charges, and even heavily armored characters can run circles around him, making it a slow but pretty easy boss fight so long as you don't get careless.
    • The Ceaseless Discharge, the biggest boss in the game with fittingly strong attacks, can be goaded into falling off a cliff, and unlike with the Taurus Demon and Iron Golem it's a scripted event that works consistently. Even if you don't employ this strategy, he's still pretty easy. All you have to do is hide behind a rock, wait for him to attack you with one of his tentacles, and then wail on the tentacle for massive damage.
    • Pinwheel. You're (technically) supposed to face him once you obtain the Lordvessel, but he has low health (only about 100 more than the second boss of the game), he only has a handful of attacks that are easy to spot and dodge, and he's cripplingly weak to melee attacks. Nearly every Dark Souls fan agrees that he's a total joke.
    • Sif is pretty easy after the difficult Dual Boss of Smough and Ornstein, being a pretty straightforward boss with a short walk from a safe bonfire. If you wait to do New Londo until even later in the game (instead of immediately after Anor Londo), he becomes even more simple.
    • NPC summons tilt any battle in the game in your favor (even Smough and Ornstein), but the Iron Golem in particular gets destroyed by Black Iron Tarkus, who is hidden very close to its fog gate. Even without Tarkus' help, the Iron Golem is much less of a hassle than the brutality of Sen's Fortress beforehand.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Beginning a New Game+: stomping through the Undead Burg and Parish that gave you so much hell at first, slaughtering everything left and right with your +15 BFS in a few minutes. While this can be applied mid-game as well when you've grown stronger, it's particularly apparent in NG+ since you have to traverse the whole area in its entirety again.
    • The Blowdart Snipers in Blighttown are small, weak, hard to see and hear, and will poison you in about a second from rapid-fire, super-accurate, Blow Gun darts. Given the wide open, Tree Top Town-like nature of Blighttown that gives them both excellent cover, a clear line of sight to you, and makes them difficult to reach, these guys will make a player's life hell. Maddening as they are, finally killing them with the knowledge that they do not respawn is highly gratifying.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome:
    • New players who rely exclusively on the Drake Sword tend to fall victim to this. The Drake Sword's high physical damage will shred through the first few areas, but the Man-Serpents that infest Sen's Fortress can shrug off most physical damage. If they're particularly inattentive, they might not even notice as it is rapidly outpaced by other weapons, since it gains no benefit from any of your stats and is very hard to upgrade.
    • Elemental weapons are extremely popular for PvP despite usually being outclassed by basic ascension for single-player. Like the Drake Sword, they also don't benefit from any of your stats. However, they're far more powerful than the Drake Sword, so the lack of stat benefits is actually a good thing, since you only need to give yourself enough Strength and Dexterity in order to meet the weapon's requirements, and can put all those levels into Vitality and Endurance instead, becoming a Lightning Bruiser (maybe even a literal one). Since it takes less Strength to use a weapon with two hands instead of one, only meeting the requirements for two-handing leaves you with even more levels to put into Vitality and Endurance. The Zweihander is a highly favored candidate for elemental ascension, since it doesn't benefit very well from your stats when upgraded down the normal path anyway, and its stat requirements to wield two-handed are a mere 16 Strength and 10 Dexterity. The Chaos Zweihander is the signature weapon of everyone's favourite Fountain of Memes, the Giant Dad.
    • In PvP, nobody except very new players actually uses shields for blocking things. Parrying maybe, but for the most part everyone focuses purely on dodging and uses their weapon two-handed with a Stat Stick of some kind permanently glued to their back. The most common one by far is the Grass Crest Shield, which increases stamina regen. Nearly every offensive build will use/wear this shield if they can spare the weight.
    • Most pyromancy builds rely on the short-range "burst" spells (Combustion, Great Combustion, and Black Flame). You can cast tons of them in quick succession, they hit fairly hard, and their knockback effect has no trouble stunlocking slower enemies into oblivion as long as you still have casts. Pyromancy in general is a Minmaxer's Delight. Like elemental weapons, it scales with no stats, and increases in power simply by paying to upgrade the Pyromancy Flame. Its spells have no stat requirements outside of the attunement slots needed to equip them. Even a Dumb Muscle melee brute who puts all of his points into Strength and Dexterity can make effective use of pyromancy simply by increasing Attunement just enough to get one slot and slapping on Great Combustion or Black Flame. Effectively, this is canon for Pyromancy. Laurentius of the Great Swamp informs the player that pyromancy is considered a crude and primitive form of magic and looked down upon, which is basically how it's used in-game. It's very cheap and effective, but characters built as actual mages probably won't use it. Also, getting your Dexterity to a very high level will increase your casting speed by a negligible amount for sorcery and miracles but a slightly more noticeable amount for pyromancy, another indicator that it's best served to supplement melee builds rather than as your main method of attack.
    • Due to how ridiculously good its effect is (20% increase to health, stamina, and equip load) and how you can obtain it very early by kicking Lautrec off a cliff, you are likely to permanently use one of your two ring slots for the Ring of Favor and Protection. Sure, it breaks forever if taken off, but with an effect that good, you'd never have a reason to take it off unless a specific build requires two rings or the Four Kings (who force you to occupy one ring slot) are giving you a lot of trouble, and even then you can obtain a backup ring via a crow trade.
    • The focus on dodging means that for the vast majority of players, lightroll is the only acceptable roll, and even medium roll is far too slow. Lightroll requires remaining under 25% of your maximum equipment load. Thus, Havel's Ring is mandatory for anyone planning on using anything heavier than a straight sword and/or wearing anything heavier than cloth. It's likely for this reason that neither of the sequels even have a medium roll; you simply roll at full speed until you're heavy enough to start fatrolling (the threshold for which is less strict than it is in this game).
    • The Master Key is the only starting gift worth taking, because it allows for Sequence Breaking at the very beginning of the game by opening the New Londo - Valley of Drakes shortcut door from the "wrong" side or cutting into Darkroot Basin via Havel's tower in the Undead Burg. Getting to these areas lets you rush towards lots of useful items earlier than expected (Astora's Straight Sword for easy Catacombs, Havel's Ring if you can kill Havel early, the Red Tearstone Ring for speedruns, and the Grass Crest Shield and a possible Black Knight Halberd drop right next to Darkroot Basin's bonfire). These paths also let you skip most of the Undead Burg and Undead Parish to reach Andre, or avoid the long path down to Blighttown's swamp (which skips the Large Ember, but there are other ascension paths to take). The only reason to ever pick anything else was back when people still thought the Pendant did something, or you picked Thief as your starting class who always starts with the Master Key in addition to the gift you pick (in which case the only gift worth taking is Black Firebombs so you can kill the Asylum Demon early and get the Demon's Great Hammer). Otherwise, the Master Key is only obtainable after Domhnall moves to Firelink Shrine, by which point it's just there to be carried into New Game+. That said, there are some players who insist that the Master Key shouldn't be taken on a blind first playthrough so that the player experiences the intended route through the game without skipping anything.
