Recently, FromSoftware’s Yasuhiro Kitao gave a 17-minute private gameplay demonstration of Elden Ring and answered many questions about the game mechanics. Elden Ring seems like a culmination of FromSoftware’s greatest games: Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
For the first time, FromSoftware is introducing an open-world approach with the over-world known as “The Lands Between.” However, it will differ from traditional open-world games in that it will likely not be a chore to traverse. Elden Ring‘s open-world design embraces nature, with a focus on rewarding pure exploration. In addition, this will be the first time an in-game map will be utilized, allowing players to place markers.
As players venture out into The Lands Between, they will encounter settings similar to that of a familiar Dark Souls experience. There will be dark dungeons, snowy plains, medieval castles, and of course, decaying swamps. Dungeons will include handcrafted cemeteries, caves, and catacombs. They will be filled with familiar traps, tunnels, treasures, and mini-bosses too.
Similar to Sekiro, players will have the ability to jump. Because of this, platforming and verticality are now more integral to the gameplay experience than ever before. Additionally, players will have various combat techniques at their disposal that include close and ranged options. While out in The Lands Between, players can opt to engage in head-on battle via swords, spells, and archery or take on a stealthy assassination-oriented play style.
Much like posture from Sekiro, Elden Ring will feature a mechanic known as stance. Once that bar is filled, the enemy is staggered and can be attacked for massive damage. There will also be a new combat mechanic called guard counter that will allow players to quickly react after blocking at the expense of stamina. This mechanic is separate from the traditional parrying mechanic, which will also be returning.
Like in Dark Souls and Bloodborne, players can summon other players for assistance, up to two at a time. AI-controlled allies of varying types can be summoned as well, including tanks and assassins, by collecting and summoning defeated enemy ashes. Players will also get a spirit steed that they can mount on for faster traversal throughout the over-world. A caveat is that they cannot mount their spirit steed while enacting co-op, and it will be disabled as long as other players are in the host’s world. As such, players cannot be invaded as well if they are currently mounted.
On the narrative side of things, the player, known as the Tarnished, has returned to The Land’s Between searching for the Elden Ring. FromSoftware takes a different approach to storytelling than Dark Souls, where most of the narrative was shrouded in mystery. As a result, the game’s narrative will not be as hard to grasp and vague as previous titles. Moreover, it has been confirmed that Elden Ring will feature new mythology, with no direct ties to the previous entries of the Soulsborne series.
Elden Ring will be releasing on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X on January 21, 2022.
You can learn more about this hands-off preview of Elden Ring here.
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