When it comes to difficult video games it’s hard to look past From Software. The studio has consistently produced some of the most challenging and rewarding single-player games of the past decade.
While From has been producing games since the 90s, it was in 2009 when they released Demon Souls from the PS3 that they would become synonymous with difficult gameplay. Since then the studio has launched a handful of similar games including the massively successful Dark Souls series and standalone hits Bloodborne and Sekiro.
If you’re looking for a challenge but want to play something quality then From Software is the studio for you, however, where should you begin? What are the best titles? We’ll be breaking all that down to determine the perfect game to attempt.
Dark Souls II
After a huge success with Dark Souls, from software returned with its sequel Dark Souls II which brought most of the aspects of the first game players loved, along with plenty of enemy spam. Out of character for the franchise, Dark Souls II used the volume of enemies as a tool to increase the difficulty which is something that wasn’t taken to kindly by fans.
Despite this, Dark Souls II is exactly what you’d expect from a title in the franchise boasting fun challenging boss fights, an ambiguous yet engaging narrative, and enough challenge to keep you stuck for days.
When the initial Dark Souls game launched for the Xbox 360 and PS3 the style of gameplay hadn’t reached mainstream gaming popularity yet, but this would be the game to propel it into the limelight.
Boasting the trademark difficulty that makes players want to tear their hair out, a variety of different combat styles and unique areas, and most importantly plenty of impressive and challenging bosses. With a greater emphasis on story than its predecessor Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls looked to define the genre and spawn a variety of titles to come.
The first “souls-like” game to hit stores, Demon’s Souls wasn’t something first-time players were expecting and due to this cemented its own within the console gaming community.
The game is punishing from the getgo and one of its more unique factors comes in the healing system which players need to find items rather than already having a healing item on hand. This makes the early goings of the game quite challenging, but later on, it makes the game even easier after collecting the items in abundance.
The boss fights in Demon’s Souls look great and are enjoyable to play, but in comparison to later From Software games they lack the multiple phases to spice up the action mid-fight.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Being the latest entry to join this list, Sekiro as you’d expect is the most impressive looking of From Software’s work so far — aside from the PS5 remake of Demon’s Souls.
Sekiro has it all, a variety of enemies an engaging story, beautiful graphics, the one thing that stops Sekiro from being higher on this list is its reliance on the parry mechanic. For players who can’t master this the game is virtually unplayable and for those who do it becomes one of the easier From Software experiences.
If you’re into Japanese folklore and the aesthetic that comes with it then Sekiro is the perfect From Software game for you.
Dark Souls III
The final entry into the Dark Souls series and most beloved, Dark Souls III took everything that From Software learned in its previous two entries and complied the best aspect to create this masterpiece.
While the gameplay isn’t drastically different, Dark Souls III boasts some of the best boss fights, incredibly enhanced visuals, and a rock-solid story to keep players coming back for more. Even after completing the base game, there’s still plenty to explore with the help of DLC making this the best From Software game for players who want to invest the most time.
While the community are torn on where Bloodborne ranks amongst its peers we think it is the ultimate Souls-like game, especially for those who are yet to try any. The game falls somewhere between the RPG style of Dark Souls and the fast-paced flowing combat of Sekiro. You’re going to be challenged quite a bit as you master the combat system and progress through Bloodborne’s story.
The narrative is interesting enough to keep you coming back and the fights are well crafted with increasing difficulty as you proceed in the game, but the DLC is something that takes the game to the next level with the hardest bosses in any game to date.
If difficulty is your desire and you want a great point to jump in that can branch off to any of From Software’s games then Bloodborne is the best option for you.