The Souls series by FromSoftware is remembered not merely for the incredible games that make up its body of work but also for the souls-like subgenre it helped birth. We've compiled a list of our top favorite souls-like games ever to commemorate this genre.
Most soul-like games have a high degree of difficulty, with player character death occurring frequently and interwoven into the gameplay. If certain checkpoints are not reached, all progress is lost. In souls-type games, player characters' skills are typically permanently enhanced in order to develop, much like the souls in the Souls series.
These improvements are frequently made using a form of currency that can be earned and spent but which can be lost or abandoned between deaths if not properly managed.
Here are amazing, thrilling, and adventurous souls-like games for a unique gaming experience.
1. Demon Souls
None of these games are by any means subpar; just the opposite. But it seems only fitting to begin this list with the heading that made it all possible. Demon's Souls feels different in comparison to later games. It can take a while to reach bosses, and the general levels are more complex and less forgiving if you fail; this was the start of FromSoftware's vision, and as such, it functions in many ways as a proof of concept, serving as an excellent model for further iterations.
The game immediately sets up shop with its fearsome Red-Eyed Knights, which can quickly cause many deaths. Demon's Souls is less accessible than later games in the series since checkpoints were placed closer to the bosses.
Since the game's release more than ten years ago, the latest Demon's Souls Remake has nearly rendered the original obsolete. Demon's Souls is by no means a poor game; somewhat, it just lacks the same level of satisfaction as the other games on our list.
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2. Elden Ring
Elden Ring undoubtedly has its challenging moments, but it's difficult to say that the game is more demanding than the series that came before it. Players in Elden Ring may undoubtedly take some steps to lessen the difficulty of their open-world Dark Souls-like experience, and joining forces with a companion to take on more brutal bosses will significantly reduce the overall challenge. Elden Ring has a few spells and gameplay elements that make it simple to "cheese" some bosses.
Elden Ring's no-hands-held, the massive open-world approach will undoubtedly overwhelm some players. Still, many will find that the experience becomes less complicated as they progress through the early going and begin to develop their character, unlocking new abilities and weapons that can deal significant damage.
3. Lords of the Fallen
Lords of The Fallen combines the genre's distinctive stick-and-move fighting with a more conventional, loot-driven action RPG. It is perhaps the first game to shamelessly mimic Dark Souls' gameplay and appearance. Although it doesn't exactly test your mettle in the same manner as its masochistic inspiration, its bonfire system riffs enable you to bank experience at checkpoints when you reset the game or keep it on you to earn more via a multiplier that increases with every opponent you defeat.
4. Dark Souls 2
Many people believe Dark Souls 2 to be the anomaly of the three main Souls titles. It's not as horrible as some, but a few annoying problems make it difficult. The sites and their connection feel random, and some don't seem unique. Additionally, some bosses—the Royal Rat Authority and The Skeleton Lords, for example—didn't feel like true "bosses."
However, there is much to love here, and some enjoyable boss fights, such as those with The Pursuer and the Old Dragonslayer. Overall, however, it simply lacks the element of mystery that distinguished its predecessor.
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Many rip-offs and tough-as-nails imitators of the Dark Souls series have tried to capitalize on the popularity of the "souls-like" label. Unfortunately, many released titles appeared to be more of a money grab for the genre than anything else.
Fortunately, several gems used the "idea" of a players-against-the-world mentality that was unreasonably challenging and created their own original experiences. One of the better illustrations of a soul-like being done correctly is Blasphemous.
It's a gorgeously designed, graphically appealing game with a beautifully moving plot, unique bosses, and some challenging gameplay. Despite this, it occasionally doesn't feel as hard as the first Souls releases, making it more accessible to players from all walks of life.
6. Darksiders 3
The first Darksiders game was heavily influenced by The Legend of Zelda, while the second game combined a range of character action games with Diablo-inspired treasure. Each Darksiders game has its distinct hack-and-slash style. But Darksiders 3 was fundamentally a souls-like game.
Even though the fighting in this game is not dependent on a stamina bar, a feature typically inherent to the souls-like genre, it nevertheless follows the same pattern of slow and careful combat that is incredibly harsh for any errors.
