Elden Ring Keeps Its Open World Dark Souls Promise (2023)

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Elden Ring combines tough combat with a beautiful open world

Elden Ring Keeps Its Open World Dark Souls Promise (1)

Update:Elden Ring is brilliant but also frustrating.

The first enemy I foundantique ringIt broke me, I don't mean that I lost after an open fight or that I made a series of catastrophic mistakes. I mean, after completing a skeleton tutorial, I came out of a dark building and a giant knight rode towards me and destroyed me with three hits of his spear.

I assumed this would be the first friendly NPC in the game. Obviously I guessed wrong. Tree Sentinel shipped with little problem and I was back to square one. But I got used to it fast. At number one, you'll be spending a lot of time in the Elden Ring.

For those who haven't kept up, Elden Ring is the latest Action/RPG from Dark Souls developer FromSoftware. The games are generally difficult, minimalistic, and beautiful, with tight gameplay and atmospheric storylines. In that sense, Elden Ring is no different. But what sets this game apart from its predecessors is that it takes place in a massive, mostly open world, rather than a series of confined levels.

My time with Elden Ring was short, playing for only a few hours at a time during a network test the weekend of November 13. But so far, the game is playing out exactly as the developers promised: an open world that adopts the Dark Souls formula, with many areas to explore, secrets to unlock, and dangerous enemies to fight.

The dark souls of open world games

Elden Ring Keeps Its Open World Dark Souls Promise (2)

What struck me most about Elden Ring was that the gameplay is almost identical to previous Souls games, despite its significant structural differences. You'll still choose a character class (I chose one called Bloody Wolf; that was a big mistake), equip weapons and armor, explore every corner of a mysterious world, and fight obscenely tough enemies. Mastering combat is an analytical grind, slowly learning enemy patterns and the weaknesses of the best opponents. You also collect resources from defeated enemies, which you can use as experience points to level up certain attributes or as currency to buy new equipment. Called runes this time, they are essentially the same as souls or blood echoes.

Where Elden Ring differs from other Soulsborne games is in its world design. Coming out of the first cave in the game, a beautiful grotto filled with strange blue lights and glowing golden trees, I saw a large green field open in all directions. I could have climbed a nearby hill, backed up and looked behind a ruined castle, or walked away to see what was on the other side of the plain. Since the network test only lasted a few hours, I decided to go the way suggested by the game, although even that wasn't as easy as it seemed.

After being attacked by Tree Sentinel, I decided to stay away from enemies until I found something that felt a bit smaller and more manageable. After meeting the first friendly NPC in the game, I found out that my goal was to infiltrate a castle on a nearby mountain. All I needed to guide me was a little golden glow, pointing the way from one place of grace to the next. (The free places are like bonfires. For those who aren't Souls fans, places to restore your health potions, access inventory, level up, etc.)

Like previous Souls games, Elden Ring doesn't actually tell you where to go, instead relying on subtle level design and gentle hints from NPCs. My first attempt to climb the mountain and find the castle ended in a significant detour. I found some undead worshipers lurking at the mouth of a cave and found that I could easily take them on. The cave meandered up the mountain and I imagined it might lead me into the bowels of the castle.

(Video) How Elden Ring's Open World Succeeds

After fighting a swarm of powerful monsters that looked like kappa demons, I came across my first Elden Ring boss: Burial Tree Watchdog. It was here that I learned firsthand that Bloody Wolf probably wasn't the right choice to help me out early in the game. While Bloody Wolf characters excel in close combat, my mighty bastard sword could barely grip the Watchdog. Also, his unpredictable attack pattern and hard-tail punches made it difficult to consistently block or dodge.

In Elden Ring, just like in the Soulsborne games, you can also leave messages for other players. All the signs outside the surveillance camera advised me to use magic. Although I chose a class with no spells, I could have easily learned one by leveling up and increasing the appropriate attributes. However, I still didn't have the ability to level up and was convinced that the only thing standing in my way was Watchdog.

frustration and intuition

Elden Ring Keeps Its Open World Dark Souls Promise (3)

However, when I finally defeated the guard dog, I realized two surprising things: First, I hadn't gotten any closer to the castle, as the only way to continue was to teleport back to the beginning of the dungeon. Second, I still haven't had a chance to spend all my hard-earned runes to level up.

