The main elements of fantasy, such as wizards, witches, elves, dwarves and dragons, will not go away. There’s something cathartic about seeing their setting fully realized in modern precision, and that’s part of the charm of FromSoftware’s dark fantasy works. On paper, Dark Souls and Elden Ring are very straightforward fantasy works in the style of Tolkien, but their art and worlds have managed to elevate them. Despite all that they borrowed from The Lord of the Rings and Berserk, the main Soulslikes have their own sense of style. Extremely ornate sets of armor have something to do with this, as well as a subtle anime style accompanying acrobatic attacks.
And, of course, there are monsters. There are all sorts of strange beasts in Dark Souls and Elden Ring, and sometimes weirder people. Part of their dark but mystical aesthetic involves the fusion of these two things in an often terrifying way. Even dragons are no exception, although their usual fantastic grandeur is often on display. If players want to see how unique Dark Souls and Elden Ring dragons can become, they will have to dig deeper and prepare for the consequences.
Dark Souls and Elden Ring Dragons have similar Stories
This is only a partial metaphor, as the dragons in every FromSoftware setup have a history stretching further than humans have recorded. In the world of Dark Souls and, at least, in the island state of the Intermediate Lands, the former rulers were dragons. Eternal dragons, along with archtrees, are all that existed in the Era of the Ancients mentioned at the beginning of Dark Souls 1. Similarly, before the Empire of Marika and the Era of Erdtri shown in Elden Ring, dragons ruled the Intermediate Lands. The optional Dragonlord boss Placidusax was even one of the first lords of earth, whose patron was his own vanished dragon god.
When the age of man reached both worlds, the dragons found that they had no place in either of them. Great wars were fought, but this is where the first serious discrepancy appears. In Dark Souls, dragons were almost completely wiped out as a species, and only a tiny handful of Eternal Dragons existed in the world. Wyverns and dragons make up the majority of the supposed dragons that the player sees, and what is an Eternal Dragon and what is not, has been causing controversy among fans for many years. On the contrary, the dragons in the Elden Ring eventually accepted a peace offer from Godwin, one of Marika’s descendants. Although coexistence in the xenophobic empire was difficult, there are many more dragons roaming in the open world of the Elden Ring than in the lifeless apocalypse of Dark Souls.
The Relationship between Humans and Dragons in Elden Ring and Dark Souls
Man looked at these dragons with awe and fear, not worshipping them as gods, but still viewing them as something to be achieved. In addition to the followers of Sita Bescheshuynogo in Crystal Sorcery, against the background of each part of Dark Souls, groups were formed that worshipped dragons and imitated them in human form. The player can join the dragon fun and become a humanoid dragon in various ways in each Dark Souls title. In the first game, there is actually a dragon covenant, which is controlled by a friendly Stone Dragon, who was supposedly the last Eternal Dragon. The ancient Dragon DS2 also welcomes noble warriors, as demonstrated by the Scholar of the First Sin, in which his dragon knight servants led a series of duels. There is no dragon covenant in Dark Souls 3, although the Dark Eater Midir was once a powerful ally of humanity.
Elden Ring combines the dragon precepts of Dark Souls with its own dragon communication. Interestingly, although the results of gaining dragon power are comparable, communication with dragons in the Elden Ring is much less friendly towards dragon species. Those who do this simply want the strength and longevity of dragons, not caring about the lives of these intelligent beings. They and possibly the player collect Dragon Hearts to absorb them and gain dragon powers. For the player, this has no side effects, but nevertheless they are warned about it because others who tried eventually turned into magma snakes. Dragon soldiers are another result of the fusion of humans and dragons, and their bandages covering seemingly hollow torsos indicate that this cannot end well.
Comparison of Elden Ring Dragons with Dark Souls
It remains to compare the dragons themselves. Unfortunately, despite the fact that so much creativity has been invested in other Elden Ring beasts, its dragons are one of its simplest features. Many of them are just giant four-legged lizards with wings and a mixture of scales and fur. They have different types of breathing, and some even practice unique dragon magic, but they are all very similar.