Elden Ring: We analyzed the first gameplay shown by From Software

Elden Ring: We analyzed the first gameplay shown by From Software

Elden Ring

The first Elden Ring gameplay shown some time ago in the form of a trailer managed to at least partially dampen the exorbitant hype that had been created around the new creature from From Software. After years of silence and expectations, after all, what we saw showed a gaming rig full of familiar features for anyone who eats bread and soulslike for breakfast, and technically it didn't seem particularly far from the latest works of the well-known Japanese house.

In our opinion, this is not a negative phenomenon: reducing the often unrealistic expectations of the public with a communication far from the thundering media tam tam typical of blockbusters is a great way to surprise at the time of launch, therefore we fully approve the choice of From Software to match a new gameplay demonstration of almost twenty minutes with the arrival of the first real playable beta. That said, the wait for this work is still monstrous and it is not surprising that with each new news the entire web goes wild to steal every possible secret ahead of time.

We have therefore decided to participate in this now inevitable ritual by analyzing in detail the last video revealed before the network test.

Structure: cartography take me away

Elden Ring: a look at the landscape with two friends Elden Ring's willingness not to deviate from her blood brothers from the Souls series is evident in every single scene shown, yet this clear desire from the developers does not necessarily represent coercion. In the video, on the other hand, a huge difference immediately appears compared to the other works of the Japanese developer: the presence of a map of the world, complete with placeable indicators and clearly visible places of grace.

The latter are in effect the equivalent of bonfires in the game, so the fact that they are very clear on paper is probably linked to their double usefulness as checkpoint and teleportation. Indicators, on the other hand, represent a boon for anyone who has difficulty finding their way around large maps, since their positioning forms columns of light that are clearly visible from a distance. <

The presence of a clearly visible map could scare purists and especially those who love the sense of anguish and unknown that has always accompanied exploration in Miyazaki's games, but is actually a carefully inserted addition to best support the main area, which is huge and freely explorable, as well as apparently being divided into various regions, and the structural solutions that accompany it. For example, during free exploration it is possible to collect materials, which can then be used to create useful objects such as sleep arrows or bombs of various types, and it is therefore very important to mark the areas useful for the recovery of certain targeted elements.

Elden Ring, however, is like all soulslike a game where the battles are central and the positioning of the enemies is essential to better adjust the rhythm management during progression. To avoid excessive dead moments From Software has therefore decided to include minor dungeons in the world - mostly caves and catacombs - containing bosses and optional items, or even particularly dangerous "wandering" bosses that can be encountered in specific locations (such as the wyvern that seen at the beginning of the video). Add to this the presence of events, NPCs, groups of enemies, caravans and more, and you will quickly realize how the presence of a map with manually positionable markers was inevitable. Of course, Miyazaki is not a fool and knows perfectly well that he cannot completely turn his back on the purists and for this reason the open areas of Elden Ring connect to the Legacy Dungeons structured in the old way. Here the level design should be the unassailable one to which the software house has accustomed us, albeit with a pinch of additional verticality linked to the jump.

Gameplay: infinite ways to fight

Elden Ring: is it worth killing a wyvern, or rather leave it alone? There are a myriad of things to look into when it comes to the gameplay of Elden Ring, but we'd like to start with a peculiar return that not everyone had foreseen: the poise. For the uninitiated, the poise is a statistic (mainly linked to the armor worn) that in Dark Souls indicated the resistance to "imbalance". In practice, a high poise allowed to resist enemy attacks without distortions of any kind and in particular in PVP reaching certain values ​​was practically mandatory in order not to be stunned in bursts. Its application in the chapters following the first, however, has begun to fluctuate significantly and has therefore always been a controversial topic of discussion (especially, precisely, among dueling enthusiasts).

Its reappearance in Elden Ring seems curiously to be a new reworking, more similar to the stability bar seen in Sekiro, typical of both the protagonist and the opponents: although no dedicated visual indicator appears, certain shots are clearly in able to stun enemies and make them vulnerable to a powerful counterattack, and the vulnerability to this type of maneuver may completely depend on the poise. Even bosses are affected by this, as a huge knight seen in the video is stunned after taking a few heavy hits (jump air strikes in particular give the impression that they can heavily knock any target if they hit). It is an interesting way to reintroduce it, no doubt about it, even if even this new "shape" could lead to some unpleasant imbalances. All that remains is to wait for more in-depth tests.

Elden Ring: the summons are very varied, and include small or huge beasts. Staying on the statistics, there is also a total novelty: arcane. Considering that among the "known" choices there remain both faith, intelligence, and mind (for miracles, magic damage and number of magic slots respectively), this new entry should influence something else. Our theory? It could be linked to the damage of summons, or to the use of runic powers obtainable from bosses, both mechanics introduced in Elden Ring.

The former are particularly interesting, because they seem a curious variation of the concept of usable souls seen in Nioh 2 (and in turn taken from much older games such as Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow): in practice it is the possibility of summoning monsters killed in combat in a spiritual form, using them temporarily as allies. The method (and percentage) of recovery of these summons is currently unknown, but to use them a specific catalyst is clearly needed, since this (accompanied by the sound of a bell) appears in the trailer every time these powers are exploited. Runic powers, on the other hand, are distinguished by the appearance of a specific symbol at the time of use and could be special moves obtainable by eliminating some of the bosses in the game. The fact that during the trailer a summoned companion demonstrates that he can use the flames of the defeated wyvern in the early stages should be a pretty clear confirmation of what has just been described.

Elden Ring: you fight riding, but only in the open field Other ingredients of From Software's minestrone? An apparent enormity of unique moves linked to individual weapons - the video greatly emphasizes the constant replacement of weapons equipped precisely to use as many skills as possible - and of spells, with the latter including both spells already seen and rather basic, and devastating rains of area bullets (not counting the confirmation of the usual blade buffs). It is seriously a remarkable mix of mechanics, which overall could make Elden Ring the most varied and elaborate From game ever from the point of view of builds and approach to combat.

The primary doubts? They are about stealth and horse fighting. The first seems useful for circumventing dangerous areas without being eliminated, but apparently it does not allow to eliminate the unseen enemies, but only to approach them to favor a stun (only once the opponent is stunned it seems possible an execution, but it could depend from the target). The steed instead has unleashed some doubts about the possibility of abusing the bows and spells in the open map against certain bosses (it is not possible to ride in the dungeons), since its movement speed seems to allow an elimination from a fairly easy distance even in the case of extremely dangerous opponents. Knowing Miyazaki's study, however, it is plausible that there are marked limitations to its use in battle, or some heavy downside (such as instant death if hit in that situation).

The gameplay of Elden Ring really tickled us, hinting at a complexity higher than that seen in any other From title, and also managing to make a more than discreet figure from a technical point of view (from the artistic one we had very few doubts). The impression is that this title is a sum of what the Japanese company has learned so far and wants to be the definitive embodiment of the concept that has made From Software's games among the most loved in circulation. There are still an infinity of data and secrets to be revealed, but there is little time left and you can be sure that we can't wait to dive head first into this new and fascinating abyss.


A lot of extra maneuvers and mechanics, with a huge potential variety of builds and approaches. Artistically, it's always remarkable DOUBTS The structural changes may not all be applied flawlessly Will the variety of builds correspond to a worthy balance of difficulty? Have you noticed any errors?

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