  • Complete Monster: Seath the Scaleless is an Evil Sorcerer and Mad Scientist who betrayed the Everlasting Dragons and oversaw their extinction due to his own envy. Joining Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight, as a Duke who was hated and feared by almost everyone, Seath plunged into research and cruelty where he had countless innocents kidnapped to conduct torturous experiments on them with his crystals, mutating numerous people into lobotomized crystal zombies where many other died, while kidnapped women are turned into snake-like monsters called Pisacas, all in his pursuit of his selfish immortality.
  • Crazy Is Cool: Artorias, the Abysswalker. It's a good thing Manus corrupted him so he'd become a raving mad berserker (taking some cues from Guts while he's at it), otherwise fans would not experience one of the most brutal fights in the DLC.
  • Creepy Awesome: Manus, Father of the Abyss is an honest-to-God freak who might as well have come out from your worst nightmares, but he definitely brings one of the most memorable boss battles in the entire game.
  • Demonic Spiders: Has its own page. Strangely enough, the actual spider-demons are among the easier enemies in the game.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • Compared to the Undead Burg and Parish, the Depths and Blighttown are far more difficult in terms of what you faced previously, and in some cases is harder than many other areas due to how different they are than what came before.
    • Aside from Sen's Fortress, most of the pre-Lordvessel areas are based around dangerous enemies and not so much level hazards. Once you place the Lordvessel and reach the areas it unlocked, the challenge of simply navigating the map intensifies. You have the lava field in Lost Izalith, invisible floors in the Duke's Archives, and worst of all, the near pitch-darkness of the Tomb of the Giants. In comparison, the final area, save for a few Elite Mooks, is very straightforward.
  • Disappointing Last Level: A common consensus is that there's a very apparent dip in quality in the areas unlocked after finishing Anor Londo (and to a lesser extent New Londo Ruins, which is considered endgame but can be finished before then), as they are very gimmicky and linear compared to some of the game's other zones.
    • As noted above; Downplayed with tbe New Londo Ruins. It's filled with wall-ignoring ghosts, which are impossible to block or attack without limited-time consumables, rare cursed weapons, or being cursed yourself. Once you drain the water there, the second part involves fighting many deadly Darkwraiths on the way to the Four Kings, who are locked behind an item Sif holds and can be a major health-based wall especially in New Game+. It also has to be done before the other Lord Soul regions to join the Darkwraiths, when you may be less powerful than is ideal. The area, however, is more complete then the others and is considered to be the best of the end game zones; with it's nightmarish lore, horriying atmosphere, Survial Horror themed level design, and bleak story revelations.
    • The Tomb of the Giants is pitch-black, filled to the brim with instant-kill pitfalls, and features some of the nastiest enemies in the game. The darkness can be alleviated with a special shield, helmet, or spell, but none of them are something first-time players will have found reliably by the time they attempt to traverse it.
    • The Crystal Cave is extremely short with linear traversal via bending invisible bridges, making it feel empty. There are no bonfires within until you defeat the area's boss, so if you fall off (which is very likely at multiple points), you have to start all over again. Fortunately, it's just a capper on the Duke's Archives area, which is very well-designed and easily the only endgame area memorable for the right reasons.
    • Lost Izalith is covered in lava, which is impossible to traverse without the Orange Charred Ring, and even then forces a lot of healing. The main enemies for its first half are the Bounding Demons, which are lazily made (they're hind legs that the rotted Undead Dragon in the Painted World leaves behind after it tears its front half away from it to reach you, repurposed into an enemy), very common, and dangerous for melee characters and tedious for ranged characters, though they don't respawn. The second portion is more interesting, containing the climxes of Solaire's and Siegmeyer's questlines plus a final duel with Kirk, but the boss, the Bed of Chaos, is almost universally considered the worst boss in the entire series.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Siegmeyer of Catarina is popular due to his funny-looking armor, very laid-back attitude, and friendly demeanor. His love from fans made sure that the Catarina set appeared in every Dark Souls game, and a similar onion-knight, Siegward, is a major ally in Dark Souls III.
    • Solaire of Astora. His ceaseless desire to find his personal "sun", as well as his ability to help you in a number of difficult fights up to and including the Final Boss, have made him the Series Mascot of the Dark Souls trilogy, despite only actually appearing in the first game and being very likely to die before the ending. The popularity extended to his co-op covenant, the Warriors of Sunlight, which reappear almost unchanged in the game's two sequels. He's also the first character in the series to get his own amiibo with the release of the Nintendo Switch version, Dark Souls: Remastered.
    • Priscilla is very popular with the fanbase, despite having only half a dozen lines and being difficult to reach in the first place.
    • Ornstein and Smough due to being two of the most iconic bosses in the entire series for their sense of camaraderie and giving a brutal, yet fairly challenging boss fight that caps off the first half of the game.
    • The Great Grey Wolf Sif. Despite having no spoken lines and his only interaction with the player being him trying to kill them, he is still a very popular character. This is helped by the fact he's a cool Noble Wolf who wields a giant sword in his mouth. The fact that his death is a Player Punch is also a factor. It's made even worse after the Artorias of the Abyss DLC, where you can find him as a pup and even summon him in the final fight — and if you do, the cutscene for meeting him in the present has him recognize the player; when he still takes up his sword anyways to protect his master's grave, it's mournful for both parties.
    • Artorias is very popular for a midboss of his own DLC with no dialogue. His tragic story, awesome design, and his boss fight have made him so popular that you can find his sword and armor in the other games in the series. It helps that he gets a surprising amount of characterization for a background character, even including a possible romance with Ciaran. Some cut content adds even more.
    • The Mushrooms of Darkroot Garden are incredibly popular for being both incredibly comical-looking and incredibly powerful, and many fans only half-jokingly list them among the strongest character in all of the lore.
    • Quelaag's Sister/The Fair Lady, the Ill Girl who leads the Chaos Servant covenant. Giving her humanity helps save fellow darkhorse Solaire. She also serves as the Morality Pet of the Dark Souls community, with some players having hacked to give her 60,000 humanities just to alleviate her suffering (you only need to give her 30 to save Solaire and cosmetic differences stop after 80).
