Kneeling at a Fire in Dark Souls Remastered
Image via FromSoftware

How to Play the Dark Souls Games in Order

There aren't as many official Dark Souls games as you think!

It’s hard to believe that the Dark Souls franchise has been around for over a decade, and even harder to believe that its fanbase is just as active now as it was twelve years ago when the first Dark Souls game was released. The Dark Souls games are known for their difficulty; they’ve even been called “unplayable” in the past by some critics who weren’t expecting the challenge that these games presented. Despite the challenging nature of these games, they still remain some of the most popular RPGs on the market!

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There are only three official Dark Souls games, though it can be confusing to know which games are in the main trilogy and which aren’t. There are a lot of games that appear similar to Dark Souls but aren’t actually part of the series; if you’ve been having trouble figuring out which games are part of the official trilogy, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to find out how to play all of the official Dark Souls games in order!

How to Play the Dark Souls Games in Order

Dark Souls/Dark Souls: Remastered

Fighting a Demon in Dark Souls
Image via FromSoftware

The original Dark Souls game was simply titled “Dark Souls” and was released by FromSoftware in 2011; its remastered version wasn’t released until seven years later in 2018. Dark Souls is considered to be the first official game in the series, though many consider FromSoftware’s previous game, Demon’s Souls, to be its spiritual predecessor. Demon’s Souls isn’t technically a Dark Souls game, though admittedly, they are very similar. Demon’s Souls is a good introductory game for beginners who aren’t familiar with the Dark Souls franchise.

For anyone not familiar with the Dark Souls franchise, this game is hard. Dark Souls games are generally known for their difficulty, but this first game especially has even faced criticism for being “unplayable” due to its high difficulty. This game is great for anyone with a lot of free time who really enjoys a challenge! Don’t get discouraged if you can’t beat the game on your first try though, because there are a lot of people who can’t even beat the game at all.

Dark Souls II

Dark Souls 2 Battle
Image via FromSoftware Inc.

Dark Souls II was released by FromSoftware in 2014 and is the direct sequel to Dark Souls. Dark Souls II is every bit as arduous and difficult as its predecessor, though some fans felt as though it focused too much on the story and not enough on the combat. Despite these claims, Dark Souls II still isn’t a game you want to underestimate. This game is still a Dark Souls game after all; wickedly strong enemies and impossible boss battles litter every square inch of this game!

On average, players do have an easier time beating Dark Souls II than the original Dark Souls game due to the game’s focus on deeper storytelling, but that doesn’t mean the game is easy. Dark Souls II is still an unbelievably challenging experience that thousands of gamers have struggled with; just because Dark Souls II offers a bit more lore than other Dark Souls games doesn’t mean you should underestimate it. If you love a good challenge and are invested in the mysterious lore of Dark Souls, you definitely shouldn’t skip Dark Souls II!

Dark Souls III

Unbeatable Boss in Dark Souls 3
Image via FromSoftware

Dark Souls III is the most recent official Dark Souls game to be released and it is currently the latest game in the series. Dark Souls III was released in 2016 by FromSoftware and although it’s officially the final game in the series, many people consider Elden Ring to be the unofficial successor to this game. Dark Souls III is noticeably more difficult than Dark Souls II, though it still incorporates enough lore and story into the gameplay to keep it engaging. This game is just as difficult, if not more difficult, than the original Dark Souls game; if that wasn’t bad enough, FromSoftware released two DLCs (Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City) that added even more impossible bosses and tougher enemies to the game.

Dark Souls III marks the end of the Dark Souls trilogy, but as I mentioned before, many people consider Elden Ring to be the unofficial successor to Dark Souls III. Elden Ring was released in 2022 and follows in the footsteps of the Dark Souls games by featuring unbeatable bosses and multiple separate, non-linear storylines. Elden Ring is also an open-world game with a massive map, it’s taken even the most skilled gamers over 50+ hours just to beat it (if they can even reach the end)! If you’re unfamiliar with the Dark Souls franchise, however, I highly recommend beating all the Dark Souls games (at least Darks Souls and Dark Souls III) before you try to tackle Elden Ring.

Related: How to Play the Dragon Age Games in Order

If you loved playing the Dark Souls games and wish there were more than just the official three, you should definitely consider downloading Elden Ring or Bloodborne! Both of these games were developed by FromSoftware and are considered by many to be “unofficial Dark Souls games”. Check out Gamer Journalist’s guides for Bloodborne and Elden Ring if you’re not sure which to buy first!

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Allysen Pierce
Allysen Pierce is a freelance writer with a passion for gaming who has been a part of the Gamer Journalist team since May 2022. Her main passions are horror games and dating sims (especially combinations of the two), but she has been known to play literally anything that is put in front of her. Her current favorite games include Skyrim, I Was a Teenage Exocolonist, Cult of the Lamb, Slaughter Horse, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. When she's not playing games (or writing about them), she can be found reading, baking, watching horror movies, or playing with her cat.