The “soulslike” genre of video games has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks in large part to the success of games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne. These games are known for their challenging gameplay, atmospheric worlds, and emphasis on exploration and discovery. With the continued growth of the genre, there are now many soulslike games to choose from, each offering its own unique take on the formula.
In this article, we will be taking a look at five of the most popular and critically-acclaimed soulslike games. From the iconic Dark Souls to the more recent Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, these games have earned a dedicated fanbase and praise from critics for their innovative gameplay and immersive worlds. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the genre or just getting started, these games are sure to provide a thrilling and rewarding experience.
1. Dark Souls
Dark Souls is a critically-acclaimed action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and released in 2011. The game takes place in a dark and foreboding fantasy world filled with challenging enemies, deadly traps, and intricate level design. Players take on the role of an undead warrior tasked with exploring the world and defeating the powerful bosses that stand in their way.
One of the defining features of Dark Souls is its difficulty. The game is known for its punishing gameplay, with players often dying multiple times before overcoming a particularly challenging section or boss. This difficulty is balanced by a deep and rewarding combat system, which allows players to customize their character’s stats and equipment in order to take on different challenges.
Another key aspect of Dark Souls is its storytelling. Rather than presenting a traditional narrative, the game relies on environmental storytelling and cryptic dialogue to build a rich and mysterious world. As players explore the game’s many interconnected areas, they will uncover hidden secrets and piece together the history of the world they inhabit.
Dark Souls has spawned several sequels and spin-offs, as well as a dedicated fanbase of players who continue to explore the game’s intricate world and challenging gameplay. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest video games of all time, and has had a significant influence on the action RPG genre.
Bloodborne is an action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and released in 2015. Like Dark Souls, it takes place in a dark and gothic fantasy world filled with danger and mystery. However, Bloodborne distinguishes itself from its predecessor with its faster and more aggressive combat system, which encourages players to take risks and play more aggressively.
What makes Bloodborne special is its atmosphere. The game’s world is incredibly detailed and atmospheric, with haunting music and eerie sound effects creating a sense of dread and unease. The game’s enemies are similarly terrifying, with grotesque monsters and Lovecraftian horrors lurking around every corner.
Bloodborne also features a unique story and setting that draws heavily from the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The game takes place in the city of Yharnam, a once-great metropolis that has fallen into ruin due to a mysterious illness known as the “beast plague.” Players take on the role of a hunter tasked with investigating the source of the plague, and as they explore the city they will uncover dark secrets and delve into the twisted history of Yharnam.
All in all, Bloodborne is a unique and unforgettable gaming experience that combines fast-paced action, deep lore, and a haunting atmosphere to create a game that is both thrilling and deeply unsettling. Its emphasis on exploration and discovery, combined with its challenging combat and unique setting, make it a standout title in the soulslike genre and a must-play for fans of dark and atmospheric games.
Nioh is an action role-playing game developed by Team Ninja and released in 2017. The game takes place in a fictionalized version of Japan’s Sengoku period, and draws heavily from Japanese mythology and history. Players take on the role of William Adams, a Western samurai who travels to Japan in search of a powerful spirit stone.
Nioh’s most attention grabbing feature is its combat system, which is fast-paced and highly technical. Players can choose from a wide variety of weapons and fighting styles, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. The game also features a unique “ki” system, which allows players to manage their stamina and perform powerful attacks.
Difficulty also adds a lot to Nioh. The game is known for its challenging gameplay, with players often dying multiple times before overcoming a particularly difficult boss or level. This difficulty is balanced by a deep and rewarding leveling system, which allows players to customize their character’s stats and abilities in order to take on different challenges.
Nioh also benefits from a rich and detailed world, with intricate level design and a deep lore based on Japanese history and mythology. Players will encounter a wide variety of enemies and bosses, each with its own unique backstory and abilities.
In general, Nioh is a challenging and rewarding action RPG that combines the fast-paced combat of games like Devil May Cry with the deep customization and exploration of games like Dark Souls. Its unique setting and emphasis on Japanese mythology and history make it a standout title in the soulslike genre, and a must-play for fans of action-packed RPGs.
Developed by FromSoftware and released in 2019, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an action-adventure game set in a fictionalized version of Japan’s Sengoku period. The game revolves around a shinobi named Wolf who endeavors to rescue his lord who has been kidnapped.
The game’s combat system is a notable feature, with an emphasis on fast-paced, precise sword combat and the introduction of new mechanics such as stealth and grappling. Players must strategically time their attacks and counters to defeat powerful enemies and bosses, while using various tools and abilities to gain an advantage in combat.
Sekiro also features a unique leveling system based on the accumulation of experience points and skill points, which unlock new abilities and techniques. The game’s detailed world and intricate level design are inspired by Japanese mythology and history.
The story and characters are also noteworthy, with richly detailed cutscenes and dialogue bringing the protagonist, Wolf, to life. The game’s unique blend of precise combat, stealth, and exploration makes it a standout title in the action-adventure genre, and a must-play for fans of RPGs.
5. Hollow Knight
Hollow Knight, developed by Team Cherry and released in 2017, is a critically acclaimed action-adventure game set in a sprawling underground world teeming with enigmatic creatures and ancient ruins. Players take on the role of the Knight, a small bug-like creature, as they explore the kingdom of Hallownest, battle foes, and unravel its secrets.
What sets Hollow Knight apart is its stunning hand-drawn art style that blends vibrant colors with intricately detailed character designs. The game’s world is equally immersive, with a richly detailed backstory and a deep lore that gradually unfolds through exploration.
The game’s challenging combat system blends with exploration and platforming elements, requiring players to face unique enemies with their strengths and weaknesses. The bosses are particularly tough, necessitating careful strategy and precise timing to defeat.
Customization options abound in Hollow Knight, enabling players to tailor their character’s abilities and equipment to their preferred playstyle. The game’s map system also deserves a mention, as players steadily fill in the map while discovering new areas and secrets.
Hollow Knight is a must-play for fans of RPGs and platformers. Its beautiful art style, engaging gameplay, and immersive world-building make it an unforgettable title in the action-adventure genre.
The soulslike genre has become a staple in the gaming industry, offering players a challenging and rewarding experience that tests their skills and patience. These five games, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Nioh, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Hollow Knight, are some of the best examples of what the genre has to offer. Each game has its own unique take on the formula, with intricate world-building, deep lore, and challenging combat systems that keep players coming back for more.
Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the genre or a newcomer looking for a challenge, these five games are a must-play. They offer immersive worlds, engaging stories, and challenging gameplay that will keep you entertained for hours on end. So, grab your controller, prepare to die (a lot), and dive into the world of soulslike games. You won’t regret it.