    • Havel the Rock is popular as far as Gwyn's soldiers go despite not being nearly as important as his Four Knights or even Smough. It helps that his unique equipment and ring make him a powerful mini-boss and are very viable for players running Mighty Glacier builds. His armor set returns in the later games as a result, usually worn by a similarly tough enemy.
    • Black Iron Tarkus is only seen as a white phantom and has almost no lore to his name, but his ability to completely thrash the Iron Golem made him a famous Memetic Badass. It eventually got him a copycat in Dark Souls III, with the hostile NPC Knight Slayer Tsorig wearing his armor alongside the Fume Ultra Greatsword from Dark Souls II.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Solaire may get one of these, as he ends up like the sun on both possible ends of his side quest, one considerably less cruel and ironic than the other.
  • Even Better Sequel: The game is this to Demon's Souls, featuring more concise and densely packed level design, a huge increase in weapons/spells/armor, better enemies and bosses, covenants (which add unique flavor to online gameplay), and Metroidvania-style world design that provides a sense of scale and scope that was impossible with Demon's Souls's Hub Level and level select design.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Quelaag is a sinister (though largely Anti-Villain) demon whose legs have been replaced by a lava spider, but she still has a lot of fans.
  • Evil Is Cool: You almost feel sorry for defeating nearly every major boss due to how awesome their designs are. Prominent examples are Ornstein and Smough, the Four Kings, Gravelord Nito, Black Dragon Kalameet, Knight Artorias, Manus, Father of the Abyss, and, of course, Gwyn, Lord of Cinder.
  • Fandom Rivalry: It's died down since, but it once had a fairly fierce one with Skyrim. This is despite the vast gulf in differences between them to the point where the only things they have in common are extremely broad fantasy genre conventions. It doesn't help that various video game media sites and magazines kept hyping up the "rivalry" between the two games prior to release, and that there are vocal and annoying haters of the opposing game on both sides of the spectrum. Dark Souls fans bash Skyrim for being too "boring and cliché" while Skyrim fans bash Dark Souls for being "too difficult and confusing". Fans who like both games were labelled "traitors" and stuck between a rock and a hard place.
  • Fanon:
    • The use of the word "knightess" to describe female knights is one such example. The only suggestion of the word In-Universe comes from the Darkmoon Knightess, who is also referred to as the Lady of the Darkling and the Darkmoon Knight by the game itself. The fandom has extended its usage to practically all female "knight" characters, such as Lucatiel, Felicia, Anri, and Sirris, and it's a popular term for the names of builds and female Player Characters.
    • One of the most common examples is the belief that The Fair Lady's name is Quelaan, due to some confusion about something from a (possibly inaccurate) art book. For the record, no official source has confirmed that her name is Quelaan, and it's more likely a misreading of the Japanese spelling of the name of a totally different character, her sister Quelana.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Artorias/Ciaran has quite a lot of supporters. So does Solaire/Chosen Undead.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Xanthous King Jeremiah. Even the game comments on the eye-searingly yellow color of his armor, and his crown (a throwback to the hat of the Old Monk from Demon's Souls) looks like a giant light bulb.
  • First Installment Wins: Dark Souls tends to be the least controversial installment in its series, and much of the criticism people give to the other entries is made in relation to this game. Dark Souls II receives criticism for poorer difficulty scaling, changes to lore, and sluggish animations among other things. Dark Souls III gets criticized for adhering very closely to the first game's lore at the expense of the second game, close similarities in its level design, and its combat being more like the faster combat of Bloodborne than Dark Souls' slower, methodical combat.
  • Fountain of Memes:
    • Solaire, by virtue of being one of the most recurrent NPCs in the game (hence more dialogue), overall jovial behavior, and obsession with finding his own personal sun.
    • The fan-made Giantdad character build; nearly every single line in OnlyAfro's video gets parroted at the mere mention of it.
    • PlagueOfGripes' "Dark Souls: in Summary" is one of the most memetic fan videos to come from the game. About 4/5 of the lines in the video are able to be commonly quoted at any time in a discussion of the game, including "That's dumb! You're dumb!", "Oh no! He's putting his abyss into my catacombs!" and "How does it feel, Seath... to be a bitch?"
  • Game-Breaker: There are countless ways to turn the game and its multiplayer aspect into a cakewalk, some of which are explained here.
  • Genre Turning Point:
    • FromSoftware created the "souls-like" genre of Action RPGs in the wake of Dark Souls becoming a hit. It and its sequels plus Bloodborne pioneered the most influential combat system in the seventh and eighth generations of consoles, and many games since, both triple-A and indie, have borrowed a lot of its mechanics and storytelling techniques.
    • After about a two decades long trend of games consistently getting easier, Dark Souls helped pioneer high difficulty in mainstream gaming, showing that a game with "tough-but-fair" combat could be commercially successful despite a high barrier of entry for the casual gamer. The games likewise focused heavily on environmental storytelling over cutscenes (with the plot, Worldbuilding, and characterization communicated via flavor text, objects, clues, item descriptions) communicated interactively, putting heavy emphasis on telling stories in a way only video games can.
    • The game's PC port, in spite of its issues, sold over three million copies, nearly as much as it had sold on PlayStation and Xbox combined. Its release and success was a groundbreaking moment for Japanese games on PC, showcasing how large the potential audience on the platform was. In the years since, more and more Japanese developers and publishers have been releasing their games on Steam to great success, a complete 180° from before the 2010s where the vast majority of games were skipping the platform.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • The giant mosquitoes in Blighttown. They will trail you like a heat-seeking missile halfway across the map to stunlock you at the worst possible moment, and are hard to hit with the swings of most weapons. If you kill them, another one will spawn at its spawn location, already aggroed to you (though they can only spawn a limited amount of times per bonfire use).
    • The blowdart snipers, also in Blighttown. Hard to see, even harder to reach, deadly accurate with their blowdarts, and they quickly infest you with toxin. The swamp's Fire Keeper Soul is protected by an entire squad of them ready to ruin your day. Thankfully, they do not respawn.
    • The attack dogs in lower Undead Burg, which jump at the player in packs to quickly attack them and are low enough to the ground that certain weapons have tremendous difficulty even hitting them. Their biggest infamy comes from the two in the Capra Demon's tiny room, which will likely kill you more than the boss itself will. There are even fire versions of them in the Blighttown rafters, though they're much less dangerous.
    • The ghosts in New Londo Ruins. By the time you're supposed to visit the area, they won't take more than one or two hits to kill, but they cannot be blocked or damaged without using a Transient Curse. They tend to suddenly surround you in groups to jab you to death or use their deadly grab attack, and can move through walls and force you to bang your weapon around to hit them. It gets worse if you run out of Transient Curses and don't have a cursed weapon to handle them; you're forced to make a mad dash to Ingward (who won't move to Firelink until after the Four Kings are dead) to buy more or go far out of your way to get cursed by Basilisks so you can fight back.
