Elden Ring is scheduled to release in February 2022 and is a hotly anticipated title. Its network test provided a sample of what people could potentially expect. The three day period allowed for players to explore a small section of the map, which offered more than a handful of bosses to challenge and areas to discover. However, there are a few features that I would personally like to see appear as part of its Elden Ring gameplay. These ranges from smaller, less significant tweaks to greater accessibility options.
Elden Ring’s system of leveling is similar to Dark Souls series’ gameplay. (Bloodborne included, since it’s of a similar ilk.) Players can distribute points to various categories to increase their damage potential and health. The network test provided a glimpse into the several different options here. However, while it seems to be a near perfect middle ground between Bloodborne and Dark Souls, I would like to see better optimization overall. I want to be able to clearly understand the different attributes that appear in Elden Ring and not have to spend too much time potentially allocating points leveling up stats that won’t matter in the long run. Blooborne’s system is perfect in this respect. There are a handful of avenues to build a character The uniqueness of each build is reliant on the weapon you choose.
This brings me to the second feature I would like to see in Elden Ring: more diverse gameplay styles. As mentioned earlier, Bloodborne allows players to pursue different styles, due to the variety weapons could afford. Naturally, the Dark Souls series always provides a large selection of weapons for players. However, I felt as though these don’t contribute much to its overall playstyles. Instead, people are often relegated to magic builds, strength builds, and dexterity builds. Optimization could go one of three ways, depending on what armor players would then choose to wear into battle. While I’m certain that people will potentially be spoiled in Elden Ring on that front, I would love to see other avenues for players to tackle bosses and enemies.
I also want to potentially be able to trade with enemies and possibly regenerate health through hits through the use of a ring like in Dark Souls III. Granted, this ring is just an extremely weak version of a combat mechanic in Bloodborne. I want to see stealth be a path that players can utilize through the entire game, rather than potentially sneaking around the open world. I think the tools are already there, given that Elden Ring includes a stealth mechanic and jumping. I just hope that these will be mechanics that can be used consistently, without Elden Ring potentially funneling players down the same avenues Dark Souls already thoroughly explored.
This has less to do with gameplay mechanics, and more or less the “feeling” of Elden Ring. I mentioned in my preview that the announcement trailer evoked the idea that IP would set itself apart from previous FromSoftware games. One of the most integral means of creating a sense of atmosphere for a FromSoftware area or boss arena is the music. I would love to see a more varied score in Elden Ring. Perhaps something that feels wholly unique from previous FromSoftware games. Sekiro was an incredible example of what the developer’s music team can do. Composer Yuka Kitamura, at the time, revealed the process of creating the score for a game deeply entrenched in Japanese history. I’d love to see Elden Ring use more obscure Medieval instruments in its score, like the hurdy-gurdy!
This last thing I would like to see is a hotly contested topic among the broad spectrum of Dark Souls (and Bloodborne) players. I would like to see a greater range of accessibility features appear in Elden Ring. As someone who has incredibly poor eyesight, I would greatly appreciate a font scaling option. It would let me properly read item description text. A color blind mode of some kind would be appreciated. While the Souls games do allow for players to level up and overcome challenges through sheer force of will or the help of others in multiplayer, I firmly believe that there should be a difficulty option as well, or at least some kind of scaling available for players.
While the foundation of FromSoftware action games seem tied intrinsically to the ethos of simply getting up and trying again no matter the odds, Elden Ring already has several quality of life features that would be improved upon with greater accessibility features. These include the wealth of teleportation points, as illustrated by the network test, and the ability to even respawn at specific points just outside of some open world bosses. Adding a difficulty slider, or even using adaptive difficulty, wouldn’t detract from the experience in any way.
These are just a few features that I would like to see in Elden Ring. Of course, I don’t expect any of these things to appear in the game, but would be pleasantly surprised if they did! I think FromSoftware could potentially expand upon their formula to provide a more varied and interesting experience, and that Elden Ring could shape up to be their best title yet.
Elden Ring will release for the PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC on February 25, 2022.