10 Games Like Dark Souls

10 Games Like Dark Souls
Image via Bandai Namco

Written by 

Eoin Black

Posted 

3rd Jun 2022 16:54

We're listing the 10 best games like Dark Souls to help you satisfy that Dark Souls/Elden Ring itch. In the span of a few short years, FromSoftware has turned Dark Souls from a niche franchise into a powerhouse that defined its own genre. When everyone else's game is being compared to your game, you know you're doing something right. We're listing the 10 best games like Dark Souls so you can scratch that FromSoft itch after you've worked your way through Dark Souls 1, 2, and 3. Hopefully, you'll find something to take care of those difficulty cravings here. 

Games Like Dark Souls

Elden Ring

10 best games like Dark Souls - Elden Ring insignia
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Image via Bandai Namco

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

Getting the obvious ones out of the way first, we have Elden Ring. If you're here looking for games like Dark Souls, then you already know about or have played Elden Ring. All the same, we need to include it on principle alone. 

Elden Ring, in the eyes of many,  perfected the SoulsBorne formula. It's an expansive, open-world full of brutally difficult fights, dungeons to explore, and the kind of beautiful, understated lore that only FromSoft can pull off. 

Elden Ring plays like Dark Souls, but better. If you haven't played it, you should. At least, do before you move on to non-FromSoft Soulslikes. 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

10 best games like Dark Souls Sekiro screenshot
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Image via FromSoftware

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Stadia

Sekiro is the least traditional SoulsBorne game in FromSoft's catalog. Not only is it thematically different than every other entry in the genre, but it fundamentally changed the gameplay, as well. 

Sekiro completely does away with the traditional stamina system in favor of one built around poise. In Dark Souls, poise dictates how easy it is for you to become staggered. Sekiro builds upon this with posture. Posture refers to a bar that both you and enemies have in-game. When you either hit or get hit, that bar begins to fill. When it's full, you can unleash a devastatingly powerful attack. So powerful, in fact, that you almost need to rely on them for some of the game's lengthier boss fights. 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is one of the most divisive FromSoft games, but it's well worth a play if you're looking to satiate those Dark Souls cravings. 

Demon's Souls

10 best games like Dark Souls Demon's Souls screenshot
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Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: PS3, PS5

Demon's Souls is the grand-daddy of Dark Souls. It's the FromSoft game that lay the foundation for the next decade of development, and that alone makes it worth playing if you're looking for a Soulslike. Demon's Souls was a Soulslike before Dark Souls even came out. 

While it was initially released in 2010, we're not suggesting you dust off your PS3 and boot the game up. Demon's Souls received a pretty well-received remake in 2020, fresh with modern graphics and gameplay improvements over the 2010 original. 

Demon's Souls is Dark Souls, so if you're in the mood to play Dark Souls, Demon's Souls is what you're looking for. 

Bloodborne

10 best games like Dark Souls Bloodborne screenshot
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Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: PS4

Okay, we're on to the final FromSoft game on this list. Bloodborne is considered by many to be FromSoft at its peak, and it's hard to disagree with that opinion. Thematically, Bloodborne blends Lovecraftian horror into a rustic Victorian setting. The lore of the world is deeply unsettling, but the game maintains enough storytelling nuance so as to not shove this in the player's face. Bloodborne is as deep and rewarding as the player wants it to be. 

If you only care for the Dark Souls-like combat, then you'll love Bloodborne. Unlike Sekiro, it does have a stamina bar. However, it plays a lot faster than other Dark Souls games thanks to a different mechanic. When you lose health in Bloodborne, you have a short window to do damage that will restore some of that health. You, as a player, are actively rewarded for being aggressive. 

If you're in it for the story, you'll love it, too. The Bloodborne rabbit hole is far more deranged than the Dark Souls one. Once you engage with the story, you'll find yourself spending hours watching videos and reading descriptions trying to wrap your head around it for yourself. 

When a developer releases a game as critically and commercially celebrated as Elden Ring, and people still think that this game could arguably be better, then you owe it to yourself to play it. 

Salt and Sanctuary

10 best games like Dark Souls Salt and Sanctuary screenshot
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Image via Ska Studios

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch

Our first non-FromSoft game on this list is pretty wildly different than the first four entries. Salt and Sanctuary is shamelessly Soulslike, it takes clear inspiration from the Dark Souls games and it isn't afraid to show it. 

However, it just so happens that Salt and Sanctuary is a 2-D sidescroller. Not only that, but it has hand-drawn graphics. The passion and dedication of the dev team shine through in every aspect of the game from the tight combat and stunning visuals to the inspired character design. 

Despite the brutal challenge and difficulty that Salt and Sanctuary offers, it's not going to be for everyone. There will be a handful of Souls fans out there that can't stand sidescrollers. Provided you're not one of them, the game is more than worth a play. 