The residual influence of The Legend of Zelda from earlier games helps Darksiders 3 stand out from the rest of the souls in the genre. Despite having established roots in the souls like genre, there is a greater emphasis on puzzles and environmental problem-solving than is expected within the genre, making it a fascinating deviation.
7. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro was a suitable lead character in a FromSoftware game. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an intense game that has garnered game of the year awards from several venues and publications.
However, the gameplay's rigidity and lack of variety are disregarded in favor of the game's visuals. Other Souls-like games let you choose various weapons to fine-tune your playstyle, but Sekiro doesn't. It is adamant about the concept of posture.
The fact that there is no leveling up is one complaint that will unavoidably incite the "git gudders." Sekiro's strategy for warfare is incredibly realistic. You don't need to grind to get better health, strength, defense, etc. Your ability to advance depends on your knowledge of the game's rules and flexibility. Even though it's a good strategy, in our opinion, it also works against it.
Additionally, it occasionally overplayed its hand by giving bosses like the Guardian Ape too many hidden phases. Sekiro is undoubtedly the most unique and enjoyable game in many ways. There are loads of awesome secondary weapons to change things up, in addition to the game's stunning visuals and fun regular enemy action.
8. Nioh 2
One of the most significant distinctions between the first and second Nioh games is that players can now command a yokai that can be customized. William is gone, but there are some fantastic new additions, including the ability to summon players, the game-changing burst counter, and the ability to shift into a yokai demon.
Compared to the Souls games, Nioh integrates its story more explicitly. Nioh has a lot of large-scale cutscenes that show the story's progression, as opposed to implied lore that is hidden across places and brief interactions with NPCs.
Despite being an intense Souls-like game, Nioh 2 doesn't feel as memorable as the original iteration. The game's stunning aesthetics and expansive areas packed with diverse quests also contribute to its endurance.
9. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Although the difficulty of The Witcher 3 wasn't intended to be comparable to that of Dark Souls, many gamers nevertheless found the game to be quite overwhelming and challenging, especially during combat. The Witcher 3's early going can be challenging as players try to get their bearings and grasp the fundamentals of the fighting system.
To successfully slay the monsters that stalk the Earth while fending off some rather nefarious human foes, players must switch between several sword kinds and master a variety of signals. It's understandable why some players found The Witcher 3 challenging when combined with its obscenely intimidating open-world environment.
However, after players master fighting and improve their armor and weaponry, the game is unquestionably less challenging than the Dark Souls series.
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The obtuseness with which great souls like slowly unveils their opponents and objects and the plot is one of its more distinctive and oddly appealing features. With just the perfect amount of obscurity, 2018's Ashen from studio A44 and Annapurna Interactive encourage players to advance cautiously through its perilous, minimalist environment. Ingeniously distilled down to the very essence of what makes a soul like a tick, Ashen is brutal, ruthless, and unforgiving.
The art direction feels purposefully pared down and cel-shaded compared to their grizzled and expensive Soulsborne bigger siblings. Still, all of that makes it feel much more eerie, austere, and isolated. Most of its figures don't even have feet or faces.
However, Ashen's passive co-op multiplayer mode, where pals can team up to explore and eventually perish in the game's expansive, unsettling landscape, makes it not too solitary.
11. Demon's Soul Remake
Remakes may turn out poorly, but this is not the case with Bluepoint Games' version of Demon's Souls. They took a beloved game and faithfully recreated its magic while giving it a PS5-appropriate appearance.
Ray Tracing, 60FPS, and natural 4K visuals made Demon's Souls come to life on next-generation technology. The smooth, sharp gameplay allows players even more control over their actions and gaming choices, and the frame rate is impressive.
Now it's mind-blowing how the jaw-dropping encounter with the Flamelurker came about. Demon's Souls was finally given the exposure it deserved among the younger generation, and The Nexus feels much more realized than it did previously.
12. Hollow Knight
Given its inherent distinctions as a 2D Metroidvania, Hollow Knight is one of the first games that many will suggest to Dark Souls players, which speaks something to the game's excellence.
Despite the stark change in genre, Hollow Knight shares characteristics with the first Dark Souls game, including ambiance, a lore-centric storyline conveyed primarily through NPCs, and some of the most captivating boss fights of the last decade. In 2022, a follow-up titled Hollow Knight: Silk song is planned for publication.
