How Dark Souls, Sekiro & Bloodborne Influenced Elden Ring's Combat

Over several games now the minds at developer FromSoftware have revolutionized the idea of action RPG combat systems with games like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. Each of these games, though thematically and mechanically different, delivered a visceral and thrilling gameplay experience that has not only garnered a massive fanbase but has inspired countless other imitators. Now with its newest entry, the upcoming Elden Ring, FromSoftware has looked to the past and not only evolved some of its best combat mechanics but has also refined just what makes these games so enjoyable to play.

Recently FromSoftware treated eager fans of the upcoming action RPG Elden Ring to an extended gameplay trailer that clocked in around 20 minutes. This extended look not only showed off just what players could expect from the highly anticipated game's massive open-world but also finally gave fans of FromSoftware's Souls series of games a lengthy look at just how Elden Ring's combat systems and mechanics would play out in the massive and gorgeous environments. Elden Ring plays like a convergence of all of FromSoftware's experience throughout the years working on its brilliant games, and this is no more evident than in its exciting combat mechanics.

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One of the main ways Elden Ring has innovated with its combat is with the magic systems and spells that players can wield. FromSoftware's games have always given players a variety of options to tackle its toughest challenges, and one of these options is to create a character that is a magic-focused build, particularly in the Dark Souls and Demon's Souls games. In its past games, magic was always a rather clunky mechanic to wield, with casting times always feeling a hair longer than they should be. The end result is that magic became more of a backup than the main option for character builds, especially in the case of player versus player combat. However, this is far from the case in Elden Ring, as it seems the entire magic system has been overhauled and reintroduced as a fluid and powerful option for players to choose in the new game.

Magic can now be utilized not only quickly and on the fly, but it also can easily be combined with melee combo attacks in a smooth transition. This overhaul of one aspect of combat completely changes the value of using magic attacks and allows players to create more hybrid builds that are a battle-mage-style character. This coupled with the incredible spells shown off in the gameplay footage shows that for perhaps the first time in a FromSoftware game, magic is taking the forefront.

Another way that Elden Ring has refined the traditional Dark Souls-style combat is through its evolution of familiar combat mechanics into new iterations. For example, in the gameplay video, the player character wields powerful attacks that are weapon-specific, like a blast of wind fired from the dual scimitars. These attacks, dubbed Ashes of War are actually an evolution of the Weapon Art mechanic featured in Dark Souls 3, which allowed players to perform powerful special attacks that were bound to specific weapons for a portion of the mana bar's energy. Weapon Arts were a great idea that wasn't ever fully realized in the past, but it looks to be back with a distinct focus in Elden Ring.

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Dark Souls 3 isn't the only FromSoftware game that Elden Ring borrows from either, as many of Sekiro's mechanics can be seen in the footage as well. Not only can players use stealth to approach potential combat scenarios, taking out enemies silently with powerful ambush attacks, but players can also break enemies' guards as well. This mechanic was the bedrock of Sekiro's tricky posture-based combat systems, and although Elden Ring's take on this style looks to be much more simplistic, it is still a boon to players to finally be able to use stealth as a viable option in the hostile and dangerous open-world map.

Combat has always been one of the biggest draws for the FromSoftware series of games, not only because of its unique style that places animation priority and timing above all else but because it just feels incredibly sharp and enjoyable to experience. Elden Ring looks to be a logical evolution of this famous style, and by incorporating the greatest hits of Souls series combat mechanics, it seems to give players a wealth of choice without sacrificing the essence of what made fans love the combat in the first place.

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About The Author
Lucas Blaine (173 Articles Published)

Lucas has been playing video games his whole life. He is a lifelong writer and lover of all things nerd. When he's not in front of a screen playing games, you can find him in front of a different screen watching movies. Originally from Cincinnati, he has made his way to England so he can use the rain as an excuse to stay indoors. For hot takes and video game love, you can follow him on Twitter @LucasBlaine and let him know what you think about your favorite games.

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