PlayStation’s Demon’s Soul Remake was the latest entry of the Souls franchise, otherwise known as the “Dark Souls games.” As fans of the Souls series, we’re discussing every title that has come out so far.
Many believe the original Demon’s Soul is the “spiritual successor” to King’s Field. King’s Field is the first game FromSoftware created. Because we neither agree nor disagree, we’re considering this game is the first of the franchise.
That means we’re going from King’s Field towards the latest remake.
The “Souls” Series
FomSoftware’s “Souls-series” starts with Demon’s Souls. The game debuted in 2009, and it marks the first true success for the developer.
The Dark Souls trilogy came after. The three games premiered in 2011, 2014, and 2016, respectively.
Also, King’s Field debuted in 1994. Many believe it’s the spiritual ancestor of the Souls series. Yet, King’s Field has its own set of games.
Bloodborne debuted in 2015 as a PlayStation 4 exclusive. Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls creator Hidetaka Miyazaki created this title, so fans consider it part of the broader “Souls-borne series.”
Finally, Demon’s Soul Remake came out as a PlayStation 5 exclusive in November 2020. However, FromSoftware didn’t make the exclusive. Another studio took care of the title.
You should know Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and King’s Field live in their own universes. Still, they share enough traits to consider them as part of a saga.
Dark Souls Games in Order
King’s Field -1994
King’s Field is a video-game RPG series by FromSoftware. They offer a dark atmosphere, labyrinthic dungeons, and a high difficulty level.
There’re four titles in the saga. The first one debuted for PlayStation in 1994. Then came King’s Field 2 (1995), King’s Field 3 (1996), and King’s Field 4 (2001). The follow-up games came out for PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Windows PCs. There were also mobile versions available.
The series’ gameplay revolves around a slow-moving character carefully exploring 3-D mazes. You then had simple combat movements to hack & slash your enemies. Enemies drop gold, and you could use the gold to buy gear.
Then, progressing on the dungeon was akin to a Metroidvania game. You could advance anywhere on the map, but you needed to unlock abilities or complete puzzles to move forward.
The first three games of the series are similar and follow a singular storyline. The fourth one has a new character and a new story but continues the same gameplay. Also, these are first-person games. FromSoftware changed towards a third-person perspective for Demon’s Souls.
Demon’s Souls -2009
Demon’s Souls is a third-person RPG game. It debuted as a PlayStation 3 exclusive and achieved about 2 million copies. It’s the official first part of the Souls series.
The game’s world is “Boletaria,” a dark realm. An evil being known as the “Old One” is consuming the kingdom following his awakening.
Players start at a character creation screen where they tweak appearance, gender, and stats. Moreover, they get to choose among ten classes and enter the world to defeat the Old One.
Gameplay-wise, players navigate different maps through a hub, the Nexus. Combat relies on blocks, weapon strikes, and special abilities. Different weapon types open up new movements and grant varying movement speeds.
There’s a heavy emphasis on difficult combat and mechanics around death and respawn. More importantly, there’re 22 bosses plus 4 optional bosses.
You gain souls by defeating enemies, and they serve as the game’s currency. When you die, the game takes you to the beginning of the level and resets all non-boss enemies.
Then, you lose all of your souls on death. You can get them back by touching your remains, but you’ll lose them forever if you die again.
Lastly, the game had a multiplayer feature through the PlayStation Network.
Dark Souls I – 2011
Dark Souls I is the company’s next action RPG game. It’s the spiritual successor of Demon’s Souls, and so it lives in its own universe. It’s available for PS3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC.
The new fictional world is the Lordran Kingdom. Players take the role of an undead character on a pilgrimage to uncover the fate of its kind.
As before, you start at a character creation screen. You pick one of the ten classes, pick a Gift, and tweak gender and appearance.
Then, you proceed in the world with caution, learn from your defeats, and level up. There’s a central hub area that connects the different pockets of the open world. You may explore all paths at will, but you must meet certain requisites to unlock various areas.
The game leans heavily on combat. It includes melee attacks, dodges, defensive maneuvers, and magic. Additionally, it has a similar soul system as Demon’s Souls.
Another core element is bonfires. These are scattered throughout the world and serve as a checkpoint. By resting at the bonfire, you heal your character, as well as your “Estus Flask“(your HP potions).
The bonfire offers other options like repairing and upgrading equipment. However, resting at the bonfire also respawns all non-boss enemies. Mini-bosses do come back.
Lastly, Dark Souls I has a complex multiplayer system that allows some sort of co-op play.
Artorias of the Abyss / Prepare to Die Edition – 2012
The Prepare to Die Edition came out for Windows PC in August 2012. It had new content not available for consoles.
The new content then debuted for PS3 and Xbox 360 as the Artorias of the Abyss expansion. Nowadays, Prepare to Die Edition is available for PS3, Xbox 360, and PS4 as well.
The expansion happens a hundred years before Dark Souls. It has a new playable character, areas, bosses, items, and a story arc. The setting is the land of Oolacile, and you must save it from Manus, Father of the Abyss.
Dark Souls II -2014
Dark Souls II is the next action RPG game by FromSoftware. It debuted for PS43, Xbox 360, and Windows PCs in 2014.
It’s doesn’t follow the story we saw on Dark Souls I, but it shares the same universe.
This time, players visit the Drangleic kingdom. You play as an undead human and choose between eight classes. The undead are cursed humans who can’t die, doomed to lose their memories until becoming a husk with no purpose. You travel the world to end the curse.
Gameplay is similar. The bonfire mechanic, the Souls system, and the challenging enemies are present as well. Upgrades include better AI, performance, and graphics.
Another change is how your player’s maximum HP goes down with each death, and only a rare item can reverse the issue.
