FromSoftware is one of the BEST game development companies when it comes to making action RPGs, creating and defining the soulslike genre. Each one of their soulslike games is nothing short of fantastic, with fun and challenging combat, robust RPG elements, and great level design that really brings everything together.
But not all of these games are created equal. Some are near perfect, and others are a little rough around the edges. In this article, we’re going to take a look at every one of the souls and soulslike games made by FromSoftware and ranking them. We’ll cover what we loved about them and why you should play them if you haven’t already.
All FromSoftware Soulslike Games, Ranked Good to Best
Please note that we will NOT be including Armored Core in this list as FromSoftware themselves have said that it is not a soulslike game.
With all that done and out of the way, let’s get right into this ranking!
Demon’s Souls is a classic game that is worth diving into if you want to see how FromSoftware and its game design have evolved over the years. Out of all the games on this ranking, this one is the oldest. So considering that, it’s no wonder that some of its design choices feel outdated, thus causing it to make the bottom of the list.
Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying the game is bad. Quite the contrary, actually. And even with its age, it’s still a great game that you should definitely consider playing. But there are some quirks about the game that make it feel a little outdated. Its combat can also feel clunky at times, so it’s not as enjoyable to play as some of the more modern titles that you’ll see on this list.
Dark Souls 2
Dark Souls II was–and still is–a really great game. It improved on the first game in several ways and was overall an enjoyable experience… but you also can’t deny that it took a few steps back in some areas when compared to the first Dark Souls. There were several design decisions that I and many others are not really a huge fan of. Let me give you some examples.
The level design is something that felt like a step downwards. Certain dungeons just feel less interesting and less well-designed in comparison to the first game. The bosses also don’t feel as distinctive this time around.
Another thing I disliked about the game is that it felt like there were many more “Bullshit!” moments than in the first game. This includes both the enemy hitboxes being less than ideal, as well as the increased amount of things that can kill you instantly with little warning.
Still, this is a really awesome game that I think you should definitely play if you liked the first one. While it does have flaws, I feel like it’s a bit over-hated. I did like how the game forced you to consider your strategy for attacking, as well as what damage type you’re using, more than it did in the first game. A point some of you may disagree with.
Dark Souls is a classic, iconic game. It’s widely regarded as being a must-play for all non-casual gamers. It was a really influential game, and you can really see that influence in certain games, such as the STAR WARS Jedi series. But enough about all that, let’s talk about the game itself.
Before playing Dark Souls for the first time, I played Elden Ring for about a hundred hours. During my first play-through of the game, I couldn’t help but notice how fair the encounters and bosses (usually) were when compared to Elden Ring. There aren’t as many spammy attacks, and the movements of the enemies are much more predictable.
The game is still really challenging and there are still plenty of moments that feel like a punch to the face, but for the most part, the game feels balanced. Combine this with great exploration, fantastic enemy design, and solid art direction, and you have one of the best action RPGs ever made.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
This game is definitely my least favorite out of all the other games, due to the fact it’s not an RPG like the others. Still, I can’t deny the fact that Sekiro is better in several ways than some of the other titles on this list, and I can’t let a personal preference get in the way of giving it a fair judgment.
Sekiro is probably the most unique game on this list. Rather than taking place in a typical dark fantasy setting, the game takes place in the Far East. Additionally, instead of playing a unique character that you create, you play as a pre-set character: a samurai named Sekiro.
As previously mentioned, this game is not an RPG. Instead, it’s a soul-like action game. Speaking more on the actual game, the combat is really challenging, more so than in other games. It’s very fast-paced and reaction-based, making it very rewarding to get good at. The trade-off is the game not giving you as much choice in how you play as the combat is more focused and refined.
The combat is complimented by really challenging bosses as well as great exploration and a beautiful world to explore. I highly recommend this game if you love third-person action games that give you a good challenge. Even if you are turned off by its lack of RPG mechanics, it’s still a good game that you should at least experience.
Bloodborne is much like Sekiro in the sense that, while it is a soulslike game, it differs from the others in many ways. One thing I disliked about certain FromSoftware games is that some of them feel too similar. Demon’s Souls, the Dark Souls Trilogy, and Elden Ring all share many characteristics, while Bloodborne feels more distinct – something that I greatly appreciate.
While this game is still an RPG, it does differ in how it handles its RPG mechanics from the other games. For example, the weapons you have access to are more limited. As a result, however, the weapons feel more distinct.
Speaking of weapons, this game introduces some new ones into the mix to shake things up and help it standout even further. This is mainly done through the addition of firearms. These ranged projectile weapons give you another distinct approach to handling enemies and further reinforce the hunter aesthetic.
Probably one of the most beloved parts of this game is the setting. Rather than the usual medieval fantasy world souls games normally take place in, we are instead thrust into a dark Victorian fantasy. The game just oozes atmosphere, and the world and art design are just so well done. It’s definitely one of the best games to play during the month of October.
Ahh, Elden Ring. This was a game that I was INCREDIBLY hyped for and could not wait to play. Did it disappoint me? Not at all. This takes everything we love about the Dark Souls games and puts it in a beautiful open world for us to explore.
Players have much more freedom in where they want to go and how they want to explore the map. If you encounter an enemy that’s too tough, it’s now more viable to go to a different area and return to fight it once you are stronger.
The game’s combat is really great, one of the best out of all the souls games. And the RPG mechanics and build variety are at their best here. There is a staggering amount of different ways to build your character and create your own unique play style. The replayability is practically endless, and you can easily see that by looking at all the build guides for this game on YouTube.
Of course, this game is not without its flaws. A lot of the bosses can feel unfair at times, doing things like attacking you the second you heal or spamming lots of aggressive attacks at you. Dark Souls definitely felt like it was more balanced in its difficulty. There’s also the issue of several bosses being re-used. But even with the game’s problems, it’s still without a doubt the best souls/souls like FromSoftware has released so far.
Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls III is considered by many to be the best Dark Souls game. And when you hear them out, it really isn’t difficult to see why they feel that way.
Dark Souls III stays true to the core formula of a Dark Souls game but manages to refine so many of these features to create a truly great experience. The game design is just much better, and it really feels like FromSoftware learned from all the criticism of the past two Dark Souls games.
The core part of a souls game is in the combat, and it feels very rewarding to get good at in Dark Souls III. The combat is incredibly satisfying and feels incredibly smooth to play. There are also many improvements made to the equipment system, such as allowing you to wear four rings at once, instead of just two as in the first game. The boss encounters are also at their best here. In past games, some bosses were reused several times, but that is a very rare occurrence this time around.
Overall, Dark Souls III is just the best game to play to get the full soulslike experience. It does such a fantastic job of fixing up all the little issues that came from the first two games and giving us an experience that is consistently great.
I am a bit hesitant to put this game in first place, as I do really love the open-world and build variety of Elden Ring. But when it comes down to the execution of ideas, it just feels like Dark Souls III does it better and is a more cohesive and consistently good experience.
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