Elden Ring | Preview: Miyazaki and Martin present their Lord of the Rings (or almost)

There is little to do, although you try every now and then to get away from the atmosphere of the Souls (see Sekiro or Déraciné), Hidetaka Miyazaki is a creature composed of 90% from the dark middle ages while the remaining 10% is body horror and other nightmares. With Elden Ring, finally shown in an extended trailer at the Summer Game Fest 2021, then returns to tell a story made of knights and curses, of balances that break generating madness and desolation and of numerous warriors and orders ready to wield control of the Elden Ring ( or Ancestral Ring). And who better than another medieval enthusiast like George RR Martin could accompany him on this latest adventure?

In this preview we therefore take stock of the situation on what awaits us or could expect the January 21, 2022, the day set for the Elden Ring release, between as stated on the official website, certain facts and expectations.

An (ancestral) ring to tame them

Let’s start from the plot. The most careful of you will surely have noticed similarities, or at least some references, between the background of Elden Ring and the great work of Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. In both fantasy universes the story revolves around a ring, whether physical or intangible. A ring coveted by many and able to break the balance of the world. Wanting to reduce the story of Frodo and his companions to the bone, in The Lord of the Rings we see the protagonists make a long journey in the Middle Lands to destroy the One Ring for which the known world has entered the war.

Likewise in Elden Ring, there is a war for a ring in a world called Interregnum (or in the original language Lands Between, a name that is very reminiscent of the Middle Lands). This Ancestral Ring, probably the one in the logo formed by four circles of light, was shattered and the pieces of this ring known as Major Runes, they became the object of desire of the demigods, the descendants of Marika the Eternal, ruler dell’Interregno. L’Ancestral Ring was the basis of the power ofMother Tree on which it is legitimate to think the balance of the game world was supported. Demigods’ control of the Greater Runes has plunged the world into oblivion and madness to the point of a war called Disintegration who dismissed the Higher will (a sort of invisible god or the hooded woman who appears in the trailer?) by the demigods.

In practice it is possible to think of all of this as a kind of Olympus where order reigned until the craving of Marika’s descendants for the Ancestral Ring destroyed everything. At that point god (the higher Will) left Olympus to try to restore order through the senzaluce (Human beings? Souls of the dead?), Once exiled from the Interregnum.

The Lightless, who do not understand much besides the fact that they will be the protagonists of the adventure, are therefore called to wield the Elden Ring and become the Ancestral Lords. And apparently, at least from what the hoodie in the trailer says, they have to do it “for all of us” then to save the human race? The Demigods? Or the Lightless themselves? Furthermore The Lightless (or in English the Tarnished or the tarnished or the obscured) give a lot to think about what could be the Golden Order that has shattered. If you look closely at the trailer you can see that enemies, at least almost everyone who looks like bosses, wear a golden crown or items, from armor to swords, and even the dragon shown has gold on the inside of the wings. While the protagonists always wear objects of iron or silver. Armours therefore dull and far from the glitter of gold, without light, in fact. Probably the game lore will also move on this front, on the danger of a “gold fever” who transformed the affebbrati into monstrous wrecks victims of their greed.

Furthermore this concept could also be a tribute by Miyazaki to the late Kentaro Miura, the author of Berserk passed away prematurely just this year. On Berserk, in fact, there are several characters who lose their reason becoming real monsters to chase their desires thanks to an object called Bejelit. The Elden Ring and its Major Runes such as Bejelit, it would therefore be an interesting and probable prospect given that the game director of From Software has never made any secret of the fact that Miura’s cursed Middle Ages were a great inspiration for his works.

An open world Dark Souls? Probably yes, but also a summa maxima of the worlds created by Miyazaki

To talk about the gameplay, or at least from the first info and sensations on the gameplay, let’s start from the character, the Senzaluce that we are going to interpret. In almost every Miyazaki title we have had a chance to create our character from scratch. By setting the initial parameters, appearance, skills etc. In Elden Ring it will be no different, the official website also says so and yet there is something out of place. Now we move on the slippery ground of hypothesis but from the game videos you can see the protagonists with different weapons and armor, probably those created by the player, together with what we can define as a sort of main hero. He is easily recognized on video, he is the one with white hair and the lower part of the red armor. He doesn’t look like the classic character created with an editor but a real hero, a bit like the Wolf in Sekiro.

This gives me two hypotheses: lat first is that perhaps there could be more protagonists? Maybe a “main” hero that cannot be customized and another that is created with the editor, synergistic with each other and unlocking shared skills? The second is that the various classes available are shown in the trailer. The “PC based on brute force” could be the one with the lower part of the red armor, the “PC based on agility” could be the one blindfolded in blue who is seen performing pirouettes with a sword, while “the magician” instead the one who throws rays of light from the stick.

In addition to these questions about the identity of the playable character, another thing that emerged from the trailer is the mechanics. In addition to those of the Souls, there are also those stealth already seen in Sekiro, which will make many turn up their noses but personally I find them spot on so that each player can choose his own path. A path that can be shared with other players, 4 in total, in an online mode, a bit like it happened with Bloodborne. Rather, it is legitimate to wonder even if the entire title cannot be played completely in company.

Finally, from the trailer and the first info on the site have also emerged many details about the open world. Wanting to simplify to a minimum, it seems that it really is a Dark Souls with dungeons with attention to the smallest details, connected to each other by evocative landscapes (have you seen the building that recalls the Academy of Bloodborne?) And passable on the back of a mount. Let’s face it, open worlds, as they are now, are starting to tire, especially after the flood of Zelda like or GTA like that they have churned out. There are interesting exceptions though, such as the open levels of Gears 5, Uncharted or TLOU 2 that mix the classic “corridor” paths with open world zones and submissions creating pretty good hybrids. It is possible that Miyazaki has picked up precisely from these games, perhaps expanding the formula and mixing it with that of the Souls, finally adding what has always been lacking in all his games: a storyline that is not to be learned or researched in every cube of lore scattered throughout the game.

Martin’s participation is essential from this point of view. Of course, we all would have preferred that Martin had finished the Game of Thrones books rather than devoting himself to something else, but he is still the man who invented the Red Wedding or characters rich in facets like Tyrion and the Hound. If Elden Ring had even a third of the characterization of the Throne of Swords it would already be a big step forward for the From titles. In conclusion, the hope this time is to have a plot full of twists and a world that goes beyond being extremely evocative “alone”.

However, we close with a sore point on the technical front of the game. Despite the rest of the meat on the fire there seems to be really a lot and we can’t wait to find out what the soul of this Elden Ring is, it cannot be said that the graphics engine showed next-gen perfumes. Of course, Elden Ring is a product of this strange and very dilated cross-gen and the Souls have never been games that focus on great graphic impact. But perhaps a little more on this front we expected it and seeing a 2022 title with graphics that don’t dare even a little is a bit disappointing.

Of course, until we try the pad game in hand, it’s still too early to talk or make judgments about anything. These were our impressions, let us know what you think and what this trailer aroused in you.

Source: Tom's Hardware by www.tomshw.it.

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