13. Salt and Sanctuary
2D action role-playing game Salt and Sanctuary, created by Ska Studios, instantly gained attention when it was released thanks to its breathtaking hand-drawn graphics. Except for titles created by From Software, Salt and Sanctuary is one of the games on our list that most closely resembles the original Dark Souls, despite its 2D gameplay.
Leveling, checkpoints that resemble bonfires, the ability to leave online messages for other players, and area designs that frequently resemble actual 2D remakes of From Software's big hit Dark Souls are just a few of Salt and Sanctuary's Dark Souls-like features.
This is the best Souls game, thanks mainly to a fantastic Yharnam and improved gameplay. Simply put, Bloodborne is FromSoftware's masterpiece. While some may think Bloodborne moves a little too quickly compared to Demon's Souls or Dark Souls, the truth is that the game hits everything right and is unforgettable.
Exploring Yharnam's dark, gothic, Lovecraftian universe is terrifyingly entertaining. It checks every horror movie cliché, from large, deformed pigs to giant brains with multiple projecting limbs.
The game marked the first significant step toward a faster and more combative style of play. While earlier Souls games focused more on a deliberate and diplomatic mindset, Bloodborne actively pushed players to be violent and aggressive. By doing this, you may benefit from health restoration and attack interruptions.
Your hunter's speed has also risen, and rolling is much quicker. There aren't many poor levels, and the Chalice Dungeons are the icing on the decadent cake. The stories are incredible.
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15. The Surge
The Surge and The Surge 2 both use the multiplier/countdown mechanisms first introduced in Lords of the Fallen and combine them with a crafting system akin to Monster Hunter to give the SoulsBorne genre a distinctive sci-fi twist.
A nasty infusion of strategic fun comes from dissecting zombie-fied cyborgs to create new weapons and armor. At the same time, the first game's superb environmental design and imaginative setting set the stage beautifully for the dystopian future of the series.
The 2019 sequel enhances the gameplay mechanics and advancement cycle that made the first such a satisfying action RPG, even though the story may become a little cumbersome as it goes along.
The Souls game Nioh is unquestionably the most underappreciated in the category. The original Nioh game successfully adapts the Souls formula and gives it a great new twist. The gothic settings, skeletons, and souls are no longer present.
William Adams, an Irish traveler, and Japan in the 17th century were introduced. He must fight some of Japan's most significant and meanest yokai. The country is home to powerful mythical monsters.
Nioh's fighting is superb and offers a wide variety of strategies. As if that weren't enough, the game's unique Ki system gives battles a deeper level of design and keeps players conscious of their actions.
FromSoftware may not have created it, but it is unquestionably a challenging game. It was created by Team Ninja, the team behind the infamous Ninja Gaiden video game series, and is jam-packed with intense boss fights and protracted levels. The mission system in Nioh is one significant distinction. Each area has tasks, and new ones can be unlocked after completion, increasing replayability instead of having a single seamless environment.
17. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order may not seem like much of a soul like the game at first. Lightsaber combat, Force-aided parkour, and an actual plot that isn't buried in item descriptions are all present, yet the Souls games' blood can still be felt coursing through its veins. A strategic awareness of an enemy's actions and style is essential to winning many of its brutal bouts against the Empire or lethal alien fauna.
This includes knowing when to dodge strategically, when to duck unblockable blows, and when to even interrupt with a well-placed Force push. Fallen Order, like Sekiro, relies on using precise blows and blocks to wear down an opponent's stun meter without a stamina meter.
A careful progression and an eye for secrets are rewarded by the lack of checkpoints to rest at and the abundance of hostile ambushes. Not to be forgotten is BD-1, the sweetest robot Estus flask to ever appear on television!
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18. Ender Lilies: Quietus Of The Knights
Ender Lilies: Quietus of The Knights, based in a once-great kingdom devastated by catastrophe, isn't shy about displaying its Dark Souls influence. Ender Lilies borrows on the Dark Souls games' theme and fighting system by populating the world with challenging yet predictable foes.
Ender Lilies distinguishes itself from other souls-like while stealing heavily from Dark Souls thanks to its distinctive visuals, Metroid-inspired setting, and slightly easier difficulty setting.
