How to Level Up in Demon Souls

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FromSoftware’s iconic Demon’s Souls was first released in 2009 for the PlayStation 3. It was the first installment FromSoftware’s highly popular Souls series. From Demon’s Souls, the popularity and fanbase of the franchise steadily grew and was later followed by the Dark Souls Trilogy. The unique style of these games eventually defined its own sub-genre in gaming known as “Soulslike.”

In November 2020, Demon’s Souls received a fresh coat of paint by Bluepoint Games and Japan Studio in the form of a new remake for PlayStation 5. When getting started for Demon’s Souls, there are likely many questions, such as how to level up your character? Do not worry because today, I’ll be tackling just that.

How Do You Unlock the Level Up System?

First things first. Character progression and leveling up in Demon’s Souls necessitates the leveling up system to be unlocked. That requires the defeat of the first major boss fight in the game, Phalanx. The Phalanx is located in World 1-1, the Boletarian Palace, behind the locked dear near the start of the stage. After locating the lever to open that locked door, you will have to face and defeat the Phalanx.

Introducing The Phalanx

The Phalanx is the first major boss fight in the game. It’s a blob of goo with a vulnerable, glowing core. The Phalanx surrounds itself with Hoplites using shields, harkening back to an ancient defensive tactic utilized by Spartan soldiers in the time of ancient Greece.

There are a couple important things to keep in mind for the Phalanx. It’s weak to fire damage, and it will regain its health back if you don’t attack it after a certain length of time. The Phalanx will maintain this ability until all of its individual Hoplite minions are destroyed. The Hoplites themselves will return after about two minutes per a group of the Hoplites until the very last one is defeated. The individual Hoplite minions can also regain their health if they return to the main blob of the Phalanx.

How Do You Beat The Phalanx?

Demon's Souls - PS5 - 2

The good news is that the Phalanx is a fairly weak enemy, and it relies on the Hoplites to attack you. Things to be careful about while facing the creature is that the Hoplite shields will prevent the main boss from taking damage, and hitting the Hoplite shields could cause your character to be momentarily stunned.

The Phalanx is slow moving, but it will try to corner the player with its Hoplites, so it’s best to keep running around it. You should try to find the weakest area that is more exposed and less shielded and avoid getting crowded by the Hoplites with their spears and shields.

Once Hoplites are destroyed, the majority of them will move on the side of the blog that is facing the player. That will give you an opening to find a weak spot, which is the best place to strategize and plan your attack on the Phalanx.

There’s no leveling up yet without defeating the Phalanx boss first. When the fight with the creature starts, it’s surrounded those pesky shields. Hopefully, before this fight, you’ve stocked up on some Firebombs and Pine Resin (aka Turpentine), which will make this battle go a lot easier. You might’ve been able to purchase some Firebombs from the Dregling Merchant as well for 500 Souls a pop if you can spare that currency.

The first and best strategy to use the Firebombs and lob them at the center of The Phalanx to destroy as much of it as possible. You will want to take some time to run around pillars and avoid getting behind the Hoplites when they separate off from the center blob creature.

After that, apply Turpentine to your weapon and go for the center mass creature that’s not being guarded by the miniature Hoplites. Using a weapon two-handed with the Turpentine applied will hopefully reduce the Phalanx to oblivion. The two-handed attack is also a good way to avoid being stunned by the Hoplites if you accidentally strike one of their shields.

Another good approach for defeating the Phalanx is if you’ve chosen the Magician or Royalty class. This is a good way to take down the hoplite minions by using the Flame Toss or Soul Arrow techniques. You will want to take out the Hoplites by continuing to move around the space. The pillars will give you an opportunity to regain mana or health power.

Another good tip is to have some Fresh Spice ready to replenish your mana if you’ve picked the Magician class. Fresh Spice can be purchased from the Black Boldwin merchant, who is outside the area where you fight the Phalanx.

The Flame Toss or Soul Arrow will take down the Hoplite minions. After taking them out, you can continue to stay at range and use your magic spells to pick away at the main blob.

