Hướng dẫn - Updated on January 3, 2023

The release of a game from FromSoftware is always an event. Despite the accusations of “pipeline”, projects Hidetaka Miyazaki (Hidetaka Miyazaki) manages to attract a huge number of fans over and over again. But even against the backdrop of previous successes, Elden Ring studios are waiting especially hard. In early February, Bandai Namco allowed the press to play the full version of Elden Ring. I spent six hours in it and was convinced that this is the main and most thoughtful work of the studio in the field of “soullikes”. I’ll try to explain why.

New certainty

A global change that affects every aspect of Elden Ring compared to other games in the “series” is the ubiquitous clarity, unusual after Dark Souls. First of all, this is noticeable in the plot. With Sekiro, the studio has already dabbled in a more traditional narrative. And in Elden Ring, she developed a cross between the approaches of Sekiro and Demon’s Souls.

The Network has long been parsing this trailer, the authors of which correctly interpreted a huge number of details – is not proof of a more straightforward approach to the plot?

Each location has characters ready to share details about important events for the game world. Yes, and the levels themselves sometimes hit the narrative through the environment. For example, in Elden Ring there is an academy of magic, which closed its doors to new students after the death of the local ruler and the split of that very Ring. Not far from the academy, you can meet a student who once got out of it, but simply did not have time to return before it was closed forever. On the way to the building, you can see how the magicians defend themselves from the knights of the local king.

The game has much less allegory and mystery than in the same Dark Souls. If in the first part of “Dark Souls” it was necessary to ring the bell, which was shown only by a spectacular camera fly in the starting cut-scene, then in Elden Ring it is always obvious where to go in the story. At the key fires, the player’s character sees magical lines that indicate the direction to the next important point in the manner of the wind in Ghost of Tsushima and are displayed on the map. And in general, in each biome, you can very quickly find a detailed map of the area. There will be no fast travel points and dungeon markers on it, but it will help to understand the landscape.

If you don’t want, don’t go

The popular comparison of Elden Ring with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is not entirely correct – after all, in Zelda you can go anywhere from the first minute, and its playing space is crammed with systemic mechanics. Elden Ring is more like “Gothic”.

At the very beginning of any Piranha Bytes game, the protagonist has almost nothing to oppose to the outside world. So before you rush into battle, you have to study the features of the factions, get money and good equipment. Until then, skirmishes with strong opponents end badly.

Elden Ring works in a similar way. At first, the first story boss seemed irresistible to me, although neither in his “moveset” nor in the damage from attacks was anything special by the standards of FromSoftware. But it was worth spending a couple of hours exploring the world, finding a good sword and powerful spells – and the big man was beaten in just a few minutes. And so – with every test in the game. Of course, with some attempt, it will be possible to defeat any opponent, regardless of equipment, and there will certainly be people who will complete the game on their fists without dying on the day of release. But with a standard approach to the passage of Elden Ring, it encourages you to build your own story from battles of increasing complexity.

Thanks to this approach, you do not have to endure unpleasant locations – each player will be able to find an area of ​​interest to him, and return to unloved zones later. For example, the very first plot castle is very much reminiscent of Dark Souls in terms of architecture and enemies, but if you wish, you can ride away, to more colorful biomes in the spirit of Sekiro.

By the way, about unpleasant locations: I counted three or four biomes with my analogue of swamps.

Exploration in Elden Ring has also reached a new level. You have to explore every ruin and every cave from those that are generously scattered around the map. At the same time, you never know what awaits you there: in the basement in the middle of the camp there may be a lone chest, and in the dungeon it is easy to stumble upon a full-fledged boss. Sometimes spirits can also be found in the open world, which can lead the player to a new cave or treasure.

Elden Ring: Press Release Preview

In some places in Elden Ring there are even strangely traditional side quests. For example, one guy asked me to clear the family outpost and kill the invader general. Well, at least there are no towers. And you can rob caravans.

New – good and bad

Elden Ring introduced several mechanics that had not been seen in the series before, and the impressions from them are mixed. The first of these is the spiritist mount Torrent as a full-fledged means of transportation in the open world and an assistant in battle. With the first application, everything is simple and clear: already at the very beginning of the game, you can, for example, travel around the entire map, ignoring enemies, and open a dozen or two points for fast travel. But in the battle Torrent is not always useful. Foot enemies and giants pose almost no danger to the player when he is on horseback. But, firstly, in a battle with them, it is not always possible to call him, because many skirmishes take place in dungeons that block Torrent. And secondly, battles with opponents who also have a horse turn into chases in the spirit of comedy shows.

I also had another unpleasant situation with Torrent during the battle with a very simple boss on a horse. On the gamepad, the horse is controlled by the movement of the left stick, and responds by pressing it. Due to nerves, I died five times, because at the decisive moment I accidentally fell off my horse and ended up under the boss just before a powerful blow.

But Torrent is indispensable when you need to overcome an abyss or jump from a great height, because it has a double jump, and it also “absorbs” fall damage.

Another new mechanic is crafting, which I couldn’t understand at all in six hours of playing. From items found in the open world, you can collect a variety of consumables such as temporary bonuses and bombs with throwing knives. During the given time, I simply did not meet an enemy in a battle with which at least something from the crafting menu would be useful to me. Unless the spyglass was useful, but still it is not clear why all these items could not be loaded into the bag of some merchant.

But magic left a uniquely positive impression. During my time at Elden Ring, I used it in various forms more than I did in all FromSoftware games and soulslicks in general. Spells come in two forms: in the form of War Ashes – abilities that can be assigned to any weapon or shield, and in the form of traditional magic in the spirit of a magic sword or summon.

Ashes and summons generally have to be used quite often, and they are constantly found in the open world. The game seems to force you to call for help, so Elden Ring may seem easier than other “soullikes”. But the mechanics can not be brazenly abused. For example, in the battle with the first story boss, spiritualistic help was very useful to me, but the next enemy got rid of it in just a couple of attacks. Also, the AI ​​of those summoned is sometimes dumb and can even accidentally block the player’s passage, which will cost him his life.

You can summon both people without any abilities, as well as various magicians and animals.

The ashes of war, on the other hand, range from something completely unnecessary to abilities that decide the outcome of a battle. I got a few Ashes, which are supposed to knock down enemies with air currents, but I did not find anything better than a simple parry for this task. By the way, parry is also considered an assignable ability here. But the lightning strike and the attack accumulating a negative effect turned out to be very useful. But even with not very powerful Ashes, it is interesting to experiment in order to understand how different enemies react to them.

In Elden Ring, stealth from Sekiro is also revealed in a new way, which helps to avoid difficult fights and even finish off simple mini-bosses.

After Elden Ring, you understand that within the framework of the pseudo-open, “metroid” world, games with similar mechanics are really cramped. FromSoftware’s new work turned out to be what soulslicks should have always been – so naturally familiar features of such games were built into a huge, diverse world.

Elden Ring has rough edges, like a not-so-useful crafting system and sometimes unresponsive horseback riding. But everything else seems to have been perfected – I didn’t even encounter a single bug two weeks before the release. So far, it looks like Miyazaki has succeeded again. In the first hours, the novelty feels like a good entry point into such games, with mechanics honed over the years and small but interesting innovations.

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