Dark Souls (Series)

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Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Genres: Action, Adventure, Narrative and Strategy

Released: October 2011. Added to this library 3 months ago, last updated 7 weeks ago.

Overview

Souls is a series of fighting and exploration games. From third-person perspective you navigate interconnected locations while fighting enemies with weapons and magic. Larger boss enemy encounters progress the story. The games are known for their difficulty and intentional frustration of the player.

They are set in a dark, medieval setting in a ruined kindgom. Enemies are knights, dragons, phantoms, and demons. You choose a class from knights, barbarians, thieves, and mages, each with its own starting equipment and abilities. As you progress you develop this and gain new weapons.

Central to the games is that you have to die to learn how to react in the hostile environments. Players have to have the will and belligerence to repeatedly face the same foes, to learn from mistakes. When you die you are teleported back to a bonfire where you last rested, which can mean considerable progress is lost.

The game also challenges the player to endure in battle. Long fights require attacks, blocking, or dodging that consume stamina. You must carefully manage this while also working to defeat your current foe.

  • Demon's Souls (2009) on PlayStation 3
  • Dark Souls (2010) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • Dark Souls II (2014) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Dark Souls III (2016) on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
  • Dark Souls: Remastered (2018) on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
  • Demon's Souls (2020) remastered for PlayStation 5
Other games from the develop shared a similar approach to difficulty, perseverance and skill required:
Bloodborne (2015) on PlayStation 4
Shadows Die Twice (2010) on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC
Elden Ring (Upcoming) on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC

Tip

This game is good if you want to take on a mountainous challenge, build resilience or cope with losing.

Commitment

Duration: This game will take between 50 hours and 100 hours to complete. Time is for the first Dark Souls, but all these games can take 100's of hours. Many never finish them because of the skill and patience required.
 
Players: You can play this with 6 players online. Although a single-player game, you can briefly see the actions of others as ghosts. Players can leave messages on the ground for each other to help or hinder. You can also summon up to 6 other players to play co-operatively for a while using special summoning signs.

Costs

Does not include in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

You will need PlayStation Plus to play online with PlayStation 3. You will need Xbox Live Gold (must be 18 to create, then configure family accounts for younger players) to play online with Xbox One. You will need Xbox Live Gold to play online with Xbox 360. You will need PlayStation Plus (must be 18 to create, then create sub-accounts for younger players) to play online with PlayStation 4. You will need Nintendo Online (must be 18 to purchase, but can be any age to use) to play online with Nintendo Switch.

Ratings

Like the other games, Dark Souls Remastered is rated PEGI 16 due to frequent moderate violence. The game features the use of a variety of medieval type weaponry that are used to kill the enemy characters. In use, the sword will deliver a killing blow in one or two strikes. Each strike will result in a splash of blood; the use of firebombs are prevalent throughout the game and when they explode they will emit a large plume of fire. Although the characters can be enveloped by the fire none suffer any visible damage from it. The game features online playing capability which may involve real-time interaction with other players.

ESRB MATURE 17+ for Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity, Violence.

Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.

Accessibility

System settings: Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games.

PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a wide range of system features including some that can be used on all games, like the excellent co-pilot mode... read more.


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Similar Games

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Dark Souls is in These Lists

In addition to the similar games listed above, which have been linked to this game specifically in the database, you may find games with a similar theme to Dark Souls in the following lists:

Attempt The Impossible

How hard a game is considered to be depends on who is playing it. A three-year-old tackling Zelda will struggle. But equally a new-to-games-parents will find Mutant Mudds quickly gets beyond them. The games in this list are known for being difficult. They wear the difficulty as a badge of honour. "None shall pass," except this with the will, time and belligerence to get good enough at this particular activity to beat the high bar the game sets.

This might be grappling with the flying mechanics in Rocket League, getting endlessly lost trying to find the next guardian in Shadow of the Collosus or coming up with the right tactic to get enough money for the ship you need in Elite. Of course, some of these games can be made easier, but to play them at their best is to ramp up the difficulty to max (crushing on The Last Of Us for example) and let them give you all they've got.
 

Build Personal Resilience

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves "bouncing back" from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

Games, by design, present players with adversity and much of the joy of gaming comes from taking on and overcoming unnecessary obstacles. Whether you’re saving the universe from an alien invasion or tending crops in your animal community, playing games mimics the process of resilience.

Image 163 This list of games that can help foster various forms of psychological resilience is compiled with the expert help of Take This. They aim to decrease the stigma, and increase the support for, mental health in the game enthusiast community and inside the game industry. They encourage a game community that welcomes and supports people experiencing mental health challenges, and that recognizes the humanity and mental health of game creators.

The Portal series tell a narrative that you are going to fail. You’re told to give up, but if you ignore this barrage of discouragement you can use it as a way to strengthen your resolve and complete the puzzles even if you have failed twenty times in the process. The Stanley Parable is all about trying again. You can try and re-try your decision making, reaching a variety of different endings.

Dark Souls is a hallmark for a punishing challenge that require resilience. You journey through elaborate lands to adventure, explore, and take heed lest they encounter a battle with a boss or enemy. Celeste is the story of Madeline and the enemies she overcomes while climbing Celeste Mountain. The game specifically calls out that Madeline has anxiety, and the challenges she faces in the environment reflect her own internal struggles and triumphs. Cuphead challenges players to battle relentless bosses in combat-heavy play. Cartoonish and playful, it balances challenging players to grow in skill and offers plenty of entertaining environments and aesthetics to keep you playing.

In Kingdom Hearts you meet many characters that need help - and many boss battles feel almost insurmountable. With help from friends like Donald and Goofy, the player character Sora overcomes the darkness to save his friends and bring hope back to the world. Death Squared is a co-op puzzle game where one player’s mistake makes everyone else lose. You learn cooperative resilience in trying again admits humorous judgments from the unseen “hosts” of the game.

In Animal Crossing you get help from the animal neighbours. You learn to lean on this social and environmental resilience to persevere at building social connections with computer villagers and friends online. Stardew Valley’s farming is about growing and maintaining a homestead. Interweaving the busy work are relationships with the other villagers, many of whom are social models for resilience in their storylines.
 

Persevere After Losing

Video games where you adventure into a harsh setting, try your hardest to survive and slowly develop your abilities but then inevitably die are often called Rogue-likes. This is because one of the first games that offered this style of play was called Rogue.

These are interesting games for families, not only because their difficult nature leads to shorter sessions, but also because they foster perseverance and coping with losing. After dying you are sent back to some sort of central village where you can choose upgrades for your next attempt. The incentive to play again once you have been killed is usually that you start with some more equipment or skills.

In this way, by belligerence and a slowly learned understanding of how the game world works and how best to survive, you incrementally get a bit further each time you play. Here are some really good roguelike games for families:
 
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