Ah yes, FromSoftware. There isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t think back to the physical and emotional torment that one of their games have put us through. Truth be told, we’ve considered therapy after sludging our ways through the vast majority of the game that the bitterly cruel developer has put out. And yet, weirdly enough, we’ve found ourselves booting up that New Game+ mode time and time again without even batting an eyelid. Go figure.
The fact of the matter is this: FromSoftware make stupidly difficult games. It’s in their DNA, and they thrive on making players pour blood, sweat and tears just to get a slight glimpse at the endgame content. Though, some titles have been a whole lot crueler than others, and we honestly don’t know whether we’re more fond of the tougher chapters or straight up petrified of them. Whatever it is, we can’t dance around the fact that these five, in particular, are overwhelmingly difficult mountains to conquer.
5. Demon’s Souls
Years before the rise of the Souls trend, FromSoftware was known for series such as Armored Core, King’s Field, and Lost Kingdoms. You know, an era before unbelievably difficult games became the norm, and before the developer felt like it had something to prove. Well, that all swiftly transformed after Demon’s Souls rolled around in 2009. Following on from that, FromSoftware had found its niche, and it was more than prepared to pull out all the stops to make its future works irresistibly tough.
Fortunately, as Demon’s Souls was only FromSoftware’s first real dip into the Soulslike ocean, there was definitely a little extra leeway with its difficulty. Though, that isn’t to say the game was a complete walk in the park. It wasn’t, like, at all. Although not posing as the biggest threat in later years, it was, at least for its time, the scariest thing on the block. A doddle for some in this day and age, no doubt.
4. Dark Souls (Series)
Of course, Dark Souls was to be the be all, end all of action role-playing games; a title that many were happy to throw at it during the pre-launch hype phase. And to be fair, that praise remains somewhat relevant today, simply because its influence continues to summon fresh games with similar difficulty spikes. And the fact is, none of that would have come to fruition if 2011 didn’t spit out Dark Souls.
To put it bluntly, Dark Souls, as a series, is an incredibly difficult mountain to climb. Its second chapter, though, was perhaps the toughest of the bunch, and comprised of one too many near-impossible boss fights. It was exhausting—even more so than its first and third siblings combined. That said, the trilogy as a whole was still a mere dent on what FromSoftware had in store for later years. Cough cough.
Shortly before Dark Souls served up its third and final chapter, FromSoftware made the call to transfer all of its accumulated knowledge and stuff it into a fresh IP, one that was to be a real no-nonsense colossus of a role-playing game. Lo and behold, the roots for Bloodborne were planted, and so followed a whole year of endless rage quits and online tantrums. To that we say well done, FromSoftware—mission accomplished.
In all honesty, those who are new to the Soulslike sphere, starting with Bloodborne is probably a recipe for disaster. It’s incredibly demanding, and refuses to hold your hand from the get-go; similar to Dark Souls, only with twice the amount of unfair disadvantages and curve balls. A molehill for the minority; the equivalent to Mt Kilimanjaro for the majority. Take from that what you will.
2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
By the time Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was announced, FromSoftware had already fortified their wicked presence on the role-playing food chain. For that, players knew all too well that the 2019 samurai-themed wouldn’t go down too well with the softer player base. If anything, it was being built to destroy that exact clique, and would only serve its purpose once the vast majority crumbled beneath its vicious rule.
That all being said, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was actually the best game FromSoftware had put out to date. Narrative-wise, it was ravenously compelling and creative, and boasted a plethora of engaging cinematics and unique characters. But if you want to talk about combat, now that’s another story, and one that involves a whole lot of salty remarks. Worth the sweat and tears, so long as you don’t mind drowning, that is.
1. Elden Ring
To think, Elden Ring was once believed to be a beginner-friendly clone of Dark Souls. We realize now, of course, that this particular belief was nothing more than a rotten pipe dream, and that FromSoftware had no intentions of making its portfolio any less carnivorous. Instead, the developer only aimed to surpass its previous works by erecting the most ambitious title to date. Hello, Elden Ring.
Not only does Elden Ring refuse to hold your hand through combat—but through anything, period. What that means is that you’re basically left to scrounge your way through the open-world setting with nothing but your wits and a false sense of confidence. That usually wears off after about eight minutes, though. Then it’s just a case of trying to put one foot in front of another until you eventually know how to, you know, crawl. Fun and games? Absolutely.
So, what’s your take? Do you agree with our top five? How would you rank the FromSoftware games? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.