Fantasy games cover a wide swath of genres but sometimes you want something a bit darker and moodier. Often dark fantasy games take a more gothic, spooky, or impending doom feel to the story or world-building.

In this article, Gurugamer is going to showcase the top 5 best Dark fantasy RPGs to play in 2022.

1. Elden Ring

Elden Ring, while imperfect, is the best implementation of an open-world action RPG that I've ever played. It feels like the culmination of every iteration of FromSoft's 'Souls' games into one truly amazing experience filled with intrigue, struggle, and eventual triumph.

Elden Ring
If you've never played a souls game, this is the best one to try.

FromSoft didn't make Dark Souls 4. This game is Dark Souls 4, 5, and 6 all in one. Absolutely massive game and the open world part doesn't feel like an attempt to pad the game (like most open world games do). Elden Ring's open-world game has various mini-dungeons/secrets hidden away in every corner of the map. It is to your advantage to seek out these locations to find rare materials and unique weaponry that may or may not change your play style altogether.

The open world feels like there is always something waiting for you to discover, such as powerful enemies that drop unique weapon arts (ashes of war) or an NPC standing around waiting to offer you a quest. With the introduction of a day/night cycle, there are even some bosses that only spawn at nighttime in specific locations waiting to ambush you, but offer unique drops as well.

Elden Ring Gameplay
This game is Dark Souls 4, 5, and 6 all in one.

As with any game, it's not for everyone, but if you love souls games, you'd be doing yourself a disservice by missing this one. If you've never played a souls game, this is the best one to try. The most accessible by far. No crazy hard tutorial bosses, the new ashen summoning bell gives some great support in difficult areas, and the fact you can always leave harder fights and come back to them later makes it so you rarely run into situations where you know booting up the game means you're gonna be brick walling until either the boss dies or you give up.

2. Darkest Dungeon

This is not one of those games for perfectionists. Your monument to success here is built atop a mountain of failures. And that mountain will be staggering. Your characters will die, either going down swinging valiantly or from something extremely stupid because the entire world was out to get them at that particular moment. Learn to cut and run and use the resources you gained to upgrade your various systems in town to better maintain the next batch of troops.

Choi Thu Darkest Dungeon Ii Gioi Thieu Game Moi
Darkest Dungeon is remarkably complex, difficult and addicting.

Sometimes you're just using recruits as stepping stones to get more upgrades to maintain your main fighting force, who are still traumatized from their last incursion or who are getting their negative traits tortured out of them in a medieval sanitarium. The game is designed around this, it expects you to do this, and it will passive-aggressively chide you for doing it. You burn through more recruits than a standard game of XCOM: UFO Defense, and that's an accomplishment.

Darkest Dungeon
Sometimes you're just using recruits as stepping stones

So despite all the suffering, is the game good? Extremely. It is remarkably complex, difficult and addicting. You will almost never have an ideal scenario, so you have to learn to adapt to every scenario, learn who or what is worth investing in, and work towards that as your goal. Another body in the ground is another cobblestone on your road to success, and expect the ground to be littered with more corpses of adventurers than you will remember. To you it was the most important day in your life when you saw your companions die from a heart attack, bleed to death, and get mangled by a buzzsaw, but for me, it was Tuesday, and soon enough, it will be Tuesday for you as well.

3. Grim Dawn

I've been playing Grim Dawn since the original release, up to the subsequent expansions. The thing that really separates this game from other ARPGs on the market is the sheer amount of customization available to the player. The class system works by combining two masteries on a single character. Each mastery has its own skill tree and is suited to a particular playstyle.

Grim Dawn Classes
On top of the class system, players also have access to components and augments

For example, the Nightblade mastery is suited to a dual wield melee playstyle, while Arcanist is suited to a more traditional caster playstyle. If you were to select both classes at once, your class would become a Spellbreaker and you would have access to both Nightblade and Arcanist skill trees at the same time. Each mastery has a certain amount of overlap with others, so it's possible to create a caster character even if one of your masteries is more melee suited. As of the latest expansion, there are 36 class combinations available and all classes have at least one (if not more) viable builds at endgame.

Layered on top of the class system is the Devotion constellation. This is a second character advancement system that is common to all classes and masteries. You earn devotion points by cleansing shrines scattered throughout the world of Grim Dawn. Progression in the devotion system is based on certain constellation affinities. By filling in constellations, further constellations are unlocked based on similar affinities to others.

Grim Dawn
As of the latest expansion, there are 36 class combinations available 

On top of the class system, players also have access to components and augments to further customize their characters. Components serve the same functions as gems/runes in Diablo 2. They are attached to armor directly and can grant stat boosts, resistances and even skills depending on the component. Augments are an additional attachment for items sold by reputation vendors and provide further stat bonuses. There are a large number of factions in Grim Dawn and they operate on a reputation system very similar to what is found in an MMO.

4. Dark Souls 3

Personally, Dark Souls 3 has the best story and second best level design in the series after the original one. The game really doubles down on weapon and armor variety that leaves you satisfied. Anyone can find a playstyle that suits them better. The compact level design pushes players into various events in each area that needs you to carefully dissect otherwise seemingly impossible challenges.

Dark Souls
Dark Souls 3 has the best story and second best level design in the series after the original one

The gameplay revolves around more dodging and favors an offensive playstyle as enemies are much more aggressive and fast compared to previous titles. The base game is well-crafted and executed but I can't say the same for the DLCs. DLCs feel like they don't want you to engage in combat and just run through everything. The game encourages you to react strategically and use your brain but DLC pushes you so much that after dying in some areas, you don't want to kill those 40 enemies that take 15 mins to go through again. They clearly went overboard here. It was fun for me to kill them all in the first run and then I sprinted past them. So be wary about this.

Dark Souls 1024x576
Possibly the best PVP mechanics of the series here.

But the good part about the DLC is that the bosses are particularly well done and does the game favor greatly. Extremely hard bosses that require strict management and knowledge of the game's mechanics that make you fully use everything to get past. Almost every major encounter in the DLCs is memorable, so in the end, the downsides are forgivable.

Possibly the best PVP mechanics of the series here. Multiple factions attacking and defending each other, it's total chaos that always ends up as an exhilarating experience through and through. Absolutely brilliant soundtrack as icing on the cake. Definitely recommended and a must-play of the souls genre.

5. Dead Cells

Dead Cells is a 2D sidescrolling action platformer. And it's a good one at that. It draws heavy inspiration from titles such as the Dark Souls series or BloodBorne, and during your gameplay you'll notice mechanics such as the Estus flask, the Bloodborne combat heals, or a roll with invincibility frames shaping up combat.

Dead Cells 1
Dead Cells

The controls feel good and are fully rebindable, attacks are satisfying to land and the enemies have tells that stand out enough that taking damage doesn't feel cheap. There's a lot of platforming involved, and the map is full of secrets and loot. The jumping and climbing around itself feel generous, less challenging than it seems to be at first glance, as in you will make jumps you think you wouldn't be able to.

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