If you have chosen to go with a  character class that primarily uses melee attacks, this is also a good strategy for tackling the Phalanx boss fight. This will require some Turpentine and using the two-handed melee technique with your desired weapon.

The Turpentine weapon will burn the enemy. It’s best here not to use lock on. Get in as many attacks as you can and then take cover and heal or recover stamina behind a pillar when need be. This technique is recommended for the following player classes:

  • Knight
  • Priest
  • Soldier
  • Temple Knight
  • Hunter
  • Royal
  • Barbarian
  • Wanderer

One thing to watch out for while using Turpentine, double-handed melee attacks is the extra wind-up time between each hit for the Wanderer classic.

The Phalanx is weak to fire damage, though, it can be defeated without those techniques. If not using the Firebombs or Turpentine weapons, you will want to have your character run around the battle arena and be careful about the Hoplites’ spears.

When the Hoplites start breaking off, you will want to move behind them and attack them while they are vulnerable. When enough of the Hoplites’ numbers have been reduced, you will have opportunity to find a weak spot on the main blob to attack and wear it down.

While the main Phalanx blob is weak to fire damage, it’s not an incredibly difficult monster to defeat. Hopefully, you will be able to vanquish the Phalanx without too much trouble or resources. Defeating the creature will reward you with the following items for your troubles:

  • 1 Lead Demon’s Soul
  • 1270 Souls
  • Body Form Restored
  • +30% White World Tendency on all Archstones

Congratulations, you’ve defeated the Phalanx. With that, it’s time to progress so you can move along, unlock your Soul Level system, and start figuring out how to level up your character.

Enter the Nexus

Demon's Souls PS5

After defeating the Phalanx, your character will return to the Nexus, and the Maiden in Black will appear and advise you to speak to The Monumental. The cutscene with the Maiden in Black will show you the path to find The Monumental, who is located in a balcony above the archstones up a spiraling staircase.

You should follow the path that’s shown during the cutscene. Your character can find The Monumental after ascending to the balcony floor, and The Monumental will be the figure that’s sitting in front of the lit candle.

The Monumental will then share the tale of the Old One and the Archstones. Following the cutscene, The Monumental unlocks the archstones necessary to start leveling up. With that complete, you can now descend the stairs back to the hub area to speak again to the Maiden in Black.

The Maiden in Black will then ask your character if you seek the power of souls. You will want to answer “yes,” of course. That will finally unlock the level system in Demon’s Souls.

What Is the Soul Level System?

Players can track their level in the game with their Soul Level stat. The Soul Level for your character is calculated by the sum of your attributes (ie Strength, Vitality) minus 80. Through the Soul Level system, players will be able to increase their defensive stats in the game: Physical Defense; Magic Defense; and Fire Defense.

The Soul Level system will also help players determine the level range of summoning the Blue Phantoms and Black Phantoms in the game. When you want to level up your character, one Attribute point can be assigned to these stats to help you on your quest to slay demons. Once you level up one level, you are given an Attribute point, and you assign it to the aforementioned defensive stats.

Character Attributes can be maxed out to 99. So, if you’re able to achieve the maximum level for all your different character attributes, you can reach a maximum Soul Level of 712 in Demon’s Souls.

What Is the Soul Currency for Leveling Up?

The demon souls you collect are the currency you use in exchange for leveling up in the game. You can collect souls from your fallen foes and also as loot. The level up system requires revisiting the Maiden in Black. So once you return to the Nexus and find the Maiden in Black again, you will be able to spend your collected souls to level up your character.

Successive levels and character progression will cause an exponential increase in the required number of souls. One thing to keep in mind is that dying will cause all the valuable souls you collect to be lost at the bloodstain where you are killed. However, you might be able to recover the lost souls if you return to the bloodstain where you died after gaining resurrection. If you die again while in the process of recovering those souls, they will be lost forever.

How Do You Find the Maiden in Black to Level Up?

So, in order to level up, you will need to progress throughout the game, kill more enemies, defeat more bosses, and then collect their souls. Return to the Nexus and speak to the Maiden in Black.

