Dark Souls is a very unique game and finding something similar is harder than it may seem. Nevertheless, the game has changed the action RPG genre forever and over the next years, I’m pretty sure we’ll see more and more similar games. Soon after I stared playing Dark Souls (and after I got over the “this game is incredibly difficult and I like games holding my hand forever” phase) I fell in love with it and appreciated most of the things it was doing. That doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have some problems here and there, but until I post the review (which is going to take a few weeks) I’ll try to work on some articles related to the popular From Software RPG.
So when we say a game’s similar to Dark Souls, what are we looking for exactly? We want action games with role-playing game elements, games that punish your mistakes, long adventures that have several boss fights that test your knowledge of the game, games with a moody/tense atmosphere and in some cases, seemingly impenetrable games. This is what I came up with.
Lords of the Fallen
So why is Lords of the Fallen constantly being compared to Dark Souls? Well, Lords of the Fallen is an action RPG set in an open-world, the game uses a third-person perspective and the combat is really slow-paced and tactical. On top of that, there are character classes to choose from and as you progress through the game, you develop your character however you please. The risk reward system so proper of Dark Souls also appears here and is reflected in the experience system, save system and death mechanic.
Capcom’s Dragon’s Dogma is an open-world action role-playing game where you assume the role of the Arisen, an orphan who’s on an epic journey to find and kill a dragon. As soon as you take a look at the game, the comparisons with Dark Souls become evident, but take into account that for every strength in Dragon’s Dogma, there are some weaknesses. The story’s boring, the characters are one-dimensional and so on. But the combat and world design couldn’t be better.
A lot of people dismissed Monster Hunter for being completely different to anything else and I was one of those people. After all, the game’s impenetrable for most players, since you have to find out most of its mechanics through trial-and-error or by checking out detailed guides online. Also, you definitely need to play this game with friends who don’t mind communicating a lot and having a specific role in battle.
I’m not going to lie, Shadow of the Colossus is one of my favorite games of all time. What makes this game unique is that you’re playing boss fight after boss fight and each encounter with one of the gargantuan enemies is a level and a puzzle in and of itself. Apart from that, getting to an enemy encounter is also part of the experience, since you’ll need to make use of some platforming skills. As you progress through the game, your statistics improve, but while there are some RPG elements here and there, the emphasis is on action, so take that into account.
The Witcher 2
Without a doubt, one of the titles that has influenced The Witcher series the most is Dark Souls. The Witcher focuses more on action (in a sense, the game’s a hack-and-slash game,) so the combat is much more fast-paced and dynamic than the one in Dark Souls. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean the game’s not challenging and patches have made sure that the game stayed difficult enough for seasoned players.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
I guess this is a questionable entry, but Skyrim is much more similar to Dark Souls than you think. The Elder Scrolls has always been about creating lavishly detailed open-world games that you can explore for hours on end.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
Kingdoms of Amalur is yet another action role-playing game. What sets this one apart is the entertaining combat, beautiful world to explore, engrossing story and customizable gameplay. There are also some problems here and there, the most important of which are the technical issues that have prevented a lot of players from actually finishing the game. But if you want to try something similar to Dark Souls and something that’s different at the same time, this is a great choice.
Although Demon’s Souls is part of the series, Dark Souls is considered a spiritual successor and not a direct sequel, so that’s why I decided to include it on the list. Additionally, a lot of people missed the game back in the day (it’s worth mentioning that Demon’s Souls is a PlayStation 3 exclusive) and I guess it’s worth bringing it up again. I’ve seen a lot of people arguing if Demon’s Souls is better/more difficult than Dark Souls and while I think that argument is pointless, you can always play both titles and decide by yourself.
Dragon Age: Inquisition
Another action RPG, but this one’s also very tactical. Critics also praised the voice acting, story, detailed environment and terrific combat. If you’ve been following video game sites for a while, you’ve probably heard about this game.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
Another questionable entry. As most of you probably know, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow focuses entirely on action and while the game has more in common with games like Devil May Cry or God of War, there’s still an argument to be made about its similarities with Dark Souls. Apart from the melee skills, there are some puzzles to solve here and there.
Other similar games to Dark Souls include Legend of Grimrock, Zeno Clash, Blade of Darkness and Bloodborne.