 

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

10 best games like Dark Souls Jedi Fallen Order screenshot
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Image via Disney

Jedi: Fallen Order isn't regarded as being a particularly difficult game by a lot of people. That's a fair stance to take unless you played the game on the Jedi Grandmaster difficulty. That difficulty setting turns what would otherwise be a regular action-RPG into a slaughterhouse of difficulty comparable to even the most intense SoulsBorne experience. 

You will routinely get killed in one or two hits from bosses, meaning you'll need to learn their combos and timings as you would in a Dark Souls game. Combine that with the dodge-focused combat gameplay and Jedi: Fallen Order feels like a Souls game with a Star Wars skin. 

If you're a fan of Star Wars and Dark Souls, make a point of playing through Fallen Order on Grandmaster even if you've already beat the game before. It's just an entirely different experience.  

God of War

10 best games like Dark Souls God of War screenshot
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Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: PC, PS4

2018's God of War is in a similar camp to Fallen Order in that it's not regularly comparable to Dark Souls beyond being an action-RPG. On the hardest difficulty though, its gameplay is transformed into something that is reminiscent of FromSoft's gothic-horror world. 

Not only is God of War terribly difficult on its higher difficulties, but its surprisingly human story and tone help contrast that beautifully. Despite God of War's history as a franchise, and the violence that its gameplay portrays, the game is a story about a man. Not a god, or a god killer. A man. It's more human than any game set in the modern world, and that's a tremendous feat. 

It has epic, diverse scenery and battles against god-like foes of mythological proportions, all set against a backdrop of stellar gameplay and some of the greatest scores in gaming history. That sentence is applicable to both God of War and Dark Souls, so if that's something you like about Dark Souls, you'll love God of War.

Ghost of Tsushima

10 best games like Dark Souls Ghost of Tsushima screenshot
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Image via Sony Interactive Entertainment

Platforms: PS4, PS5

Compared to the last few entries on this list, Ghost of Tsushima is the least Soulslike. It doesn't play too similarly to Dark Souls. It has stealth and parkour, is set in a realistic setting, and doesn't have Dark Soul's signature difficulty or dodge-based combat. 

What it does have, though, is a deep combat system that requires mastery to progress through the game. Its difficulty in combat doesn't come from getting stomped by bosses, although that absolutely does happen. Instead, it comes from learning the game's stance system. You have four different stances, each of which dictates the combos and attacks you perform. Certain stances are better against certain enemies and weapon types, meaning you'll need to be changing on the fly to survive combat. 

Ghost of Tsushima isn't as blatantly brutal in its combat difficulty, but it is punishing in its own elegant way. It calls for dedication - you need to spend time learning the game to get good at it, and that's something that it and Dark Souls have in common. 

Nioh

10 best games like Dark Souls Nioh screenshot
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Image via Koei Tecmo

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5

Nioh is a non-FromSoft precursor to Sekiro that manages to take inspiration from Miyazaki's work without being insulting in its derivation. 

Like Sekiro, Nioh takes place in Sengoku Japan. Unlike Sekiro, you play as an Irish Samurai called William. William meets a guardian spirit called Saoirse who prevents him from dying and gifted him with the ability to see spirits. That's where the beauty of Nioh shines. 

Sure, Nioh plays like a stellar SoulsBorne and is worth playing for that alone, but so rarely will a game blend both Irish and Japanese folklore and mythology in the same setting, much less to such tremendous effect. 

If you're a fan of mythological settings, Nioh is a must-play. If you're a fan of Dark Souls, Nioh is a must-play. If you like playing video games, Nioh is a must-play.  

The Witcher 3

10 best games like Dark Souls The Witcher 3 Screenshot
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Image via CD Projekt Red

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch

The Witcher 3 might just be the greatest game ever made. Ask anybody their top five and chances are it's in there somewhere. While it might not be the most authentic Soulslike on this list, that prestige warrants a top spot. 

The similarities between the two games shine through combat, especially on The Witcher 3's higher difficulties. You'll be relying on dodges, sidesteps, and parries to survive each encounter rather than simply tanking damage. Add an in-depth potion system and enemy weakness system on top of that and you have a unique gameplay formula that plays like a Souls game but is unique enough to have its own identity.

That kind of gameplay is mixed with world-class writing and a world inspired by Polish folklore to create one of the greatest experiences gaming has to offer. If you haven't played The Witcher 3 yet, do. It can scratch that Dark Souls difficulty itch if that's what you're looking for, all while never even feeling inspired by the Souls series. 

  • Want a change of pace from the punishing, grim-dark world of Soulslikes? Check out our 10 games like Genshin Impact list. 
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