The editorial staff of FreeGameTips selects the most outstanding titles from the FromSoftware saga, as well as the products influenced by the work of Hidetaka Miyazaki.
Every year thousands of video games come to market, titles that mostly pass without penalty or glory. Very occasionally, the work of a creative is so innovative that the rest of the studios take some of its elements and transfer them to their own video games. The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time or Super Mario 64 are examples of this, but in current times, few sagas have been as influential as Dark Souls. FromSoftware, the team led by Hidetaka Miyazaki, managed to get their mechanics used in games of all kinds. Traces of its combat system have been seen in triple A products like Assassin’s Creed Origins, for example.
In recent years, a kind of joke has been spread that is sometimes used very seriously: “The Dark Souls of the Platforms”, they said of the first Crash Bandicoot. Change “platforms” for any other genre and we have the analogy that includes one of the characteristics of Dark Souls and the sagas that derive from it, the difficulty. Beyond the combat system, with its parrys and its perfect timing, dying and dying is a general rule within the series. A small mistake and the enemy will soon assassinate us. Many of the games of this type have taken this element without hesitation, although balancing it well is not as easy as it might seem.
Now that the remake of Demon’s Souls – the predecessor of Dark Souls – is on the way, it’s time to collect what are the best titles in the series. Nor do we forget Elden Ring, a project that has us all on edge and from which we await news with great interest. The list also includes video games that somehow imitate or use some of the elements of these productions to build their playable architecture. The editorial staff of FreeGameTips has met and has decided which is the Top 10 of Dark Souls games. Do you agree?
10. Remnant: From the Ashes (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Now that The Last of Us Part 2 has gone on sale, it may be a good time to discover other video games with a similar theme. In reality, Remnant: From the Ashes only resembles Naughty Dog’s work in that they are both set in a post-polyptyptic world filled with hordes of enemies. The Gunfire Games title also shares survival mechanics, but it is a product that allows us to fight in groups of up to three players. This game has come to be described as a Dark Souls of pistols, as it shares many of the characteristics with the work of FromSofware.
The world has succumbed. Evil forces have come from another dimension and have caused chaos among humanity. The murders have left humans close to extinction, but thanks to their technological skills, they have managed to create portals that allow them to travel between dimensions and live one more day. With this scientific thirst they will try to discover the origins of the creatures, in order to detect their weak points, all while searching for the necessary sustenance to avoid perishing.
9. The Surge 2 (PC, Xbox One, PS4)
Of the Soulslike games, The Surge 2 was one of the titles that made the most noise. Its first installment managed to capture part of the essence of Dark Souls, although the playable balance was far from being as well measured as in the work of FromSoftware. All in all, it was successful enough that Focus Home Interactive and Deck13 Interactive were released to develop a sequel. The Surge 2 maintains a different setting than any of the games developed by FromSoftware. Robotic implants come into play, though the style of their gameplay is clearly inspired by Miyazaki’s titles.
The plot premise begins on board an airplane, where the protagonist of the game travels with Athena Guttenberg. Everything changes when a rocket collides with the ship and it crashes beyond repair near the city of Jericho. The incident seems fatal to the rest of the travelers, but our character barely survives and wakes up in a prison hospital. He does this after visualizing visions of Athena, who call him to arms. And at that precise moment, another disaster happens. An attack in the prison frees the prisoners, including the protagonist, but the place is full of infected enemies that we will have to defeat.
8. Dark Souls 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One)
Hidetaka Miyazaki, director of most of FromSoftware’s main games, gave the director’s chair to Tomohiro Shinuya and Yui Tanimura on that occasion. Dark Souls 2 followed in the footsteps of its predecessors, with a production not too innovative in its structure, which does not mean that some interesting news regarding the original and Demon’s Souls were not presented. It goes without saying that it is still a complex title, difficult to master and with monsters and final bosses that demand our full attention. The protagonist’s items and builds remain crucial to success, as well as trial and error practice.
