Colloquially referred to as "Anime Dark Souls", Code Vein will feel familiar if you've played any of the games on this list. The most identifiable feature is its art style, which looks like some of the popular manga or anime you'd see today. The creature designs are a big draw, with Code Vein pitting you up against some of the most interesting looking monsters I've seen in recent memory.
I got a chance to play this at E3 2018, and it was impressive, albeit very difficult. It may just take some getting used to, but this could very well be one of the best action games of 2019, assuming it doesn't get pushed to 2020.
Salt and Sanctuary is perfect for those who like 2D games and appreciate the Souls design. It wears its inspirations on its sleeve, following the familiar staples of the Souls games very closely. There's an XP system that can be can be recovered after death, as well as multiple classes to choose from, weapon upgrades, and bosses.
Taking inspirations from Metroidvanias, Salt and Sanctuary is one of the most satisfying games to explore and conquer. If you're looking for a 2D Souls experience, this one is top-notch and is even more impressive when you realize it was made by only two people.
It's interesting seeing the Souls formula implemented into a 2D isometric perspective. In Eitr, that's exactly what you'll get, but the perspective isn't the only difference here.
Eitr has beautiful 2D pixel art and such an immersive sense of atmosphere. The use of lighting is effective and it makes everything pop, so you'll probably have a hard time forgetting this one.
Although Eitr isn't out yet, it's supposed to be released this year, so let's cross our fingers for a 2019 release.
What a cool game. Right away, you'll notice the similarities from the Souls games, but Nioh approaches the formula differently. It really helps it to stand out.
The RPG has some fantastic looking visuals, with an emphasis on 1600s Sengoku Japan. You'll notice Japanese culture throughout, giving this game a personality and, at times, having a more lighthearted feeling than the gloom and doom of the Souls games.
In many ways, Nioh feels more polished than some of the Souls games, as it runs a bit more smoothly and includes fluid combat that feels modern. Please play this game if you like action-RPGs with a Japanese aesthetic.
When looking at Hyper Light Drifter, Dark Souls may not immediately come to mind, but the comparisons are valid. The two feature a lot of similarities.
The most major point is how Hyper Light Drifter deals with story, which is done in a cryptic, sometimes hard to understand style, much like the Souls games.
But what you'll find here is a colorful, 2D isometric action game, with some of the most captivating visuals I've seen this generation.
This one is different enough to keep you on your toes, but if you've played the Souls games before, you'll feel right at home with Hyper Light Drifter.
Lords of the Fallen is sometimes criticized for how much it borrows from the Souls games, but this might be unfair. It gets a lot right. To the untrained eye, this very well could be a Dark Souls game, but with some slight differences.
The main thing is that this game is noticeably easier than the games it's based off of. Experienced players may consider this a negative, but having a more accessible version of this style of game is a good thing and it helps introduce newcomers much better than some of the more difficult Souls games do.
Considered to be a spiritual successor to the aforementioned Lords of the Fallen, The Surge includes many familiar staples you'd expect like challenging difficulty and emphasis on melee combat.
However, unlike many Souls games, The Surge does not feature a fantasy setting, but rather a futuristic one.
Still, the feeling is the same and you'll be forced to manage stamina, strike enemies, and evade your foes' attacks.
The Surge has its own unique identity, as it leans more into Sci-fi, which is a great thing since the differences between some of these games can get muddy.
Probably one of the lesser-known games on this list, Necropolis is an action RPG with rogue-lite elements, making it infinitely replayable.
You'll find a less realistic art style, with a variety of colors that are sure to catch your eye. What's awesome is that you can run through the game with up to three other friends, adding to the fun to be had.
Each run will reset your progress, so if you're turned off by the difficulty, this game might not be for you.
Still, this is a game with the heart of a Souls game, but with the added spice of the rogue-lite elements. It's worth playing if you're looking for a Souls-like to play with friends.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention FromSoftware's upcoming action game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Like Nioh, this one also takes place during the Sengoku period, emphasizing vertical traversal and stealth. This differs from the Souls games, since their focus has always been on straight up action.
Sekiro is a revenge story in which you take control of a shinobi with a prosthetic arm and a ton of gadgets at his disposal.
It's coming out soon! It looks like it's going to be excellent, which is fitting, since FromSoftware doesn't tend to release bad games.