It was a dark day for fans when FromSoftware’s President Hidetaka Miyazaki announced the end of the Dark Souls series with its third installment. The extremely niche style of this game didn’t prevent it from becoming wildly popular among the gaming community.
Its uber challenging, prepare-to-die-a-lot gameplay made it one of the most frustrating and addicting RPG series to ever release. However, for those of you who are still despairing over this old news, its time to wipe your tears. Your season of mourning is over.
There are still many games like dark souls both on the market now and upcoming to satiate your lust for dreary RPGs with headache-inducing challenges.
Top 10 Games Like Dark Souls You Need to Play
To help you through your recovery process, we’ve compiled a list of 10 must-play games for Dark Souls fans. Each of these unique RPGs offers one or more elements nostalgic of the Dark Souls series for you to get hooked on.
1. Demon’s Souls
Available on PS3, Demon’s Souls is worth stepping back a generation in Playstation’s console collection. This precursor to the Dark Souls series is a product of the same Developer as Dark Souls: FromSoftware. Working in collaboration with Shirogumi, Inc. and SIE Japan Studio, it is all about high-stakes and high-rewards.
You won’t get any breathers in this game. There is no “pause” feature. Not outside of battle, nor within it. As you go against enemies that are far from hack-and-slash fodder, you better be prepared.
Foes that will likely take you down in one or two hits will keep you on your toes. You won’t want to fall at their feet, challenging though it may be to avoid. With each death, your world grows a little darker and the enemies a little harder.
Also, your actions have permanent consequences. Accidentally killed off a vendor? You won’t be seeing him again.
Like Dark Souls, you can reclaim your soul when you die. It’s a good thing, too, because with every death you lose your cash and your XP, making death even more harrowing.
Considered one of the hardest games on PS3, its the perfect place to start as you ween yourself off of the Dark Souls trilogy.
Another product of FromSoftware’s brilliant and borderline cruel imagination, Bloodborne is a stunningly difficult RPG that will tug at your perseverance as well as your heart’s strings. There is no handholding in this game for PS4.
In this game, you trade the medieval fantasy realm for a dark sci-fi world ripe with lycan creatures, horrifically twisted monsters, and Cthulu-style atrocities. Embrace a fluid, dive-and-roll melee style and quick weapon transitions for killer combos very different from that of Dark Souls.
You’ll need it, for the swarm of enemies you’ll face will take quick thinking and limber maneuvers to endure. You do have a slight reprieve in that you can leech health from your enemies using counterattacks. However, its one you’ll desperately need as you fight tooth and nail for every bit of progress in this game.
This semi-open world RPG offers a grim and fascinating world tied together by a satisfying storyline that will push you through its most difficult bosses and hurdles.
It’s a worthy title for any Dark Souls fan’s library.
3. Salt and Sanctuary
Available on PC, PS4, and Vita, Salt and Sanctuary is a 2D blend of horror and humor clearly inspired by its Dark Souls predecessor. Those who opt for the chef class will know it immediately as they enter into the game armed with an iron pot and… potatoes?
Stay with us here. It gets better. This loving parody enters into a world of pirates, monsters, and more with a muted comic-style animation that feels both dark and adventurous.
There is an extremely reminiscent soul-dropping element to this game. Souls known as “salt” dropped by enemies serve as currency for weapon and armor upgrades, and dying will cause you to drop your own salt you’ll need to redeem.
You’ll find the same grueling gameplay in Salt and Sanctuary you’ve come to expect from Hidetaka Miyazaki’s work, but its refreshing take on old classics give this title its own place in our list of worthy titles. It isn’t just a knock-off, but rather a well-constructed parody sure to bring a chuckle to its grim atmosphere.
This long-awaited title was originally announced for PS3 back in 2004, but the samurai RPG didn’t make it out in time for the old console. Instead, Nioh debuted on PS4 with an average rating of 9/10.
Another title heavily influenced by FromSoftware’s famous trilogy, this labyrinth of a game echoes the same formula of compelling secrets and lethal enemies. You play as William Adams, a sailor who ends up battling his way through Japan, which proves to be rife with demons.
While its main character remains a bit underdeveloped, this game more than makes up for it with the protagonist’s journey. Its cast is a blend of fiction and history, touting famous names of the Sengoku era, including Hattori Hanzo and Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Nioh is a collage of fantasy, history, humor, and terror seamlessly brought together in an epic tale. While its combat style is undeniably complex, the developers did an excellent job of piecing together its tutorials in a way that make it adoptable.
Those who struggle can opt for the optional training missions for further practice and development. Yet even if you do master it, expect this game to be far from easy. With overwhelming onslaughts of enemies and intimidating bosses, you’re bound to face your fill of challenges.
5. Lords of the Fallen
Microsoft fans may be relieved to find Lords of the Fallen available for XBox One and not just PS4 and PC. It’s likeness to Dark Souls is undeniable. Assuming a gloomy fantasy setting with narrow castle corridors, you won’t be taking a great leap away from the FromSoftware franchise.
It takes all of your favorite features in Dark Souls, but amps up the aesthetics. The graphics behind this work are captivating, from the intricate suits of armor to the massive weapons.
In this game, you’ll find yourself stepping lightly as you evade traps, cautiously pick apart your enemy’s attack strategies, and build your arsenal of weapons and items.