The online component was enhanced with Dark Souls 2. The invasion system allows the player to receive support from other users during battles against final bosses, but at the same time, the arrival of other invaders may cause them to prefer our death with the objective to get juicy rewards. This installment has a system of pacts that form groups of allies or enemies under different premises and challenges. Despite not being the most recognized game in the series, the title deserves to be in this Top 10 without a doubt.
7. Nioh 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Before Hidetaka Miyazaki and FromSoftware created Demon’s Souls, Team Ninja already had experience in third-person action games. The Dark Souls analogy has always been used to refer to the difficulty of a game, but the titles of the Tecmo Koei study have always been characterized by the same, and if not, tell Ninja Gaiden. And no, Team Ninja did not invent difficult video games either, but it did make that difficulty feel organic within a combat system that worked like a charm. Following in the wake of its previous productions and Dark Souls, Nioh 2 is one of the most outstanding Soulslike video games on the market.
As in Sekiro: Shadows die Twice, Nioh 2 draws on Japanese history, but mixes it with mythology to deliver fantasy sword fighting. Spitirus can be part of the combat, as both the player and the enemies have the ability to summon them, an important novelty regarding the first delivery. In that world, mastering Ki can make a difference: In the Dark Realm, enemies cause that power to decrease. With its combat system, customization and setting, the Team Ninja title managed to conquer lovers of the genre. Of course, sometimes the difficulty is unraveled.
6. Hollow Knight (Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Just because a game is influenced by other products doesn’t mean that these titles are clones without identity. All artistic work starts from previous pieces, although sometimes its own author is not aware of it. For this reason, the debate about which X copies Y is usually sterile in most cases. Hollow Knight co-director William Pellen explained in an interview with MCV that they had not truly been inspired by Dark Souls. According to the creative, he had not played the FromSoftware saga too much at the time they were building their adventure. ” It was later, when everyone said that “it was like Dark Souls”, when he got down to work with the saga. Still, we have decided to include it in the list because it has shared items.
Unlike Dark Souls, Hollow Knight is a two-dimensional metroidvania. Perhaps the comparison with the work of FromSoftware comes from its high difficulty. It works in lateral scroll and contains elements of both action and platforms. The player travels to Perópolis, a city where the ruins of a kingdom from the past await him. Beneath the rubble lie riches and secrets for which many are willing to risk their own necks. Exploration and combat make Hollow Knight one of the most compelling indie games on the market.
5. Demon’s Souls (PS3)
Before Hidetaka Miyazaki was elevated as one of the most talented creatives in the industry, the origins of Dark Souls were written in Demon’s Souls, a title for PlayStation 3 that was not easy for Europe. At FreeGameTips we took over the import to publish the Reviews at a time when it was not at all clear that it was going to leave the Japanese borders. It was marketed in February 2009 in Japan, by Sony Japan; In October Atlus distributed it in North America. And yet, European players had to wait until summer 2010 to enjoy it. Now, thanks to the remake that Bluepoint Games is developing exclusively for PlayStation 5, the title will return with a good facelift. Performance will greatly benefit.
The Kingdom of Boletaria is a territory where an unfathomable darkness dwells. The mist hides terrible demons that devour the souls of mortals. In this context, the seed of Dark Souls is already here, since FromSoftware proposes a third person action game in which we can count on other players to fight in cooperative games. The aim is to collect souls to increase the power of our character to the maximum. We are going to need it, because as of today, it is still one of the most difficult contemporary products. A skeleton can kill you with one blow!
4. Sekiro: Shadows die Twice, samurai and demons (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
Activision and From Software signed a collaboration agreement to develop an unpublished saga, a game that unites some of the classic values of the developer’s games, although it completely modified the setting. Sekiro: Shadows die Twice was announced in 2018 as the new play directed by the tireless Hidetaka Miyazaki. The lone wolf is a samurai who wields his sword and fights against evil creatures. Combat with the katana is, of course, essential. As in any From Software game, precision and timing are crucial points: an error means death. Despite his great difficulty, the player learns from his mistakes and has the possibility to use those teachings to finally defeat the enemies.
