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Which FromSoftware Title Should You Start With?

Which FromSoftware Title Should You Start With?

The hype of ELDEN RING has gotten to your head, and, weak in your knees, you crawl your way to the Store page and check all of the notorious titles created by FromSoftware. The issue is, as a newcomer to FromSoftware, you have not a clue what the difference is between DARK SOULS and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and how they differ in and of themselves to ELDEN RING. Worst of all? Even if you chose DARK SOULS, you might be too confused about which of the three instalments to start with.

Fret not, my dear newcomer, for we have compiled this entire article to give you an overview of all of the three FromSoftware main titles (available on PC) and which one you should start with. So let's start with the very basics, and we'll work from there.


All three titles have one thing in common: They are very difficult. However, this doesn't mean that all of them are equally as such, nor does it mean that they all even play the same way. For instance, the DARK SOULS and ELDEN RING franchises play very similarly, but Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice took a different approach to the soulslike genre.

In terms of difficulty, I found Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to incorporate the most back-breaking enemies; this is mostly because the combat mechanics in the game go against everything the DARK SOULS titles taught us. Rewarding heavy aggression and constantly pressuring your enemy, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice demands that the player have the confidence to stand toe-to-toe against the bosses.

Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the spectrum, ELDEN RING felt like the easiest title to get into, despite the fact that some bosses remain punishingly difficult. The accessibility that ELDEN RING offers comes from its open-world approach, as you'll be able to roam free and fight bosses in the order you desire. That said, sometimes exploring too much leads to encountering a foe that you're not intended to face just yet; this is a flaw of open-world game design rather than a flaw on ELDEN RING, however.

The DARK SOULS series — most notably, DARK SOULS III — felt like a nice middle ground between Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and ELDEN RING, as it tells the story linearly, which means you'll have to face bosses as they come, but it also offers a more forgiving combat system. 

Ranked from highest to lowest difficulty, the franchises are:

  1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


Now that we've established which is the most challenging franchise, let's get into the story.

Infamously, the stories for both ELDEN RING and DARK SOULS franchises are often told through poetic storytelling and bits of lore hidden in seemingly useless item descriptions. Meanwhile, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice still refuses to directly tell the player some lore elements that will require deciphering and further understanding of the story but does so far more often than the other two.

Although we've established that understanding the lore of all three games is almost as difficult as passing them, Sekiro's lore is by far easier to understand. Not only are you playing a set protagonist named Sekiro (oftentimes called Wolf), but you are also told a more straightforward and far less confusing storyline than the other two franchises.

Lore-wise, fighting a lot of the bosses in ELDEN RING and DARK SOULS loses meaning when you don't directly understand what you're doing, and sometimes, even after finishing the story, you're left with more questions than answers.

In last place for storytelling is ELDEN RING, as the game's open-world map makes it difficult to know where to go to get a semblance of understanding for the lore, and you'll easily miss important NPCs. Meanwhile, since DARK SOULS is built in a linear world, you won't be missing any NPCs and thus will be able to catch all of the little hints of lore that are placed in the dialogue.

Ranked from the most comprehensible (and best told) story to least, the franchises are:

  1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice


As mentioned before, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the black sheep of the family in terms of gameplay, as ELDEN RING and DARK SOULS are far more similar to one another. Although the combat in Sekiro focuses far more on quick-paced exchanges between both bosses and stealth segments, ELDEN RING and DARK SOULS involve more in and out gameplay.

That said, Sekiro doesn't let the player build a character, meaning that players will be stuck to playing Sekiro and his general fighting style. Meanwhile, DARK SOULS and ELDEN RING have character customisation and numerous builds to try, which will allow players to tailor their playthrough and have far more hours of game time.

In terms of gameplay, it feels almost wrong comparing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice to the other two, as it feels like comparing apples and oranges. That said, the open-world aspect, character customisation, and countless approaches to every scenario force me to give the first place to ELDEN RING. Meanwhile, the unique — and delightful — combat system present in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice really favours the game for a unique experience.

Ranked from most fun gameplay to least, the franchises are:

  2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Which one should you start with?


Although this article is meant to give you the information and help you choose for yourself which one you want to start with, I feel that doing so with ELDEN RING is the most straightforward answer.

Its accessibility in contrast to the other titles, its quality of life improvements, and generally fun gameplay make it a great way to start your FromSoftware craze. The order I believe is best to play FromSoftware titles is ELDEN RING, leading into DARK SOULS, and finally enjoying Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice; although Sekiro is my favourite of the three, how difficult it is and the lack of customisation can be a deterring factor for many.

Learning whether you love or hate the difficulty formula of FromSoftware games will be a great way to slowly introduce the hardest game of the three, as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice forces the player into one playstyle. Sekiro is only as fun as you allow it to be, and not knowing how you feel about difficult titles is surely a detriment to its enjoyability. 

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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