Wednesday, December 8

‘Elden Ring’: From Software reinvents the style of the ‘Souls’ with unexpected elements of stealth and open world

The closed beta of the new From Software game, after just under ten hours of play, has allowed us certify a few questions about the new and highly anticipated title from the creators of ‘Dark Souls’. First and foremost, that Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team do not back down one iota when it comes to capturing their particular vision of what is playable on the screen. ‘Elden Ring’ is as demanding and not very accommodating as all the previous titles of the studio, perhaps with somewhat smoother rough edges, but determined to talk for months about one of the major challenges in the medium.

And that giving in to nothing also includes an absolutely personal and recognizable aesthetic, cryptic most of the time, twisted, sinister and with no more clues than is necessary for the gloomy and threatening worlds of From Software games to be built halfway between Miyazaki’s designs and the imagination of the players. But none of this is a surprise. It is the one hundred percent From Software seal. The surprises come with the bet of ‘Elden Ring’ for an open world.

The proof that Miyazaki tortures players with demanding challenges, but with a sadistic delicacy calculated to the limit, is clearer than ever with a game that, from what we have found, makes your controls and jump use more flexible so exploration is more free and open than ever. We can now dodge groups of enemies to attack treacherously, we can now overcome obstacles, climb buildings, and everything to multiply the strategic possibilities and, opening the options, launch the player with the idea that this world is infinite.

From Software gives you a hand

To this improvement in the controls are added aids that refine the difficulty of the game, not making it more accessible, but more fair: the Torrentera steed, immediately summoned and capable of double jumping and giving some maneuverability in the combats – although it will also leave us sold sometimes with its lack of precision-; the compass that will help you to orient yourself on a map that is already more huge and ruthless than ever; the Places of Grace, similar to the bonfires of the ‘Souls’ (they allow you to level up, let time pass and access improvements), but also indicate possible paths to follow.

Many possibilities reinforced by a splendid stage design: it is clear that the castle that rises before us is the main destination (we will be able to approach it from multiple angles as the usual ‘Souls’ passageways, shortcuts and dungeons are present here again). But from the elevated position from which we started when leaving the first underground area in which we are we see other places of interest. For example, a swamp with a burning tower. If we get closer we will run into a wonderful sword and a fire-breathing dragon.

Akin to this “open” structure, the game invites us both to explore and to collect all kinds of materials. Plants, for example, will allow us to make pumps or ointments. But above all it is in the approach to bosses and minor enemies where the game has taken a conceptual turn. Of course, there are inevitable titans (the one that lurks in the castle, for example, it is essential to defeat it to advance), but the approach acquires multiple nuances and approaches, which they allow us, for example, to sneak up on us to ensure some valuable initial hits. The same with the most modest enemies: stealth and detour will guarantee sure victories and opens a huge catalog of strategies before us.

An hour with the father of 'Dark Souls': interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki, the great contemporary video game revolutionary

Finally, it only remains to stand out (since the technical section has fulfilled more than good on Playstation 5, although In these three months From Software will have to correct some other hangs of the game and some graphic problem unimportant) the overwhelming section on character and setting design. In line with the medieval style of the ‘Souls’, the monsters (gutted spawn, giant crabs, gargoyles, strange cavemen, stone keepers …) are as impressive as ever. Beyond changes or improvements in the mechanics, From once again strikes excellence.

There are only a few months left until the release of ‘Elden Ring’. Waiting to see what the publicized participation of George RR Martin is left with (a guest star that, in our opinion, From Software does not particularly need) we have an excellent taste in our mouths and the feeling that the open world will give a complexity never before seen to the games of the studio. We wait, as always, terrified and in a dark corner.

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