With Elden Ring, FromSoftware is at the pinnacle of its craft. While it’s always been successful with its Souls games, Elden Ring is accessible in a way its predecessors never were and has garnered a massive fan base because of that. Still, since the average player will finish Elden Ring in around 80 to 100 hours—given a fairly straightforward route through the game—they made be looking back to the rest of FromSoftware’s catalog to satisfy that newly-found Souls itch.
While FromSoftware boasts a fairly extensive list of titles, fans of Elden Ring should look no further than their Souls series. This means that they have a roster of approximately 6 games to comb through—not counting remakes—with the most recent original release before Elden Ring being Sekiro. To fully cover their bases, fans may also want to look at the King’s Field series to educate themselves on the history of FromSoftware and the Souls genre.
The Argument For A Release Date Order Playthrough of FromSoftware’s Games
The simplest and perhaps the best way to go about playing through FromSoftware’s catalog is by order of when each game was released. To be clear, it’s acceptable to play the Demon’s Souls remake in place of the original title, while playing through chronological order, just for ease of access alone. This means that the order should be: Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3and then Sekirowhich would bring the player up to the release of Elden Ring. As mentioned before, for the purists in the audience, it may be important to start with the King’s Field series as well as seek out the original version of Demon’s Souls.
The most beautiful aspect of the release date order play-through is that it fully illustrates the evolution of FromSoftware. A player grinding through every game starting from Demon’s Souls will see the tweaks and changes made in each subsequent game, finally culminating in Elden Ring. The main drawback to this order is that having been spoiled by Elden Ringwhich is arguably FromSoftware’s greatest achievement, players may find it difficult to go back and truly appreciate the older games.
The Argument For An Ascending Difficulty Playthrough
Since the Souls Games are almost entirely separate entities with very little shared between each game, it weakens the argument for using chronological order. Instead, the best way to tackle FromSoftware’s catalog might be by difficulty, starting with the easiest and ending with the hardest game. While it can be difficult to determine the difficulty of each game, a Souls game difficulty tier list can be of great use. It’s important to keep one fact in mind, though, while digesting opinions on which game is the most difficult; the hardest game is often the first Souls game a player experiences. As Souls games generally have a steep learning curve compared to other genres, players may consider their first title to be the hardest, regardless of where it would rank if the entire community was polled or some objective measure was used.
It’s fairly clear that argues about the difficulty rankings of the Souls Games and their offshoots are going to be hotly contested. Instead, an imperfect solution is that players should focus on playing through in order of boss fight difficulty. While fans squabble about the overall difficulty, there is some semblance of consensus around boss fights. It is generally agreed that encounters like the Orphan of Kos and Ludwig from Bloodborne: The Old Hunters are the most difficult, with boss fights from Sekiro coming in just after those. Finally, in terms of boss fights in the Dark Souls trilogy, Dark Souls 3 tends to reign supreme.
Here’s an order that should take more or less players from the easiest encounters to the hardest: Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls 2, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 3, Sekiro, Bloodborne—with the caveat that Bloodborne must include The Old Hunters DLC.
Elden Ring is available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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