  • Goddamned Boss:
    • The Moonlight Butterfly for melee characters. The boss's sorceries are very dodgeable even for someone with a heavy roll and don't deal much damage anyway, but it can only be hit with melee when it rests on the bridge to charge up an explosion. Most melee characters either save it for later in the game so they can kill it in one cycle or just summon Witch Beatrice so she can solo it in seconds.
    • Gwyndolin. He has relatively low health and fairly predictable attacks, but the fact that he teleports out of reach every time you get close can make fighting him a frustrating experience nonetheless, especially as a melee-oriented character.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • At one point, shooting the Hellkite Dragon (the red drake in the Undead Parish/Burg) in the right spot caused it to jump off its perch and fall down the bridge. Apparently that counts as a Bottomless Pit, so he ends up killing himself and gives you 10,000 souls. This has since been fixed— now he just disappears until you move across the boundary that makes him spawn.
    • The Bottomless Box glitch, which allowed you to dupe as many items as you want from an existing character onto a new character. There are some things you can't put in the box, and thus cannot dupe (spells, keys), but giving a new character a +5 Lightning Weapon, a fully upgraded armor set, any rings you want and a +5 Ascended Pyromancy Flame will make your character a weapon of mass destruction. Fans of the glitch state that it makes alts much easier and more fun since you can start off with the build you want, rather than have to wait until near the end of the game to pick up some item that happens to be in one of the final levels. Those that dislike the glitch state that it allows for much easier low-level griefing and it's cheating. It was patched as of Update 1.06, so it's a moot point either way.
    • The Hydra residing in the Ash Lake can be goaded into setting foot on land if you approach it from the Everlasting Dragon's bonfire. This in turn kills it instantly, removing the need to even fight it.
    • For some strange reason, Gwyn, Lord of Cinder will constantly dodge you if you keep spamming Great Combustion or Black Flame pyromancies, making the fight easy even on New Game+7 and eschewing the need to even parry him.
    • It's possible to dupe any item that has a Yes/No prompt by exploiting how the game queues inputs. Attempt to use the item you want to dupe from your hotbar while in the middle of another animation (such as a roll or parry), then quickly open the menu before the animation finishes and use a different item directly from your inventory. If you did it correctly, you will get the Yes/No prompt from the item in your hotbar. Selecting "Yes" will give you the effect of the item, but use up the other item you selected from your inventory (so this is best done with the easily replenishable Estus Flask or the infinite-use Darksign). This can be used with boss souls to dupe infinite souls, or Fire Keeper Souls to dupe infinite Humanity. The glitch was fixed in Remastered, though. However, a glitch was eventually discovered for Remastered that allowed you to dupe any consumable as much as you want, as well as getting the effect of using up to 999 of it at once, while consuming only one, making soul and humanity duping even more efficient than before.
    • More amusing than useful, but as you walk down the Great Hollow to Ash Lake, you can pinpoint the exact location the music for Ash Lake kicks in, and then cause it to turn on and off at will just by moving the camera up and down.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: One Pop Culture Urban Legend that went around near the beginning of the game's release was that Alvina would eventually request the Player Character to go kill Sif because she did not trust him. In the new content that was added a year later, she guides you to the area where Sif is hidden, presumably so you can rescue him, and proving that they were never enemies to begin with. note 
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Does not apply to the whole game, but fans of later "Soulsborne" games tend to have this opinion specifically of the parry mechanic in this one. Unlike all other actions, parrying has no startup, and given how all enemy attacks are telegraphed, it's very easy to tell when to parry since you can hit the parry button as soon as an attack is about to connect. The real deal breaker was that even final boss Gwyn, Lord of Cinder can be parried, practically trivializing what should be one of the most epic and challenging battles in the game. Many fans feel this runs counter to the central design of the game involving the weight of actions over reflexes, and parrying has been given startup frames in later games because of this.
  • It's Hard, So It Sucks!: A common criticism of the game, and it does get frustratingly difficult at times.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Ornstein gets shipped with Smough, Artorias, Lord Gwyn's Firstborn/The Nameless King, and The Chosen Undead.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Kingseeker Frampt is Lord Gwyn's closest confidante and a key piece in his master's plan to save the Age of Fire, despite seeming like no more than a theatrical, sleepy serpent. Gwyn's plan entails a false prophecy of an Undead who would succeed him, drawing the worthy and gullible into ringing the Bells of Awakening. Once rung by the Chosen Undead, Frampt rises from his slumber and appears in Firelink Shrine to guide them, giving them concise instructions on how to proceed with their quest. As Frampt boasts of the Chosen Undead's destiny to take Gwyn's place, rarely dropping his hammy demeanor, he intentionally leaves out a crucial detail - to link the First Flame and save the Age of Fire, one must burn in fire for all eternity, something the Chosen Undead can learn the hard way.
    • Dark Sun Gwyndolin is Gwyn's youngest son, the sole remaining god of Anor Londo, and the other major player in his father's plan. Dutiful to his family despite Gwyn's blatant lack of care for him, Gwyndolin hides the sorry state of Anor Londo with an illusion of radiance and life, while having his Darkmoon Blades assassinate any who learn of its true nature. When the Chosen Undead surpasses the trials of Anor Londo, Gwyndolin uses an image of his sister Gwynevere to grant them the Lordvessel and give them further instructions on how to enter the Kiln of the First Flame. While the nature of the game means that Gwyndolin can be undone, he ultimately succeeds in tricking the Chosen Undead into linking the fire and survives the events of the story, choosing to continue his personal mission to protect Anor Londo and his family's legacy.
  • Memetic Badass:
  • Memetic Loser: Pinwheel gets a lot of these jokes, due to being an uncharacteristically weak boss for its point in the game. A common joke is people claiming to be surprised that Pinwheel's theme lasts longer than the couple of seconds needed for the fight to be over.
  • Memetic Molester: Manus, the Father of the Abyss. It's canon that he dragged you and Chester into the DLC area with his hand, and, if the fandom is to be believed, his badtouch got to Dusk of Oolacile big time, setting up Queen Nashandra in the following game, whose human form looks very much like Dusk, and his corpse's dissipation created even more abominable spawns like the Darklurker and the three Children of Dark found in the Lost Crowns Trilogy.
  • Memetic Mutation: In an incredible amount.