It was then that I realized how exploration in the Elden Ring can be a double-edged sword. I found a worthwhile side quest through diligent exploration and reaped three big rewards: runes, gear, and the satisfaction of beating a tough boss. (Despite all our complaining, I bet most Soulsborne players are here primarily for the bosses.) At the same time, I was no closer to my goal, and I was still not sure where to go. .

After some more trial and error, including another side dungeon and some grim deaths, I finally met Melina: a mysterious woman who could channel my runes to level up. Now the side dungeons felt a little more rewarding and each death felt a little less harrowing. If she could spend a lot of my runes, losing a few hundred here and there wouldn't be so bad.

After that, I found a few more mainstays of Soulsborne: groups of armored knights, an undead giant, a pack of wolves, and some useful items in abandoned camps. However, when I finally made it to the castle, I found the only obstacle in the Elden Ring that I couldn't pass: a huge giant named Margit the Fell Omen.

The boss fight got off to a rocky start as Margit wielded an evil curved sword and lightsabers that she could summon at will. But mid-fight, she also pulled out a giant hammer and started bouncing around the battlefield, chaining unpredictable combos that she couldn't consistently block or dodge.

While Margit was a frustrating fight, it also reminded me of something I love about the Soulsborne games, something Elden Ring embraces as well. After a dozen tries, I realized that I wasn't going to beat Margit with brute force alone. But I remembered that the undead giant I fought had dropped a Forgestone Fragment: a component that could help improve my sword. Early in my travels, I found an anvil that would allow me to upgrade my sword to +3 (anything beyond what would require a blacksmith).

I realized late that the game had already given me my big clue on how to defeat Margit. She had all the knowledge she needed; I just had to muster a little perseverance. So I started hunting giants, upgrading my weapon and attributes every time I collected enough runes. After about an hour, I was much stronger than before, ready to take on Margit again.

The network test ended when I was in the middle of my battle with it, throwing me back to the main menu and all my hard work wasted.

(Video) The World Design of Elden Ring

Even so, Margit will still be around when Elden Ring debuts.ps5, ps4,Xbox-Serie X,Xbox-Serie S, Xbox One and PC on February 25, 2022. And this time I think I can be prepared.

(Video) Elden Ring Lets Its Open World Speak for Itself | Extra Punctuation

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Elden Ring Keeps Its Open World Dark Souls Promise (4)

(Video) Why I Quit Playing Elden Ring

marshall honorof

Marshall Honorof is a Senior Editor at Tom's Guide and oversees the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He has experience as a science writer, having studied paleomammology, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After work, he practices taekwondo or dives into classic science fiction.



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    (Video) Is Elden Ring a good "first" Souls game?


    Is Elden Ring basically open world Dark Souls? ›

    Its latest release, Elden Ring, has set the bar even higher by expanding the challenge to a completely open world. All previous entries in the Soulsborne series (Dark Souls 1-3, Bloodborne, and Sekiro) have followed a similarly linear path as straightforward adventures with a hub area connecting different regions.

    Why is Elden Ring so much like Dark Souls? ›

    As we said in our Elden Ring hands-on preview, FromSoftware's next action-RPG is essentially an unofficial Dark Souls 4. It builds on and revives a lot of the mechanics that the mainline Dark Souls series established, and it gives off a similar vibe overall, from its weighty combat to its character mechanics.

    Is Elden Ring continuation of Dark Souls? ›

    Elden Ring is no more connected to Dark Souls than Sekiro or Bloodborne. Elden Ring is a spiritual successor in the sense that it's a game which is inspired by another title but has little to no connection with its lore or narrative.

    When you finish Elden Ring can you keep exploring? ›

    The answer is: yes, you can! FromSoftware (the devs) have made it possible to try out everything there is and even carry over your progression into a new game. Keep on reading to see what you can do after beating Elden Ring!

    How hard is Elden Ring compared to Dark Souls? ›

    The game becomes a lot easier for the player if they make good use of Spirits, but that doesn't quite drop it beneath DS2's difficulty. Dark Souls 2's overall difficulty is still lower than Elden Ring's thanks to its simple, slow enemies, and Elden Ring's toughest fights take cues from the Fume Knight.

    Is Elden Ring bigger than Dark Souls? ›

    When it comes to Elden Ring, that core formula stays the same here as well. However, if you consider the sheer span of the world, it is much larger than a game like Dark Souls 3.

