Heeeey everyone I’m back to yet again talk about Souls, this time I want to tell you the order in which I think you should play them. Being quite new to the whole soulsbourne/soulslike world I happen to think my opinion is pretty fresh, as I only started Dark Souls Remastered 2 years ago, and since then my journey has been challenging yet exciting. I’d say I’ve ‘dipped my toes’ into most of what this genre has to offer because it’s like crack cocaine and I just can’t get enough of it. There is no definitive order to play them, I suppose you could say the 3 Dark souls games make sense to paly in order, but there is no clear story, but I’d like to tell you the order I think you should play them in.
First off what ‘defines’ these games as Soulslikes, or Soulsbournes. Well firstly, and most famously, you’ve got the rage inducing difficulty, which is ever present and will test you to your limits. You know you can never really relax or drop your guard because you’re gonna get killed the moment you let up. Next you need to know you’ll be facing an endless bombardment of bosses who are even harder than the open world, and will test every limit of your skill. You have the ultra important stamina management, the core of the difficult gameplay, watching that little green bar like a hawk. And finally the fact that you’ll drop experience and then lose it if you get killed before you get back to that point. Wrapping it all up really is the tight gameplay and pretty unmatched, excellently tight controls. But what order should you play them in, and why!
I am of the opinion that you should start with Dark Souls 1, it teaches you all of the mechanics you’re going to need to continue and just how this whole crazy sub genre works! It’s an arguable point that despite everything that comes after it this is the best Souls game, it’s certainly the one I think about the most. And although Demons Souls came out before it this is the game that really ushered in this new age of crushingly difficult games. You’ll learn how hard it is right off the bat and it certainly pulls no punches, and won’t hold your hand at all when it comes to throwing tough enemies and big bosses at you. It’s kind of like learning to swim by being thrown into the deep end with no arm bands, you need to swim or die! I recommend this game to EVERYONE and if you haven’t played at least this one you’re missing out. This isn’t (by far) the easiest game on the list, but it’s certainly the one you should start with. From now on I’ll go in terms of difficulty…
Hellpoint is my next suggestion, it’s an easy Dark Souls in space, which isn’t terrible. Probably best you look back my review here….
Weird opinion here but I’m going to suggest The Surge 2 next, I personally think it’s one of the easiest Souls like I’ve played whilst still being absolutely brilliant. To be honest it’s so much better than the first instalment you can kind of skip that, as that’s much harder and really not as good as any of the games (just look at how annoyed i got), but obviously play it if you like for the continuity as the stories kind of link up. It’s also the shortest one I’ve played, you can do it in about 30 hours, plus the DLC is more of a fun add on and not a soul crushing like the extras on other Souls (I’m looking at you Ringed City). I just love how they changed the formula up with directional parrying in this game. This was the last one I completed and I’d happily play it all through again!
Next I’m going to suggest Dark Souls 3, I think although it’s a very very hard game, the rest coming up are harder! There are certain…..skills/mechanics that you learn in Bloodborne which could help you in this, but it is slightly easier. So that choice is up to you. Dark Souls 3 takes everything it’s created so far and puts it together in a bloody satisfying and pretty much perfectly balanced action RPG. It’s the easiest one to summon friends into also, and I’d definitely recommend trying out some coop fun for this, especially if you get stuck on tougher bosses. Strangely I have more memories of playing this coop than solo but both are equally as fun, but solo is far more challenging.
Then I’ll say bloodborne. Again you can call on friends but I had an amazing experience playing the vast majority of this one solo. It changes the combat up quite a bit from Dark Souls as it’s mostly about parrying and dodging and you have a weapon that can transform, everything you’ve read about Bloodborne being amazing is true IF you like these types of games. The world, the bosses, the enemies, everything is so well designed and put together that I’d often just stop to admire the view as it were. The design really makes the monsters stand out and I’d often feel I was caught up in some sort of realistic anime….hard to explain but it’s just so damn stylish and actually one of the games that got me through the first lockdown.
Last I would suggest the Nioh games. These are quite simply going to destroy what faith you have left in gaming, but y’know they’re really cool samurais…so theres all you need to know right. Nah but seriously these are a good one to finish on as they are quote different in terms of difficulty and setting, and even the way they’re played. The combat is somewhere between bloodborne and souls in terms of speed but has it’s own feel as you can switch between different stances, you can also time button presses to replenish stamina on the fly, resulting in constant attacking if you master it. The bosses in this one will challenge you from very early on in the game but the setting is really quite awesome as it mixes traditional japan with monsters and demons. With the remastered collection out now this is the perfect time to try these.
There are plenty of other soulslikes out there, i just haven’t got round to them yet, code vein is next on my list after the Niohs, and Sekiro of course (plug luke). This is truly personal and I’m sure many of you will have your own orders of play, so please let me know in the comments!
If you’re interested the gist of this article is available in video form: