Even though it was possibly the most hyped-up game prior to launch, not many could’ve predicted just how popular Elden Ring would end up being. It has single-handedly outsold the entirety of the Dark Souls series, on its own, within just a few months of release. Even more impressively, it outsold the latest Call of Duty game, which has held the best-selling spot for the past decade or so every year. The once niche genre that FromSoftware really started to refine with 2009’s Demons’ Souls has finally become mainstream, and millions of players have gotten their first taste of this style of game and are thirsty for more.
While Elden Ring shares a lot of elements from other games, even past FromSoftware games don’t give the exact experience you get from Elden Ring. Depending on what aspects of the game drew you in the most, you may have to make some concessions on other parts. But between all the games we’ve selected, you’re sure to find something that will give you more of that feeling you crave.
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Let’s start with the obvious way to go here. If you like the FromSoftware combat style, the level design of the major dungeons, and the build variety found in Elden Ring, there’s no better place to get more of that than the studio’s prior work. There’s a bunch to choose from, but if we had to narrow it down to just one, we’d have to go with the very first Dark Souls: Remastered. This game was really where the genre found its footing and captured a very passionate audience for the satisfying combat, genius-level design, and lore that gave you just enough to put the big picture together but also ambiguous enough to let you fill in some blanks yourself. Many still consider this the peak of the studio’s work, and age certainly hasn’t diminished this game’s feel or impact.
You will have to deal with some clunky menus and obscure systems, as well as magic being very unbalanced, but coming off Elden Ring, you should be able to handle it. This could easily be swapped out for Dark Souls 3, which is slightly bigger and has more variety, or BloodBorne for a more aggressive, faster-paced combat with a unique setting and tone, but it’s much easier to start here and then move on to those later games than work backward.
Elden Ring‘s open-world is giant, and jam-packed with things to find, fight, and collect. However, by comparison, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has it beat in a few regards. If you’re just looking at pure scale and landmass, the two are probably close, with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt possibly edging it out in the end. Still, a big world doesn’t mean much if there’s nothing worthwhile to do it, right?
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is more directed than Elden Ring, with plenty of map and quest markers to follow, so your sense of natural discovery is a bit limited here, but not at all less satisfying to stumble upon a small cave with some trolls and treasure. The story here, from the main quest to just about every side mission, is where
Of all the games that tried to copy the Souls-like formula, but put a new spin on it, it is fairly safe to say that the Nioh games were the most successful. Nioh 2 is technically a prequel to the first, so you don’t have to have played that one if you don’t want to, though it too is a great game.
What sets Nioh 2 comes down to a few key aspects. First, the setting of historical Japan was what fans wanted FromSoftware to do for years (and eventually would in a way with Sekrio), but the addition of magic, Oni, and other fantastical elements allow for way more mechanics. Second is the loot system. There’s tons of loot in Nioh 2, maybe too much actually, but if you enjoy collecting, selling, scrapping, and upgrading all your weapons, armor, and equipment between missions, you’ll be addicted in no time. Nioh 2 is level-based, so no open or even interconnected world, but each world is as well designed as a Souls dungeon. Combat is quick, tactical, and while familiar to any Souls player, has more layers of depth to learn than any of those titles. This is a tough, stylish, and incredibly customizable game that runs and plays amazingly.
Want to add some Star Wars flavor to your Souls-like? It wasn’t something we particularly heard anyone asking for, but Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order delivered on that, more or less. It isn’t strictly a Souls-like game, being somewhere in the middle between that and a Metroidvania, but the formula works so well in that setting.
The combat is challenging in the same way Elden Ring is but toned down just a few notches. In exchange, you get a more directed story with some fun Star Wars set pieces, puzzles, collectibles, upgrades, and plenty of fun force powers to incorporate into your fighting style. Now, if you’re hesitant about the plot of a Star Wars game set prior to the original trilogy, we don’t blame you, but Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is actually quite a good story. At the very least, it is inoffensive and compelling enough to keep you engaged through the entirety of Cal’s journey. Even completely ignoring the story, there’s never been a game that has felt as good to swing a lightsaber in, and the upcoming sequel should only improve on what this one established.