    Should I play Elden Ring before Dark Souls? ›

    This means that the order should be: Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2, Bloodborne, Dark Souls 3, and then Sekiro, which would bring the player up to the release of Elden Ring.

    Why is Elden Ring suddenly popular? ›

    The challenge Eldon Ring offers the players is a significant factor in its popularity. The experience of the Japanese creators, From Software, has helped develop an action-packed challenging game for the players. The role-playing game Elden Ring is a dark fantasy that is among the US's top games of the year in sales.

    Why does Elden Ring not look as good as demon Souls? ›

    It's because Demon's Souls was made as a PS5 remake exclusively for that console. Elden Ring has a PS4 version. Rather than make 2 versions of Elden Ring, they made one version that would run on PS4 and PS5.

    Why is Dark Souls so hard? ›

    Dark Souls is extremely hard from the get-go, even through its "tutorial" stage, because it doesn't hold your hand and it makes you loop, sometimes maddeningly, through areas you've already completed before. You also can't truly pause.

    Is Sekiro and Elden Ring connected? ›

    While Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice may not be an official part of the Soulsborne franchise, as an action RPG developed by FromSoftware, it shares a lot of similarities with Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and the developer's latest title, Elden Ring.

    Are Dark Souls 1 2 and 3 connected? ›

    Although set in the same universe as the previous game, there is no direct story connection to Dark Souls.

    Do I need to beat Malenia for an ending? ›

    You also need to defeat Malenia, the game's toughest boss. Once Millicent has died and you've taken back Millicent's Needle, head down to Malenia's arena at the bottom of the Haligtree. If you've killed her, there will be a huge, orange and red flower in the center.

    Does anything change after beating Elden Ring? ›

    Fortunately, there's still so much to do after beating the game for the first time. The game is considered finished once the Tarnished is able to get their hands on the Elden Ring. As players progress and defeat enemies, they will become stronger using the Runes they earn throughout their adventure.

    Does summoning Ranni end the game? ›

    After defeating the final boss of Elden Ring outlined in our Elden Ring main bosses guide, you'll see a summoning sign on the ground that'll allow you to bring in Ranni. Trigger it to start the Age of Stars ending, a permanent decision that'll end the game in the way she wishes.

    What is the hardest video game of all time? ›

    Top 10 hardest video games & franchises in history: Where does Elden Ring rank?
    1. Contra. Konami Be prepared to die, die, and die again.
    2. Sekiro. ...
    3. Elden Ring, Dark Souls (1-3), Demon's Souls, Bloodborne. ...
    4. Super Meat Boy. ...
    5. Ghosts 'n Goblins. ...
    6. Cuphead. ...
    7. Sifu. ...
    8. Ninja Gaiden (Series) ...
    Jan 6, 2023

    What's the hardest Souls game? ›

    Dark Souls 2 has the hardest level design and challenges out of its trilogy. Combined with a standard fare of bosses and so on, this game's difficulty comes out of iteration if not experimentation (while Elden Ring finds itself in the latter category).

    Is Elden Ring better or worse than Dark Souls? ›

    Conclusion. Dark Souls triumphs over Elden Ring as the best FromSoftware title in this versus feature. Its phenomenal story and world design are some of the best in video game history, while its central theme of death is a profound choice that makes it a masterpiece of a title.

    How long is Elden Ring 100 percent? ›

    When focusing on the main objectives, Elden Ring is about 55½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 133 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

    Is Elden Ring the biggest map ever? ›

    At 30.5 square miles, or 79 square kilometers, it is bigger than the map of some classic open-world games like Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto 5, but it still falls short of plenty of others. The advantage Elden Ring has over many of those games is how densely packed with stuff it is.

    What is the easiest Dark Souls game? ›

    In many ways, Dark Souls 3 is the easiest Dark Souls game because FromSoft had ironed out many of the little problems from previous entries. Combat in that game is far more polished and faster than it was in Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2.

    What Dark Souls game is best to start off with? ›

    In that light, “Elden Ring,” the latest title by From Software, may be the easiest entry point for beginners looking to try a Souls game. It probably has the most on-ramps to continuous, rewarding play of any From Software game since 2009′s “Demon's Souls.”

