Depending on who you ask, Bloodborne could easily be the best game that FromSoftware has ever eleased. And even if Bloodborne is not your favorite, there’s just no denying how well-designed and well-executed nearly everything about this title is.
Now, if you have played through Bloodborne multiple times but still can’t get enough of that game, chances are you’re looking for other titles that can offer a similar experience.
We’ll be frank – Bloodborne is a very unique experience, so until a Bloodborne 2 is announced, the only game that’s truly like Bloodborne is Bloodborne itself. However, there are many titles out there that share some similarities with Bloodborne in one way or another.
The two most defining characteristics of Bloodborne are its Souls-like gameplay, the gothic setting, and the Lovecraftian story, so we’ll keep those three in mind when picking out some of the best games similar to Bloodborne in one way or another.
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Dark Souls III
The first and most obvious entry on this list is, of course, none other than FromSoftware’s own Dark Souls III. As far as the gameplay and overall atmosphere are concerned, this is as Bloodborne as you can get at the moment.
Many fans of the original Dark Souls didn’t like the fact that Dark Souls III was, in many ways, more similar to Bloodborne than to Dark Souls. This is mainly due to how much faster and more fluid the gameplay is – not quite on Bloodborne’s level, but significantly faster than Dark Souls 1 and 2.
Moreover, there’s the environment and enemy design, both of which simply scream “Bloodborne”. Many of the monsters and areas feel as if they were taken straight out of Yharnam, so if you liked Bloodborne for its art direction, you’re bound to appreciate Dark Souls III for the same reason.
So, if you started your “Soulsborne” journey with Bloodborne and haven’t yet played any of the Dark Souls games, then Dark Souls III might be the best place to start. Sure, you won’t get some of the references to the first game, but the story is hardly linear anyway, and Dark Souls III would probably be easier to get into than the original due to the aforementioned similarities in gameplay.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Another game that you probably expected to see is yet another excellent FromSoftware title – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. However, unlike Dark Souls III, the similarities between this game and Bloodborne are confined solely to the gameplay.
Obviously, with its bright color palette and a setting inspired by Japanese mythology, the world of Sekiro is a far cry from the dark streets of Yharnam, the beasts that stalk them, and the otherworldly eldritch abominations that linger just out of sight. However, the gameplay formula of Sekiro is ultimately rooted in the innovations that Bloodborne introduced to the existing Souls formula.
Namely, Bloodborne required the player to be aggressive, it rewarded risk-taking, and it punished the player for trying to play defensively most of the time. Just the same, Sekiro encourages high risk/high reward gameplay that requires good reflexes and precision, so if that’s what you liked about Bloodborne’s combat, then Sekiro would be a perfect much, although the tweaked combat system does take some getting used to.
When Nioh came out in 2017, it was commonly described as “Dark Souls but set in Japan”, and while this is true in a way (the game does feature “Souls-like” combat) it also lacks many of the world-building and storytelling cmponents that made FromSoftware games such as Bloodborne and Dark Souls so good.
That said, as far as the art direction, the storytelling, and the atmosphere are concerned, Nioh could hardly be any further from Bloodborne. It features a ton of elements common in Japanese games (JRPGs in particular) that feel very out of place in what is supposed to be a “Souls-like” game e.g. grinding, repetitiveness, tons of generic items and weapons to sift through, contrived dialogue, long cutscenes that seem to drag on forever, etc.
However, something that Nioh is almost universally praised for is its combat system. Drawing from Dark Souls and their earlier Ninja Gaiden titles, Team Ninja built a tense, fast-paced combat system for Nioh that, much like Bloodborne’s, encourages the player to play aggressively. Each weapon has different stances that the player can switch between, and while these don’t constitute drastic changes like trick weapons do, they do allow the player to adapt to changing situations.
Nioh has also received a sequel in March 2020 titled simply Nioh 2, and it has pretty much all of the same pros and cons as its predecessor, so if you liked the original Nioh, you’ll likely want to give the sequel a go as well.
Dishonored may be a weird game to see on this list. After all, it’s primarily a stealth game, but one can’t deny the aesthetic similarities and some Lovecraftian themes that Bloodborne and Dishonored have in common.
Since it’s designed primarily as a stealth game, Dishonored features non-linear levels and allows the player a lot of freedom when it comes to how they will approach certain missions and enemy encounters. The combat, while nowhere near as deep as that of Bloodborne, actually works quite well if you’re not slashing and shooting your way through every level.
But at the end of the day, the dilapidated, decaying world of Dishonored, the way that it presents magic and implies the sheer immensity of the world that lies beyond human perception, all feels very similar to Bloodborne, though the two titles are fundamentally different as far as the gameplay is concerned.
