A week ahead of the first Elden Ring network test, FromSoftware dropped a 15-minute gameplay preview that walks us through several areas of The Lands Between from the perspective of a few very different Tarnished. Bosses are slain, spells are cast, talking Pot Boys are walloped – the new Elden Ring gameplay trailer is an exciting tour of Big Dark Souls.
This being our longest and most in-depth gameplay showcase yet, the latest trailer is also packed with new details that flesh out our understanding of the game and demonstrate how previously teased ideas actually work in practice, from stealth and crafting to multiplayer and dungeons. Here are seven things that jumped out to us.
Sites of Grace will give you hints about where to go
When you start a new FromSoftware game, one of the first things you’ve got to do is figure out what they’ve renamed everything to this time. In Elden Ring, bonfires have been replaced with Sites of Grace, and while they seem to fulfill the same purpose – letting you rest, restock, as well as teleport between sites – they also have a big new feature over bonfires. Sites of Grace will occasionally send out guiding rays of light which lead toward new points of interest, presumably guiding you to new areas and bosses. You’re free to ignore these rays of light if you’d rather strike off in another direction, but it’s encouraging to know that Elden Ring won’t leave you totally high and dry if you find yourself unsure of where to go next. You have to wonder if this is FromSoftware’s way of responding to feedback about some of its games being a bit nebulous at times.
The map is large and full of markers
Speaking of other directions: holy crap the Elden Ring map is big. We got a good, zoomed-out view of the world map in this showcase, and it’s chunky. Beyond the sheer size of the world, which is filled out visually as you acquire map fragments, the customizable cartography itself is also quite intriguing. You’re given 100 map markers that you can use to denote rare resources, dangerous enemies, and other key locations of your own accord, not unlike the way many modern Metroidvania games let you doctor up their maps. You can also put down beacons of light that will appear in the game world as a clear marker to work toward, sort of like a DIY ray of guiding light.
Crafting and resource gathering plays a big part
FromSoftware games are usually pretty deliberate with loot, with carefully placed chests giving you key items and random enemy drops filling in the blanks, but Elden Ring looks to be crawling with valuable resources to harvest and hoard. The trailer shows the crafting recipes for several projectiles made from bits picked up around the world, and if that’s any indication, we’re going to be scouring The Lands Between for all manner of odds and ends from ores and teeth to bones and berries.
You have a lot of finisher attacks
Ever since the first Elden Ring trailer, players have been wondering how it will build on FromSoftware’s dizzying array of critical hits. Will we deplete enemy stamina and skewer them like in Sekiro? Are we limited to the usual backstabs and ripostes of Dark Souls? What about the bloody flourishes of Bloodborne? It turns out Elden Ring has all of that and then some. We’ve got backstabs, ripostes, guard break finishers, special boss weak spots, and even aerial dive bombs which send enemies reeling. FromSoftware wasn’t kidding when it said Elden Ring has a greater variety of play styles and special attacks than its previous games.
There’s a wild variety of magic
If our selection of finishers has been expanded, our magic arsenal has quite frankly exploded. FromSoftware’s no stranger to creative spells, but Elden Ring has already shown off a whole other level of magic. Here are just some of the things we see the Tarnished do with magic in this trailer:
- Create a bow of light and shoot arrows at a dragon
- Create a giant greatsword of light and smash Godrick the Golden
- Summon three skeletons that simultaneously pummel a soldier
- Conjure dark clouds that rain arrows on an unnamed horseman boss
- Shoot a giant blue laser beam like they’re running Chaos Reach in Destiny 2
- Fluidly lob spell arrows at a boss while strafing
- Cover weapons in red light
- Cover weapons in blue light
And that’s just magic, which is entirely separate from spirit summoning. The latter revolves around collectible items which can call upon hordes of goblins, big tanky friends, and plenty more allies to help you in a pinch, whether you get overwhelmed while exploring or find your back to the wall in a boss fight.
The jump button is a revolution
We were technically able to jump in the Souls series, and Sekiro gave us a friggin’ grappling hook to get around, but Elden Ring has brought a new sense of freedom to its open-world through a truly innovative feature: a jump button.
The benefits of the jump button are clearest in the new showcase for Stormvale Castle, one of the legacy dungeons of the Limgrave region. Our hero is able to clear gaps, jump up to railings, and access entirely different paths with ease. No more mistimed sprint jumps or random invisible walls. Nearest we can tell, if you can see it, you can go there, whether it’s across suspended platforms or over a railing down the ground below. And let’s not forget our trusty spirit steed can also leap up cliffs and gaps in the world by using the magic equivalent of a trampoline, just for another dollop of verticality.
Your torch is your best friend
Elden Ring’s focus on exploring anything you can see raises a big question: what if you can’t see anything because it’s black as the heart of Godrick the Golden in here? Well, if we’re lucky, there’ll be a handy spell for illuminating dark environments, but thankfully Elden Ring also gives you a trusty torch, and it looks like it will rarely leave our hands. Elden Ring has a day-night cycle, for one, which means it’ll get dark pretty regularly. On top of that, the new trailer specifically pushed how poor visibility can get down in the many crypts and catacombs of The Lands Between, presumably to stress the importance of keeping a torch on hand. Can we stop and appreciate the fire and lighting effects on the torch, by the way? Now that’s a flame that’ll make you feel safe, or at least safer, as you plunder the depths of who knows what.