With Elden Ring just about passing through the borders and preparing to rustle a few million feathers, it seems only right that we conjure a few Souls-like alternatives, you know, for when a bit of downtime is needed. Because let’s face it, there will be countless hours lost to slaving over a few ridiculously hard battles after it drops, and we’re probably going to need a well-deserved breather every once in a while to keep a lid on our sanity.
Despite Elden Ring and the Souls series having an acquired taste, many games tend to follow in its footsteps, if only to replicate the palate. Luckily for us, they rarely live up to the same class when molding their boss fights and enemy encounters. That’s good news, to be fair — especially when we’re in need of a good old fashioned killing spree after being bludgeoned by a cave troll sixteen times over for simply existing. So, what are they? What are the closest ports to call in at should you need an escape from Elden Ring?
5. Lords of the Fallen
On a good day, providing you haven’t spent the previous night bashing buttons on any other Souls game, you might just be able to slump through Lords of the Fallen. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a difficult game by a long shot, though it does provide enough of a challenge for you to need every brain cell working overtime in order to crush it into oblivion. Not like Dark Souls, which you need two brains in order to beat, period.
Mechanically, Lords of the Fallen follows an almost identical path to the Souls series, only with far less threatening encounters to weigh it down. That’s music to a few dozen ears, no doubt, as it’s not very often a game can look virtually impossible, but can actually be beaten with a little bit of courage and a whole lot of spare controllers.
4. Mortal Shell
Another great alternative to Souls is Mortal Shell, a Souls-like role-playing game that fashions its suit of armor from the very tools and materials FromSoftware hoards. Having pinched a couple of screws to construct its basic structure, the game follows a similar difficulty curve. The only difference with Mortal Shell is, well — it’s not as hard.
Saying that, it’s not a game you’ll be able to breeze through without any obstacles to overcome. There are plenty of speed bumps to ramp over, but it’s more the case of conquering Kilimanjaro than Everest. Both can be brutally difficult, but it all depends on the tools you take with you for the hike. So, if you’re looking for an alternative that won’t get you as riled up, then Mortal Shell should be a good step in the right direction.
If you’re on the hunt for something a little more, say, forgiving, then you’ll want to dip into Ashen. As it goes, Ashen is more of a childish version of Dark Souls, complete with “easier” battles to boot. However, it’s best not to let the quirky visuals seduce you. The fact is, the game can still present a challenge, but it won’t ask that you first go through a year’s worth of tutorials before tackling it.
On the surface, Ashen boasts a gorgeous open-world playground to explore. Remove a few layers, and you begin to notice a few familiar elements. The bonfire, of course, being one of them. Combined with a slew of hyperactive boss fights and monochrome visuals, and you’re left with the basic setup for a Dark Souls spin-off. Perhaps not in the same vein, but the same vessel, for sure.
2. Remnant: From the Ashes
Despite the spiel we dished out a little earlier about showcasing Souls-like alternatives that aren’t as physically demanding — we do have to make one minor exception. Yes, it’s Remnant: From the Ashes, and yes, it does favor bullets over blades. Does that still make it a Souls-like game? I mean, it’s not exactly an ocean apart from it.
Despite the choice of weaponry being a far cry from the source of inspiration, Remnant: From the Ashes still encompasses the savageness of the combat and the unforgiving learning curve that dares to push players past their boiling point. So, if you thought being behind a gun would increase your chances of survival, then you thought wrong. Bonfires won’t protect you this time.
1. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Granted, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order doesn’t look like a direct rip-off of Dark Souls. That being said, the gameplay itself is still a pretty spot on variant of it, despite not even being in the same gene pool. Of course, it all revolves around the combat, as opposed to the narrative, in which case both would be lightyears from being in any way related to one another.
No, it’s definitely the combat style that has us putting the two up for comparison. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order fuses both complex combat with parkour, effectively creating a lavish palette of controls that go beyond the bog-standard action-adventure game. While it isn’t the toughest title in the world, it does require a fair amount of skill in order to beat. But given the fact we’re looking at Souls-like games, I think that comes expected, to be fair.
So, what’s your take? Will you be gearing up to tackle any of the above five Souls-like games? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.