Sekiro: Shadows die Twice introduces us to a character who fights in the civil war, in the sengoku period. Miyazaki and his team build on those historical elements (1,500 AD) to offer a third-person action game with RPG elements. The Japanese setting of beautiful settings does not leave out monstrous creatures, since despite its vague historical component, the game introduces fantastic creatures. Sekiro was awarded Game of the Year at The Game Awards 2019, an award more than deserved.
3. Dark Souls (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)
To say that Dark Soul started it all would be a fallacy, because without Demon’s Souls it is possible that this title would never have been as it is. The truth is that this production is continuous with respect to the previous game, although that does not take away any merit. Unlike its predecessor, Bandai Namco, publisher of the saga, opted for an almost simultaneous launch in all territories. This was one of the reasons for the triumph, which no longer came incognito, but with the Demon’s Souls runrun as a cult video game. The gameplay expanded the premise of it with an impressive level design, a combat system complex enough to provide the player with the tools to chain one combat after another with high tension and a difficulty and level of challenge that demanded all the attention at all times.
The world of Lodran is an unforgiving and unforgiving place. Every enemy you encounter along the way can kill you in the blink of an eye. So the formula for this third-person Action RPG invites you to use trial and error to learn the enemies’ patterns, their weaknesses, and their attacks to avoid. As a spiritual successor to Demon’s Souls, he also does not neglect the possibility of cooperative enjoyment. What’s more, in some especially difficult matches you may need it.
2. Dark Souls 3 (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
There are no two without three. Dark Souls 3 marked the return of Hidetaka Miyazaki as director, but also the end of a trilogy that so far has had no more sequels. Bandai Namco opted to launch the three video games on new platforms and with a remastered version. Be that as it may, this FromSoftware title has convinced the editorial staff of FreeGameTips and has become the best in the series for the editors of this house. Reasons are not lacking, because it is a very careful product, which without going off the line, improved everything that could be improved and received a grade of 10 in our Reviews.
At this point, the playable architecture of Dark Souls 3 is not surprising, as it is still an evolution of the fundamentals that have been on the table since Demon’s Souls. And despite this, FromSoftware was able to offer a spectacular level design, provided with labyrinthine scenarios and full of secrets, with an improved and dynamic combat system, not to mention the charismatic final bosses. As we said in our review, FromSoftware successfully mixes the best of the Souls and Bloodborne, and delivers everything expected of it. It is one of the brightest games of the generation.
1. Bloodborne (PS4)
When launching a new console, it is important to have a good catalog of exclusives that will nurture the system for years to come. PlayStation 4 did not start its journey with Bloodborne, but it was one of the first great platform exclusives. FromSoftware and Sony Computer Entertainment (now Sony Interactive Entertainment) have teamed up to offer a Soulslike title with its own identity. The usual Dark Souls items can be found in this product. That is, it is an action game in the third person with elements of role-playing progression, looteo and extraordinarily precise combat. Difficulty is another point that is not related to oblivion. This feature is common in all video games signed by FromSoftware and directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki.
The action takes place in Yharnam, a city of impressive Gothic architecture where blood is precious. And it is that the city is known worldwide for the medical advances that use this sap for healing. Therefore, it is not strange that thousands of people risk traveling to its borders with the aim of remedying their illnesses. Our character will do the same with one goal in mind: to get Pale Blood. However, when you arrive in the city, you will discover that its inhabitants have become creatures of horrid nature. There is no choice but to fight … and survive.
Bloodborne has been crowned the best Soulslike game with justice. In some way, the production of FromSoftware published by Sony has the merit of having managed to bring closer a type of experience that seemed limited to a part of the community and expand the number of players who enjoy a video game with the traditional characteristics of the Dark saga Souls, but with a new coat of paint.