Screenshot: From software / Bandai Namco
As you may already know, From Software has a new game coming out early next year. It’s called Elden Ring, and after spending a few hours with it during the preview last week, I’m here to say that it’s shaping up to be something really special.
To set some expectations, Kotaku was given access to the closed network test, but our time was limited to two three-hour sessions. While this wasn’t an unfettered look at open-world gaming, it was certainly enough to get a feel for the overall experience.
Elden Ring is a lot. This is the first major release of From Software since Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in 2019. It is the heir apparent to the Dark Souls franchise. This is the company’s first attempt to transplant Souls-style gameplay into a true open world. It’s Dark Souls IV. It’s Dark Souls II 2. It’s the natural culmination of an impressive resume that started with King’s Field in 1994, and as such, it’s also almost 30 years in the making. It is an experience that From Software is singularly capable of carrying out.
But perhaps most important of all, Elden Ring is fun. Oh my god, this is so much fun.
I have already spoken at length about Elden Ring opening moments (you know, the tutorial area with the hole that everyone kept falling into) and my favorite part from the restricted demo (accidentally finding my way to an island that I was half convinced was inaccessible). These two stories lie on opposite ends of the open world spectrum, the first to represent the genre’s ubiquitous emerging storytelling and the latter a perfect example of how From Software seems poised to reinvent open world games for good.
Elden Ring, while it gives players a huge sandbox to explore and interact with, is deliberate and intentional. Every part of the world building that contributed to the legacy of Dark Souls can just as easily be found in Elden Ring. The only difference is that there are more.
You’d expect a modern open-world game to be a collection of cool landmarks with little in between, other than a few lush visuals to make the trip from point A to point B at least aesthetic. This is not the case with Elden Ring, although I have to say that it is incredibly beautiful. No, the developers at From Software went the extra mile to ensure that every moment is an experience crafted despite having exponentially more area to cover with the studio’s unique flair to bring the fantasy to life.
A wooded lane is not just a showcase between waypoints, but a centerpiece for learning the intricacies of stealth combat.
The entrance to a castle is not only an awe-inspiring example of world architecture, but the start of a thrilling chase streak.
A random gathering of worshipers in a swampy field is not only a chance for you to take down a group of enemies on horseback, but the catalyst for a surprise fight against a man-eating dragon.
Unless the Elden Ring demo condenses everything cool in the game into 1/12 square mileage to fool us, I’m frankly worried about the developers. The attention to detail that must be implemented to make this ambitious project a reality is simply Herculean. While I’m anticipating Elden Ring’s arrival on February 25, I’m also more than happy to wait even longer if that means the folks at From Software aren’t killing themselves to get it out.
In any case, my brief stint with Elden Ring showed me that From Software is quite capable of owning the open world video game genre. I’m not sure how I’m going to go back to large tracts of land with nothing to do between the points of interest other than the environmental details that appear to have been copied and pasted just to fill in the space. Even as a die-hard Dark Souls fan, I’m blown away by what the developers have been able to accomplish with this small chunk of the full game and worry about my free time next February.
Article source https://kotaku.com/elden-ring-may-just-reinvent-the-open-world-genre-1848093261