10 Dark Souls-like games for those who like challenges

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Philippe Gloaguen
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Dark Souls and all games in the Souls series have revolutionized the RPG genre games. It's no wonder that many players consider them incomparable in many aspects. Narrative construction, combat system and even ruthless difficulty make Dark Souls revered in the gaming world and even inspire the creation of similar games.

If you've beaten all the games in the series or even got tired of dying at the hands of the most brutal bosses, we've separated in this article X games similar to Dark Souls that you need to play. But be warned: this list is not for the faint of heart. Whether for the gameplay or the level of difficulty, all the names below are for those who like to be challenged.



1. nioh

Platforms: PS4 and PC

Anyone who has played Nioh has certainly understood why he is at the top of the list. The game's difficulty is memorable and is very reminiscent of all games in the Dark Souls series. Every step taken is a surprise, as a simple enemy that comes your way can turn into a boss.

This takes place in a different quest system than Dark Souls. There is, of course, that mix of RPG and brawl, in which you have to solve puzzles to progress. There is, however, no continuous progression between scenarios, as in the Souls series. The game develops in levels, missions that can be repeated as many times as the player wants.

In terms of narrative, the story takes place in Japan, in 1600. You assume the role of William, an Englishman who finds himself involved in a conflict of supernatural forces. There are a number of demons and evil spirits that you have to face. But be careful: just like in Dark Souls, all your accumulated experience is lost whenever you die.



So Nioh's difficulty lies in establishing a balance in gameplay and in her playstyle. There are enemies that can, yes, be eliminated with the famous hack n' slash, but there are others that will require a lot of patience and study on the part of the player.

You should play this game if:

  • Be interested in games that are set in Japan
  • Enjoying games that are divided by levels or missions
  • Adept at a good challenge
  • Like the death system where you lose all accumulated experience

2. Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, XBox One, Nintendo Switch e PC

Skyrimentra on this list much more for the theme than for the game mechanics. In addition, it is the winner of a series of awards, including Best Game of the Year (2022) and Best RPG (2022). In this way, this is an indispensable title in the library of those who like to explore the dark world of Dark Souls.

In terms of challenge, Skyrim is nowhere near the same enemies and bosses as Dark Souls. Incidentally, not even the most powerful dragon in the mountains of Skyrim compares in difficulty to the most humble boss in the Souls series. Anyway, this is a game that is very worthwhile for presenting an immense freedom of exploration.

Speaking of narrative, you take command of an unnamed character who is known as Dovakhiin. The Dovakhiin is a legendary dragon tamer, born to rid the world of these mythological beasts. Throughout the main quests, you head towards the final duel with the ultimate dragon, Alduin.



But what makes Skyrim relatively similar to Souls is that you can embark on side quests that are just as interesting as the primary ones. All this in scenarios such as caves, tombs, castles and lost ruins, in a huge open world. Also, depending on where you play, you can apply Skyrim mods that pay homage to Dark Souls.

You should play this game if:

  • Have played previous Elder Scrolls titles
  • Sympathize with open world games
  • Be interested in games with dragons and other mythological figures

3. ​​Monster Hunter World

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and PC

The latest Monster Hunter World game made the series even more famous and appreciated in the gaming world. We cannot, however, say that it is a copy or even that it has many similarities with Dark Souls in most aspects. It is an action RPG, yes, but it differs in terms of narrative and in terms of objectives.

You assume, for example, the role of a Monster Hunter. The background of the game is that you are in a land populated by mythical and powerful creatures, which you must hunt. With that you get good loot, armor and stronger equipment. However, there is not exactly narrative or even quest progression. It's pretty much that all the time, but with the advantage of being able to call friends to hunt monsters for hours.

It is precisely in the hunt for creatures that Monster Hunter World resembles Dark Souls. The combat difficulty is considerably high. It's not enough to just beat the shit out of monsters anyway. It is necessary to master fighting techniques, in addition to learning to use aid items. Understanding the importance of terrain is also very important.



You should play this game if:

  • Enjoy high-difficulty combat
  • Fan of the Monster Hunter World series

4. Lords of The Fallen

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and PC

This is considered one of the first games to follow the Dark Souls mold. From the game's photography which is dark and gloomy to the combat system which is complex and quite deep. Besides, it's not enough to follow the hack n' slash mode and go around pressing the buttons anyway to defeat your enemies. It is necessary to think about the combat, because each type of opponent requires a different fighting style.

Lords of The Fallen was highly cult at the time of its release for its similarity to the Souls series. The less heavy atmosphere and with a measured rhythm favors those who are used to the Souls style of RPG. It's still interesting to say that the difficulty in Fallen is much lower, mainly because if you die, you keep going.

Speaking of the game's narrative, it is simple and objective. You take control of a warrior who must defend the world from an infestation of demons. Throughout the various main and side missions, you face interesting bosses that will give you great hours of challenges.

You should play this game if:

  • Enjoy a more classic RPG
  • He likes medieval themed games

5. Dragon's Dogma

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 e PC

Dragon's Dogma is that interesting mix of Skyrim with Lords of The Fallen and Skyrim. In fact, this game is the result of a fusion of elements belonging to RPG classics, such as Fable and the first Elder Scrolls. The main campaign objective, by the way, is almost the same: face a legendary dragon that wants to bring the end of our world.

