Use these mods to make Dark Souls as difficult as possible

Image source: Silver Mask of the Father mod

Here's something true: Dark Souls is hard. The whole world knows it by now. Ask any Doe on the street and they'll tell tear-eyed stories about 'that one boss' that nearly ruined them.

Still, for the truly experienced players there’s always the need for a greater challenge. Players usually do this through making unconventional character builds, adding their own rules, or by playing with plastic drum sets and bananas attached to car batteries. But most PC players just do the sensible thing and mod the game. 

Mods can give you faster enemies, less health, randomized weapons, and other nearly game-breaking changes. To accommodate the thirstiest Dark Souls players, we’ve created a guide on how to install some of these mods to help you make Dark Souls as difficult as possible. 

Before you dive in, one thing: As these mods alter the game’s files, it’s highly recommended you back up any save or critical game files before giving them a go. You should also try these mods on a new save anyway for a fresh experience and to avoid screwing up an existing playthrough.

Randomize item locations

If you’ve beaten Dark Souls in the past, there’s a chance you’ll remember where all the best weapons and loot are. The Item Randomizer Mod by HotPocketRemix strips you of this knowledge, letting you explore Lordran anew.

You’ll require a hex editor, a BND rebuilder, the randomizer, and a copy of Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition to make the mod work. The steps are covered in detail both on a Reddit post by its creator and in an easy-to-follow YouTube video uploaded by the user Kazeugma.

It works by replacing a parameter file with a similar one created by the randomizer. This switches the location of certain items based on the difficulty you’ve selected. For instance, you can choose to move all key items around, separate armor sets, or swap non-essential objects.

In my own run, the mod relocated items like the Cage Key from Sen’s Fortress to the Firelink Shrine and the Dragonslayer’s Bow to the Undead Burg. It also moved helpful equipment like the Grass Crest Shield to an unknown location, which has led me on a so far disappointing quest to recover it.

If you want to randomize the item locations another time, follow the steps again and use the randomizer to generate a new file. Replace the existing file you made previously and the equipment and loot will swap around again.

It’s important to note that using this mod will not place any keys beyond the doors they’re needed to unlock. This means you won’t get stuck in the first room of the Undead Asylum.

Make enemies meaner

The New Aggression Mod is based on an old cheat engine script that made non-playable characters chase the player. The original was fun, but it had some huge problems. Most notably, that NPCs would walk off cliffs trying to follow you. This new mod addresses a lot of these issues by only affecting enemies and balancing certain areas that became impossible to get through.

There are three different editions of this mod which alter the range enemies can sense and see you from. These make playing the game particularly difficult, as they remove the limits on how close enemies need to be to initiate combat and increase the distance they can travel from spawn points. This means a swarm of enemies will come running at you every time you enter a new area and won’t leave you alone until you’ve killed them.

To install the mod, download and extract the files and place them in the game’s data directory. There should be a prompt to replace the existing dvdbnd3 files. Overwrite them, and you should be all good to go.

Speed things up

Dark Souls can be a slow and methodical game. Too slow for some. Adrenaline Mode picks up the pace by increasing the player’s speed by 20 percent and the enemies' by 100 percent, resulting in chaotic battles that can be over in seconds.

Coupled with the New Aggression Mod, the Adrenaline Mode is a real test of the player’s reflexes. It challenges you to be aware of your surroundings and anticipate enemy patterns way in advance. And yeah, it works on bosses too.

To activate this mod, install the latest version of Cheat Engine, then download the ct file as well as TechnoJacker’s cheat table. Run the game, then minimize the window. Now launch the mod file and TechnoJacker’s table. Enable the Perma-Gravelorded hack on the latter and the mod will activate itself.

Make your character (almost) useless

By far the easiest way to make Dark Souls harder is by altering the player’s max health and stamina attributes. You can do this by opening the updated Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition script (available here) in Cheat Engine, then changing both of these values to one.

Playing with these conditions is exceptionally tough. You can’t run, roll, or jump, and getting hit will result in immediate death. This makes even the weakest enemies a potential lethal threat, as you can do everything right only to be hit by a stray attack.

This mod is particularly popular with experienced Dark Souls players. If you’re interested in seeing someone else attempting this run before doing it yourself, the YouTuber LobosJR has done similar runs that can be viewed over on his channel. These videos will give you an idea of how difficult it can actually be.  

Force yourself to juggle weapons

The Random Weapon Mod is my favorite of the lot, which explains why I’ve kept it till last. It gives the player a new weapon every seven seconds.

You might think this mod would make the game easier by giving you some high-level items early, but it also includes shields and items you can’t wield effectively. It also never lasts long enough for you to get the full benefit out of a single weapon. This means you can come across a decent weapon, only for it to be replaced seconds later by something completely useless.

You can download the mod here. It uses a modified version of the cheat table created by TechnoJacker with a new script by two players called Kelsper and Psibat. You just have to launch this table and enable the script, then it will start working. Enjoy!