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Elden Ring: Breath of the From Software

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05 Mar 2022 05:20 #331370 by Erik Twice

sornars wrote: As for not pausing, I mentioned it before but I think it's intentional. Combat is intended to be stressful, pausing to change the camera angle or take a breath would let some of the tension ease out of the situation whereas keeping it real time forces you to remain invested (and stressed).

It is intentional for exactly the reasons you mention.

While it's being seen as a "Dark Souls thing", the truth is that not being able to save or pause at will has a long history in Japanese gaming. It's one of the most prominent features of Dragon Quest, a game in which you can only save at towns. If you stray too far and die or can't come back, you lose all your progress. This was taken from Wizardry, but appealed to Horii's love of gambling. You can also find it in, say, Resident Evil. Many Japanese games also have huge screen-covering pause screens that prevent you from seeing the game if you pause.

I don't think it's worth it. To me, only being able to pause or save and quit doesn't take away from the tension, but it's not that the designers are dumb. They know what they are doing.

I think it's part of the ahistorical way Western gaming sees From Software. They are seen as "bucking the trend" or going against AAA design because that's what we understand as "normal". But their games are actually very traditional, drawing from Japanese roleplaying games, arcade gaming and From Software's own roots.

For example, the talking with others and leaving messages is directly influenced by The Tower of Druaga which is one of the most influential games ever made. Most Japanese games, from Zelda, to Pokémon to Bayonetta are influenced by it. And one of the reasons is that it created the "notebook" arcade culture, where players left notes for each other as they tried to climb the namesake tower.

Damn, I should write an article about this.
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05 Mar 2022 08:48 #331374 by Gary Sax
I take the point you are trying to make but I just want to get crystal clear for anyone reading: you can save any time you want to in Elden Ring by quitting. It is constantly autosaving. You cannot pause.
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05 Mar 2022 10:15 - 05 Mar 2022 10:25 #331385 by Ah_Pook
Any time horse platforming comes up just know I'm gonna die like 5 times minimum

Also Jarburg is where I live now <3
Last edit: 05 Mar 2022 10:25 by Ah_Pook.
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05 Mar 2022 12:06 - 05 Mar 2022 14:12 #331387 by Gary Sax
So I played for about 3 hours again last night. I love it, but I think it's far from flawless. All imo in what follows, of course, you do you.

The biggest thing I can say is that I don't think that the open world design is all that good. Roaming the world can be a little boring at times---there aren't really any *systems* at work out in the open world that make it very interesting. It's a lot of little set pieces sensibly spaced apart like a ubi game without the icons.

But what makes that still work extremely well is how well the background stuff of Dark Souls sits in that slightly boring setpiece landmark environment. Elden Ring is a testament to how the idea that everything is dangerous and lethal can enhance even a straightforward open world setup. Being constantly afraid in the open world is just a huge positive modifier to the entire experience of exploration.

The other element that means it isn't a normal open world game is the immense aesthetic and enemy creativity. Yes, you visit a bunch of places in sequence to find the one or two little things that are there, beat the miniboss, etc. But unlike, say, a Breath of the Wild (it's time for BLUE bokoblins this time!), there is *immense* variety in exactly what is there. New enemy sets for each major zone. Constant unique bosses and minibosses out in the open world. Aesthetic variety in enviroments. Varying up the little challenges and the enemies mean it isn't super rote to beat a clearly chalice-dungeonish-little-lego-playset of a ruin and go down in the same tunnel beneath it to open the reward chest.

I don't find the game revolutionary at all, but what is revolutionary is the way that the designers made the strengths of the Dark Souls basic template enhance and transform the now very familiar open world setup---there's incredible synergy there in a way I didn't really understand until I played it. Going to the next little activity but knowing there is almost certainly something unique there *and* I need to be in constant fear the entire time I'm there is just an absolute enhancer to that model.

I haven't done any of the major dungeons yet! I'll probably do one shortly---I imagine they'll be great like the main line From stuff.
Last edit: 05 Mar 2022 14:12 by Gary Sax.
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06 Mar 2022 14:22 #331423 by Gary Sax
Not directing people to go to the south island, which has a reasonable difficulty, is kind of a fuck you. I just beat the castle there and searched most of the island.
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06 Mar 2022 15:29 #331424 by Ah_Pook
The fuck you is directing you to go fight the first story boss. There's not a ton of direction to do anything in particular beyond that that I've seen, beyond the larger goal you're given.
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06 Mar 2022 17:21 #331426 by Gary Sax
The weirdo boss shit that comes out at night is a fun touch. It's an area that I appreciate the other player messages.
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06 Mar 2022 20:28 #331428 by hotseatgames
The last several times I have tried to do a co-op helper summons, it hasn't worked. Or I don't even get any gold summon signs to click on. No idea what is going on... the MP in this is flaky and weird.