  • Mis-blamed: When the remaster was announced, many fans complained that they would have preferred a Demon's Souls remaster instead, due to it being older and not playable on any modern platform. However, Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are handled by two different publishers, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Bandai Namco respectively. The latter's choice to remaster Dark Souls in no way affects the possibility of a Demon's Souls remaster, nor would they have the ability to do so at all, so fans complaining to them about it are wasting their time. Ultimately, Demon's Souls got a Sony-managed remake for the PlayStation 5 from Bluepoint Games a few years later rather than a remaster.
  • Moe: Crossbreed Priscilla is a soft-spoken and absolutely adorable Cute Monster Girl who doesn't even want to fight you if you meet her. You'd probably feel guilty for cutting her tail off and killing her to get her special weapon.
  • Narm:
    • The Ragdoll Physics used for dead enemies are utterly silly, with them losing all weight and flopping around loosely like deflated blow-up dolls, often getting caught on your character and dragged behind you as you run. They can even do cartwheels. It's impossible to see it as anything except comical and it's badly out of tone with the rest of the game.
    • The fact that nearly every NPC in the game ends their dialogue with a hammy laugh, no matter the context, can come across as a bit silly, whether or not it is to show that some of them are beginning to go insane.
    • The cutscenes where you enter and leave the Painted World of Ariamis are undermined by a laughably clichéd Scare Chord.
    • The scene with Sieglinde standing over her father's corpse at Ash Lake is a Tear Jerker of the highest order... except for the subtitles, which literally read "Sob..." as she cries.
    • The fat club-wielding enemies in Blighttown are just the right height, combined with their rather revealing loincloths, such that backstabbing them with a sword makes it look like your character is shoving it straight up their ass. To make matters worse, they tend to drop Dung Pies.
    • You can get Artorias's armour, which looks really badass... except that the legs and feet are incredibly tiny.
    • A full chorus being used in a boss's theme is more likely to do a number on the fight's drama than not. Typically, the singing consists of pure tones – some accented, some not—that come across as being rather vague, somehow even less compelling than Canis Latinicus.
    • The Bounding Demons in Lost Izalith are hilariously half-assed enemies. Even if you don't know or notice that they are repurposed from the bottom half of the Zombie Dragon, they just look ridiculous, being mostly legs with a vague mass for a head-like thing. Their haphazard and excessively numerous placement in their lake doesn't help, as it only contributes to them being a part of the level's decline in quality relative to earlier areas of the game.
  • Narm Charm:
    • The original text that appears when killing bosses, "You Defeated". While it has been since changed to "Victory Achieved" in the Updated Re-release, it's still present in some console versions.
    • It can be difficult to take Smough seriously at first; his general appearance makes him look obscenely overweight while also carrying a comically giant hammer as a weapon. He also has copious Jiggle Physicson his armor. Not helping matters is his statue near the entrance of Anor Londo and his running animations, which can look like he really needs to use the bathroom. At first, it's easy to dismiss him as he seems ridiculously silly compared to the more refined and imposing Ornstein, but he's still That One Boss alongside him for good reason, and is an Ensemble Dark Horse for being a surprisingly competent badass.
  • Nausea Fuel:
    • The Four Kings battle is of the motion sickness variety. You have to battle them in the Abyss, a dimension of pure blackness with nothing but you and the Kings. It's hard to judge distance or if you're even moving at all. For extra fun, try playing this fight right in front of a large TV in a pitch black room so that you can't tell where the edges of the screen are.
    • The Depths, a disgusting sewer with pus seeping out of the walls, which leads into Blighttown, a vile, diseased, filth-ridden swamp.
      • On the subject of the latter area, special mention goes to the Parasitic Wall Hugger. It's basically a giant, pulsating tumor with tentacles and spider legs. Thankfully, there's only one in the game and it doesn't respawn once you kill it.
    • The first chamber of the Catacombs is filled with thousands of insects and you can hear them crawling around the room.
    • New Londo, once you've drained the water from it. The sheer number of bodies lying on the ground is just sickening.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Simply playing in human form is this since you can be invaded at any time, anywhere (save a few rare safe areas and areas where you have killed the boss). It gets even worse when the invasion message pops up, because you don't know where the invader is; you just know they're lurking somewhere.
  • Player Punch:
    • Some of the friendly NPCs turning Hollow can qualify as this, especially when it happens to Solaire. (Unless, of course, the player discovers how to rescue him from this fate.)
    • The conclusion to the Siegmeyer and Sieglinde sidequest. After everything the player goes through with him, he ends up turning Hollow and having to be killed by his daughter. Even worse is the realization that you are the reason he goes Hollow. All those times he needed your help to progress through the game just made him lose faith in his own skill. It got so bad that he felt the only thing he could do to both pay you back for all your help and regain his lost honour was to commit a Heroic Sacrifice for you and die a warrior's death, but you couldn't even let him have that.
    • If the player has the Old Witch's Ring, every single line from Quelaag's sister is like a laser-guided guilt missile, since she believes you're Quelaag, who you had to kill to reach her. Even worse is if you kill her for her Fire Keeper's Soul, she thinks her beloved sister just murdered her for no reason. Eingyi calls you a monster, and it's kinda hard to disagree with him.
    • Were you hoping that befriending Sif in the past would allow you to avoid killing him in the present? Well, you can't, and the thing is, he actually recognizes you, but you must kill him anyway because letting you past without a fight would mean betraying his oath.
    • The thing that makes most of these punches all the worse is that there's often no warning. You'll be walking along a shadowed path, and suddenly a NPC who you were just talking jovially with half an hour ago will suddenly lurch out of the shadows, swinging a weapon at your head, just like any regular enemy. No warning, no dialogue, no buildup, not even a health bar with a name like boss fights have... and it is entirely possible that you could cut down that character and not realize who you just killed until a few moments after they're already dead.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: There are more than enough players who are content to just kill things, get souls, buy stuff, and other crazy things with not a care in the world for the story or characters.
  • Porting Disaster:
    • The original PC version, Dark Souls: Prepare to Die, lacks additional resolution supportnote , effectively requires a gamepad to play, and (originally) used Games for Windows Live. It's also poorly optimized, and while it should run fine on most high-end computers, lower-specced computers struggle with it when they really shouldn't have to. The developers later admitted that the port was "half-assed". It's highly recommended that you download the fan patch if you want to play the PC version.
    • The Nintendo Switch port of the remaster isn't as bad as the PC version, but has downgraded graphics and poor audio quality, along with slightly stiffer controls and handling. Its the worst console version of the game due to that.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The matchmaking system, returning from Demon's Souls. Unlike a lot of multiplayer games which use a dedicated server for the players to play on, this one uses a peer-to-peer (or P2P) connection, which can badly hurt players who face frequent internet connection issues. It's also not unheard of to spend a good half hour or even more trying to search for one of your friends who are in the same area and level range, and not being able to summon them at all, despite having met all the requirements to summon one another. Remastered introduced matchmaking passwords to help mitigate it.
