On February 25, the highly anticipated action RPG game, Elden Ring, finally arrived.
Written in part by George R.R. Martin and produced by FromSoftware, it was a game that was almost destined to succeed. Upon the initial game trailer back at E3 in 2019, many gamers’ interests were instantly piqued by the content of the trailer, and by the idea of seeing a collaboration between Dark Souls’ developers and the writer behind Game of Thrones.
It may have taken years of development before Elden Ring was finally released, but when it was made available on nearly every gaming system late last month, fans were immediately blown away. Like Dark Souls before it, Elden Ring was universally acclaimed by critics and video game players, who praised the game’s unique environments and visual design, challenging gameplay, and its immersive open world.
With how massive the world of Elden Ring is, it’s doubtful that many casual gamers have completely beaten Elden Ring yet. However, we decided to highlight some games out there that closely resemble Elden Ring—either tonally or from a gameplay/story perspective—we recommend checking out after you’ve managed to beat the game in its entirety.
Given how prestigious and popular FromSoftware and their many video games are, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many of their most acclaimed games found a way on this list
One of the company’s earliest successes responsible for putting FromSoftware on the map came in 2009 in the form of Demon’s Souls, one of the most popular PS3 games of all time. Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Boletaria, players are given control of a customizable hero sent to stop a mysterious, malevolent entity known as the Old One.
Like every entry in the Souls series, Demon’s Souls is characterized by extremely challenging gameplay, becoming infamous for its difficult boss battles and the disadvantages it bestows on players. (For example, if you happen to be killed in a boss battle, you’ll respawn at the start of the level with reduced health each time you die.)
As bafflingly hard as Demon's Souls is, many Western gamers praised Demon’s Soul upon release, leading it to win numerous accolades in 2009. IGN and GameTrailers named it the Best RPG of the year, with GameSpot awarding it the Overall Game of the Year, the Best PS3 game, the Best RPG, and the Best Original Game Mechanic.
The game’s success would later result in a PlayStation 5 remake of the game, in addition to FromSoftware developing a series of Souls games following the release of this one.
Dark Souls III
Jumping ahead from Demon’s Souls—the game that established FromSoftware in the gaming industry and as well as being the first entry in the Souls series—we have Dark Souls III.
In the fourth and final installment of FromSoftware’s Souls saga, Dark Souls III finds players in the role of the Ashen One—an undead warrior who must save his world from the looming Age of Dark by guiding a group of powerful, defiant lords to their thrones. Like every other game in the Souls saga, Dark Souls III was critically acclaimed upon release and was similarly applauded for its intense gameplay, difficult combat system, and immersive settings.
Named as one of the greatest final installments in a video game series ever, it would win several prestigious awards, including the Satellite and D.I.C.E. Award for Outstanding Action/Adventure Game and the 2016 Golden Joystick Award for Game of the Year.
If you’re looking for a game that’s virtually the same as Elden Ring, you absolutely won’t find a better or more difficult gaming option than Dark Souls III.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Widely considered one of the best video games of all time, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is easily among the greatest and most enjoyable fantasy games you’ll ever play.
Inspired by the series of fantasy novels of the same name by Andrzej Sapkowski, The Witcher 3 follows Geralt of Rivia, a monster slayer for hire trying to find his adopted daughter, Ciri, who is currently being pursued by a group of otherworldly, horse-mounted spectors known as the Wild Hunt.
Every game in The Witcher franchise may have been positively received, but the acclaim Wild Hunt won far exceeded the two original games in the series, setting a new, unexpectedly high standard for every open-world medieval fantasy game that followed.
Praised for its narrative, addictive gameplay, and world design (inspired by Slavic mythology), The Witcher, would win or earn nominations from numerous gaming ceremonies and other prestigious institutions, including a Writers Guild of America nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Videogame Writing.
The Witcher 3 also won the Golden Joystick, SXSW Gaming Award, and 2015 Game Award for Game of the Year (it was similarly voted the Game of the Year by IGN, GameSpot, and Game Informer). The 2016 Game of the Year edition would sell over 30 million copies, making it one of the highest-selling games of all time.