There’re also multiplayer features, both PvP and co-op PvE. Co-op works through “summoning” someone else to your world; PvP works by visiting other worlds as a “shadow.”
The Lost Crowns Trilogy DLC – 2014
The Lost Crowns packs the three downloadable contents available for Dark Souls II. All three DLCs debuted in 2014. These are Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the Ivory King.
You play with your character and progress the story through about 12 hours of new playable areas, enemies, and items.
The DLC pack is available for PS3, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Scholar of the First Sin – 2015
Scholar of the First Sin debuted in 2015 for PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, and Xbox One.
It doesn’t bring new content. Instead, it’s a compilation of the Lost Crowns trilogy DLCs plus the main game.
Additionally, it packs remastered visuals, upgraded lighting effects, 1080p resolution, and 60fps performance. Other upgrades took care of enemy AI, multiplayer performance, single-player performance, items, and more.
Bloodborne – 2015
Bloodborne is another original IP by FromSoftware. Dark Souls creator, Hidetaka Miyazaki, is the game’s director. Perhaps that’s why Bloodborne is so similar to Dark Souls, despite having its own game universe.
The game debuted as a PlayStation 4 exclusive in 2015. You play as a Hunter through Yharnam, a gothic, decrepit city. A blood-borne disease is affecting the population, and you must discover what’s happening.
Bloodborne is faster, more violent, and gory than its predecessors. Also, firearms are available in the game.
Also, instead of Souls, you get “Blood Echoes” by defeating enemies and exploring the world. You use them to boost your stats, trade, and repair your equipment. You lose Blood Echoes on death.
The other core mechanic is “Lamps.” Here’s where you respawn upon death, but these places can’t heal you. Instead, you can travel through the world by teleporting to other lamps you’ve unlocked.
The Old Hunters – 2016
FromSoftware released Bloodborne’s expansion, The Old Hunters, in 2015.
The expansion adds new locations, bosses, armor, and weapons. Also, it comes with a free patch that brought multiple performance upgrades.
Dark Souls III – 2016
Dark Souls III is the third and final part of the action RPG trilogy and the fourth entry of the Souls series.
The game comes with the same mechanics as before, including Bonfires, Souls, and challenging combat. However, it represents the biggest upgrade for the franchise. Its graphical prowess, performance, and enemy AI still shine today, many years later.
One change is the introduction of Ashen Estus Flasks. They restore your Focus Points (FP), which you use for magical skills. There’s a limited number of charges, and you can recharge them at a bonfire. Focus Points were present in Demon’s Souls as well.
Another difference is how shields can work as weapons. Similarly, players now have both a light and a heavy attack, the approach most action RPGs have copied since.
As for the plot, you visit a new area, Lothric Kingdom. The Age of Fire is dying out, and you need to prevent that from happening. Otherwise, a curse that raises the dead will cover the world.
Dark Souls III is FromSoftware’s most iconic and popular game. It’s also one of the single-player best-sellers of all time. Currently, it’s available for PS4, Xbox One, and Windows.
Dark Souls III: Deluxe Edition – 2016
There’re two DLCs available for Dark Souls III. The Deluxe Edition packs the base game plus the two downloadable contents.
Ashes of Ariandel is the first DLC. It introduces a new area you can explore with your character.
The Ringed City is the second DLC. You travel to a ruined kingdom and encounter areas present in Dark Souls II.
The Deluxe Edition is otherwise known as The Fire Fades Edition. It came out for PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Dark Souls Remastered – 2018
A remastered edition of the classic game came out in 2018 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC.
It includes the vanilla game plus the expansion (Artorias of the Abyss). As for upgrades, it brings remastered sound and visuals. The game runs in 1080p and 60fps.
Here’s a video comparing the old vs. the remastered version:
Dark Souls Trilogy – 2018
In 2018, Bandai Namco and FromSoftware released the whole trilogy in a single package.
The Dark Souls Trilogy includes:
The bundle is available for Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC. You can check availability on Bandai Namco’s site.
Demon’s Souls Remake – 2020
Bluepoint Games is behind the PlayStation 5 launch exclusive, Demon’s Souls Remake. Even though FromSoftware was not part of it, the title faithfully re-creates the original game with modern graphics and performance.
The original Demon’s Souls is an achievement in terms of what RPG games can be. Then, the remake showcased the powers of the new console generation.
Most importantly, there’re no loading screens, which is very important in a game where you die a lot. Everything happens with a seamless flow and superb performance. Likewise, the game runs at native 4K/30fps, or 1440p upscaled to 4K/60fps.
Aside from visuals, developers also re-recorded the whole soundtrack, voice-acting, and sound effects.
There’re new weapons, rings, and armors. Additionally, new items, “Grains,” give players temporary resistance to negative effects.
Another new feature is the “Fractured World.” It’s a game mode that reverses the level layout for an extra challenge.
Also, the game includes a photo mode. It allows players to take screenshots during their gameplay with a pause menu.
Lastly, there’re new aesthetic customization options on the character creation screen.
To sum up, Here’s the List of Dark Souls Games in Chronological Order
Do I Need to Play the Souls Games in Order?
You don’t have to play the Souls games in order.
The Dark Souls Trilogy is loosely connected with the Age of Fire concept. Other than that, they all feature different playable characters, enemies, areas, and story arcs. You could play the third installment and follow its plot without any prior knowledge.
The rest of the games in the Souls series are stand-alone experiences.
Will There Be Another Dark Souls Game?
Perhaps Dark Souls III is the end, with only remakes and remasters in the near future to look forward to. What will the future hold? No one knows…
That’s untrue. We do know what the future holds. FromSoftware is as active as ever and is working on a new souls-like called the Elden Ring.
Speaking of souls-likes from FromSoftware, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (2019) is also a solid standalone game from the developer that feels like Dark Souls does.