First off, article. I’ve tried to get into the Dark Souls games many times in the past. They’ve just never really clicked for me. But here I am making a case for why you should buy Elden Ring. Or at least I’ll tell you why Elden Ring is different for me than the other Dark Souls games.
I remember the very first time I fired up Dark Souls and just got endlessly and hopelessly wrecked. And that’s before I made it to the first boss! I felt abandoned from the start with the UI and lack of information, which I didn’t have the patience for. Looking back, I guess you’re supposed to feel alone.
Eventually I picked up the game again and made it past the first boss or two after plenty of tears and expletives. But even after beating the bosses, I didn’t necessarily feel accomplished. I only felt relieved that it was over and that I finally had a brief respite before the next time I’d have to bang my head against a wall. I dropped the game shortly after.
So why Elden Ring? What makes Elden ring so different when it clearly has a lot of the same key features of other Souls games? It’s still obscenely difficult, punishes your mistakes, and nearly everything seems left up to the player to figure out for themselves.
Elden Ring is Open World
Elden Ring features an “open world” environment. I put that in quotes because there are portions of the world that will feel vastly inaccessible until certain content is completed. However, I’m trying to think of a portion of the map that you can’t simply ride your horse to, dodging enemies along the way. And I honestly can’t think of any. Keep in mind – I’m not done with the game yet, but I’m far enough along to make that call.
In previous Souls games, the player had a more linear experience. If you ran into a boss that you just couldn’t beat, you were often stuck until you ground it out and overcame the challenge. Sure, there was an opportunity to backtrack and power level until you were stronger, but you were more limited in the content that you could choose from to do that.
With Elden Ring, when I run into a boss that’s giving me trouble, I eventually just leave and do something else. The world is gigantic with plenty to explore, and I don’t feel the need to waste my time fighting two stone gargoyles at once if there are other challenges to sink my teeth into.
Instead of a linear narrative, Elden Ring players can go where they want to and return to previous challenges once they’ve acquired better stats, gear, or resources.
Elden Ring Lore is Intriguing
I can’t talk about the other Souls’ games’ lore because I’m simply not versed in it. However, the Elden Ring lore and world-building is on a completely different level than what I expected. Again, the player is left to their imagination and interactions with bosses, enemies, and NPCs to really glean the backstories of the world. But it’s that aura of mystery that keeps me coming back to the well.
Without going into major spoilers, there’s a certain magical academy that comes up quite frequently and is a place that you’ll venture to in the game. The whole aesthetic of the place is both regal and concerning, with lots of stone faces that are just a littttttle bit contorted. Elden Ring capitalizes on the unsettling, making you feel like something is off at all times.
Once somebody compiles the actual Elden Ring lore together, I’ll definitely be devouring it. Until then, I’ve filled in the blanks with my own personal mythos. Plus, it gives me tons of inspiration for my own tabletop roleplaying game ideas!
Elden Ring Plays How You Want It To
In the first few weeks since Elden Ring’s release, I’ve seen the chatter out on the social networks about how Elden Ring is too easy if you play with magic, use summons, cheese bosses, etc. It smells an awful lot like elitism and gatekeeping from a Dark Souls community that is long-entrenched in the difficulty of their favorite series.
For whatever reason, I feel like some fans turn to masochism and don’t want their accomplishments Tarnished by casuals coming in and completing the game. You would think that an influx of new players into a series would be welcomed with open arms, especially with a series like Dark Souls that tends to only attract a certain type of gamer itching for the biggest challenge.
But with Elden Ring having sold over 12 million copies, as of the middle of March, Elden Ring is officially in the mainstream now. And I don’t know if that makes long-time Souls players feel threatened that their accolade of finishing Souls games isn’t the pinnacle of the gaming world any longer?
I appreciate that I can play the game that I want to play. In the previous Souls games, I was honestly just terrible at melee combat and I didn’t play enough to want to make a second character focused more on magic. In Elden Ring, I went the magical route and finally started to see success! That shouldn’t make me any less of a player than someone doing an armor-less run with a greataxe.
Elden Ring doesn’t force you to use a certain playstyle or summon Ashes; that choice is left to the player. No matter how you slice it, people can experience the Elden Ring that they want to. So let people have their fun! Their accomplishments are just as valid!
I’m so happy that I can progress through the game at my own pace using my own playstyle. And guess what? I’m still going to have challenges against enemies that are resistant to the playstyle that I’m using. The challenge is still there.
Elden Ring – The Most Approachable Souls Game
When I beat a boss in Elden Ring, I feel so accomplished. My wife can attest to my euphoria after she watches me try over and over to bring that health bar down to zero before finally being victorious. First off, well done! Elden Ring forces you to think about the strategy and make adjustments in order to win the day.
Elden Ring is still a challenging game, don’t get me wrong. And it’s not going to be for everyone, despite my talking points above. And that’s totally okay. Every game isn’t made for everybody, but I’m certainly glad for the tweaks in Elden Ring that have made it into my kind of game.
Elden Ring is the most approachable Souls game, at least from my perspective. And that’s great news for gamers everywhere.
Praise the Elden Ring!