FromSoftware showed off several minutes of an Elden Ring gameplay demo to a select few websites and content creators – and while we didn’t get to see it for ourselves, we’ve gathered the most important and interesting elements mentioned by other journalists.
While Elden Ring will have aspects to it that weren’t ever seen before in a FromSoftware game, it does feel like the core of it is directly inherited from Dark Souls. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. The studio’s formula when it comes to souls-like is yet unmatched, as proven by the string of quality games they’ve been producing in the last decade or so. If Elden Ring is meant to be an evolution of the Souls formula, we’re all the more excited for it.
Elden Ring Gameplay Demo: The Lands Between
‘The Lands Between’ is Elden Ring‘s open-world: filled with smaller areas, dungeons, and other segments. IGN mentions that several places in the game will have various paths and ways to be dealt with, with FromSoftware placing heavy emphasis on player choice. There are also going to be boss fights out on the field, with journalists mentioning a dragon boss that players can decide to confront or not. Otherwise, interesting encounters can be expected, such as enemies escorting large carriages that are likely filled with treasure and loot. Other than these sorts of events, the world will include smaller dungeons, as well as Legacy Dungeons – the latter are handcrafted areas where the biggest of bosses can usually be found. It looks like Legacy Dungeons will have to be cleared in order to progress in the story since they’re directly tied to each region’s lore.
Sites of Lost Grace: Basically, Bonfires
Bonfires in Elden Ring are called Sites of Lost Grace: spots where you’ll be able to heal, get your healing charges back, get enemies to respawn, and switch your skills around. While you’re in the open world, you can teleport to any of these discovered Sites. It’s worth mentioning that players won’t be able to teleport out of dungeons, according to The Verge. The Sites of Lost Grace will also be pointing players towards their current main objective, with the developers aware that the large open world would be too tedious to navigate without any sort of guidance.
A Souls Game With A Map
You read correctly: Elden Ring is going to be featuring a map. There was plenty of speculation concerning this feature, but the gameplay footage did showcase a full, open-world map that will even let players place markers on it. Markers will then shine a beacon of light out in the open world, to ease navigation without forcing you to constantly check your map again and again. Of course, you shouldn’t expect something filled with icons and outposts to be cleared. Instead, map fragments will need to be collected in order to complete the whole picture: a little reminiscent of Hollow Knight‘s own mapping system.
Skills, Stances, Parrying
Unlike previous Souls games, skills (previously known as ‘weapon arts’) will not be tied to any specific weapons this time. This means players will be able to freely swap them around according to their preferences, without being tied down to a specific playstyle dictated by the weapon they’re currently using.
Parrying works very similar to Dark Souls (with some mentioning that it’s basically the same as in Dark Souls 3), but there’s a little bit of a twist to it. FromSoftware has taken the stance system from Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and has added it to the game: if you keep striking or parrying a foe, you can break their stance to land a strong blow. There’s also a new mechanic known as Guard Counter, which allows players to attack immediately after blocking – at the cost of a large portion of your stamina bar.
Melina, The New ‘Firekeeper’, Is Crucial To The Story
FromSoftware’ Yasuhiro Kitao explained to Eurogamer that Melina, the game’s “level-up” NPC akin to the traditional Souls games’ Firekeeper, is central to the game’s story. The journalists having watched the gameplay footage revealed that she had a “phantom-like” aura about her, which begged the question regarding whether she was truly alive or not. With FromSoftware wanting to make Elden Ring‘s story much more accessible compared to previous games’ lore, perhaps Melina will also act as a guide to the player in these troubled lands.
Summoning Friendly Spirits
An item known as ‘Ashes of the Deceased’ will allow players to summon the spirit of slain foes to aid them in combat – according to Polygon. The function can only be used in single-player mode, and it looks like FromSoftware has spent a great deal of time refining this mechanic. Each spirit will have its own, unique skill that will differentiate it from others – so players can really swap those around and choose each one according to their own playstyle. In the gameplay demo, the player character summoned a group of bandits that held an enemy in place.
The World Is Designed With Jumping In Mind
Much akin to Sekiro, jumping will play an essential part in the player’s set of tools. Dungeons, especially Legacy ones, are also designed with that mechanic in mind. VaatiVidya, perhaps the most well-known content creator within the Soulsborne series, has pointed out that the Legacy Dungeon that was shown off (named Stormveil Castle) had plenty of paths and secrets that could only be discovered with a little bit of platforming. This is a significant leap from the traditional, slow movement that Dark Souls players are usually accustomed to. It really does feel like FromSoftware has combined elements from all of their previous games, for Elden Ring.
It remains to be seen whether the studio is going to be showing off the same Elden Ring gameplay demo to the public. Regardless, journalists and content creators are in agreement: Elden Ring is proving to be FromSoftware’s most ambitious title yet, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it.
Elden Ring comes out on January 21, 2022, for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.