Top 11 Games like Dark Souls, Ranked Good to Best
With the series coming to a close, let’s take a look at 11 games similar to Dark Souls
From Software’s Dark Souls is well-known for is not necessarily its difficulty, but its refusal to follow convention. In an era where First Person Shooters dominate the market, RPGs like Skyrim and Fallout 4 feeling more like walking simulators, and with most games being criticized for treating players like complete morons, Dark Souls decided to do the impossible, to actually do something different. With its reliance on minimalistic storytelling through atmosphere and environment, emphasis on slow and calculated combat, and of course its renown difficulty, Dark Souls has quickly become one of my favorite series.
Also it seems that with the release of the DLC for Dark Souls 3, the Ringed City, the beloved series is coming to an end. So to honor such a remarkable series, here is our list of the top 11 best games like Dark Souls.
11. Devil May Cry 3
The 2006 hack-and-slash serves as a prequel to the original Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry 3 tells the backstory to the main Character Dante, he brother Virgil, and other characters in the series. In the game, a being known as Arkham wants to rule over an Earth overrun by demons and Dante and Virgil fight their way through a giant tower past demons and other enemies to reach Arkham at the top.
Combat in Devil May Cry 3 is focused on melee combos and the more aggressive and unique your attack pattern the higher your score. Like Dark Souls, Devil May Cry is a dark fantasy with a focus on challenging combat.
Fight through enemies and rack up combos as either Dante or Virgil
2010’s Darksiders bears numerous similarities to Dark Souls, with its action-RPG playstyle, dark fantasy setting, and souls dropping from enemies when killed. In Darksiders, the player character is War, one of the four Horsemen of the apocalypse who must fight his way through the armies of Heaven and Hell as the battle of Armageddon has been unleashed on the world.
Fight the forces of Heaven and Hell as War
9. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
A reboot of the classic action series, 2010’s Castlevania: Lords of Shadow incorporates elements from previous games such as the whip and the medieval setting, but places them in a fully 3d environment and a higher emphasis on storytelling. Gameplay centers on the protagonist, Gabriel Belmont fighting legions of monsters and demons with a whip known as the combat cross. Melee combos rack up bonuses. The story sees Gabriel Belmont, a member of a holy order of knights tasked with hunting down members of the Lords of Shadow, servants of evil.
Stop the Lords of Shadow from bringing Hell on Earth
8. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2
The sequel to Lords of Shadow, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 was released in 2014 and picks up where the previous game left off, with Gabriel Belmont, now known as Dracula, waking up in the modern day. Combat is much the same as it was in the previous game with a focus on melee combat and combos.
The story continues where the previous game ended. Dracula must once again fight the forces of Hell to prevent the summoning of Satan.
Continue the fight against evil in Lords of Shadow 2
Arguably the unofficial rival to the Original Dark Souls, Skyrim is also a fantasy-medieval-RPG released in 2011. Despite the similarities, the experience in both games could not be more different. Whereas Dark Souls is a minimalistic, difficult, introspective, and quite lonely experience, Skyrim offers a vibrant world with an almost unlimited number of things to do, large numbers of NPCs to interact with, and a much easier combat system than Dark Souls.
While I personally definitely think Dark Souls is the better game, Skyrim is by no means bad. Because of its huge open world, seemingly endless number of quests, beautiful environment, and good writing, Skyrim creates a world that sucks you in and lets you forge your own path, and while the combat in Skyrim is nowhere near the challenge it is in Dark Souls, that’s ok, because for me, the focus of Skyrim is not to test yourself against the game’s mechanics, but to have a fun adventure!
Become the Dragonborn and fulfill your destiny in the land of Skyrim
6. Shadow of Mordor
The works of J.R.R. Tolkien are so beloved by fans like me that, outside from his son Christopher, any attempts to create stories within the world of middle earth are viewed with extreme skepticism. It can be so easy to ruin the lore and world if one isn’t careful. Thankfully, Shadow of Mordor manages to create its own story without trampling all over Tolkien Canon.
Set between the events of the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, Shadow of Mordor focuses on the growing strength of the armies of Sauron within Mordor and the efforts of a Ranger Talion who has been resurrected by an elf wraith named Celebrimbor and the two set out to sew discord among the orc ranks. Shadow of Mordor is similar to dark souls with its dark fantasy setting and engaging melee combat.
Fight your way through the Orc horde
5. Nier: Automata
The most recent game on our list, Nier: Automata bears resemblance to the Soulsborne series with its breathtaking atmosphere, challenging combat, seemingly insurmountable boss fights, and what I call introspective storytelling. By this I mean a story that focuses on both contemplation and emotional impact on the player rather than on just telling you what happens. Set in the far future, mankind is absent and the story centers around the android 2b as she faces a world filled with deadly automatons.
Slay robotic monstrosities as the Android 2B
4. The Witcher 3
The third in the series of open world action RPG’s, The Witcher 3 was released in 2015 to critical acclaim. With a similar mechanic as the Mass Effect series where players can carry over their save files from previous games, The Witcher 3 is set in a medieval, fantasy setting based on Eastern Europe. The game centers on the main character Geralt of Rivia as he tracks down his lover and daughter in a world inhabited by monsters and other enemies. With its massive open world and numerous side quests, the Witcher 3 also bears resemblance to Skyrim.
Explore the open world of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
3. Dragon's Dogma Dark Arisen
The 2012 hack-and-slash RPG has influences not just from the Souls series but from titles like Devil May Cry and the Elder Scrolls as well. Its dark-fantasy atmosphere and tone is most similar however to Dark Souls. The plot revolves around the main character who, after having their heart ripped out by a dragon becomes known as an “Arisen”. The story then follows the Arisen as they hunt down the dragon.
Fight through a world of demons and monsters as the Arisen
2. Lords of the Fallen
2014’s Lords of the Fallen is an action-RPG with combat very similar to Dark Souls with an emphasis on slow, tactical melee fights against tough enemies. Also similar to Dark Souls is its focus on checkpoints, classes, and its approach to NPCs. Set in a fantasy world, Lords of the Fallen centers on an escaped criminal named Harkyn who sets out to free the land from an evil god.
Slay your enemies across a dark-fantasy world reminiscent of Dark Souls
1. Demon's Souls
At the Top of Our list is the Game that inspired Dark Souls. Demon’s Souls is where so many of the concepts and mechanics in Dark Souls were developed, from the engine, to the online play, to the focus on slow, one on one combat. Demon’s Souls shares many of its themes, voice actors, and dark fantasy setting with Dark Souls. The games are so similar it’s likely the only reason Dark Souls wasn’t Demon’s Souls 2 is because of copyright issues with Sony. The company of course also responsible for the crime against humanity that is keeping Bloodborne a console exclusive.
Much of the gameplay that made Dark Souls, was developed in Demon’s Souls
So there you have our list of the top 11 games like Dark Souls. Whether it’s Dark Souls combat system, difficulty, or Dark-Fantasy Setting, the title has clearly been influenced by and influenced itself, numerous titles and I think it’s an excellent addition to the gaming universe.
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