Although Elden Ring might be the jewel in its crown, the best FromSoftware games encompass a vast array of fantasy worlds crawling with gruelling bosses. The studio is responsible for some of the best action games of the past two console generations, from the Dark Souls trilogy to Bloodborne and Sekiro, so listing out the best FromSoft games was never going to be an enviable task.
Lucky for you, Tarnished, we've shouldered that burden. We've considered all best games that the studio has to offer, from popular favorites to more obscure ones. These titles will put you through your paces and humble you with the quick flash of a blade, so get your health potions ready; here are the 10 best FromSoftware games of all-time.
10. Shadow Assault: Tenchu
Platform(s): Xbox 360
While far from FromSoftware's best game, Shadow Assault: Tenchu is the studio at its wildest and weirdest. From the developer's perspective, risk-taking strikes at the heart of the Souls series – just about every snippet of lore in these games, for example, derives from player interpretation – so to take the Tenchu formula and add Bomberman mechanics to the mix was a bold move. Fold in some Orcs Must Die trap-setting, and you've got something truly unique that has players skirting around 30 single-screen timed levels, dodging enemies, hugging the shadows, and assassinating targets in single-player; and goading opponents into pitfalls and traps in multiplayer. An Xbox 360-exclusive from 2008, Shadow Assault: Tenchu stands alone.
9. Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors
"After a thousand years, the Great Seal was broken. The capital fell prey to the demons of the outside world." The opening spiel of Otogi 2: Immortal Warriors definitely sounds like something pulled from the realm of Dark Souls, as do the game's hack-and-slash action-RPG combat mechanics, and its themes of salvation by way of light and dark worlds. Released in 2003 in Japan (2004 in the US; 2005 in Europe), the original Xbox's Otogi series was a loy-key forerunner to, and a clear inspiration for, FromSoftware's more defined dark fantasy games the studio is now famous for. Available today for the Xbox Series X via backwards compatibility, Otogi 2 is worth a gander – if for nothing else but to understand the trail blazed by FromSoft over the last 20 years.
8. Armored Core 2
Before FromSoftware was best known for Dark Souls, it was the studio best known for Armored Core. Launched in 1997 for the PSOne, the first Armored Core combined the myriad customisation options available in Dynamix's MechWarrior with the 3D arcadey third-person shooting mechanics that were popular in mech fighting games at the tail-end of the 20th century. Following the original's two standalone expansions, Project Phantasma and Master of Arena, Armored Core 2 carried the blueprint into the PS2-era to great effect. It's a prettier, more sophisticated third-person mech shooter than its forerunners, where completing contracts, earning loads of cash and customizing your mech to make step one and two easier is the name of the game. With five main series entries, and close to 20 spin-offs and expansions, 2000's Armored Core 2 stands above the rest.
7. Demon's Souls
The cult classic-turned-remaster-worthy game responsible for FromSoftware's modern fame. Demon's Souls is Dark Souls but a little rougher around the edges, a little less fleshed out, and a little more bounce-your-controller-off-the-wall challenging. Still, it's a wonderful action-RPG with memorable boss fights and twisted baddies – you will never forget your first encounter with the Tower of Latria's Mind Flayers – that will keep you on your toes from the moment you enter the Nexus, to your final meeting with Old King Allant. Released in 2009 as a PS3-exclusive, Demon's Souls was given a wonderful remaster by Bluehole, a PS5 launch title in late 2020.
6. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Dark Souls but with stealth, katanas, and set in 17th century Japan is one hell of a sell – so much so, in fact, living it up to it could have gone either way. Luckily, Sekiro delivers, because not only is it one of FromSoftware's best games, it's one of the best action stealth games of all time. It pulls on history, pop culture, and prior video game interpretations of the era effortlessly, in turn becoming one of FromSoft's most accessible games, which, in turn, has seen it become an inadvertent gateway to the wider Dark Souls series for many players. Series veterans, on the other hand, are given new challenges by way of Sekiro's traversal system which can be used in combat and stealth mode.
5. Dark Souls 2
Platform(s): PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Viewed by some as the runt of the Dark Souls litter, Dark Souls 2 is the only Souls series game (including Demon's Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro) not to be directed by FromSoftware head honcho Hidetaka Miyazaki. As such, noticeable differences against its counterparts include a sprawling, less coherent but nevertheless gorgeous map; more open-ended level structure, that's in turn more inviting for newcomers; and slower-paced combat, which can help and hinder players depending on the circumstances. Dark Souls 2's new console cycle variation, Scholar of the First Sin, corrected a lot of the original game's flaws, and it must be said Looking Glass Knight is one of the best bosses in the entire series.
4. Dark Souls 3
Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
With Hidetaka Miyazaki back at the helm of development (having skipped Dark Souls 2 in favor of Bloodborne) Dark Souls 3 is a proper sequel to the original Dark Souls. Not just from a lore perspective, but also from a technical one, Dark Souls 3 improves on just about every element in its switch from Lordan to Lothric. It's faster, smarter, prettier, and more confident in itself – emboldened by everything that's come before it in Dark Souls, and the darker, Lovecraftian path tread by Bloodborne. Its bosses are predictably merciless, and its two DLC packs – Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City – are both beautiful and brutal, the latter of which is a fine conclusion to the looped universe that never ends.
Surely FromSoftware's most twisted trek into the action-role playing trenches, Bloodborne is Dark Souls meets Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos. Whereas in Dark Souls, the souls and essence of fallen creatures are the lifeblood of the world, blood is the currency here in Yharnam. Aesthetically darker and mechanically sharper, Bloodborne forces a more offensive play style on its players by effectively removing shields entirely and, in the most twisted design decision of all, replacing them with firearms used exclusively for parrying and not dealing damage. From Father Gascoigne to Vicar Amelia and Micolash, Host of the Nightmare, Bloodborne's terrors will stay with you for a very long time.
2. Dark Souls
Platform(s): PC, PS3, Xbox 360
For the sake of this list's structure, I'm slotting Dark Souls in at number 2, but, in all honesty, I think Dark Souls and Elden Ring are neck-and-neck. Dark Souls was a game changer upon release in 2011. A sleeper hit that became a cult classic, then evolved into a trendsetter that was eventually voted the greatest video game of all time at the 2021 Golden Joystick Awards. All of this is owed to its enchanting fantasy world, its masterful level design, its bastard-hard bosses and its ambiguous lore that demands you overturn every rock and crystal lizard from here to Anor Londo in order to unlock its darkest secrets. With a great PvP scene – that's still active today thanks to 2018's remaster – and a slice of DLC that houses some of the series' most iconic antagonists, it's no wonder we're still talking about Dark Souls over a decade since launch. Don't be surprised if we're still talking about it in another 10 years' time.
1. Elden Ring
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
"Suffering has never been so much fun," so reads our five-star Elden Ring review, which tells you everything to know about the latest of FromSoftware's twisted action-RPGs. The biggest, weirdest, most outlandish and ambitious game the Japanese developer has ever created – this time with advice from Game of Thrones mastermind George RR Martin – Elden Ring takes everything Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team have learned since Demon's Souls in 2009, and expands on it. If Dark Souls birthed the Soulslike genre, Elden Ring defines it.
Want even more FromSoft alikes in your life? Check out the best games like Dark Souls.