Furi is a sci-fi boss rush that doesn't become apparent until you delve a little further. Despite not having a fantasy background, stamina bar, or even a leveling system, Furi's 11 brutal boss encounters highlight how much Dark Souls influenced it.
Each boss features a variety of horrifyingly potent assaults that alter and develop over their many phases, requiring you to adapt or perish swiftly. Furi also goes to great pains to ensure that every boss battle is significantly different from the one before it, which forces you to pick up new skills as you face new enemies.
Although Sifu's art, setting, and plot have nothing in common with Dark Souls, the fighting in the game clearly has a Software feel to it. While paying homage to the Souls series, it succeeds in creating its own identity by placing a stronger emphasis on kung fu than on swords and spells.
The quickest game on this list is Sifu. If you wish to survive until the end of its arduous campaign, you must execute each attack, parry, block, and dodge with breakneck speed. Despite this, it still has difficulty levels that make it more beginner-friendly than many souls like.
21. Dead Cells
Dead Cells, which focuses on a total roguelike environment rather than a designed, static kingdom for you to explore, may be the game on this list with the most unusual gameplay mechanics. Additionally, it does away with the stamina bar, forcing you to time your attacks such that you are up against more vigorous opponents rather than endurance-based enemies.
In addition to emphasizing randomly generated stages, Dead Cells sets itself apart from previous soul-like games with its equipment system. Dead Cells' roguelike framework encourages you to piece together the most incredible build you can on each run, creating an ever-evolving gameplay experience rather than gradually providing you with the means to establish a body over many hours.
22. Let it Die
Let It Die, an action role-playing game from Grasshopper Manufacture is a Souls-like game where you battle your way through a tower of creatures with the help of Uncle Death, a skateboarding grim reaper guide.
When you die in this game, a copy of your character downloads your death data and fighting skills. In this game, death should be avoided because it makes your doppelganger more challenging the more times you die.
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You play as a bit of fox in a gorgeously produced open environment in the tremendous isometric action-adventure game Tunic. Tunic draws significantly from Zelda: A Link to the Past and is unquestionably a masterpiece and a marvel of video game development; it is equally enjoyable to play and explore.
Tunic, a single-player game developed by Andrew Shouldice, shines as Souls-like due to its smooth gameplay, visually arresting art style, complete obscurity at the beginning of the game, and how effectively its level design encourages exploration.
You go on a trip with little guidance from the world state and only your wits and a stick. For most people, being lost on an island without any sense of direction can mean death, but if you explore more, you might find the most minute information packaged in an old-school NES user guide. Even if it can be difficult in some places, the whole thing will lead to a fun gaming experience.
24. Code Vein
The same company that released the Dark Souls trilogy, Bandai Namco, has an action role-playing game called Code Vein. This 2019 game immerses players in a post-apocalyptic dystopian atmosphere that they are free to explore because it features an amazingly constructed open world.
The game's Metascores between 70 and 75 prove that it struggled to win over critics. However, its Souls-like features, masterfully designed open environment, and compelling narrative make it worthwhile taking into account.
25. Kingdoms Of Amalur: Reckoning
Before the firm filed for bankruptcy in 2012, 38 Studios only ever released Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. It's interesting to note that Curt Schilling, a former MLB pitcher, established 38 Studios.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning distinguishes itself from Dark Souls with its hack-and-slash combat, much to Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen. Realms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning, a remastered game version, was released on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2020. The Nintendo Switch version followed in 2021.
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26. Dragon's Dogma, Dark Arisen
The expansion and re-release of Dragon's Dogma, Dark Arisen, includes all of the original content from the original game and a brand-new questline and territory called Bitterblack Isle, all of the original DLC, and new skills, monsters, weapons, and armor.
A PC version of the game was launched in January 2016 after being released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2013. To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the initial release, a port for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 was made available in October 2017. The port increases support for the Traditional Chinese language (subtitles). A Nintendo Switch port was announced in January 2019 and made available on April 23, 2019.
Outside of Gransys, on the cursed island of Bitterblack Isle, new tasks are waiting for the Arisen. Players will encounter new, terrifying foes and find priceless treasures. With whole new, high-level talents and augments, as well as brand-new sets of armor and weaponry, they will be able to elevate their characters to new heights.
The expansion pack can find stronger enemies than in the base game. As a result, the game will be challenging for novice and experienced players.