Your objective? Prevent a demon army from obliterating humanity.
One thing Lords of the Fallen makes its own is the story. The character development of your main protagonist will root you into his cause, giving this RPG its own personality apart from Dark Souls’ “make your own hero” journey.
Ashen may not be out yet, but its debut at E3 put it on many gamer’s preorder list. Darkness reigns in this sunless world that guarantees “high-risk combat” for its players.
Coming out on PC and XBox One, this Microsoft exclusive is unique in its passive multiplayer design. Players will be forced to work together and against others in order to endure its challenges.
This harrowing, team-oriented gameplay is ripe with monsters, tension, and surprises that will have you leaping out of your seat. Shrouded in darkness with only a single lantern to guide you, you’ll traverse a barren, hopeless landscape alongside your friends.
If you’re looking for a multiplayer adrenaline rush, Ashen offers it all in one foreboding package.
7. Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter will force Dark Souls fans to stray a bit farther from its influence, but its worth the risk. While it doesn’t tout FromSoftware’s stress-inducing gameplay, it is rich with the tantalizing secrets and mystery that made Dark Souls so intriguing.
You’ll notice this game takes on a nostalgic feel with its pixelated design. However, its colorful palette and rich soundtrack more than compensate for its lack of enchanting graphics.
You’ll find simplistic combat mechanics in Hyper Light Drifter. Short-range and long-range weaponry coupled with the ability to dash makes fighting straightforward yet strategic. If you’re looking to enhance your fighting skills, you have the option to purchase additional skills.
However, they aren’t required. You can complete the game in roughly 7 hours, even with the basic fighting skills.
What makes Hyper Light Drifter stand out is its storytelling. Much is left to be inferred as you traverse its mature narrative rife with genocide, time travel, extinction, and cultism. You won’t see any dialogue.
Rather, like a puzzle, you must piece the glimpses you experience together. Hints lie within hidden monoliths you must uncover if you have any hope of finding the answer.
Our advice: work on your keen observation and sleuthing skills. This is a game for the relentless searcher and the puzzle solver.
8. Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight
This third installment of the Momodora series is its highlight. Don’t let its adorable, 2D graphics fool you. This game packs a punch.
Available on PS4, PC, and XBox One, this chibi-style tackles darkness rising in this epic tale. Players assume the identity of a priestess named Kaho as she races against time to rescue a cursed land.
While this game comes with a selection of difficulty options, those looking for a challenge will find it in Reverie Under the Moonlight’s hardest setting. Combos abound here as you’re required to dodge and stab your way through intense battles.
Each boss is different, with varying patterns that will force you to take a deep breath and think about your strategy. You’ll also find plenty to explore and discover as you traverse the world within this game.
While its setting may be bleak, the story is captivating. It’s an open world, rich with eccentric characters, backstories, and legends. You’ll easily find yourself immersed in this open world, action game.
Dark Souls fans whose hearts are set on challenging gameplay and secrets to uncover, this game is sure to whet your appetite. Small but mighty in the library of action RPGs, its worth every penny.
9. Titan Souls
If you haven’t figured it out after reading the name, Titan Souls carries a piece of Dark Souls’ spirit. Yet, at a glance, this 16-bit experience feels a lot like Legend of Zelda.
The top-down view of your character in a fantastical world looks and feels a lot like old school Hyrule. However, Link may not like the odds. Your character starts with a bow and only one arrow.
Every shot counts as you have to retrieve your arrow after every shot. The mechanics are simple, but the bosses are far from easy. The game is rooted in boss battles, each one different from the last.
You will constantly have to evolve your strategy in this game. Each boss is harder than the last.
What’s unique about this game is that it is all about these one-on-one encounters. There aren’t any small enemies to fight in between. Rather, the map is a scavenger hunt for titans to defeat.
This straightforward game offers a combat challenge that is great for those looking to enjoy a great battling experience. What it lacks in story and side quests, it makes up for in pleasantly nostalgic graphics and pristine strategy fighting.
10. The Surge
From the same developer that made Lords of the Fallen comes The Surge. This sci-fi action RPG wields all the controller-gripping challenges of the Dark Souls trilogy with a survival adventure campaign littered with horrors.
This heavy grinding and exploration game offers plenty to do and discover along the way. From discovering audio diaries left behind to subtle details like anti-suicide warnings or posters promoting the corporate kool-aid.
The Surge carries the same strategy of collecting dropped experience and scraps from battles but losing them along with your death. The stakes grow higher as you progress through the game. This same theme carries into the multiplayer aspects as well.
Like Dark Souls, the root of this game is its combat experience. You’ll need to be quick and strategic, even when you’re slashing your way through an overwhelming run of enemies.
All-in-all, this game is great if your key focus is a damn good fight.
Dig Deeper into RPG Gaming
Dark Souls is a gruesomely tedious game designed for the players with an insatiable appetite for the nearly impossible.
However, if your search for games like Dark Souls is more rooted in story and exploration than it is insanely difficult gameplay, then venture into our RPG section. We cover some of the best reviews, tips, walkthroughs, and suggestions for today’s hottest roleplaying games.
RPGs offer extended gameplay thanks to large, sandbox-style worlds rich with subplots, side quests, and other exploratory features. If you’re looking to get lost in a new game, this genre is the perfect segue from the Dark Souls trilogy.