Exploration at Elden Ring is a delight. From the first moments of the network test, you have great freedom to direct yourself in the direction of your choice. Although I am only offered a small portion of The Lands Between to taste, there is so much environmental diversity in front of me that I have a hard time making up my mind. I end up moving forward, waltzing into a group of undead soldiers that I quickly dispatch before stumbling upon the first Lost Grace – this game is tantamount to a bonfire or a lantern.
As I sit down to rest, I am greeted by Melina, a mysterious goddess who offers me the opportunity to improve my skills alongside an item that allows me to summon a mount. This mechanic transforms exploration in Elden Ring, turning twisting hikes through sprawling mountains and challenging canyons into an adventurous stride aboard a majestic creature that can take me anywhere I desire. I wasn’t able to customize them in the preview, but I hope I can make them a monument of medieval fashion, much like my young warrior.
With the push of a button, I am lifted onto the creature’s back, my position in the world rising above enemies that I can now tear apart with my blade as I pass them. It’s an easy way to fight if you’re feeling cheeky, but I preferred to use my new vehicle as a way to navigate this world in a way we’ve never had in a FromSoftware game before. Fortunately, sprinting and waiting for your stamina to recover is a thing of the past.
People are going to make a lot of comparisons between Elden Ring and Breath of the Wild – and I can’t blame them. FromSoftware clearly took inspiration from the modern Nintendo classic, especially in its open-world design. Discovery in Elden Ring feels natural, as if you stumble upon new places and encounters in a way that is rarely dictated by blindly following an icon or obediently listening to a quest giver. It’s refreshing, and while you can’t climb cliffs like an Olympian in Elden Ring, you’ve got a horse that doesn’t mind ass to control. Sorry Zelda fans, but Epona had no business to control like a cabinet falling down a staircase.
Link was free to recruit horses in Breath of the Wild, ride them in a field, and take them to a nearby stable to be named and humiliated before a saddle was imposed on them. That’s fine, but there are so many obstacles to overcome when it comes to horseback riding in Hyrule that I chose to walk everywhere. Shrines and other such finds were frequent enough that constantly having to mount and dismount a horse became a chore. Controlling these creatures just wasn’t pleasant, it was heavy in a realistic way, but also cumbersome in the way they awkwardly veered around corners and collided with enemies.
Elden Ring is the polar opposite. Riding mounts are amazing, giving you an added feeling of speed and finesse that traditional movement just doesn’t have. They appear in seconds and I ride them instantly, removing the delicate process of going to a stable or spending a few precious moments riding them in the first place. If you must toss them, a push of a button causes them to disappear into the Aether as you charge into battle or stop to investigate a potential secret. It complements the overall experience instead of trying to be so realistic that it’s no longer worth committing. It seems essential, which is more than what I can say for the way it is used in Breath of the Wild, a game that I love.
There are also several locations in the open world that allow you to soar through the air on top of your mount, reach new areas, and escape conflict in a way that always feels tough. to cook. Such an idea reinforces the fantastic nature of Elden Ring, and how, despite its existence in a place defined by decay and decay, it is still magical and wonderful in its execution. Having only played the technical test, the full potential of horseback riding in this game remains uncertain and will likely be reflected in the size of the entire map and how often I will have to board my steed to get to myself. to move. If he’s smaller than expected, my thoughts might change, but for now, that overshadows his inspiration in ways that really matter. My bad, Link. I still love you.
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