Elden Ring has become one of the most profoundly appraised rounds ever. The game currently has a Metacritic score of 97, sits at number 19 on the top of all games, and is considered a top contender for Game of the Year despite initially mixed reviews on Steam (mainly due to poor optimization).
Which eventually became “very positive”.
Elden Ring has made the biggest leap forward in the development of Soulslike. In addition to the huge world filled with interesting content, classic Dark Souls style, and beautiful landscapes, the game has become more friendly to new players. With this, Elden Ring sets a new standard in the Soulslike genre for future projects. In today’s article, we will try to figure out how the new game from FromSoftware stands out from the background of the company’s past games.
Typically Soulslike games don’t provide direct progression guides. Players often had to listen carefully to the dialogues and find the right path themselves. Because of what, you could accidentally get into a room with a difficult boss or end up in a dead-end.
Things are a little nicer in Elden Ring. After resting in places of grace, a light appears on your map indicating the direction to the next goal. And although you still have to find the right path yourself, you will see the right direction. This is especially important given the game’s large open world.
Fast travel from anywhere
Fast travel was implemented in the first part of Dark Souls, only to use it you need Lordvessel. A trophy that could be obtained after completing almost half of the game. Then, in the second part of Dark Souls, it became possible to teleport between fires.
And in Elden Ring, the player from the very beginning of the game can move to an open place of grace from anywhere on the map (except some buildings and dungeons). This simplifies the study of the world and allows you to worry less about the lost souls (shards).
If you do not want (or cannot) play in multiplayer, but you have problems passing the game, helper spirits will come to the rescue. In Elden Ring, with the help of a special bell, you can summon the ghosts of fallen enemies to fight by your side.
You should not expect high damage or high stamina from them, but assistants can distract the boss or poison him. Which, if not much, will simplify the battle.
Elden Ring is the first FromSoftware game to feature a world map and this is one of the key innovations. Now players do not need to remember how to get to various key places (or look at guides on the Internet), using the map they can quickly and conveniently move around the world and see all the key places.
You can also leave your markers, see various caves and buildings, which makes it easier to travel around the world and allows you to plan your route more accurately. However, in the beginning, the player only has a part of the map open and sees the map in its entirety. You will have to explore a lot because its fragments are scattered throughout the vast world.
For the first time in the Soulslike genre, the player has the option to ride a horse. That allows not only to travel the world faster but also to fight while sitting on horseback. And this is a completely new gaming experience, now it is much easier to fight with ordinary opponents and huge bosses in the open world.
And the horse also has a double jump, which allows you to look into the most inaccessible corners of the map.
In previous games in the Dark Souls series, after dying at a boss, the player had to travel a long distance from the last campfire to the fight. What pissed me off. Was that along the way the player could be badly hurt by ordinary opponents? Because of what I had to spend priceless flasks for treatment.
Luckily in Elden Ring, there are special checkpoints in the locations, usually in front of a difficult location or a boss. Now, after a defeat, the player will be able to return to the battle in a few seconds, collect their souls, and once again not lose health.
Leveling up stats (levels) in Soulslike is a rather confusing thing. And if during the game you wanted to try another build (or found a new interesting weapon). You had no option to pump over the characteristics, but in Elden Ring, such an opportunity appeared. After defeating the Queen of Rennell, you will be able to reset your stats and redistribute them.
Did the game turn out?
Perhaps all of the above aspects slightly simplified the game. However, I would say that they just made it more convenient. Elden Ring began to appreciate the player’s time, now it is not necessary to run for several minutes before the boss fight, find the right path to the desired location, or go halfway through the game to gain access to fast travel.
All this saves the player time and does not simplify the game itself. Battles with ordinary opponents and bosses still require certain skills and efforts. And even the call of assistants does not give a strong advantage. But on the other hand, all these simplifications will probably help new players get acquainted with the Soulslike genre. Which will allow it to gain even more popularity. And many interesting projects from different developers in the future.