Forums - Gaming Discussion - Rank the Soulslikes You've Played

Made a bit of a detour from my intended plans recently.

First, I decided to try my first 2D indie Soulslike. I went with Salt & Sanctuary. Had low expectations, because I'm not a fan of 2D pixel indie games, but it was on sale and I had some funds in my Steam wallet, so what the hell. Pleasantly surprised. Enjoyed the atmosphere, the visuals, some interesting enemy designs (in terms of visuals), the music (I'd bet a small amount of money the composer is a Tool fan), and the gameplay for the most part. It's let down by shields being far too overpowered and the final few bosses being too easy as a result. There are also some unnecessarily annoying platforming segments. And unicorn enemies that are totally broken.

Salt & Sanctuary makes it to 5th on my ranking, behind Dark Souls 2 and ahead of The Surge 2.

Finishing that I started casting around for my next Soulslike. I'm not really enthused by any of the remaining options tbh. The major ones are: Code Vein (but I don't like anime so the art style and no doubt cheesy as hell dialogue and story will be wasted on me), Remnant: From the Ashes (combat looks very stiff and slow, and enemy variety lacking, but I'm curious about the idea of a shooter Souls), Sekiro (which isn't the strict Soulslike experience I'm really looking for), another 2D indie, or... Dark Souls Remastered.

I went with Dark Souls Remastered... heh, yes, despite starting the thread saying I wasn't planning to buy it because it looked too dated. And it is definitely dated after coming from Dark Souls III (well, duh), but I really want a proper full-blooded Soulslike, so I thought why not finish the original trilogy is that's what I'm actually after? Purchased it just a couple of hours before Humble ended their seasonal sale. I don't regret the purchase so far (helps the price was hugely cut), but it's definitely my least favourite of the trilogy & Bloodborne; it's very stiff compared to them, and various QoL features introduced in the sequels are absent, and of course it's... well, pretty bloody ugly. But it's proper Souls so I'm enjoying it for that.

Last edited by Machina - on 09 December 2019

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Does Fallen order now count?



 

China Numba wan!!

From what I saw when it was streamed, I'd guess so ^^

Dark Souls Remastered completed and added to my ranking. Hard call between it and The Surge 2. Dark Souls Remastered's lows are so, so much lower than Surge 2's (Prepare to Die? More like Prepare to Fall), but the core of it is a bit more appealing I think.



Latest updated.

Three additional games added to the (low end of the) list:

Blasphemous - I initially quite liked the combat because it was fairly Souls-like - you have to learn each enemy type's attack patterns otherwise you'll get seriously punished. I also quite liked the tone of the game and some of the themes. Unfortunately I really couldn't get past the pixelated graphics and over-abundance of platforming, so I drifted away and stopped playing.

Hollow Knight - Has the advantage of being an indie title that doesn't lean on pixel graphics to get past budgetary constraints and lack of dev talent, so it's fine to look at. It also has a certain charm, but not as much of one as many make out.

I can see why it's only vaguely considered a Souls-like. And, unfortunately, the parts of the Souls series that it doesn't make use of are some of key reasons I actually enjoy Souls-likes. Namely Souls from defeated enemies being used to upgrade and customise your character. Instead Souls in Hollow Knight are mainly used to purchase QoL improvements, such as the map actually showing where your character is, or where save points you've visited were located. 

I've only played it for 4 hours but I'm not sure if I'll return to it, I'm getting kind of tired of the Metroidvania gameplay loop (new area, same platforming challenges with a new element thrown in, fight same enemy types with different skins, backtrack to old areas to use newly acquired ability).

Remnant: From the Ashes - I was quite looking forward to this because it came out of nowhere last year and received a lot of praise. I can also see how a shooter Souls-like could work. I don't think this one does though; the combat feels so stiff and slow. It reminded me of Immortal: Unchained, which got a pasting from critics and players.

Last edited by Machina - on 22 January 2020

Honestly I've not actually played that many Soulslike games, so here we go;

Demon's Souls - This has to be top spot for me based on a few things, the first is nostalgia, I remember my mate getting an American import of it since it was never announced for here in the EU, I was devastated and he came to the rescue after his holiday to 'murica, lol. I still have that playfile on my account... 1% trophy completion. One. Trophy. Yup. I then preordered the EU release and played it religiously, which brings me to my second point... it's one of my proudest platinum trophies to date. I've only got fifteen so far, but this is one of my favourites since it was such a grind to get. The third is just how engrossed I got with the game itself, spending hours and hours with duels and stuff, invading worlds, being a dick, maybe even helping people, I LOVED the gameplay loop at the time and if they ever do remake/remaster it, I'll happily try for the platinum again.

Dark Souls - Ah yeah, the follow up... this could've been first place but some of the bosses made me rage so much to the point I never actually finished the game "properly" (Cheated on PC years later, lol). Even still, the open world nature of it was brilliant, I loved finding shortcuts, wandering into areas I was clearly NOT prepared for, and working on new builds to become OP AF along the way... maybe one day I'll get the remaster for PS4 and have another bash at it, since I still remember a LOT about the game, although fuck going for a platinum on a Souls game again.

Bloodborne - Honestly I've been debating recently whether I should try and get back into this... played about 30-35 hours of the game, fought quite a few bosses (Killed the guy who fires the massive... crossbow gun thingy? at you by cheesing him off the ledge), and got that cool 2H sword that can either be a dagger or a stone/rock 2H thing which was cool... also loved the world of it, but just never really did much or finished it. It felt a little too samey in comparison to Dark Souls I suppose. I did like that the combat was faster paced though and was focused more around playing offensively rather than having a shield at all times. I also never used the gun other than for the boss on the bridge at the start.

