On this page of the Elden Ring game guide, we recommend which Soulsborne games are best to start with, so that you can easily learn certain mechanics and behaviors that will help you enjoy the challenges brought on by this genre.
Every Soulsborne game series is unique and you will learn different techniques in each. However, it's true that starting out with a specific entry in this genre is the most sensible way to go. For this reason, you should check out the list below, which ranks the games from the best choice to get you started in this genre, to the last game on the list, which will test all the skills you've acquired on your journey.
- Demon's Souls (2020)
- Dark Souls 2
- Dark Souls Remastered
- Dark Souls 3
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
- Elden Ring
Demon's Souls (2020)
The remake of Demon's Souls is a very successful game. The game is a Playstation 5 exclusive. Even though it's one of the newest games on the market, it's exactly like the good old Demon's Souls from 2009. This series started out the Soulsborne genre.
What makes it a great choice to start out your adventure with this genre is that its mechanics are accessible to new players and the gameplay is very slow, which helps a lot in learning the patterns of opponents and in mastering the use of weapons and spells. What's more, the subsequent games in the series are just as slow as Demon's Souls, so the pacing of the following titles won't cause you issues. Starting out your adventure with this genre with games that offer livelier gameplay, such as Sekiro or Dark Souls 3, could make it difficult to get used to the much slower pacing of the remaining titles in the series.
Dark Souls 2
Dark Souls 2 is the second game in the Dark Souls series and, despite the fact that its atmosphere is slightly different from its predecessor, the style and pace of the game is just as slow (maybe even more). While it seems like chronologically you should play Dark Souls Remastered first, and the games aren't that different, Dark Souls 2 is the better choice for a second game for newcomers to the genre.
Mainly because it's a game with a lot more bosses. Consequently, most of these bosses are relatively easy to defeat. While you will still have to watch out for them (and some bosses are very difficult to beat), defeating most of them shouldn't be an impossible challenge for a beginner and the satisfaction gained from besting a boss should encourage you to explore this genre further.
Dark Souls Remastered
The third game you should check out is Dark Souls Remastered, which is the beginning of the Dark Souls series. This game improves the mechanics that appeared in Demon's Souls without changing them completely. It improves and expands on elements from Demon's Souls. Moreover, the pace of the gameplay is practically constant (although it's a bit faster than in DS2), so you'll feel like you're playing the same, but improved game with new spells and weapons.
Unfortunately, you'll need to get used to the fact that initially, you won't be able to jump between bonfires. You will only unlock the fast travel option after a certain point of the game. This can be seen as part of the game's difficulty meant to enrich your experience.
Dark Souls 3
It's true that this is the most accessible Dark Souls game for new players. The only problem is that the game's pacing changes dramatically, as it's much faster than its predecessors, which might make it difficult to go back to the more slowly-paced games. In addition, Dark Souls 3, due to its faster gameplay pacing (although not as fast as in other games), will be a great way to prepare for the subsequent games, which are even faster paced.
However, if you disagree with this statement and think that jumping between fast and slow gameplay won't pose a problem for you, then potentially starting your adventure with the Soulsborne games from Dark Souls 3 might be a good alternative for you.
The next game in the Soulsborne genre is quite different from Demon's Souls and Dark Souls. We're talking about Bloodborne, of course. Despite changing up some of the mechanics, however, it's still based on what you have seen in previous games while bringing a breath of fresh air and increasing the pace of combat. You, e.g. will stop depending on your shield. Instead, you'll focus on quick dodges and gun parries.
It's a good idea to play this title after Dark Souls 3. The challenge level will be higher due to the pace of the game, but it won't become overwhelming. If you started playing Bloodborne after completing titles like Dark Souls Remastered or Dark Souls 2, the pace and speed of some of the choices you need to make amidst combat would be much higher than if you switched from DS3 to BB.
Moreover, parrying attacls in Bloodborne, due to its fast pacing, will help you advance to the next game on this list.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro is a game that is undoubtedly one of the most difficult Soulsborne games. This is mainly due to the game's pace, which is the fastest of all the games by From Software studio.
Additionally, the game's main mechanic, i.e. deflecting opponent's blows, is one of the biggest challenges in the game. It's used to deal damage to the opponent, as breaking their poise is much more profitable than attacking them just to chip away at their health bar.
Sekiro is simply a different game and you can't play it in the same way as the aforementioned titles. This forces those who previously played games of this genre to adapt to a different playstyle. This fact has led some players to believe that Sekiro should be the first game to start with.
The problem is that this game is considered one of the most difficult Soulsborne games for this reason alone. Even learning how to parry, although it definitely makes transitioning to games such as the Dark Souls series easier, isn't necessary to complete them. In the case of Sekiro, it's basically required. Additionally, the game is about perfectly parrying each subsequent attack as opposed to continuously pressing one button to block. For this reason, you should play Bloodborne before taking on Sekiro, because you will have an easier time learning how to parry attacks in the former, which are critical in the latter game.
The latest production by From Software, Elden Ring should be at the very end of your list. It's a game that took the best elements of its predecessors, threw in and switched up most of the mechanics, added an open world, new enemies and some original ideas to create a completely new game.
The gameplay is as fast as in Bloodborne and even Sekiro, subsequent mechanics and concepts have the same basis as in the previous games, however, they have been updated and refined enough that it would be very difficult for you to start your adventure with the Soulsborne genre from this game. There are plenty of bosses in the game world and you will encounter dangers lurking in every corner, so this title will be (for the moment) the perfect culmination and test of your skills.
To summarise the whole list, the intention was to list the games based on their pacing, starting from the slowest and ending with the fastest. At the start of the list, the differences are negligible (Demon's Souls, Dark Souls Remastered, Dark Souls 2), but the pacing starts increasing with Dark Souls 3. The subsequent games keep on increasing in pace, adding newer mechanics, such as focusing on dodging instead of using a shield, gun parries, damaging opponents by deflecting attacks rather than directly attacking them.
This list offers the optimal order to play the games. Just like with a good book or movie, first you need to build the atmosphere and tension before the action proper can begin. It's no different in the case of the Soulsborne genre. Your best bet is to start with something slow, with less content, then compare it to the newer and faster titles, rather than to start with the game richest content, increasingly lowering your expectations for the remaining titles, while adapting to their slower pacing.