Its fantasy setting makes it an ideal choice for anyone looking for a game with as expansive a world as Elden Ring, complete with the player’s making endless decisions that have a huge impact on the game’s storyline.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Before Elden Ring, the fantasy RPG everyone raved about was Skyrim. Ten years after its release, it’s still one of the most frequently-played games there is, thanks to its open-ended storylines, countless side missions, and expansive, fully NPC-populated world.
Two hundred years after the previous Elder Scrolls game, Oblivion, players are given control of the Dragonborn (an ancient race of humans able to absorb a dragon’s soul and who possess magical powers) in the province of Skyrim, a war-torn realm of Tamriel.
Traversing this fantasy region, learning various magical spells, and completing both main missions and side quests, the Dragonborn prepares to face an all-powerful dragon known as Alduin, who is destined to destroy the world. One of the best-selling games of all time, Skyrim’s influence can be seen on practically every open-world game that followed, from the later installments of The Witcher and Dragon Age to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Without games like Skyrim pushing the boundary for large open-world video games and a narrative based around players’ individual choices, RPGs as immersive and fully fleshed out as Elden Ring almost certainly wouldn’t exist—or at the very least, wouldn’t be as remotely immersive as they are now.
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor
It's fair to say no one really expected much from Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor after it was first announced—games based off of The Lord of the Rings having a tendency to receive mostly mediocre reviews upon release.
When Shadow of Mordor was finally made playable in 2014, though, the game completely shattered everyone’s expectations, delivering a game that was dark, enjoyable, and presented Tolkien’s Middle-Earth in a bold and exciting new way.
Set between the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, players control Talion, a Gondorian Ranger who is left for dead after watching his family violently murdered by acolytes of Sauron.
Bonding with the wraith of the Elven Lord Celebrimbor, Talion seeks vengeance against those who wronged him, combating numerous Orcs and Uruk-hai before confronting Sauron’s lieutenants personally.
Shadow of Mordor boasts a fantastic combat system and wonderfully modern interpretation of Middle-Earth, but the game’s best and most enjoyable feature is its unique Nemesis System. Through the Nemesis System, the game tracks stronger Uruk-hai the player encounters, recording the interactions Talion has with them and casting them into a larger hierarchy of antagonists, providing numerous potential interactions between players and stronger enemies.
With how greatly Tolkien’s work has influenced George RR Martin, it shouldn’t be surprising to see the tonal similarities between Elden Ring and a game like Shadow of Mordor. While both games play very differently from one another, they each offer a unique gaming experience populated by rich worlds you’re able to fully explore and dozens upon dozens of unique enemies to battle in your adventures.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Another game produced by FromSoftware, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice offered Dark Souls fans something uniquely different while also retaining many signature, fan-favorite elements found in the Souls franchise.
Set in a fictionalized version of Japan during the Sengoku period (a period from 1467 to 1615 characterized by prolonged civil war and political instability), Sekiro follows a shinobi warrior/ninja named Wolf who is seeking revenge against a rival samurai clan.
As is the case with practically every recent game by FromSoftware, Sekiro utilizes a very similar set of game mechanics to the Souls series. However, Sekiro has very limited elements of a traditional RPG, focusing more heavily on combat to advance the narrative.
Like all of FromSoftware’s modern games, Sekiro won several major awards upon release, including the SXSW and Game Award for Game of the Year. Within the first three months of its release It drew over one hundred thousand players on Steam, making it the third most-played Japanese game in the platform’s history.
If you’re looking for a more combat-heavy experience similar to the challenging battles of Elden Ring, this is the game for you.
The last game developed by FromSoftware on this list (we promise) and also one of the company’s most popular games is Bloodborne, a Souls-style RPG that swaps a medieval world for a Gothic, Victorian-era setting straight out of Dracula.
Inspired by the works of Bram Stoker and HP Lovecraft, Bloodborne finds players taking the role of a Hunter who travels to the game’s fictional city of Yharnam.
