Undoubtedly, FromSoftware stands as a pinnacle in developing some of the finest video games of our generation. Leading this success are some of the best Dark Souls games. In contrast to many other developers, a FromSoftware release resonates like the impact of Thor’s hammer. When it hits, it hits hard.
As the gold standard of thrilling action RPGs, if you have never experienced a Dark Souls game before, you have not yet lived. Each Souls game offers a challenge on par with the next, delivering moments of both frustration and wonder, alongside triumphant achievements. The lore is profound, the landscapes are grand, and the combat – well, experiencing it firsthand is highly recommended!
But what are the best Dark Souls games?
Scroll down to find out which is the best Dark Souls game of all time.👇
Best Dark Souls Games Ranked
In honour of what has to be one of the greatest franchises of all time, I have ranked each Souls game from the very worst to the very best. I say worst lightly because they are all pretty fantastic. My list will consist of Bloodborne which is practically a souls title. It will also consist of Sekiro which isn’t a souls title at all but is as close as you can come. And, it will consist of every souls game worth playing before you die.
I’m going to tread lightly here when ranking dark souls games as I know for a fact that opinions over the best dark souls games varies from gamer to gamer. However, as always, my rankings for greatest souls game of all time has been rated based upon my own personal enjoyment. I anticipate that many players of any soulsborne games might have a slightly different order, however, this is just my humble opinion. So go easy in the comments!
The best Dark Souls games ranked in order of worst to best are:
Scroll down to find out why I have ranked these games in this order.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Developer: FromSoftware Release Date: 21st March 2019 Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4 & Google Stadia
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the worst souls game by FromSoftware.
Why? Well, it’s not technically a dark souls game but boasts many of the features and mechanics that we all associate with FromSoftware. And, by all accounts, it would still absolute smash most other action RPGs but when ranking the best Dark Souls games, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice falls short.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has a masterful system of combat at its backbone. The sword is the key weapon of choice here, although you have a plethora of avatars to enjoy with a Ninja-like base at your feet. As always, you play as a feeble (soon to be insane) warrior with the game centred around following Wolf, a Shinobi, who tries to take revenge on a clan. Consequently, the revenge factor is very real.
The gameplay is largely targeted towards boss battles, and that means stealth, combat and exploration. There are solid references to Buddhist practices, and the makers wanted to depart from the classic trend of the Dark Souls series with Sekiro. Which, as a standalone game is a good thing but not when it comes to ranking the best games like Dark Souls.
As the least challenging game out of all of the Dark Souls titles, players who are novices with soulsborne games should definitely start with Sekiro.
Developer: FromSoftware Release Date: 11th March 2014 Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4 & Xbox 360 & Xbox One
While many of you may be surprised at seeing Dark Souls 2 ranking so poorly on this list, comparatively to Dark Souls and Dark Souls 3, this game was clearly made by the reserve team at FromSoftware. By all accounts, Dark Souls 2 is still a fantastic game but when stacked up against DS1 and DS3, there’s a lot left to be desired.
From movement that is not as smooth as the other two games due to the fact that Dark Souls 2 forces you to invest into agility points before it really starts to feel like a Dark Souls title to some of the scenery where a fire castle is placed on top of a poison-swamp, Dark Souls 2 is nowhere near as polished.
Nevertheless, it’s still a fantastic game.
Dark Souls 2 takes shape in Drangleic, a virtual kingdom in which standard enemies and bosses fight to defeat players with a few hits. In case of bad play, enemies provide severe forms of punishment, and chances of injuries being cured are minimal.
Consequently, with every death experienced by a player, getting back on your feet becomes cumulatively tougher. Considered hard to play by relative Dark Souls’ game standards, Dark Souls 2 also makes use of the currency termed as “souls”. These have a dual purpose used as both points to up your experiences and as currency for buying goods from shops. Lose them and we will guarantee you will become frustrated.
Out of all 3 Dark Souls titles, Dark Souls 2 is close to the least challenging, but is challenging in its own right.
Developer: Bluepoint Games Release Date: 12th November 2020 Platforms: PS5
Straight out of Bluepoint Games, Demon’s Souls Remake is extremely faithful to its original whilst upping the standards for Souls games once more. Where the original was flawed in many places, Demon’s Souls Remake takes care of almost 99% of major concerns and delivers masterfully in this genre.
Stacked with grand Demon Souls boss battles, you’re going to need to look up a fair amount of walkthroughs before completing this one. It’s action-packed, full of lore and there are hundreds of hours of gameplay awaiting anyone who dares. Whilst nowhere near as complex as the likes of Bloodborne, Demon’s Souls Remake puts some beautiful twists of the Souls genre that you won’t find anywhere else on this list.
Developer: FromSoftware Release Date: 24th March 2016 Platforms: PC, Xbox One & PS4
As the Souls list gets tougher and tougher to rank, Dark Souls 3 pushes players to new extremes. Yet, for any players in the US who struggled with online connectivity during Dark Souls II, this challenge is lessened slightly as there are dedicated VPNs that will ensure seamless gameplay, particularly for players in Canada. You can discover this here.
Dark Souls 3 may be in the middle of the list as far as it is ranked, but rest assured that this can test the limits of any player. The game’s kingdom is Lothric in which the ringing of a prophetic bell signals the First Flame that began and created the Age of Fire is slowly reaching its end. This is also a sign of the “Age of the Dark” approaching with its deadly promise of the undead overtaking all of mankind.
The obvious purpose of the player is to stall and stop this process from reaching its goal. Otherwise, the undead will be released and wreak havoc on all life. Only a ritual by which heroes and lords sacrifice themselves and their souls can rekindle the fire that will burn its brightest again. This will protect the Kingdom of Lothric. There is also a Prince Lothric who ceased to take responsibility of his duty to rekindle the fire, watching it burn out from afar. The responsibility of the player includes reuniting lords and getting the flame to link with them and burn again.
Developer: FromSoftware Release Date: 24th May 2016 Platforms: Switch, PS4, Xbox One & PC
Some of you may be surprised that I have not ranked the original Dark Souls as the best Souls game, however, allow me to explain. While I have so much love for Dark Souls 1, in particular, the remastered version, I got into Dark Souls much later than the initial release. So, I have been exposed to much improved graphics, smoother mechanics and deeper storylines from the very beginning. But it does rank 3rd!!
Due to DS1’s gradual, punishing and almost methodical way of organising events and circumstances, it is the closest to the most challenging of the lot, Bloodborne. In terms of difficulty, it comes second, as a consequence of its nature. Among the most unforgiving dark souls games, DS1 has no room for incompetence on the part of the player. The hit-boxes are tight.
Nonetheless, if you want to score big in this game, you may tangle in a tussle with the deadly Asylum Demon. Alternatively, take part in a huge battle (Four Kings are your enemies here). The world you find yourself in with this game has depth, unique visual settings and truly magnificent with levels of technology you cannot even imagine unless you play. Dark Souls uses horror in the best way possible with haunted places like Anor Londo and depths of shadow (and very little light) in the Abyss.
If you are new to Dark Souls, start the beginning unlike me. You’ll appreciate it more.
Developer: FromSoftware Release Date: 25th February 2022 Platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4 & PS5
Elden Ring draws so much inspiration from Dark Souls, it’s practically a dark souls title. In fact, Elden Ring is practically everything that has been great with any souls games wrapped up into a boosting device to maximise performance.
While set within an entirely different universe, the combat system is similar, the game mechanics almost identical and the lore just as deep as the next Dark Souls game. However, what I love about Elden Ring so much is how complete the game is compared to Dark Souls 3. There’s much more to discover, plenty of opportunities to mix play styles and I can see this game remaining a hit for the next decade.
Elden Ring appeals to souls purists and new gamers to soulsborne experiences. Selling 12 million copies after just 18 days (2 million more than Dark Souls 3 sold within 4 years), you can see how the appeal of Elden Ring extends beyond hardcore souls fans.
And for that, this makes Elden Ring even more special.
Don’t be fooled by the early glitch reports and missing quest lines as these have now been patched. FromSoftware went so hard with this game, it stands to reason they were going to be a few errors along the way.
Developer: FromSoftware Release Date: 24th March 2015 Platforms: PS4
Touted as the “magnum opus” of the Dead Souls assembly, this is, simply FromSoftware’s most impressive offering. It simply raises the standard of all Dark Souls games and unless you have succeeded in the rest, you will not survive long here. To begin with, the game has a fast and very furious manner in which it progresses.
The world belongs to a character called Yharnam. It is the kingdom of Lovecraftian and is darkly gothic, terrifyingly daunting and surprisingly fun. The horror is more than some players can take, with its massive pigs (disfigured in the worst possible way) to gigantic live brains with numerous limbs sticking out.
The game encourages you, rather it compels you, to be rather forceful. Only then, can you obtain prizes and rewards. This is why it is highly ranked among gamers. The rewards you get can be exchanged for new leases of life should your character face attack or health issues while fighting the worst demons you can find on the planet.
Don’t be put off by Bloodborne’s initial release date; it’s the best souls like game around.
Regardless of whether you agree with my list of best dark souls games or not, you cannot deny that each one of these titles is simply fantastic. There’s not many other game developers that can live up to what FromSoftware has created with the souls series and I simply cannot wait to see what the holds.
For anyone who hasn’t played soulsborne games before, I recommend that you start at the beginning instead of jumping straight into Dark Souls 3 and Elden Ring like I have done. It kind of ruined the first two for me as the graphics and mechanics of the latter souls games are world’s apart from the originals. Nevertheless, whatever order you play them, make sure you enjoy every single moment.
What’s your favourite dark souls game? Hit me up in the comments with whether you agree with this list or have another variation that you think is on the money.
Also, don’t forget to check out some of my other articles!
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