    • Platforming. You can only leap when dashing, making it easy to under or over-shoot your jump. This can be aggravating when trying to return to the Asylum or finding the merchant in Sen's Fortress. The worst example is the above-mentioned Bed of Chaos which demands you make a jump across a bottomless pit while the arms of the boss try to sweep you out of the way. Adding to this is the game engine's extremely inconsistent response to slopes, often causing you to slide off what seem to be perfectly stable surfaces. This has led to countless deaths in areas such as the Great Hollow and the Crystal Cave, which are based entirely around precarious drops. And if you use mods to grant the PC version 60 fps, you will learn the hard way that jump distance is tied to framerate and have to switch on the frame capper to make some of these leaps.
    • Forging weapons from boss souls requires you to upgrade a weapon of the same type you want to make (sword, shield, etc.) to the max. This is because many weapons can only be upgraded to the max by different blacksmiths then the one who makes the box souls, which adds to the running around that you'll need to do in addition to gathering the necessary materials.
  • Scrub: The punishment for death in this game, whether in PvE or PvP, causes a lot of friction during online interactions whenever a player sees a particular armor or weapon type, especially when it's being used in a way they perceive as unfair. Made even worse by the abundance of gamebreakers in the game.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: The areas in Dark Souls are even more hazardous than in its predecessor, mostly due to the large amount of bottomless pits and the fact that normal enemies have gotten even more dangerous. On the other hand, checkpointing is more generous and area bosses are generally more manageable, with some exceptions.
  • Signature Scene: As the most iconic game in the series by a wide margin, Dark Souls has quite a few candidates.
    • The Undead Asylum, particularly the first meeting with Oscar and the rematch against the Asylum Demon.
    • The drake breathing fire over the bridge to Undead Parish.
    • The Capra Demon, for the wrong reasons.
    • The grueling descent through Blighttown and the battle against Quelaag.
    • The fight against Ornstein and Smough, for the right reasons.
    • The fight against Sif, oft regarded as one of the biggest tear jerkers in the series.
    • The fight against Artorias, which many players hail as the best boss in the game, or even gaming in general.
    • The Bed of Chaos, for the wrong reasons again.
    • The Final Boss fight against Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, for being an excellent example of The Last Dance with one of the most memorable themes in the game.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: This game, along with Demon's Souls, may be the best 3D Castlevania games ever made. Dark Souls even adds whips too, so now you can play it like a real Belmont. The variety of weapons, the requirement to pay attention and master patterns to survive, and the shocking ease of death also arguably makes it the modern successor to Ghosts 'n Goblins. It also just may be the best Berserk game ever made. On top of that, Super Bunnyhop argues that it's a spiritual remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
  • That One Achievement: "Knight's Honor", which requires you to collect all the "rare weapons" in the game on one character. That includes all boss soul weapons. Not only do most bosses (Gwyndolin, Quelaag, the Iron Golem) have two weapons that can be made from their soul, Sif has three, and you need all of them since the Greatsword of Artorias' two versions count separately. This means that, unless a friendly summon or invader hands you a spare Soul of Sif, the achievement is physically impossible to complete until at least the half-way point of a second New Game+ (you can kill Sif very early into a cycle, but only the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo can craft boss weapons). Besides that, most players need a checklist to finish the achievement due to how many rare drops, obscure item stashes, and tail weapons are needed for it. As a small mercy, none of the content from the Artorias of the Abyss DLC counts for collection achievements, so at least you don't have to collect the Obsidian Greatsword from cutting Kalameet's tail off.
  • That One Attack:
    • The Basilisk's curse cloud. Your curse meter is smaller than the poison or bleed meters, and the cloud fills it fast if you don't have any resistance. Being cursed kills you instantly, and permanently removes half of your health with the exception of a few difficult ways you can remove the curse. This effect used to stack until a patch was released, and it seemed less like a bug fix and more like an address to player complaints. There are only three ways to cure curse: wear a Rare Ring of Sacrifice when you are cursed, visit Ingward in New Londo Ruins, or use a Purging Stone. There's only four Rare Rings of Sacrifice in the game, planting them firmly in the Too Awesome to Use category. Ingward's location in New Londo Ruins is rather out of the way, and is lousy with horrendous Goddamned Bats that you really don't want to fight with only half health, and if you can make it to Ingward, he charges one humanity for curse removal. Purging Stones are sold by two merchants, Oswald of Carim (who only sells five per playthrough) and the Female Undead Merchant (who charges 6,000 souls apiece). The easiest option, for those who have persevered and discovered either of the two areas where they appear, is to farm them from man-eating clams.
    • The Four Kings' magic homing attack. They'll throw it at you when you're out of their melee range. It's hard hitting, can be spammed by any of the Four Kings (even when you can't see them spam it) and worse of all is extremely hard to dodge and block due to difficulties with depth perception in the horizonless Abyss.
    • The Bed of Chaos's firestorm attack, which involve firing flame pillars throughout the ground. Not only do these really hurt, but they can also launch you into the air, leaving you open for more attacks, or worse, into the Bottomless Pit the boss creates throughout the fight. This attack can even hit you when you're running across her branches. Fortunately, this attack only starts happening during the last third of the fight.
    • Artorias is already a hellish fight, with his attacks blowing through all but the most sturdy guards and him being incredibly aggressive, but his one attack comes from when he's gotten too far from the player: he'll crouch for a moment, before launching himself across the arena at high speeds with a downward swing that can break through any guard and deal very high damage. It's not so bad for lightweight players who can potentially dodge it, but ones using heavy equipment have virtually no way of avoiding it besides staying right up against Artorias to keep him from using it at all.
    • Manus, will shower you with multiple flurries of Abyss spells if he's not relentlessly attacking you with melee moves (one of which is a downright nasty combo that stunlocks you easily, preventing you from escaping the full damage of the attack). With the right equipment (and pendant) they can be resisted, but there is little to no opportunity to avoid them, as Manus executes his moves really fast.
    • Black Dragon Kalameet's breath attacks drain your stamina very quickly, even if you have a high stability shield, and can sometime last long enough to break your guard and deal massive damage successively. And here you thought your Black Flame pyromancy was ridiculous...
    • Grab attacks (which functionally work like backstabs/ripostes) are universally this. From getting eaten by ents and getting pecked to death by Crow Demons, to being grabbed and drained several times in a row by The Four Kings, any enemy with a grab can use it to turn you helpless as they knock off half of your life bar in one go.
  • That One Boss: Inevitably has its own page.
