The new Elden Ring gameplay demo has dropped today and with it comes the hopes and dreams of many hoping that the most hyped game of the coming year will deliver on everything it has promised. Elden Ring is being developed by From Software, who you might know better as the creators of the world-famous Dark Souls series as well as the ultra-successful Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. With that lengthy pedigree, it is fair to expect that world from their first foray into next-gen consoles and to add to the hype, renowned novelist George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame is helping pen the story as well as the creature designs, so this fascinating combination of minds really has the ability to deliver something special. With that being said, we’ve got a good solid look at the gameplay today and know a little about what to expect, so lets dive into it.
One of the reasons Dark Souls has become its own genre is because of how punishing and dread filled the gameplay is. Every game from From Software plays like a combination of a horror game mixed with an action RPG and the fusion of the two has become iconic. What we’ve seen here in the gameplay footage is very much more of the same. Veterans of From Software titles will feel right at home here and it’s honestly tough to see what makes this title so different from its spiritual predecessors.
The combat we saw was full of the Dark Souls go to moves like charge attacks, wild looking magic attacks, and some ranged fare thrown in. The magic seems to be greatly expanded here though and tons of special attacks are shown off in the demo that are far beyond what we’ve seen out of From Software. In terms of how it looks, the best way to describe it is the same but different. Nothing really jumped off the screen to “Wow” me in a way that a next-gen game should be wowing at this point. The character looked pretty generic and the combat while smooth looking, still retains that Dark Souls jank that games like Bloodborne and Sekiro managed to bypass. But the combat looks faster and the dodging moves from Bloodborne and Sekiro have weaved their way in here to show a much quicker paced and dynamic way to fight
It’s an early look at everything for sure, but nothing here is really showing us why this game took this long to come out. What is new? The newest addition was the horseback gameplay which was shown off in a boss fight against a gargantuan dragon that you can tell George R.R. Martin designed. It didn’t look all that special though and there were some simple sword swipes here and there, but the horse acted more like a way to get around quickly rather than a real combat asset. For example, the horse can spring high into the air in the open world and this can possibly be used for combat too, although the demo didn’t show off that feature. There is plenty of intrigue here, but it’s clear they are only showing off a very small piece of a sizeable puzzle.
Part of what makes From Software titles so incredible to experience is their atmosphere and whether it is the shining castles of Anor Londo in Dark Souls to Hunter’s Dream in Bloodborne, they sure know how to make an impact with their level design. That kind of prowess is on show again in the gameplay shown today as the world of Elden Ring looks gorgeous with lush environments and quite a bit more color than we’ve been used to seeing in past games. While it seems From Software embraced more of a traditional fantasy aesthetic for this game, there is still plenty of creepy dark areas shown in the demo and the traditional Dark Souls ambiance is in full effect here as well.
Elden Ring Enemies
With claims like George R.R. Martin, helping design the enemies in Elden Ring, the expectations were already sky high and although the demo is brief, it does show off some truly memorable enemies. While we’ve all seen dragons in RPGs before, we’ve never seen a George R.R. Martin designed dragon in action in game form and here, it looks like the first boss shown off in the demo jumped straight out of Westeros and the sheer rage and power of the creature comes through in a big way here as the animations are just off the charts in the footage shown. the basic enemies are shown briefly here too as well, though nothing really approaches the creepiness of Yarnham village people of Bloodborne, there is certainly a disturbing air to some of the lumbering half corpses we see here too. The standout is the last boss shown in the trailer which appears to be a mutated king of some kind and the disgusting and crazy design here really shows From Software at the height of its powers. The ensuing boss fight looks appropriately nuts as well as the gigantic king is not lumbering by any means and the player is doing everything they can to dodge the flurry of attacks flying at them every second.
Overall, this was a great slice of the Elden Ring gameplay cake we’ve got to chomp on for a few months while they iron out the finishing touches at From Software. While it’s likely not going to change the gaming industry like Dark Souls did 10 years ago, it looks like a spiritual successor that will build upon the solid foundations left by the games before it.
Elden Ring is available February 25th, 2022 for PC, PS4,PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
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