'Elden Ring' most ambitious 'souls-like' game

"Elden Ring," one of the most anticipated games of 2022, is now scheduled for release on Feb. 25, 2022. (Bandai Namco/TNS)

Starting with “Demon’s Souls” back in 2009, the “Souls” series is notorious for its intense difficulty and atmosphere.

Personally, I never got into the games until I played “Bloodborne,” which was like a “Van Helsing” meets Lovecraft spinoff of the “Souls” games.

The first “Souls” game I ever played was “Dark Souls” when I was 12 years old, and I tried to play it like “Skyrim,” which I was absolutely demolished for doing.

But what can I say that hasn’t been said about this series already? They’re some of the finest games of all time.

Combat is, of course, a brutal yet intensely rewarding system that always keeps you on your feet. Building a character is very important as well, as every part of your character has a level attributed to it.

For example, you can add points to your vitality, stamina, strength, dexterity, faith, luck, and so on. The “Souls” games all follow this format, so gameplay and mechanics are similar throughout the series.

Not much changes between the games mechanics wise, as they’re fine the way they are.

The narratives of the “Souls” games are quite unique. I always compared them to taking place after the “main story” was finished. Much of the story is given to you through the rich environments and the items you pick up along the way.

That’s not even mentioning the characters you can meet, such as the friendly Solaire of Astora, or the devious Patches.

The side characters add a plethora of side stories to add to the game, complete with character development and world progression. Many of their stories, however, are quite tragic.

With all that being said, the “Souls” games have always been open, but linear at heart. The environments are big enough to let the player character explore to their hearts content, but small enough to not be called “open world.”

From gameplay mechanics, to minimalist narratives, and the general way the games are built, the “Souls” series has been largely consistent with their game design.

However, the latest game in the series is seeking to change everything. “Elden Ring” is the latest in the “Souls” series and will be releasing in February of next year.

Not much is known about the game’s story, but a gameplay presentation a few weeks ago showed us what the game is expanding upon when it comes to the usual “Souls” formula.

First of all, “Elden Ring” is going to introduce quite a few new things to the “Souls” formula. The biggest change is the conversion to a full open world, complete with random events and dungeons you can find.

Also, bosses will appear in the open world, and environmental damage will be prevalent when they arrive.

Beyond that, stealth is finally being added as a mechanic. Stealth in the other games was just walking up behind someone and backstabbing them. Here, you can crouch to avoid being heard and seen.

Crafting is another interesting mechanic being added in “Elden Ring.” It seems you can craft various items like buffs to your weapons by using things you’ve picked up on your travels.

I’m personally looking forward to this, as I won’t have to worry about stock running out of in-game stores on buffs I need.

A summonable mount is also being added to “Elden Ring.” This is a first for the “Souls” games, and you can summon it during boss fights in the open world.

Reports from the network test of “Elden Ring” state that the mount has very tight controls and is fun to use when fighting bosses.

Sadly, I wasn’t chosen for the “Elden Ring” network test, but I’m also content with waiting for the finished version.

Aside from new additions to an already great formula, there’s obviously some returning factors from the “Souls” series.

The overall design of the game looks amazing, bosses have a classic “Souls-Like” aesthetic, and it’s complete with the challenging combat that made the series popular in the first place.

Finally, you don’t have to play the game alone, as co-op summoning is a returning mechanic from the past games.

I look forward to seeing how “Elden Ring” turns out, as it’ll be a sort of reunion between myself and my friends who I played the “Souls” games with this past summer.

Whatever path you choose, I hope you find your way in the dark world of “Elden Ring” when it releases in February.