Dark Souls is a game that has brought some fresh air to gaming by resisting the urge of giving players hand-holding on the way. The game puts you on an adventure, gives you an environment where you can explore at your own pace, and asks nothing more than for gamers to be able to read between the lines of world-building and environmental storytelling. Also, it makes you fight for your life.
All that, while it’s not unique in any way, has given rise to many games that follow the same path. Games like Dark Souls are more than just challenging action RPGs; they’re games that make you think about what you should do next. They force players to be smarter and make them explore new possibilities.
Games like Dark Souls
Indeed, Bloodborne is the spiritual successor of Dark Souls. The game makes you explore a dark and grim world where you must fight for your life against creatures that would want nothing but to rip your guts out. You don’t have shields or any defensive moves, making each encounter feel that much more intense as you have to rely on pure skill to battle the monsters you find on your path.
Also, if that wasn’t enough, similar to Dark Souls, Bloodborne is extremely difficult. You’ll die a lot in this game, but thankfully the game understands how frustrating it can be for players and doesn’t punish them too harshly. They give players fair warning when they are close to death by giving them a chance to heal themselves for free before going back into the battle.
Nioh is another game inspired by Dark Souls, but this time it’s not a spiritual successor. Released last year, Nioh is a hack and slash action RPG that has a lot of elements from Dark Souls, such as the way characters look and the combat system.
However, unlike Dark Souls that focuses on giving players a world to explore at their leisure, Nioh throws players into battle right from the start and never gives you a chance to catch your breath. Also, there’s no shield in this game, so if you don’t want to get hit, you’ll have to rely on dodging attacks.
If you’re a fan of action RPGs, chances are you’ll love Nioh not because it has similar elements to Dark Souls but because it’s a fun and challenging game even without the inspiration from FromSoftware games.
3. Salt and Sanctuary
Salt and Sanctuary is another 2D side-scrolling game inspired by Dark Souls. Its 2D nature makes it easier to procedurally generate levels so players won’t be walking through the same areas over and over again until they memorize its layout.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Salt and Sanctuary is easy. The game adopts similar mechanics to that of FromSoftware games, such as not having a shield, which means you’ll have to dodge enemy attacks with amazing feats of dexterity or get hit and prepare to die.
If you like challenging games that rely on skill rather than high numbers in their stats, Salt and Sanctuary is a game for you.
4. Lords of the Fallen
Lords of the Fallen was developed by Deck13 Interactive and CI Games and borrowed heavily from the Souls franchise. While it’s not as good as those games, Lords of the Fallen still manages to be a solid action RPG with lots of content to explore.
Lords of the Fallen is like Dark Souls in that you’ll die a lot if you don’t play carefully or make use of your surroundings to gain the upper hand on your opponents. You can’t block attacks; only dodge them by moving out of the way.