Code Vein - Played the demo, or was it the beta, or whatever it was that released before release... can't remember. What I can remember is that I really enjoyed the art style despite some characters being WAY too anime for their own good, but meh. Gameplay was very solid and smooth, felt like I had more freedom and control over my character too... I DID finish the demo of this too, and enjoyed the boss fights while I was at it, although if I do ever buy the full game, something tells me it'll never rank higher than the actual Souls games.

The Surge - Another game I only played the demo of, never finished this demo though. Then got it free with PlayStation Plus and said I'd get into it... never did get around to that. Shame too since I really liked what I played of the demo, targeting different body parts was fun and it strangely felt a lot more fluid than the Souls games, maybe due to the higher framerate, or because character movements were looser, who knows... but I DID like it. Also it felt a lot easier than the Souls games from the getgo.

Nioh - I was in the beta for this, and not only did it kick my arse, it raped my unconscious body as it lay in a pool of its own blood, sweat and tears... tears from anger and frustration with how hard the game was for me to the point that I never even made it to the first real boss in the beta! ...then I ask why I decided to BUY it. Why? Because I did find chopping off limbs and shit to be really satisfying and I was craving a Samurai game. Shame I still have it in the wrapper, never opened. But until I do open and play it, I'll only have the memories of the beta to go off, lol.

... And that's my entire history and experience, rated from best to worst. Obviously the list could change if I decide to give Nioh a proper go, since people will probably hate me for having it below The Surge and Code Vein, but meh, it is what it is.



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1 - Nioh

2 - Code Vein

3 - Bloodborne

4 - Hollow Knight

5 - Sekiro

6 - Dark Souls 3

7 - Dark Souls 1

8 - Dark Souls 2



     


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1-Dark Souls
2- bloodborne
3- dark souls 3
4- dark souls 2

Bloodborne would be the first if the story made any sense specially in the last third of the game. Best OST ever.

Will start sekiro next month. It gives me the impression it will be the first one I wont finish.



So far I've played Demon Souls (The original Souls game that began the genre), Dark souls, Dark Souls 2, The Surge and Bloodborne.

I plan to eventually play Dark Souls 3, The Surge 2, Nioh, Nioh 2, Code Vein and Sekiro Shadows Die Twice.

So far I've got the platinum trophy for 3 of those games: (DS2, Bloodborne and The Surge).



trasharmdsister12 said:

1. Dark Souls 3 - My first full Soulslike experience. I had briefly tried Demon Souls, Bloodborne, Lords of the Fallen, and Dark Souls before committing to Dark Souls 3 and this is the game that really established my love of the genre. To me it's the best combat system, the most appealing world artistically, the most replayed OST, and some great lore. I could see how some would identify it as fan service but for me it was my first dive into the universe so it all felt fresh and impactful. 

2. Dark Souls (Remastered) - I bought the Prepare to Die edition on PC but due to its rough framerate and kinda dated feeling controls I could never really get into it. The difficulty put me off too as I was in a really busy time of my life and couldn't consistently give attention to a single game to get good enough to get through it. Then the Remaster came out and I saw that it fixed the framerate issues. Suddenly the controls felt a lot better too even if it didn't have the omnidirectional motion. In any case, I can see why this game is often regarded the peak of the series. It lays a lot of groundwork for the games to come in its world design and lore. Some of the bosses are kinda bullshit (I'm looking at you Capra Demon and Bed of Chaos) but all in all this game provides heaps of customization in build types and just has so much depth.

3. Bloodborne - 3 main things keep this from being #2 on my list. In a lot of ways it's objectively better than Dark Souls 1 to me. It has better combat, is far more consistent in its quality of areas and bosses, and is more visually striking in its art. But being tied to 30 fps with poor frame pacing, having a story and atmosphere I didn't gel as well with, and crushing me with Father Gascoigne early on in the game (seriously... I was stuck here for years) really sucked a lot of enjoyment out of it for me. Having said that, it's a stellar game and anyone used to console level IQ and performance should give it a shot. 

4. Lords of the Fallen - This one is on the list by default because it's one that I played enough of to add to the list. But all in all it's a pretty meh experience. I bought it for $3 thinking it would be an easier Soulslike to ease me into the game type after my prior poor experiences with Bloodborne and Dark Souls Prepare to Die. But I played it enough (~7 hours) to realize I would love this style of combat if the enemies and environments were more varied and interesting. And they certainly were in Dark Souls 3 from all I had seen... so this was a testbed title for me and I have it to thank for making me confident in purchasing Dark Souls 3 and the IDLCs and I'm so glad t did. 

I have yet to try The Surge and still need to get around to Sekiro and NiOh. 

I'm also really hoping Bluepoint is working on a Demon Souls remake. I briefly tried it on PS3 but can't seem to enjoy these games with poor frame pacing. I honestly think that's why Bloodborne isn't #2 on my list.

Edit: Added more reasoning to my list 

A bit of an update to my list. I've gone through Sekiro and am on the final boss. I'd put it at tied for #2. Dark Souls has way more replay-ability with different viable builds and I love the lore of that world just a bit more than Sekiro, but the second half of the game really hurt the experience for me. Sekiro has amazing gameplay and awesome boss fights. The music takes a bit of a back-seat vs From's other output as well and music to build atmosphere is a big part of any media consumption for me. 

On any given day, I can be more in the mood to play one or the other so I can't really pick between them.



Im not the biggest fan of souls-like games and played only three of them, original ones. I believe I finished them two times each, because of platinums. All of them are quite good and well designed, especially combat mechanics of course. For me the weakest is Bloodborne, because of lack of amunition and weapon choise. Thats why this game feels more limited compared to "older brothers". I love Dark Souls level design, how well connected the locations are. So I rate them in that order:
1. Dark Souls
2. Demon's Souls
3. Bloodborne