27. Remnant: From the Ashes
Action role-playing third-person shooter Remnant: From the Ashes was created by Gunfire Games and released by Perfect World Entertainment. In August 2019, it was released on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, and in May 2021, it was released for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Upon release, the game garnered largely favorable reviews, and more than 3 million copies have been sold.
In Remnant: From the Ashes, players can use up to two gun weapons—one primary weapon and one side arm—along with their melee weapon, adding a third-person shooter element to the game's mechanics inspired by games like the Dark Souls.
Machine guns, shotguns, hunting rifles, sniper rifles, and other types of weaponry can be used in this game, and they can also have mods attached to them that give players additional skills. While still following a predetermined plot, players can construct their unique character and must overcome difficult foes and monsters scattered throughout a randomly created landscape. Players can enhance their weapons and armor using materials they collect all across the environment.
28. Ghost of Tsushima
Action-adventure game Ghost of Tsushima was created by Sucker Punch Productions and released by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2020. During the first Mongol invasion of Japan, the player takes control of Jin Sakai, a samurai on a mission to defend Tsushima Island.
Jin must decide between upholding the warrior code to battle honorably and using effective but dishonorable strategies to drive the Mongols back with the fewest number of deaths. The game has a sizable open area that may be explored on foot or horseback. When meeting foes, the player can wield Jin's katana in direct combat or adopt the assassination techniques of the renowned warrior known as "the Ghost."
The game was launched on the PlayStation 4 in July 2020. A revised version with the Iki Island expansion for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 was released in August 2021 under the title Director's Cut.
The game received mostly positive reviews after its release, with compliments for its melee combat, story, characters, performances, and soundtrack and some criticism for its use of stealth gameplay and open-world design. By selling more than 9.73 million copies by July 2022, the game was one of Sony's fastest-selling original titles and commercial success.
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29. Death's Door
Action-adventure game Death's Door was created by Acid Nerve and released by Devolver Digital in 2021. On July 20, 2021, it was made available for Microsoft Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. On November 23, 2021, it was made available for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
Several newspapers praised its gameplay, simplicity, and degree of difficulty upon its release, comparing it to games like The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls, which garnered favorable reviews. The Titan Souls sequel is also included.
A 3D, isometric action-adventure game called Death's Door. The player assumes control of a tiny crow that serves as a "reaper," gathering souls for the Reaping Commission Headquarters, an afterlife that resembles an office environment.
In the game's opening assignment, the protagonist is tasked with retrieving the soul of a monster who refuses to pass away voluntarily. After he defeats it, a big, old crow shows up, steals the soul, and then informs him of a possible plot involving the disappearance of other crows. The elderly crow says that to obtain the three "Giant Souls" required to unlock Death's Door, the player must traverse three dungeons.
30. Titan Souls
Titan Souls was released in 2015 and was created by Acid Nerve and Devolver Digital. It was made available for Windows, OS X, Android, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita. Titan Souls has been recognized as a pioneering example of Soulslike, a gaming subgenre directly influenced by the Dark Souls series, and it has garnered largely favorable reviews.
The Titan Souls, the spiritual foundation and totality of all life, are located between Earth and the natural world beyond. A lone hero with only a single arrow is assembling fragments of the Titan Soul in a search for truth and power. The idle titans tasked with looking after them are now scattered around the ruins and guarding these fragments.
In the tactical, open-world, 2D, top-down action-adventure Titan Souls, the player has just one arrow and is only capable of taking one hit. The objective is to battle the Titans, a group of nineteen enormous monsters that can only take one hit from the player and can only be killed in one way.
The player must observe how each boss reacts during the battle to understand how to defeat that boss. The single arrow must be charged before being shot, and it must then be collected before being used again. Because these actions can only be performed while the player is stationary, they make them an easy target for bosses.
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The Souls series was just a single game in the beginning but what started as a single game quickly expanded into a whole subgenre and gained a devoted following. After FromSoftware launched Bloodborne, a new IP in the same genre that concentrated more on horrifying creatures and slightly faster combat, they later grew into the Soulsborne series.
Elden Ring has been a tremendous success that has even entered the public after the 2020 Demon's Souls reboot brought the series to the PlayStation 5. Above are our greatest souls-like games to honor these particular games.