  • That One Level:
    • Tomb of the Giants. it is dark enough that even with a light source you can only see a short distance ahead. There is no Hollywood Darkness that is present in other dark places, such as the first section of the Catacombs that preceed this level. If you are exploring the area without a guide or prior knowledge you are likely to walk off the map at least once. Even when using a map, it is very difficult to orient yourself or tell exactly how far you have moved from a spot that is relatively easy to identify, and in a level in which the edges of the ground are the easiest to have appear within your light, some parts of the level require you to find low-lying pathways in centers of the path. Navigation is not helped by how there are few distinctive places in the level, and any landmarks that could serve as guiding points to a certain extentnote  are liable to disappear as you descend levels work through the level's twists and turns. Hidden in the darkness are powerful enemies, including highly aggressive and hard-hitting quadrupedal skeletal beasts, and woe is you if you if you accidentally aggro multiple by accident.
    • Lost Izalith is rightly infamous as the worst level in the game. It starts with many players being unable to see how to get in because of the way the bright lava affects visibility in the Centipede Demon's boss room (Remastered would tone down the lava brightness). From there, the player must traverse a big lake of lava, which continues to negatively affect visibility, which they need to spend a ring slot to cross without burning to death (and even then, still stings and constantly drains their health), and which is absolutely infested with big crowds of deadly "Bounding Demons", and which can do a lot of damage on top of the damage they'll already be taking. The mid-level bonfire is hidden behind an invisible wall partway through. Once the lava is traversed, there's a relatively linear selection of corridors, culminating in having to fight an enemy pyromancer outside the boss room, possibly while also being invaded by Kirk. You can also accidentally ruin Siegmeyer's quest here, and the boss is considered a disappointment, if not the worst in the series. A shortcut that circumvents the lava portions of the level if you've gotten high enough in the Chaos Servant covenant mitigates some of these issues, but if the best thing you can say about a level is that you can skip most of it, it's definitely a sign of late-development rushing.
    • Sen's Fortress. A hellhole filled with deadly traps and packed to the brim with Demonic Spiders, including the introduction of Mimics. When you get to the top, you face giants throwing gigantic bombs at you. The naturally dangerous nature of the Fortress has made it an incredibly popular invasion spot. It might not be so bad normally, but the most effective, and usually only way for new players to beat the Iron Golem is by summoning help from Black Iron Tarkus, and thereby opening themselves up to invasion. On top of that, there's only one bonfire between the Undead Parish and the boss, and it's halfway through the fortress, meaning when you fuck up before the checkpoint, it's all the way back to the Parish. There's a reason this place has the Fan Nickname of Sen's Funhouse, where the fun never stops.
    • Anor Londo isn't too rough for the most part, but two of its areas are especially infamous.
      • To circumvent the sealed-off rotating bridge leading to the main palace, you have to travel through an adjacent cathedral that houses the Painted World by walking on its rafters. It's nightmarish for acrophobic players and difficult in general, as the Painting Guardians can throw knives to make you lose balance and will eventually run up to fight you on the narrow walkways (though they tend to fall off very easily).
      • After cranking the bridge tower back to ground level and making it past some Batwing Demons, you have to run up a narrow walkway and go right across a very narrow ledge to get inside the palace. There's two Silver Knights, one on the left, one on the right, both firing Dragonslayer Greatbows at you. Dragonslayer Arrows are essentially javelins, and for anyone without insanely high poise, even blocking a Dragonslayer Arrow will push you off the walkway. Not only do you have to run up there, but you actually have to kill one of the Silver Knights to get past and get to a safe spot, while the other Silver Knight is still shooting at you. Fortunately, the AI isn't very good at pathfinding, and the paths here are only just wide enough for you and the Knights to walk on them; "fighting" the Silver Knights here can only be a matter of getting close enough to one of them that the AI shifts to melee combat, and walking away so it tries to follow you, but ends up falling off the building.
    • Blighttown has gotten such a nasty reputation that it's considered the point in the game where you either keep going or just give up and Rage Quit. Numerous annoying enemies (some of whom can inflict toxic), constant danger of falling off the narrow walkways, pools of poisonous muddy water, enemy attacks that knock the player back (often off a ledge), and hardly any bonfires. It leads into some of the most annoying bosses in the game. Getting a foothold into it by climbing down to the ground from the Valley of Drakes entrance is filled with Fake Difficulty the first time down, and even after getting acclimated to the area, it is still not difficult to get killed by the environment. While climbing down the scaffolding, you can't see very far in the dark so you can't tell where you're supposed to go, and the only way to know if a short drop is a quicker way down to the next level of this maze or just as lethal as falling off a cliff is to try the jump. Even after scoping out the area, you can still slide off a tree trunk to your doom because you didn't walk right onto its center or miss the jump onto the small platform next to where you get off the elevator going up. There's a reason its Fan Nickname is Suck Town. Even then, should you tolerate these flaws, there's the lag resulting from so many polygons in the scenery–-which was fortunately fixed in the remaster–-which is bound to hamper your experience of the area drastically.
    • New Londo Ruins is full of ghosts, which can fly and pass through walls, and the game makes use of this to full effect, with ghosts popping out of the walls, floor, and ceiling to ambush you, frequently en masse. This makes every bit of progress arduous as you have to constantly keep looking around for ambushes. They also love to reach through walls or float over pits while attacking, so you'll spend a lot of time maneuvering on very narrow walkways to draw them out. There's even a trio of ghosts which is smart enough to retreat instead of chasing you mindlessly. If you go here to get your curse removed, you're in for a world of hurt. Not helping things is that the easiest way to fight the ghosts is a consumable item, a Transient Curse. While the game makes sure that you have enough of them by having a pair be a common drop from the ghosts, the game is not upfront with that, which can make the item required to fight the Mooks of an area seem Too Awesome to Use due to its scarcity before the ruins. The ghosts are mostly absent from the lower section after opening the seal, but the way to the fog gate is guarded by many Darkwraiths, bulky skeletal knights who use a nasty grab attack.

      New Londo has the distinction of being one of three named areas in the game that lacks any bonfires whatsoever before the boss room (the other being the Kiln of the First Flame, which is noticeably more straightforward, and the Crystal Cave, which is arguably even worse but much shorter). The closest ones happen to be either the Firelink Shrine bonfire (which may not be usable because the firekeeper is dead) where the only way to get back down is by riding an irritatingly long elevator below the starting point, or through the Valley of Drakes, provided you already opened the floodgates and drained the water, which also requires you to ride a long elevator and battle or dodge several powerful, respawning lightning-spewing drakes to get there. Case in point, don't mess up.
