Dark Souls vs Skyrim – which one comes out on top?


So, you’re thinking about picking up a new game – but which one should you choose: Dark Souls or Skyrim? Both games are incredibly popular and offer a unique experience, but which one is the best?

Dark Souls and Skyrim are two massively popular games that have been gaining a lot of traction in the last year. Skyrim was released in mid-2011 and Dark Souls mid-2012.


Skyrim is an open-world RPG set in a fantasy world, while Dark Souls is a third-person action RPG with a deep storyline. Both have been praised for their storyline, graphics, and gameplay.

So which one is the best? It’s a tough question to answer, as they are both great games in their own right.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at both games and compare them in terms of graphics, gameplay, story, and combat to help you decide which game is for you.

Let’s get started.

Main Differences Between Dark Souls vs Skyrim:

– Dark Souls is a much more difficult game than Skyrim.

– In Dark Souls, you can choose from a variety of classes, whereas in Skyrim, you are essentially limited to choosing between being a warrior, thief, or mage.

– Dark Souls has an open world that you can explore, while Skyrim is more of a traditional RPG with set paths in a rather small world, compared to what you can discover in Dark Souls.

– Dark Souls has much more personality in its NPCs and world, while Skyrim is much blander in this respect.

– In Dark Souls, the combat is faster-paced, with quicker reactions required from the player. Skyrim’s combat is less exciting but requires more tactical thinking.

– Dark Souls has a larger variety of enemies and weapons. In contrast, Skyrim only has a few different types of enemies to face and several weapon types that are very similar in function, with some being better than others.

– In Skyrim, you have more freedom to customize your character. In Dark Souls, there is no leveling system, so builds are more restricted.

– Dark Souls has a dark and gothic atmosphere, while Skyrim is much more light-hearted and colorful.

– Dark Souls has an interesting story that is not always easy to follow, while Skyrim’s story is much more straightforward.

– Dark Souls is an older game and looks graphically inferior to Skyrim, though it still has a unique charm.

– Dark Souls is available on more platforms than Skyrim.

-Skyrim is a much more popular and mainstream game than Dark Souls, and as such, is often looked down on by those who consider themselves to be serious gamers.


The first thing people will notice about Dark Souls is the beautiful art direction. The design of monsters and characters have a distinct style that’s hard to mistake for anything else. 

It’s not just the main characters and enemies that look great, either – the environments are equally well-crafted, with a dark and gothic feel that really immerses you in the game world.

On the other hand, Skyrim doesn’t quite match up to Dark Souls in terms of graphics. While it’s an attractive game, it’s not quite as detailed or polished. 

This doesn’t mean the graphics are bad, though – it just means that they’re less consistent than Dark Souls.

Story of Dark Souls:

Dark Souls is set in the world of Lordran. You are a cursed undead who has been brought back to life by an all-powerful being known as the Dark Lord. 

You must journey through the world, battling monsters and other undead, in order to eventually reach the Dark Lord and achieve a form of redemption.

The story of Dark Souls is not always easy to follow, as it is often told through cryptic NPC dialogue and item descriptions. However, it is a very interesting story that immerses you in the game world. 

The characters you meet are all well-developed and unique, and the game’s dark and gothic atmosphere perfectly suits the story’s tone.

Story of Skyrim:

Skyrim is set in the world of Tamriel. You play as a hero who must defeat an evil dragon and stop him from destroying all life on the planet. 

Along the way, you help out many different factions and characters in their own personal quests and conflicts before finally fighting off against the big baddie.

Skyrim’s story is relatively straightforward and not as complex as that of Dark Souls, but it still has a lot of interesting secrets to discover, especially when you reach the end-game stage where many more quests become available from members of the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood.  

Many of these quests take place in small world spaces that are quite fun to explore.

Open World:

Dark Souls: Dark Souls’ open world is among the largest ever made for an Action RPG, and it is impressive how much you can discover, even after playing through the game multiple times. 

There are many hidden areas that can only be found by exploring and heading off the beaten track. A downside is that Dark Souls’ world is quite consistent, lacking some of Skyrim’s more natural-looking variances, such as snow-capped mountains or flat deserts.

Skyrim: Skyrim’s implementation of an open world is not nearly as impressive as that in Dark Souls, but it is still a very large and impressive world that you can discover throughout your playthrough. 

As with Dark Souls, Skyrim has a lot of interesting hidden areas that are not readily visible from the main road. However, Skyrim’s open-world has more natural landscape variances than Dark Souls.

Dark Souls allows players to create their own build on how their character will play, while Skyrim presents more defined classes.

– Dark Souls has an online mode where players can invade other players’ games as a dark spirit and attempt to kill them, while Skyrim does not have any online components.

– Dark Souls is available on more platforms than Skyrim.

-Skyrim is a much more popular and mainstream game than Dark Souls, and as such, is often looked down on by those who consider themselves to be serious gamers.

– Skyrim’s quests are mostly of the ‘fetch this’ or ‘kill that’ variety, while Dark Souls gives you a wide range of interesting activities, including NPC interaction and large world events.


Dark Souls: Dark Souls is a notoriously difficult game, and it will often take many deaths before you finally work out how to overcome a certain obstacle. However, this is part of what makes the game so rewarding, as eventually overcoming a difficult challenge feels all the more satisfying.

Dark Souls also has a unique ‘focus’ mechanic, which rewards you for not switching items during a fight, and later in the game, this becomes required to take down some of the harder bosses.

– Dark Souls requires players to focus more on stats and leveling up their character as opposed to Skyrim, which allows players to set their own pace for leveling up.

– While both games require players to invest a lot of time into them, Dark Souls feels more punishing and can often require more grinding than Skyrim.

-Dark Souls offers a wide variety of weapons and armor that can be upgraded, while Skyrim has a much smaller variety.

– Dark Souls has a more complex magic system than Skyrim.

-Skyrim allows players to dual-wield weapons, while Dark Souls restricts players to a single weapon and shield at a time.

-Skyrim’s quests are more varied in structure than Dark Souls, with some quests requiring you to travel great distances across the map while others will send you into dungeons where there is no clear direction of where to go or what to do.

– Skyrim has NPCs that give out quests in the form of dialogue, while Dark Souls requires players to find NPCs via notes or by killing them.

– Skyrim has a leveling system that allows you to level up your skills over time, while Dark Souls randomly gives you stats boosts when you get enough souls for leveling up.

-Skyrim offers more freedom to its players, allowing them to roam freely in most areas with few to no restrictions, while Dark Souls has many restrictions when it comes to exploring. As you cannot warp between bonfires, your progress is constantly halted when you need to head back to a bonfire.

-The combat in Skyrim feels much more fluid than that in Dark Souls with the ability to dual-wield weapons and blocks. Dark Souls feels much more sluggish in comparison, with attacks feeling a bit more delayed.

– Dark Souls features an online mode that can be used to invade other players’ games as a dark spirit, while Skyrim does not have any online components.

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So, which game comes out on top? Ultimately, it depends on what you’re looking for in a game. If you’re after a more punishing and demanding experience, then Dark Souls is the better option. 

If you’re after a more varied and freedom-focused experience, then Skyrim is the better option. Whichever game you end up playing, both are sure to offer dozens of hours of enjoyment.

This has been a comparison of Dark Souls and Skyrim. What do you think is the better game? Let us know in the comments below! And if you liked the post, do share it with your gamer friends.

Thanks for reading! 

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