Dishonored has received a sequel in 2017 titled Dishonored 2, and the sequel has also received a standalone expansion titled Dishonored: Death of the Outsider. The sequel improves upon the foundation set by the original in many ways and is obviously worth playing if you like the first game.
The Order: 1886
Next, we have a game that is very similar to Bloodborne at first glance but perhaps not so much when it comes to substance. The Order: 1886 is an action-adventure game that takes place in an alternate history version of London, and it delivers a striking steampunk aesthetic with some very good graphics and environment design.
However, The Order: 1886 is a third-person shooter and it plays pretty much like every other cover-based shooting game that came out over the course of the last decade. That said, the combat is nothing like what you’ve seen in Bloodborne, but the atmosphere and the graphics are quite good, so if you can work with the TPS approach and can catch the game at a discount, you probably won’t regret trying The Order out.
Moving on, we have another game that takes place in a fictionalized version of London, only instead of it being set in the late 1800s, it takes place in the early 1900s during the Spanish Flu epidemic.
As the title may suggest, Vampyr has the player take control of a recently-turned vampire, and it is an action game with some RPG elements. It has a stamina bar, but it can hardly be named a Souls-like game since the enemies are way too spongy and the overall formula just feels way too rigid.
Overall, the combat is nothing spectacular but it’s serviceable, and the game also puts a lot of stock in player agency, allowing the player to interact with a number of characters and make moral choices that will finally determine the fate of the characters and which of the four endings the player will get.
At the end of the day, Vampyr isn’t a spectacular game by any means and it has received mixed reviews, but it’s decent enough. The similarities to Bloodborne are mostly aesthetic, so if you want to try out an action-adventure game that focuses a lot on the story and dialogues, then you might give Vampyr a shot, though it’s best to wait and catch it when it goes on discount.
Hollow Knight is a game that may seem like it has nothing in common with Bloodborne at first glance, but upon closer inspection, it’s obvious that there are more similarities between the two than meets the eye.
Hollow Knight follows a more conventional 2D Metroidvania approach when it comes to the gameplay, but much like Bloodborne, it requires the player to be aggressive and never lets them turtle up and play defensively.
It is quite challenging and, as is usually the case with games of this kind, the player will unlock different abilities over the course of the game that will allow them to reach areas that they couldn’t reach before and help them deal with enemies and bosses more effectively.
Moreover, the game’s art style and soundtrack come together perfectly to create an unforgettable somber atmosphere that really makes the game stand out. Like Bloodborne and other Souls-likes usually do, it tells its story through subtle cues and environmental storytelling.
At the end of the day, Hollow Knight is perhaps more similar to Dark Souls than it is to Bloodborne, but we thought we ought to mention it nonetheless.
Up next, we have yet another Metroidvania – Sundered – and though we feel that it’s not quite as good as Hollow Knight overall, it does come across as much more similar to Bloodborne due to its heavy focus on Lovecraftian themes and the Cthulhu Mythos.
Again, as is always the case with Metroidvania games, Sundered features non-linear progression and a number of unlockable abilities, although it also features some procedurally generated areas that rearrange themselves whenever the player dies. Moreover, it features enemy hordes that spawn randomly, which is meant to keep the player on their toes.
All in all, Sundered is a solid game with some questionable design choices, but its beautiful graphics, engaging combat, memorable boss fights, and Lovecraftian themes are what earns it a spot on this list.
The Sinking City
And for the final entry on the list, we have The Sinking City, a game that is very faithful to the way that Lovecraft approached cosmic horror. Namely, it focuses more on investigation and puzzle-solving rather than on action, so it is a very story-oriented game.
What makes it different from other games of this sort, most of which take a linear, no-combat, “walking sim” approach, is the fact that The Sinking City is actually an open-world game, so the player has more freedom than they do in most narrative-focused adventure games.
Moreover, it even has a combat system, though this is hardly one of the game’s strong suits. The player must be careful not to waste ammo, as bullets also double as currency, so the game has the sort of combat system that you’d expect to see in most survival horror games that decide not to forego combat as part of their formula.
So, ultimately, while The Sinking City has virtually nothing in common with Bloodborne in regards to the gameplay mechanics, it is a competently put-together game that is bound to appeal to Lovecraft fans. However, if you’re mainly into Bloodborne for its fast-paced action and not its cosmic horror elements, then The Sinking City probably isn’t for you.
And there you have it, a selection of some of the best games similar to Bloodborne. As we’ve mentioned in the introduction, Bloodborne is a very unique experience, and there are no other games quite like it.
The games listed here are those that we feel have some things in common with Bloodborne e.g. the combat, the aesthetics, and the cosmic horror themes but, obviously, there are other Souls-like games out there, as well as many Lovecraftian games that are worth trying out, though not all of them can really be described as similar to Bloodborne.
If you feel that we’ve skipped any noteworthy titles, let us know in the comments and we’ll see about adding them in the list.