    • Lower Undead Burg is very short, but you'll quickly grow to hate every second that you're there. The only enemies are Demonic Spiders, and at the very end is That One Boss the Capra Demon. What makes it especially frustrating is that unlike most other runs to aggravating bosses, you can't just run past everyone and have to stop and kill everything in front of you to avoid getting surrounded and killed, driving the time between refights way up.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • Getting some of the dragon tail weapons can be an absolute pain.
      • Cutting Seath's tail creates the Moonlight Greatsword. Seath has an infuriating habit of turning extremely fast, and if you get to his tail, you need to watch out for his tail slam attack, which he will perform just to spite you. On top of that, while almost every other boss tail has a clear area where it can be cut off, only the tip of Seath's tail will register the damage properly. Additionally, Seath tends to spend half the fight with his middle tail completely clipped through the wall, making it impossible to hit the necessary area at all until he deigns to reposition. It's possible to take off his entire health bar by just attacking what you thought was his tail, and still not obtain it. This is doubly hard for caster builds, since Seath is both resistant to magic and infuriatingly mobile; thus, your most damaging attacks will simultaneously do reduced damage to him and have a high chance of missing his tail altogether. It's generally agreed that Seath is a complete pushover until you decide to try and obtain the Moonlight Greatsword.
      • Priscilla's Dagger is gotten from Crossbreed Priscilla. She has relatively low health, and at the start of the battle, she will go invisible, and needs to be staggered before she can be visible again. This can result in you lowering her health too low to actually get the dagger before killing her.
      • Kalameet's tail turning into the Obsidian Greatsword. You'll quickly discover that there are almost no openings to strike his tail, and the only two that are require you to prolong the fight for a painfully long time waiting for him to attack you in three very specific ways, two of which require you to get right next to him as he's doing extremely high-damaging attacks. You can't shoot at it with a bow because Kalameet is facing you nine times out of ten, and any magic you throw at it is nearly guaranteed to miss. The only solution is to summon phantoms, that way somebody is able to unload on the tail while the boss is paying attention to someone else. If you want to use the Obsidian Greatsword, you probably already know that it has no stat scaling, so you haven't put any points into Str/Dex beyond the requirements, meaning that on the rare occasion you actually score a hit on the tail, it won't do much damage. It's a small mercy that this is all DLC content, so you don't need the Obsidian Greatsword for the Knight's Honor achievement.
    • The Souvenirs of Reprisal or Dragon Scales needed to progress in the Blades of the Darkmoon or Path of the Dragon covenants are dropped at an absurdly low rate by Demonic Spiders who often fight in packs, have insanely high health and have a relatively unpredictable A.I. pattern. This is the only way to get them without fighting powerful players online, which is especially bad for Dragon Scales since 30 of them are required for every reward. The other covenants have much easier grinding items to collect, whereas the Forest Hunters' Ring of Fog (which requires going online) can be gotten from one of Snuggly's trades instead.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • The Giant Blacksmith, a giant who looks like an enemy giant, but is actually a Gentle Giant who uses Hulk Speak. What really makes him cute is his smithing animation that he has when he is not interacting with you, which has him hammering a weapon that is absolutely tiny for him. His hammering tempo accelerates until he uses these tiny tippy taps on the weapon, which could presumably crush your skull.
    • Some of the enemies, such as the Skeleton Babies, can qualify.
    • The ambulatory mushrooms in Darkroot Garden are probably the closest we'll get to realistic Toads. They come in child and adult sizes, and while the adults pack a surprising wallop, the children will typically just run around aimlessly and ignore you. Attacking them causes them to run away to their parents, and when killed they sometimes let out a pitiful, loon-like call for help. Makes you wonder if that Gold Pine Resin drop is really worth it, doesn't it?
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Vagrants are enemies that can be generated in most areas by online player actions and drop loot when killed. The chance they can spawn is horribly tiny, with evil Vagrants appearing if players lose a lot of "soft" Humanity and don't retrieve their bloodstain before dying again (players are unlikely to ever store more than one soft Humanity unless they're grinding for items or if they gathered some by killing enemies/phantoms in a new area) and good Vagrants spawning from drifting item bags made by leaving certain items on the ground (the lack of inventory weight means that there's no reasons to drop items outside of this mechanic). Most players will see a Vagrant maybe once or twice across several online playthroughs, and the loot they drop is rarely worth much.
    • The Switch release of Remastered has amiibo functionality, as well as its own setting in the options menu, except it only allows you to use one amiibo (Solaire) and all it does is give you a gesture that has no impact on gameplay and can already be obtained relatively easily in the main game. It seems to be there just to give the Solaire amiibo an actual gameplay use.
    • Occult weapons are an auxiliary effect intended to do increased damage against specific enemies (Black Knights, Silver Knights, Sentinels and Royal Sentinels). The problem with this is that the only area where you can get any real use out of these weapons is Anor Londo, and that's only if you find the damn thing in the completely optional and difficult to navigate Painted World. You also can't use an item or spell to buff an unuprgraded weapon with this effect like with any of the other elements in the game. As it stands, the existence of Occult Ember is good for lore but impracical for actual gameplay. This is something that was improved upon in sequels.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Quite a few cases thanks to ambiguous character names and the fact that Japanese is a very gender-neutral language:
    • Despite his willowy appearance, androgynous voice, distinctly feminine name, and breasts, Dark Sun Gwyndolin is confirmed in the flavor text of several items to be male, but Raised as the Opposite Gender for nebulous reasons.
    • Sif's sex is never identified in any item descriptions, and the only hint we get—if it even counts—is that it shares its name with a Norse goddess.
    • Pharis. The description of Pharis' Hat refers to Pharis as a man, yet closer examination of the archer who drops it (easily done if the player is a member of the Forest Hunter Covenant) reveals the character model to be a woman, leading to speculation that she is either only using Pharis' equipment or that she is Pharis, and the English localization made a mistake.
    • Ciaran, at least before she actually appeared in the Artorias of the Abyss expansion. The base game mentions her name in the Hornet's Ring description and wisely omits any gendered language, but many fans made the logical but incorrect assumption that she was male since Ciaran is a male given name in Real Life.
  • The Woobie: So many that it got its own page.
  • Woobie Family: The Witch of Izalith and her children. The Witch herself and two of her daughters turned into an Eldritch Abomination when their attempt to prolong the Age of Fire went bad. One more daughter died, two were turned into Spider People, one eventually went Hollow defending what was left of her mother, and the only brother became a Humanoid Abomination without his sisters' help. The only daughter who escaped relatively unharmed suffers from horrific PTSD even centuries later, when you come along and have no choice but to kill all but one of her surviving family members (you can then kill them both, as well).

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