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07 Mar 2022 15:05 - 07 Mar 2022 18:08 #331442 by Frohike
My son beat the final boss a couple of days ago (he's unemployed and prepping for an academic program in Japan next year, so he's had... a bit of free time). His assessment of the game (particularly the late game) compared to his plays of DS3 and Sekiro was somewhat stern, and I think he'd probably agree with several of the criticisms here:

www.reddit.com/r/Eldenring/comments/t83r...ecause_all_the_best/

I'm still enjoying it quite a lot, but I'm mostly in the early stages and have yet to beat Margit (I'm running a melee build).

I'm resisting the urge to follow some of this admittedly excellent and thorough guide to "getting OP" because it's just a lot to absorb and I'd honestly rather take a slower route and discover what I can as I go. However, I think I will try the rune farming location he described and also track down the Flask of Wondrous Physick (that one sounds like a must).

Last edit: 07 Mar 2022 18:08 by Frohike.
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08 Mar 2022 09:46 - 08 Mar 2022 09:57 #331461 by sornars
I'm not far enough along to respond directly to that Redditor but while I think that they're probably right re: repetitiveness of the open world, I also think a lot of the "too hard" reputation is from folks who are used to playing solo against all bosses while this game is tuned around summons/spirits. Drawing aggro seems very key to disrupting long boss combos and getting a meaningful number of hits in. Playing otherwise requires a near perfect series of dodges just to get a poke or two in. I've just beat
Warning: Spoiler!
and am sure that he's just a taste of what's to come.

That's good news for me as my favourite part of the Souls series is the online multiplayer. I normally hate playing games online. I actively reject it for most titles. I have no interest in voice chat, trolls and all of the rest of it. I love co-op in this series because of the limited communication. I love trolling in the form of invasions because it's an agreed upon framework for being trolled. As an aside, invading is interesting in this game as it looks like you can only invade people who are ready for it which flips the script on who's trolling who. I think opting out of those experiences is a real loss. I make heavy use of the co-op pools and guiding someone around and showing them the hidden pathways or helping them clear mobs is so much fun. The fact that being summoned has no risks to you also changes how I play. I can be more aggressive and hone my skills as my job is to help the host player survive which in turn makes me a better player.

Co-op also really changes the otherwise melancholic tone of the game. If you play solo the game is sad and lonely but playing co-op with someone else alleviates that feeling and really reinforces the theme of connection to other players in the game. The messages are also key to this theme. I know we're all annoyed at some quest by thinking "who could've figured that out" but a lot of the time the information is revealed via messages. "Try nighttime", "Be wary of left", "Friend ahead" are all very helpful contextual clues for investigating odd things. Sure you might miss some of the content but that's what NG+ and beyond are for.

I agree with Gary Sax, I think the open world nature of the game may simultaneously be the weakest part of the game as well as the best part about it. A lot of the travel is quite boring but the little smattering of random, often inconsequential encounters is fantastic. I found a bat singing a haunting tune and decided not to kill it. I came across something that looks straight out of Shadow of the Collosus and brought it to its knees. The elevator ride to
Warning: Spoiler!
. Those little touches are fantastic. I don't see this as the universal 10/10 everyone else does (my favourite of the series is still Demon Souls FWIW) but it is great and it's exciting to see From Software put together everything they've learned across all of their games. The aggression of the enemies is so much more familiar after playing Bloodborne. I was part way through Bloodborne but I put it aside to get involved with the conversation here - the difference in atmosphere between the two games is tremendous.
Last edit: 08 Mar 2022 09:57 by sornars.
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08 Mar 2022 10:16 #331463 by Ah_Pook
I believe the open world could get repetitive or the game could get weaker in the back half, but I wonder how much of that reddit post is from the guy powering through a game this huge in a week and just kinda burning out on it in the process

Personally I'm still loving it. I just finished the second area more or less. There's some weird side quest stuff going on there, but beyond that I think I'm going into the 3rd big area tonight. Also I went back and absolutely clowned some of the gaol guys near the beginning that killed me a bunch. Feels good.
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08 Mar 2022 14:42 #331469 by hotseatgames
Just to be clear, as this is my first real attempt at these games.... it's some long standing troll about secret passages and walls, correct? Like... is there EVER a secret passage?

I remember back in the UT99 days, there was a map called CTF-November, that featured a submarine pen in the center. There was a long running joke that you could get in the sub to get the Redeemer. You couldn't.

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08 Mar 2022 14:58 #331470 by Disgustipater
There are definitely illusory walls in the Souls games.

I hate that I can’t play this right now. Soon…

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08 Mar 2022 15:48 #331471 by Ah_Pook

hotseatgames wrote: Just to be clear, as this is my first real attempt at these games.... it's some long standing troll about secret passages and walls, correct? Like... is there EVER a secret passage?

I remember back in the UT99 days, there was a map called CTF-November, that featured a submarine pen in the center. There was a long running joke that you could get in the sub to get the Redeemer. You couldn't.


There are 100% illusory walls in this game, and other From games. This one has at least one illusory floor too. Usually there will be messages around them, hence the infinite number of fake messages about hidden passages.
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08 Mar 2022 15:49 #331472 by hotseatgames
eh... I think I'll just forgo that rather than having to click on messages knowing that 99% of them are bullshit.

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