To do so, you take command of a human, Arisen, who explores the land of Gransys. You have the help of battle aids, called Pawns. One is fully customizable, as is Arisen itself, and the other two are pre-set by the game itself.

The game is much easier in terms of Dark Souls gameplay, but it can yield a lot of fun for those who like challenges. You have a good-sized open world at your disposal, as well as being able to choose from at least nine different character classes. This is important as each class offers different game mechanics.

You should play this game if:

  • Like games where you can customize your avatar
  • Want different styles of gameply according to different classes

6. The Surge

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and PC

The Surge is the most different game on the list in terms of themes. Incidentally, in that sense it has nothing to do with Dark Souls, although it is considered by many to be a success of Lords of The Fallen. Developers, including Deck13 Interactive, once commented that this game is clearly inspired by the Souls series.

Speaking of the game, therefore, The Surge is a futuristic RPG. The main character wears armor that is an exoskeleton. This exoskeleton can be customized throughout the game as you progress and evolve. The combat, by the way, is quite different from what you see in RPGs. It is possible to aim at specific parts of enemy bodies, in addition to being able to finish them with special moves.

The plot is another very nice point of this game. The Earth finds itself in a post-apocalyptic time, in which humans have extinguished most of its natural resources. This has led humanity to contract numerous diseases. The main character is Warren, a wheelchair user who participates in a technological project that grants him the exoskeleton. And his mission is to prevent the world from being completely destroyed.

You should play this game if:

  • Like futuristic narratives
  • Be interested in dystopian themes

7. Jotun

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch e PC

While The Surge is the most different thematically from Dark Souls, Jotun is the most different in terms of gameplay. What we can say is similar is the fact that you don't have a lot of information from the game about what to do. It's like you're constantly lost, with no way to go.

But soon you find yourself and understand what Jotum is. You are Thora, a viking who was slain and now wanders through realms, lost. Her mission is simple: impress the gods to be allowed to enter Valhalla. To do so, you must eliminate Jotun, giants and elementals, which appear in scenarios full of puzzles. Solving these puzzles and destroying enemies will make you impress the gods.

Jotun is a "hand-drawn" game. Gameplay focuses heavily on solving puzzles and exploring limited scenarios. The fights are few compared to Dark Souls. The combat mechanics, by the way, are quite simple. Basically it's turning the axe, cutting with the ax and dodging attacks.

8. Necropolis

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One and PC

Necropolis is a dungeon exploration style game. Like Jotun, he is more drawn. But don't underestimate this game, as it can offer you a good dose of challenge. In third person, you find yourself in a maze, with moving platforms and a lot of hidden treasures.

The game's enemies are wild animals, ancient machines and dead explorers turned into zombies. The combat system does not have a defense or shield system, and there is no option to dodge attacks. That's why it reminds me of Souls, since battling requires technique, strategy and positioning to attack without being attacked.

As it is a roguel-ike game, if you die you are penalized with the loss of all your items and all experience points. Incidentally, you are punished with the obligation of having to restart the game. It is only possible to have one save slot, which further limits the possibilities of play.

You should play this game if:

  • Enjoy rogue-like games
  • Enjoy complicated and intense battles

9.Hollow Knight

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch e PC

Created by a crowdfunding campaign, Hollow Knight is a piece of art in the gaming world. All hand-drawn, it is largely inspired by Dark Souls. One difference is that it's in 2D, and you control a character that is similar to an insect. You wield a sword, used both for combat and to interact with the setting.

Your enemies are insects and other types of creatures. There is the possibility to use special skills and ranged attacks. Something that is very similar to Dark Souls is the fact that there are so-called souls, which are stored in jars. If you die, you must resume your path from the last checkpoint, seeking to regain your souls and all your items.

To do this, you must face a shadow of yours, which has stopped at the point where you died. Remembering that it is almost never possible to recover the same amount of souls you had. So it's important to be careful in the hours of battles, to avoid dying. Mainly because as you advance in the game, you will have to consume souls to attack with more power.

You should play this game if:

  • Enjoy dark-themed games
  • Are you a fan of 2D games

10. Castlevania: Symphony of the night

Platforms: PS, PS3, PS4, PS Vita and Xbox 360

We couldn't help but end the list with one of the greatest RPG classics. Castlevania: Symphony of the night is one of the games that certainly inspired the creators of the Dark Souls franchise. Like the game above, it is in 2D, side-scrolling style, with a non-linear narrative that follows the adventures of Vlad Dracula's son, Alucard.

Initially you can only access specific parts of the castle. As you progress through the game and obtain the three animal forms that Alucard can transform into, fog, bat and wolf, it is possible to explore the entire castle. Each character's hand can hold either a weapon or a shield, which gives it more combat opportunities compared to many 2D games.

Equipment, aid items, and magical powers can be obtained throughout the setting throughout the narrative progression. There are revolutionary elements to the Castlevania franchise at the time, such as the addition of evolution levels and health and magic points. Also, you can see numbers like Alucard's strength, luck, defense and intelligence.

In the end, after beating the game, which we say is a very complicated mission, it is possible to unlock new game modes through special codes.

You should play this game if:

  • Want to experience the beginnings of RPG in video games
  • Are you a fan of Castlevania and vampire stories

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