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It's Finally Time To Talk About Elden Ring's Gameplay

"Elden Ring" has been keeping fans waiting with bated breath since it was first announced through a trailer at E3 2019. But as of Nov. 4, 2021, the spiritual successor to the "Souls" games finally has a full-fledged gameplay preview, with Bandai Namco showing off nearly 20 minutes of footage on YouTube.

The hype around "Elden Ring" has only grown with time, especially since updates on its contents have been few and far between. The FromSoftware-developed title was born through a collaboration of worldbuilding by "Game of Thrones" author George R.R. Martin and directing by "Dark Souls" creator Hidetaka Miyazaki. With all the building anticipation over the course of years, it's no surprise "Elden Ring" was named Most Anticipated Game at The Game Awards 2020.

The Summer Game Fest 2021 "Elden Ring" trailer featured its fair share of hidden details, including the reveal of a horse companion, multiple player character choices, and references to popular manga "Berserk." Early previews from 2021 have revealed chances for more freedom of choice in the game, references to previous FromSoftware titles, and a cohesive, in-depth storyline. As satisfying as these hints were in the meantime, the full gameplay preview for "Elden Ring" is of an entirely different proportion. Here are the key details fans need to know about "Elden Ring" gameplay.

Multiplayer confirmed for Elden Ring

Rumors have been circulating since 2019 about a possible multiplayer mode in "Elden Ring," and now, what was once just talk has been officially confirmed. This is seen in the gameplay preview when another character materializes next to the protagonist, the Tarnished, and joins their journey. Multiplayer will offer players the advantage of working with someone else to take on all the weird enemies the world of "Elden Ring" has to offer. The narrator described "online multiplayer" capabilities that can connect players from different worlds. Modes will include co-op, PvP, and invasions.

As for the multiplayer experience showcased in the video, the pair of heroes sneak through the woods until they meet the first boss featured in the trailer, a giant armored enemy on horseback wielding two proportionally giant weapons. The co-op battle showcases melee attacks as well as what appears to be spellcasting, including a blue, glowing rainstorm summoned by the player character and a fire-breathing dragon head wielded by the second player. Clearly, the option to team up for battle will create a new strategic layer to an already intricate combat system.

Elden Ring's compelling combat

Since "Elden Ring" is an action RPG, it naturally follows that combat is the name of the game. As the narrator explains, "a variety of unique attacks can also be interchanged between weapons." This means players will be able to develop their own style and weigh strategic decisions as they sharpen their approach throughout the game's progression. How players approach enemies will be crucial, as it was shared in the preview that "enemy stance can be broken with heavy strikes, such as when attacking from above."

Though magic-enhanced combat capabilities weren't covered in the trailer in too much depth, the previously mentioned co-op battle as well as other duels in the preview make it clear that there will be a fantastical element to some attacks. In addition to the complex options available for combat, players can summon spirits to fight by their side when extra help is needed in battle. There are many different types of spirits which "vary greatly," offering yet another layer of complexity to the action in "Elden Ring."

While combat is crucial in "Elden Ring," crafting is seen to be a big deal as well. Players can craft new items with materials found in the Lands Between, like some treasure found in an old carriage in the gameplay preview. But the Lands Between are more in-depth than you might expect, as the game also features some unique open-world elements previously teased by one of its creators. The vast world of possibilities in the game were showcased in their full glory for the first time through the gameplay preview.

An open world of possibilities for Elden Ring

"Elden Ring" takes place in the Lands Between, a complex landscape filled with war, grace, magic, Demigods, and the eventual promise of lordship. In their exploration, players will have plenty of opportunities to make their own choices. One example of this seen in the gameplay preview is a Site of Grace, which can offer players rest and occasional "rays of guiding light" which they can choose to follow — or not, if they're enjoying their wandering.

As the presence of this guiding light might indicate, players aren't left on their own to get lost in the wilderness. Maps can be created by finding and piecing together map fragments. Once the map is fleshed out, players can use markers to make the map their own. These reminders may point towards essential supplies or keep players from reencountering enemies unprepared. Speaking of which, players who aren't in the mood for a fight can navigate using stealth to avoid being spotted by enemies. In addition to map markers, players can add beacons, which will also appear in the environment to help with navigation.

Getting around a varied terrain is made easier with the help of horse companions, who can be seen being magically sent away in a "poof" in the preview, which likely means they can be summoned similarly. While on horseback, players can get airborne with spirit springs. Players are also capable of big jumps on or off their trusty steeds.

Elden Ring has dungeons (and dragons)

Dungeons in "Elden Ring" are described by the narrator as "complex and multi-layered," filled with sketchy terrain and varying visibility. They're able to be "tackled from a number of routes," encouraging multiple approaches. After breaking through a door and illuminating a magical-looking torch, the Tarnished can be seen entering the game's first dungeon, one of many "catacombs, caves, mines, and other dungeons" to be discovered throughout "Elden Ring." Treasures and bosses may lurk within, as well as the occasional reanimated skeleton or two. Brick-lined walls, chandelier fragments, and coffins set the scene of spookiness.

The second and final dungeon featured in the preview is Stormveil Castle, "a large scale dungeons which connect seamlessly with the surrounding Limgrave region." Slicing and dicing through the scaffolding, showing off a bit of the swordplay and stealth encouraged by the game, the player character eventually meets a sorcerer named Rogier along his chosen route. Rogier is a fellow Tarnished who warns the player that the castle is "bristling with Tarnished hunters" who "sacrifice our kind, for grafting," setting the scene for a dramatic gameplay preview finish. Naturally, at least one dungeon had to come with an accompanying dragon — or, in this game's case, a big ugly monster with a dragon for an arm.

Elden Ring's boss fights are no joke

A cinematic boss fight with "demigod and ruler of Stormveil, Godrick the Golden" serves as the finale for the gameplay preview. With a reverent, whispering voice invoking the power of his dragon, Godrick prepares for battle in full melodrama mode. The ominous overlord has a hulking presence and a bunch of extra arms, making it clear that this machete-wielding demigod is a formidable foe quite different from those shown previously in the gameplay footage.

The self-proclaimed "lord of all that is golden" puts on quite the fight in a wide, outdoor area with uneven terrain, creating quite the combat challenge. And just when it seems like he can't get any scarier, Godrick's form changes to give him a fire-breathing dragon arm, similar to an attack shown during the multiplayer preview. It looks like dodging will be just as important as parrying and calling down spirits if players are going to best bosses like these.

From horrific bosses to creepy dungeons and more adventures along the way, all in all, this extensive "Elden Ring" gameplay preview gave fans quite a bit to look forward to. Now, all that's left to do is wait for the game to finally be released.. "Elden Ring" is available for pre-order now. It will launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC on Feb. 25, 2022.