Game news Elden Ring: Really easier than Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro?
This is a debate that inevitably comes up when approaching a new game from FromSoftware: that of difficulty. Inevitably, Elden Ring, the Japanese team’s latest baby, has not escaped this, but for a slightly different reason. This time, the developers indicated from the start that they wanted to make the project something more accessible. So, more accessible or easier? Is the requirement there?
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With each new game from FromSoftware, it’s the same old story. Dithyrambic notes – moreover completely deserved – and a debate which returns, that of the difficulty. For Elden Ring, it’s still the same. The latest project from the Japanese studio is the subject of a real plebiscite from the press (18/20 in our columns, 97/100 on Metacritic) and the subject of the level of the challenge is back on the table. But this time it’s a little different. Hidetaka Miyrazaki, title director and star president of the company, had announced some changes on the accessibility side from the start. “I think the level of difficulty will not be as high as the games you mention (note – Sekiro, Bloodborne)” affirmedhe thus to the Famitsu media, in the middle of last year. A difficulty not as high yes, but in what sense? We explain to you.
Difficult but different
Let’s start by dispelling some doubts. Elden Ring is difficult, or rather demanding, as FromSoftware studio tradition dictates. Almost all the mandatory and major bosses will give you a lot of trouble, and the big optional enemies are far from being outdone (even if they are logically more affordable). All with a level of challenge that will become more and more present until the end of the adventure, where serious challenges await you. Tradition obliges, it will not necessarily be your level or your equipment that will be decisive but the learning of enemy movements, but also your resistance to pressure. It’s often in the last moments that fatal errors occur, at the delicate moment of finishing a boss. Either way, the sense of accomplishment is there.
However, Elden Ring does change quite a few things that make the game more affordable and accessible. The very structure of the title, in an open world, helps to overcome the caps of difficulty. Unlike other FromSoftware games, if you ever get stuck on a boss, you don’t need to go back to the same areas to collect experience, unearth other secrets. In Elden Ring, the open world reaches out to you at all times, thanks in particular to a very flexible teleportation system. It is indeed possible to travel instantly and at will between each activated Site of Grace (the equivalent of campfires in Dark Souls). In fact, if you’re tired of breaking your teeth on a boss, you can go miles away to resume exploring. A trip synonymous with a rise in power.
Power to be curious
Something very important and very rewarding in Elden Ring: all out-of-the-ordinary locations (camp, ruin, cave, convoy) have a nice reward 99% of the time, be it a new weapon or even a new power. The very fact of exploring and finding new items is taken into account in determining the difficulty. In other words, in Elden Ring, you can’t go all the way around the huge open world and then tackle the Legacy Dungeons – where the obligatory bosses are – in the simplest way. The open world is gradually unlocked as you overcome these dungeons. This is a very good point: Elden Ring values exploration but without betraying its demanding side.
Other details also come to erase the frustration – and therefore somewhere the difficulty – usual of Souls in Elden Ring. Starting with the Effigies of Marika, brand new checkpoints added to Sites of Grace. Statues that are very present in the open world, often right next to a boss or a camp with lots of enemies, and that the player does not even need to activate by hand. Enough to return almost automatically near the point in question, without redoing the road to get there. A very good point, and which has the good tone of not being too present in the Legacy Dungeons, areas which are supposed to restore the classic Souls experience. In these places, no worries, the level design is always based on winding corridors with shortcuts. With Elden Ring, the FromSoftware studio is doing a balancing act to satisfy a wider audience. Finally, even the Spirits the player can summon are restricted and not too permissive.
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