Dark Souls has redefined action role-playing games by being an outlier in the genre. Because of its fame and unique gameplay, many consider Dark Souls to be a new genre and not one from a pre-existing category, along the lines of a Super Mario Kart or Doom.
Plenty of games have tried to copy Dark Souls because of its unique formula. Some have even been controversially deemed Souls-likes (you'll see). Since there are so many Dark Souls copycats out there, it's only natural that we would compile this list. Here's a selection of the best.
From developer Team Ninja, the creator of Ninja Gaiden, comes Nioh; a widely acclaimed action role-playing game. What makes Nioh different from Dark Souls is that its missions are more linear as opposed to Dark Souls, which encourages exploration.
Many people will enjoy both Nioh and Dark Souls for what they are. Nioh's boss fights are also excruciatingly difficult, possibly more than the Dark Souls games. Nioh is available on PlayStation 4 and PC.
9 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is FromSoftware's latest action-adventure game. In many ways, it is similar to the Dark Souls games, but it does enough to differentiate itself from them. Sekiro's usage of a grappling hook and a variety of new techniques has made the difference with Sekiro: Shadow's Die Twice.
In this title, players assume the role of a shinobi who fights to protect his master, the Divine Heir (who is a child). Some players have complained that the game is too difficult, but that's often what you'd expect in a souls-like game. If you're not into hard games, don't try Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice because you probably won't like it.
Ashen is one of the better games that attempts to take after the Souls series. As it only released on Xbox One and PC, it can be considered one of the better games that came to Xbox One and not PlayStation 4 or Nintendo Switch.
The style of graphics is comparable to that of The Witness and World of Warcraft. It uses a muted cel-shaded approach that seems to work well in the game. Ashen borrows from the Souls titles but distinguishes itself from other copycats.
7 Dead Cells
Dead Cells had a wide release on PC, Mac, Linux, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A mobile version is also planned, which will release in late 2019. Dead Cells is classified as a roguelike Metroidvania game, one that's infused with Souls-like elements too.
For those who don't know, the Metroidvania genre consists of games that are similar to both Metroid and Castlevania, two of the most popular 2D sidescrollers. Dead Cells is a great indie buy.
6 The Surge
What makes The Surge comparable to the Dark Souls games is the way its endurance and health meter is situated and the third-person camera style.
In contrast to the Dark Souls games, The Surge uses a floating damage number system that informs the player of their attack damage. The Surge isn't the strongest entry on this list, but it does boast a unique futuristic take on the genre and is worth playing for its action sequences and lengthy story mode.
5 Monster Hunter: World
In line with Souls games, Monster Hunter: World is an action RPG that pits players against gigantic enemies who take a great deal of effort to defeat. The first Monster Hunter game was released before the first Souls game was made (Demon's Souls).
Regardless of which came first, Monster Hunter: World is a phenomenal game in the Monster Hunter series and is a worthwhile journey through the New World. The story is more engaging as you progress and enemies such as the Elder Dragons keep the game interesting. It's a more controversial pick as a Souls-like, but the comparison is there to be drawn.
4 Lords of the Fallen
This lower-budget Souls-like game might surprise most people because of its similarities to Dark Souls. Lords of the Fallen is a role-playing action game that is one of the lesser-known Souls-like games.
The degree of similarity to Dark Souls will encourage a lot of players to give Lords of the Fallen a shot. The difficulty level of this game is high, and it's worth noting that Bandai Namco, the same company who published Dark Souls, also brought us Lords of the Fallen. Die-hard fans of the Souls-like genre will enjoy this game.
3 Hollow Knight
The highly acclaimed Hollow Knight is one of the best games on this list. The gameplay will suck you in the moment you start playing it. Also part of the Metroidvania genre, Hollow Knight was inspired by games such as Dark Souls, Metroid, and Castlevania.
You can't miss Hollow Knight, since it is one of the best games you'll ever play. Putting aside the fact that its difficulty and mechanics are comparable to Dark Souls, Hollow Knight is a excellent, grim game that comes highly recommended.
2 Salt And Sanctuary
This role-playing game was heavily inspired by the Dark Souls games. If you wanted to play a 2D version of Dark Souls, Salt and Sanctuary might be the best way to do it. After playing the game, you'll grow to appreciate the style of graphics and its gameplay.
Salt and Sanctuary is available on PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. With multiplayer and an exciting single-player adventure, Salt and Sanctuary is a must-play for fans of Souls-likes.
The game that is the most similar to the Dark Souls titles would have to be Bloodborne. Made by the same developer, FromSoftware, Bloodborne tells a more horrific tale and is more engaging the further you progress in the game.
There have been rumors that a Bloodborne 2 is in the works; we are hoping such claims are justified. The gothic nature of Bloodborne makes it an excellent addition to the Soulsborne series. It's characterized by faster, more aggressive combat, focusing around the usage of guns to stun enemies by interrupting their attacks.