How Elden Ring evolves on FromSoftware’s Dark Souls formula

How Elden Ring evolves on FromSoftware’s Dark Souls formula

The Dark Souls series by FromSoftware, has become synonymous with challenging gameplay, interconnected world and cryptic lore. Souls series features epic and unforgiving boss battles that demand mastery of combat and strategic thinking. Unlike many other action RPGs, Dark Souls offers minimal guidance and instead rewards exploration, player curiosity and experimentation.

With Elden Ring, FromSoftware’s latest installment, FromSoftware has made various changes to the pre-existing Dark Souls formula that managed to introduce Elden Ring to a much wider audience. This article will break down how Elden Ring evolves on the Dark Souls formula.


What exactly is the original Dark Souls formula?

DARK SOULS III | Official Website (EN)

Dark Souls gameplay is rather simple. Players need to navigate through a linear yet interconnected world with very limited checkpoints, defeating enemies on their way to earn souls, levelling up stats by spending said souls, and defeating a boss that inhabits that area.

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The combat focuses on landing hits and dodging enemy attacks by rolling away. There are various weapons, armour, spells for players to utilise which adds combat variety and facilitates different play styles.

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The combat isn’t difficult to grasp but performing said dodges and parries becomes a challenge because of game intricacies and aggressive enemies. Players need to carefully learn attack patterns of enemies, discover small attack windows, attack and retreat while carefully managing stamina and health.


How Elden Ring Changes this Formula?

Elden Ring muestra detalles de la historia en un nuevo tráiler

Souls series has a simple base formula that FormSoftware has continued to tweak and modernise over time with their release of subsequent Dark Souls and other games. Elden Ring is an open world game and FromSoftware made some changes to the traditional game mechanics to cater to the game’s open world design.

Exploration

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While Dark Souls demands focused mastery as players progress through a more linear and narrow world, Elden Ring is open and players can go anywhere they want in that open world. The game is full of hidden mini dungeons, weapons, items, and spells that can trivialise an otherwise challenging boss.

Elden Ring allows players to chart their own course, uncover hidden secrets, and tackle challenges at their own pace. This approach provides players with more control over the content they wish to experience. Players are free to quit the boss and explore somewhere else whenever they hit a challenge too difficult to overcome. Exploration leads to player level up, new weapon, armour and gears that make a difficult boss fight easier.

Improvement in combat

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Compared to previous Souls titles, Elden Ring features a faster-paced combat system with smoother and more forgiving invincibility frames during rolls. Additionally, the game significantly expands its magic system for those who like to play as spell casters. Elden Ring offers a wider variety of spells, magic types, and incantations. In contrast to past games where spells often served niche roles, Elden Ring empowers players to integrate magic and incantations more seamlessly into their offensive strategies, making them viable options against a broader range of enemies and bosses.

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Another great upgrade came to weapon abilities in the form of Ashes of War. Unlike Dark Soul’s, where weapon arts were tied to specific weapons, Ashes of War system allows players to freely equip any weapon with various combat skills and special properties, granting greater flexibility in their combat approach.

Checkpoints

Earlier Souls

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games were notorious for lack of checkpoints, giving players a sense of dread and discomfort as they explore the narrow dark passage ways. The bonfires checkpoints used to be at a considerable distance from the bosses, adding an extra layer of challenge as players tried to reach the boss room unscathed.

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Elden Ring, on the other hand, provides frequent checkpoints in the name of sites of grace and stakes of Marika. Most bosses in Elden Ring have a stake of marika right outside the boss room, making it comfortable for the players to retry on a particular boss. To add to the comfort, Elden Ring also allows the players to teleport from anywhere on the map, as long as they have not aggravated an enemy. This allows players to escape a dire situation or go back to the previous checkpoint without having to lose their runes.

Mount

Elden Ring allows players to mount a steed named Torrent in the open world. Torrent is very useful in getting out of difficult situations, dodging enemy projectiles and exploring the overworld.

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Mounted combat is also new to Elden Ring. When mounted on Torrent, players can double jump and have access to light attacks, heavy attacks and spells. Inclusion of Torrent brings more maneuverability and agility to the combat and proves useful when battling multiple enemies or fast enemies that can outrun the player on foot.


Elden Ring shows FromSoftware’s ability to evolve and iterate upon their decade old established formula. With an open world, Elden Ring brought changes and refinements in core mechanics. Elden Ring successfully expands upon the Soulsborne legacy while remaining true to its core identity.

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