When returning to The Nexus, the Maiden in Black will always be visible around the archstones of the area. You still might have to search for her. Here are some of the places the Maiden in Black will spawn:

  • She will be seated next to the last Archstone you entered.
  • She will be located next to Stockpile Thomas.
  • She might be between Blacksmith Boldwin and the Boletarian Palace Archstone.
  • Another possible location for her is the column across from the hall where Stockpile Thomas is situated, located near the Valley of Defilement.
  • She might be found standing near the transparent seal that is located at the center floor.
  • She could be found next to the small statue where you will re-appear if you happen to perish in The Nexus.
  • The Maiden might also stand in the center of the stairs that head down to the area with the messages.

So, after finding The Maiden in Black, speak to her to level up your character and unlock the game’s level up screen.

How Do You Assign Your Soul Power Points?

Demon's souls

You’ve now found The Maiden in Black again, and you can now ask to “Seek Your Soul Power” in order to open your character’s level up menu. The menu will show an overview of all of your character’s stats, how many souls you have acquired, your current Soul Level,  how many souls are required to reach the next character level, and the following attributes:

  • Vitality
  • Intelligence
  • Endurance
  • Strength
  • Dexterity
  • Magic
  • Faith
  • Luck

From this menu, you will be able to exchange your collected souls and assign your Attribute points to your desired stats. Then, it’s simply a matter of wash, rinse, repeat to continue leveling up.

Before you assign the Attribute points, the level up menu will also display how increasing the Attribute points will affect your character stats. So, take your time to customize your stats and improve your character as you see fit. It’s good to check out the stats will benefit your character before you select your most desired option.


Question: How Do You Unlock the Level System in Demon’s Souls?

Answer: In short, you have to locate and defeat the Phalanx in World 1-1, the Boletarian Palace. After defeating the Phalanx, you have to locate The Monumental in The Nexus in order to unlock The Archstones.
After that, you have to find the Maiden in Black to unlock “Seek Your Soul Power.” Now, you can start exchanging your collected souls to level up and assign Attribute Points to your various stats in the game whenever you visit the Maiden in Black in the Nexus.

Question: What Is the Max Soul Level I Can Reach in Demon’s Souls?

Answer: All your various Character Attributes can be maxed out to 99. Your Soul Level in the game is the sum of your attributes (Physical Defense, Magic Defense, and Fire Defense) minus 80. If you reach the maximum level for all your stats, the max Soul Level you can reach in the game is 712.

Question: Is the Demon’s Souls Remake Available for Any Platforms Other Than PlayStation 5?

Answer: The Demon’s Souls remake released in November 2020 is currently exclusive to the PlayStation 5. While there have been rumors of the remake receiving a PC release, they have not been confirmed. The original 2009 game was released exclusively for PlayStation 3 and did not receive any other console ports or releases.
During a PlayStation 5 event showcase in September 2020, a trailer for the game had fine print that stated, “Not available for other consoles for a limited time. Also available on PC.” This led to the belief that the remake might be a timed exclusive or could receive a future PC release. However, a spokesperson later clarified the disclaimer was a human error, and that version of the trailer was pulled from YouTube. The game, for now, is available only for PS5.

Question: If I Enjoy Demon’s Souls, What Are Some Other Similar Games Made by FromSoftware I Might Enjoy?

Answer: Here are some other great games by FromSoftware that you might want to give a look if you enjoyed the Demon’s Souls remake:
• Dark Souls Trilogy
• Bloodborne
• Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
The next major “Soulslike” release made by FromSoftware is the upcoming Elden Ring due out on February 25 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Windows PC. If you enjoy dark fantasy “Soulslike” games, here are some other good alternatives for Demon’s Souls:
• Nioh
• Mortal Shell
• Ashen
• Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
• Code Vein
• Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
• Hellpoint

Conclusion The Demon’s Souls Experience

Demon’s Souls is a challenging, visceral gameplay experience, and leveling up your character is an essential part of the game loop and enhancing your overall experience. Playing Demon’s Souls can be an intense experience, but also a rewarding one. The remake of Demon’s Souls is currently available for the PlayStation 5.

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