Impressions from a recent hands-off event are encouraging, so hopefully the footage goes public
How much more do you want to know about Elden Ring?
Realistically, I don’t need to know any more details — this game continues to look like the next step forward after Bloodborne and Dark Souls III, and I can already tell you that once it’s out, I’m going to obsess over it in that special, magical, once-every-few-years way.
If you are open to learning more — whether you need more convincing, or, like me, you just can’t help yourself — there’s a lot of new stuff to dig into. Select outlets and content creators were recently shown 16 minutes of hands-off Elden Ring gameplay (this is a game where every minute counts, so we don’t round down to 15), and they also got some of their questions answered. Today, they’ve reported back with their impressions.
Here’s Souls knower extraordinaire VaatiVidya‘s preview:
I want to fixate on the exploration angle, as that’s my favorite part of all From Software action-RPGs, by far, and it’s an even bigger focus for Elden Ring. Lines will be blurred between memes about Breath of the Wild and genuine sentiment. They already have been!
Some shakeups that will nudge us along as we chart a course across the Lands Between:
- The bonfire-equivalent “grace” checkpoints can point you toward your next main objective with a guiding light trail (as seen in a prior screenshot with the pot lads).
- Aside from restoring health with an Estus Flask equivalent, you can regain a bit of your health by “defeating mobs of enemies out in the world” — this was done so players can “stay exploring” for longer. “You’ll be coming across grace checkpoints a little bit less often [than bonfires],” according to VaatiVidya.
- Sprinting doesn’t use up stamina when you’re not in combat.
- You may encounter a “field” boss, like a dragon, that can be fought “freely” in the open world. There are hand-crafted dungeons with beefy bosses, too.
- Elden Ring has a “hand-drawn”-style map (with player-set markers that appear as pillars of light in the world), and your hero’s location is shown in real-time.
- You can fill in chunks of the map with scattered “map fragments.”
- There’s also more verticality, in general, which is great to hear post-Sekiro.
A few more world-structure notes from Fextralife:
- “While you’re out traversing the Lands Between on your Spirit Steed you will eventually run into Dungeons and Legacy Dungeons. Dungeons are smallish enclosed areas that are full of traps, monsters, and a Boss that reward the player with equipment, Skills, or other rewards. Legacy Dungeons are much larger and are sort of their own sub-area inside the Lands Between. They are called Legacy Dungeons because they are about the size and style of what one area from a Souls game would be, allowing for a sort of pseudo self-contained theme and experience.”
- Illusory walls are back. We’re going to hug all the walls, aren’t we?
And one last Elden Ring revelation from The Verge:
- According to From Software’s Yasuhiro Kitao: “We have our existing corpse run system carried over from previous games, but we didn’t want that to be a frustrating or stressful aspect for the player to have to run all the way across the map to collect their experience points. So one thing we did was, in an area with a high level of challenge, we’ve placed these retry points — that’s still a tentative name — and if the player finds that, they’ll have the option when they die of respawning from the retry point or the last checkpoint.”
- Kitao continues: “Also, by opening the map, the player can fast travel to any previously visited ‘site of lost grace,’ as long as they’re not within a dungeon currently. It just alleviates some of that stress, and having this burden in the back of your mind of having to travel all the way back to where you’ve previously been. It streamlines that a little bit.”
This sounds like a game where whole hours will vanish in what feels like the blink of an eye — even more than expected, given the pedigree. I’ll get lost in it; the good kind.
As Vaati puts it, the Elden Ring showcase was “really well made,” to the point where it’s a bit “weird” that it was behind closed doors only. “I can only assume you’ll see it soon.”
Until that moment arrives, I will keep obsessing over these little gargoyle creeps.
What’s their story?