The comparisons have been done to death, but for good reason. Elden Ring is the first major release we’ve seen that seemed to “get” what made the world of Hyrule so engrossing and worth exploring for the sake of exploring in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Both games let the design of the world itself be your guide toward interesting locations and discoveries, not waypoints on your map, markers on your hud, or dots on a mini-map. If you see somewhere interesting off in the distance, there’s almost guaranteed to be something worth finding there.
The only slight drawback in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is that the variety of things you find is slightly diminished compared to an Elden Ring. The challenge dungeons are cool but repetitive, Korok Seeds are very useful but so abundant they stop feeling special, and powerful weapons can all break. However, if that urge to simply have a world that was actually made for you to explore in, not just follow markers, is what drew you into
What a treat this brand new game is. Like Nioh 2, Ghost of Tsushima grounds itself in a real historical time period during a Mongol invasion of the titular island, though forgoes any mythical or supernatural elements. You play as a Jin, a Samurai attempting to rescue his uncle and find a way to repel the overwhelming invading forces in a simple yet effective tale.
Combat takes a few forms, such as stealth, outright combat, and duels, with the latter feeling the most like a Souls-style boss encounter. Regular combat is still tactical, requiring you to know which stance to use against which enemy type, plus react to different attacks with dodges, blocks, and counters. That’s all great, but the real star is the exploration of this stunningly beautiful island. SuckerPunch knew how gorgeous their world was and didn’t want players just following map markers instead of actually looking at the majestic landscapes and foliage, leading to the creation of the guiding wind mechanic. With a swipe of the touchpad, the wind will blow in the direction you need to go, keeping your eyes on the game and leading you in an intuitive and natural feeling way. Likewise, secrets and optional objectives can be found by following birds, foxes, or someone’s cries for help.
Some people are drawn to Elden Ring for the massive spectacle boss encounters that pit you against some massive monstrosity that, in all likelihood, should simply be able to squish your character without a second thought. These are great, but there are only so many in the game, and once you beat them, they’re done. Monster Hunter: Rise is a game completely focused on that one thing: fighting a giant monster, getting stronger, and fighting even bigger monsters.
The loop of going on a hunt, engaging with the incredibly well-realized, intelligent, and unique monsters in battles of endurance, coming out on top, and finally taking their parts to craft and upgrade your gear is far more addicting than it sounds on paper. Each of the game’s weapon types has its own set move moves and mechanics that make them all feel like playing a different game almost, very similar to running different builds in Elden Ring, and calling in friends to help take down a ferocious beast is just as exciting and fun as summoning a friend to beat a boss. There isn’t quite so much exploration to be done, but if you wanted the distilled combat of Souls bosses in a game, Monster Hunter: Rise is it.
There are dozens of indie games we could pick from that all take heavy inspiration from FromSoftware games, such as Hollow Knight, but that game strays more on the side of Metroidvania compared to the lesser-known Blasphemous.
Created using disturbingly beautiful and gory artwork and inspired by deep religious themes, Blasphemous does also have some of that Metroidvania DNA, to be sure, but the core is pure Elden Ring. You start off with basic moves, attacks, dodge, and a parry, and gain new abilities through spending resources, finding items that come with pros and cons and learning new spells. If you loved learning the lore, interacting with the characters, and figuring out just what is really happening in the twisted world of
Just about every game here has been a more realistic fantasy style game, but there’s far more styles out there that an Elden Ring-style game can come in. Case in point, Code Vein is your anime version of this style of game, and the combo works wonderfully.
By adding the anime flair and style, assuming you’re into that sort of thing, Code Vein becomes an awesome spectacle to behold in a way that the more grounded games just never really approach. It’s not all just in the visuals, either. Code Vein plays great with the same risk and reward style of combat you know and love, plus the bombastic and high tension boss fights that we all crave. On top of all that, the crazy setting that mixes horror, sci-fi, and post-apocalyptic elements are unlike just about any other game world you’ve experienced before. Each class is very distinct, further increasing the value of playing the game multiple times to get a fresh take on the combat mechanics and different abilities.
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