Elden Ring - George R.R. Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki

Technically Dark Souls can be considered “open”, in the sense that there are multiple paths you can take and few physical barriers preventing you from going where you want. But the world’s design is still fairly linear. To get from one area to another, you are generally going to take a straight path even if you have some choice about which path to take. It’s not an open world in, say, a Breath of the Wild/Skyrim way where you can wander around in any which direction just to see what is out there. In some sense you can do that in Dark Souls, but the options are deliberate and more limited.

I’d say it’s safe to read. I just finished it. It’s a little boring because they’re describing every single detail in the demo. But the demo they were shown changes a lot. First they’re shown one thing, then it switches to a different character in a different situation.

Overall the main thing I got out of all that is you get a better sense of how the open world works, and how it’s quite different from the other From games as a result. They have a map now, to help you navigate this Overworld. There’s things going on in the overworld like caravans traveling from place to place, you can get out of sight so they don’t spot you. There’s more of a stealth element too. In one scene they used a sleep arrow to put a guard to sleep and then snuck past that tower to get inside a fort. And there’s lots of “dungeons” and “Classic dungeons” that branch off from different areas of the overworld, where “dungeon” could just mean one of the areas from Dark Souls type of place, not necessarily an actual dungeon, just a more linear path area.

All in all, it all sounds great to me. Bring it on.

A map?!

Yep.

Then, the player brings up a map interface - a brand new feature for Elden Ring. It’s beautifully illustrated and coloured in a sort of classic RPG map design. There are no words on it, just the outlines of the terrain and any places of interest drawn on from a top-down perspective. It’s massive, and interestingly, there’s a prompt at the bottom of the screen that says you can press in the right thumbstick to “show subterranean labyrinth” - suggesting there may be multiple map layers.

As someone who adores the mystery and complexity of uncovering From Software’s worlds as you explore them, I was glad to hear that map information is apparently updated by acquiring map fragments found throughout the world - you don’t just get full visibility of the Lands Between right off the bat. Which I’m glad to hear - one of my favourite moments in any From game is opening up a door or a shortcut and discovering the ingenious ways in which the world twists and folds on itself to bring players back to exactly where they need to be. I don’t want a map screen to spoil that. So what of that complexity and mystique? From doesn’t believe the inclusion of a map screen threatens any of that. “We feel like this aspect will be preserved, and even once you get to that information through the fragments of the map, you’ll think ‘oh that may be an interesting area to explore over here.’ Once you go there, you’ll find it has its own multi-tiered-ness, its own three-dimensionality, that will hopefully be interesting to explore,” Kitao told us.

This is me. I will probably buy the game wen it comes out but I really doubt my computer will handle it. I may end up buying a PS4 version. But I like to experience these games with as few spoilers as possible on my first play thru, it is part of the thrill.

Both were open to a point, and then became linear. DS3 went linear much quicker. But I don’t think any of them qualify as open world games.

Slight delay to Feb 25th. Not a big deal, and I’m all for a game coming out in the best shape it can be, so almost not newsworthy except I thought this was a March 2022 title (for some reason) and as such, I read this is as incredible news that it’s dropping a month early! :)

Also, there is some sort of network test in November which seems like it will be cool to at least follow if not try and get in on.

Also also, in case anyone missed it there is a short 30 second clip of gameplay floating around, taken from the last gen Xbox One system (I think it looks incredible, myself, but am eager to see what it will look like on current gen/PC).

Shoot.

Hopefully a better PC port than what we’ve seen in the past.

Hmm, their latest PC ports have been pretty stellar (PC was, for example, the Place to Play Sekiro; maybe it’s better on PS5?), so I assume it’ll be fine. My only concern is whether it’ll run well on my aging machine, but it has to be better than my PS4, which consoles me somewhat.

I think they learned a lot from early stumbles - Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro were excellent on PC out of the box (at least that’s how I remember them, so any issues must have been quickly addressed, if any). I’m not too concerned, but I also think I’m going to pick up the PS5 version of this anyway, to play it on the big OLED TV I picked up earlier this year, so I don’t have a dog in this particular race.

That is my concern as well. I have access to a PS4 but I want to play it on PC.

Yep; they have admitted that Dark Souls was rushed to PC after the console versions were done, and that they really didn’t do anything that PC players expect from a port. They wanted to get it out as quick as possible.

Since then, they pledged to do better and the PC versions are now developed alongside console. The Dark Souls 2 port was leaps and bounds ahead of the first game, with plenty of the options we’d expect, though I think it may have still have had a locked frame rate.

They’re getting better each time and I am not really worried about the Elden Ring port, since Sekiro was so good.

I’m still wondering if I’ll join you guys at launch with this one. I’m very tempted. On the other hand, maybe I should be finishing Dark Souls 3 first. That way I’ll have Bloodborne and the Dark Souls trilogy under my belt.

Or perhaps I should tackle Sekiro next, and see if I’m even up to the task. That one sounds next-level hard for someone like me who could never figure out how to parry properly in the Souls games. Heck, I remember the tutorial in Metal Gear Revengence put you in a situation where you have to parry to move forward and I couldn’t do it!

Well you have a bit over four months, which if you focus on them ought to be time enough to do both. I played them all way out of order, I believe going something like Demon’s, BB, DS3, DS2, DS1, Sekiro? In the space of a year or two. This will be the first one that I get into right along with everyone else instead of being a johnny come lately, and that alone has me fairly excited (with no multiplayer, Sekiro didn’t really matter in this regard).

What did you think of two after having already played three? It had to seem terribly slow.

Well, I played it after 3 and BB, so yes it was slow, but I had already played DeS so it wasn’t my first time at the slowdeo and I enjoyed the more measured pace after the Frantic Action of the other two, honestly. I think 2 might be my favorite for pure atmosphere, although it’s a close run with DeS (and of course no game does gothic like BB).

I didn’t like DS2, but there was one moment where I felt the whole game was worth playing for this one boss fight, where I was fighting something that was poisoning me, and then the room was filling with poison water, and then draining. Something like that. It was a long fight, and really interesting because of the poisoning. It was the only place where I felt Dark Souls 2 was really unique and imaginative and trying something truly interesting.

I tried finding it on youtube, it must be this, but my fight was nowhere near this fast. LOL.

I didn’t really remember that, but looking it up I did in fact burn the windmill, which drains her room of poison, except for some around the edges. I’m almost positive I didn’t look it up in any kind of guide, either. I spent 80 hours in that game, zero of it in any kind of multiplayer whatsoever, like twice as much as most other From games, so I went places.

Too many From games in rapid succession might be too much for you. They can run together a bit. I’d skip everything and just play Elden Ring.

Yep, that’s what I was thinking too.

Plus I think it will be the first time I’ll be in on day 1. Why not make it for something fresh like this, From’s attempt at a true open world game.