According to many players, Elden Ring has already won the “Game of the Year” this year, next year and so on. A lot of impressive games have been released this year, and there are more to come that could dethrone Elden Ring from this place, but in its current form, fans are still engrossed and fascinated by Elden Ring months after its release.
Now that there is some distance between him and his release, it is possible to cross-examine the reasons why he had such an impact. Being an open-world role-playing game, Elden Ring is not the first game in its genre on paper. But in terms of what it does to improve open-world games and how it adapts its popular Souls formula to the open world, the bar has been set extremely high for all developers working on future open-world games.
Elden Ring perfectly adapts the RPG mechanics from FromSoftware to the open world
Elden Ring answers the question: “What if Dark Souls had an open world?” But it’s also much more comprehensive than that. FromSoftware is known for its phenomenal world-building in Demon’s Souls, the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Building on what makes these games special for Souls fans, Elden Ring expands FromSoftware’s traditionally linear and intimate level design into an open world that still manages to resemble the design of these levels. In an open-world game, the most important feature is to ensure that the exploration and the content that saturates it are satisfying, especially with the least number of hands or restrictions.
Of course, the term “open world” suggests that players can move freely, and non-linearity is paramount to satisfying this experience. Certain areas or bosses are necessary to move to other areas and biomes in the Elden Ring, but players will never get stuck in one area and will not be forced to bang their heads against a wall trying to defeat an enraged boss.
In addition, players have a variety of gameplay options that can be tested and experimented with, starting with different initial classes, characteristics, weapons, magic, spells and much more. Replayability is then encouraged even more as players can redistribute their stats by offering Rennala Tears of Maggots after defeating her. Add to this a few dynamic endings that require players to complete optional but useful quest lines from interesting non-player characters, and Elden Ring is an incredibly comprehensive and wonderful open-world game.
Elden Ring has crafting, dungeons, and other features needed in an open-world game
Taken out of context that Elden Ring is considered a Souls game, it has a lot of open-world feelings and mechanics that are not unusual in other open-world games. Elden Ring, like other FromSoftware games, is infamous for its interpolating text prompts and other input or menu issues.
Players who have experienced any of the past FromSoftware games from the Souls catalog will be at least relatively aware of these issues, such as having the input required to close a text prompt that indicates which item the players picked up. Elden Ring is no different, showing similar hints that appear after inserting a Stone Sword Key into a Statue of a Demon or when it is inconvenient to use an Infusion of Crimson Tears to revive a Torrent in undoubtedly chaotic incidents.
There is no special menu in Elden Ring where the game can be paused, unlike, for example, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, but players have found a creative workaround when one tab in the menu pauses the game in the background, allowing players to take a breather without explicitly exiting. However, going to the main menu is also an appropriate strategy, as players return to where they were left when they continue the game after that.
Clearly, Elden Ring is not completely impenetrable when it comes to features or mechanics that can be criticized or improved in some way, just like in any other game. But despite these concerns, Elden Ring offers such a wonderful open-world game that players can easily ignore these minor grievances, no matter how frequent they are.
Elden Ring is also the first Souls game from FromSoftware to use a map — what is required of Elden Ring due to its huge scale, scope and non-linearity. This includes a wide landscape above ground, as well as an unexpectedly large underground part, separate island areas suspended in the air, and many dynamic dungeons scattered everywhere. It is clear that Elden Ring drew inspiration from other open-world games, implementing a compass and a beacon for navigation and other similar means. But the implementation of Elden Ring still manages to be refreshing and unique, especially with an illustrated map that promotes exploration and continues to increase as players find new areas.