    What level should you be before beating Elden Ring? ›

    The recommended level for this area is between 50 to 60. The recommended weapon level is +4 to +5. Just like the areas, you can take on the bosses in any order you feel like as well. Since there are over 200 bosses in Elden Ring, we have just included the ones who are absolutely necessary to progress in the game.

    Is Elden Ring a masterpiece? ›

    Elden Ring Takes the Throne as a Modern Game Masterpiece | Video Games | Roger Ebert.

    Is Elden Ring fun for beginners? ›

    Elden Ring is an absolute behemoth that can feel impenetrable for new players. If you're new to Elden Ring, or FromSoftware games as a whole, and are jumping into the Lands Between, you might want a few tips and tricks to help you get started.

    Is Elden Ring a grind game? ›

    Elden Ring requires heavy time investment and quite a lot of grinding for runes in order to level up and get better gear. The best way to enjoy the game isn't to rush through all the quests but to focus more on exploration.

    What is the strongest effect in Elden Ring? ›

    Bleed in Elden Ring is arguably one of the strongest effects to afflict an enemy with. With a build that amplifies the build-up of blood loss, you can cause devastating damage to whoever may cross your path in The Lands Between.

    What religion is Elden Ring? ›

    Elden Ring's Golden Order is possibly the most influential religious movement in The Lands Between, and many bosses serve it one way or another. The Lands Between is home to many religious movements, and The Golden Order is possibly the most influential in Elden Ring.

    What does FromSoftware think of the Demon's Souls remake? ›

    It brings up a lot of old emotions, a lot of old memories, and this gets a little bit overwhelming, and it doesn't feel like playing any more. So I have not played the Demon's remake, but I am very glad to see it get this fresh look, these brand-new current-gen graphics.”

    What game is harder than Dark Souls? ›

    10 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

    Many players couldn't grasp the basic swordplay mechanics, and those that could had incredible difficulty with the bosses. It was called "cheap" on more than one occasion, and many people considered it far more difficult than the Dark Souls trilogy and Bloodborne.

    How long should Dark Souls take to beat? ›

    When focusing on the main objectives, Dark Souls is about 42½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 105 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

    Can Dark Souls be made easy? ›

    The number one way to make Dark Souls easier is to play on a save that already has everything unlocked. These mods are also the least traceable in the Dark Souls series as they don't change anything about the game itself. Instead, they add a variety of custom saves that let players take on the game in almost any way.

    What does Miyazaki think of Elden Ring? ›

    On the other hand, Miyazaki said that Elden Ring attracted many players who had never played a FromSoftware game before, which reminded him of when players discovered Demon's Souls for the first time. “It's a nostalgic feeling,” he said.

    How did Miyazaki react to Elden Ring success? ›

    Miyazaki Doesn't Want To Get "Distracted" By Elden Ring's Huge Success. The director has responded to the game's recent award acquisitions. Elden Ring director Hidetaka Miyazaki has said he doesn't want to get distracted by the game's overwhelming success when it comes to making his next project.

    Has Miyazaki beaten Elden Ring? ›

    For Elden Ring Director Hidetaka Miyazaki, this is exactly the case, though they were able to enjoy last year's It Takes Two, beating it in only three days.

    Is Dark Souls 2 and 1 connected? ›

    There is no direct connection in the story between Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2, but the two games share a similar core, according to Dark Souls director Hidetaka Miyazaki.

    Will there be Dark Souls 3? ›

    Dark Souls III is a 2016 action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows.
    Dark Souls III
    ReleasePlayStation 4, Xbox One JP: March 24, 2016 WW : April 12, 2016 Windows WW : April 12, 2016
    Genre(s)Action role-playing
    10 more rows

    How many times can you journey in Elden Ring? ›

    Elden Ring has seven Journeys in total. According to users claiming to have beaten Elden Ring multiple times, Journey 7 is the soft cap where the difficulty and Rune multiplier no longer increase. While Journey 8 does become available, it boasts no real benefit other than reviving enemies and respawning items.

    How long is Elden Ring if you explore everything? ›

    When focusing on the main objectives, Elden Ring is about 55 Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 133 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

    How many times can you start a new journey in Elden Ring? ›

    There are no changes whatsoever to the story, but you will be able to unlock different endings. You've also got to re-earn Stonesword Keys. You can repeatedly play the game over and over again for seven playthroughs, meaning Journey 7 will be your last.


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