After finding the city’s residents suffering from a strange, blood-borne illness that has turned many of them into horrific monsters, the player attempts to find the cure, uncovering the truth behind the enigmatic sickness. The Souls series can certainly be unsettling at times, but Bloodborne is the far more intense game of the two, resembling more closely a horror survival game with a relentless onslaught of nightmarish creatures you’ll have to battle your way through.
Bloodborne may be more survival-based and horror-heavy than Elden Ring, but it still makes for an entertaining game to play through, and one that was just as well-received as FromSoftware’s other properties.
It would win the Golden Joystick Award for Best Original Game and the 12th British Academy Games Award for Game Design. Multiple gaming review sites would also name it the best game of 2015, including GameTrailers, Eurogamer, Destructoid, and Edge, the latter of whom listed Bloodborne as the fourth greatest game of all time.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
A game both incredibly similar to and also completely different from Elden Ring, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild proved incredibly popular among the gaming community, commanding the same level of attention and popularity when it was released in 2017 as Elden Ring is currently.
The most recent installment in The Legend of Zelda series, players control regular series protagonist, Link, as he awakens from a century-long hibernation to once again combat Calamity Ganon and save the kingdom of Hyrule from sure destruction.
It may seem a bit of a stretch to say that Breath of the Wild contains any similarities to Elden Ring, but in terms of its open-ended narrative and sprawling world, the two games are incredibly alike. Both games encourage players to diverge from any set path and explore the world at their own leisure, resulting in a more gaming unique experience dependent on each player’s individual choices and preferences.
Considered one of the greatest video games in the past 10 years, Breath of the Wild is a modern classic that won universal acclaim. Since its release, it’s influence is apparent on virtually every open-world game that’s followed, from The Witcher and Halo Infinite to Ghost of Tsushima and Elden Ring.
God of War
Technically, any of the God of War games are worth playing for fans of Elden Ring. However, it’s worth noting the key differences between the more recent entries in the hit action-adventure franchise and the series’ original trilogy.
The first three God of War games details Spartan demigod Kratos’ personal vendetta against the gods of Greek mythology after being tricked into killing his own family.
Over the course of the original three games, Kratos hunts down every one of the gods who wronged him—Kill Bill-style—battling classic mythological creatures like minotaurs and centaurs to such all-powerful ancient deities as Ares and Zeus. In the more recent installments of God of War, the series has abandoned its focus on Greek mythology (largely because Kratos killed every well-known god) and has since moved on to Norse mythology.
In an effort to revitalize the franchise with this new direction, the latest God of War has also changed its gameplay presentation, featuring an over-the-shoulder camera angle and more realistic visual design.
Despite these huge changes, there is really no wrong option when it comes to the God of War game to potentially play. Every major entry in the series offers a brutal, immersive portrayal of ancient mythologies for players to travel through.
Like Elden Ring, the series is characterized for its challenging and incredibly unique boss battles, with no two enemies that players must battle even remotely alike.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus is nothing short of a modern masterpiece. One of the most critically-acclaimed and influential video games of all time, both the original PS2 version of the game and its 2018 remake are hallmarks of the open-world action game, paving the way for virtually every open-world game that followed.
Set in a barren region known as the Forbidden Land within a fantasy world, a young man named Wander sets out to destroy 16 unique colossal beings in order to revive a girl named Mono. Minimalist in storyline and setting, Shadow of the Colossus more than makes up for its somewhat simple premise through its enjoyable and frequently challenging enemies.
On paper, a game composed entirely of boss battles may seem boring or repetitive at first, but such simplicity makes Shadow of the Colossus as fun as it is, requiring players to literally climb the 16 colossal creatures in order to defeat them.
Shadow of the Colossus inspired virtually every open-world action game that followed its original 2005 release, with developers citing it as an influence on God of War, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Elden Ring. (Even the Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro has discussed how large an impact the game has had on his own career.)
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This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Image Credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment.