Demon’s Souls started it all. Sure, folks will argue that the concepts that would go on to become the modern-day Soulslike started even earlier in From Software’s history with games like Shadow Tower or the King’s Field games. But the modern incarnations feature challenging action/RPGs that offer battles with larger-than-life bosses, risk/reward offerings, mysteries to explore, and tight combat mechanics that force the player to commit to their choices.
For the purposes of this list, I’m acknowledging that Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has plenty of Soulslike framework, but due to some significant differences in player development and build options, it’s being left out of consideration here as a Soulslike. That said, it’s a great game and you should give it a try if you haven’t already. Alright, let’s hit up the list and find out what Soulslike titles are most worthy of your time as we wait with unbridled anticipation for new options to arise and take their own places on this list – including Elden Ring!
And as a quick aside, qualifications and quantifications for what exactly falls into the Soulslike category can be somewhat nebulous, so before you opine at its lack of inclusion here, we love Hollow Knight, but don’t exactly consider it a Soulslike. You should still play it! As more and more Soulslikes enter the ring, this list may change in the future, so keep an eye out as more genre players come hailing from lands afar.
Demon's Souls (PS5)
From Software and Hidetaka Mizazaka would usher in the entire subgenre with this title, and Bluepoint’s recent remake is a stellar vision of the original PS3 title. If you never had an opportunity to play the original, you can play it today – with incredible graphics. Encounters that simply couldn’t relay their intended majesty in the original due to hardware limitations like The Storm King are absolute joys to experience here, and the game runs buttery smooth. Demon’s Souls is an easier and simpler Souls game than what would come after. It features numerous puzzle/gimmick bosses that are fairly easy to defeat but levels that can overstay their welcome significantly without convenient checkpoints. That said, Bluepoint’s remake is something special to behold and an important part of anyone’s Souls journey.
Check out our Demon’s Souls review here.
It’s rare that every aspect of a game syncs up like a singular mastercraft work of art. Bloodborne is one of those games. Atmosphere, gameplay, music, art, and sound come together as a singular entity of classic Victorian horror giving way to cosmic terrors. Bloodborne’s slight deviations from the Souls formula encourage unbridled aggression, ramping up the tension for its incredible battles and rides through hellish landscapes. While we’re all hoping that we’ll get to play Bloodborne on other platforms and in 60 FPS someday, the core game and associated DLC is one of the best games you can play today. From snake-filled forests where your eyes deceive you with every shadow to nightmares and dreamscapes, Bloodborne serves up a buffet of horror and whimsy in one fell stroke.
Check out our Bloodborne review here.
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