So, you’re finally done Eldon Ring. After dozens of boss deaths, dozens of each. In endless moments, that hellish golden tree looks like it’s on the brow of the next hill just to get you blocked on a hill – or a whole new land emerges between you and your goal – you The beautiful and arduous journey is over.
complete one from software The game can be an odd time when the initial joy of victory fades into an existential emptiness, as boss modes in other games suddenly become a little too predictable, and the quest markers in mainstream RPGs feel a little pungent (give it a bit pungent). Your thought-provoking epiphany) Most open world games do treat you like a fool).
But since Elden Ring has become FromSoft’s best-selling game to date, I deduce that many, if not most, of its players haven’t played its distant predecessor, Dark Souls. If you’re one of those folks, there’s only one real way to fill that void after finishing Elden Ring (no, I’m not talking about Godfall).
Playing Dark Souls after the Elden Ring isn’t just “going back to where it all started”, as that would reduce the former to some kind of historical spectacle – an 11-year-old relic that’s been improved and deprecated with Sparkle ‘s new blockbuster.
But the reality is a little more complicated than that, as nothing beats the open world of Elden Ring compared to Dark Souls’ denser, more restrictive world. While you’ll initially be baffled by Dark Souls’ clunky jumping mechanics and lack of horse-based traversal, you’ll quickly see how these things serve the game’s design (plus, one of Elden Ring’s greatest tricks is to convince us that the unknown Why, a horse and the regular jump button have been around for generations, pioneering features). If anything, Dark Souls’ omission and twist on this “safe” feature was more daring at the time than Elden Ring is today.
After waking up in Dark Souls’ Sanctuary of the Undead, your muscle memory of Elden Ring will kick in as you adjust to the familiar mechanics and transform those campfires, estus and spirits into what you know Site of Grace, Tears and Runes. That familiarity will avoid much of the friction that caused so many people to bounce back when they tried playing Dark Souls for the first time that day. But other than that, it’s not the resemblance to Elden Ring that makes it so interesting. That’s the difference.
Dark Souls is a very dense game; its claustrophobic, tightly designed setting is a stark contrast to Elden Ring’s dizzying sprawl. Exploring The Lands between was one of the most exhilarating gaming experiences in my recent memory, but it was also tiring, and then there was an icy comfort in the Metroidvania layout of the Dark Souls world. Some of its old-fashioned designs feel comforting, but in a way that FromSoft’s latest creation can’t quite replicate.
Dark Souls heightens tension through level design and unique use of campfires, which remain checkpoints and a source of respite, but the point is not to act as a fast-travel teleporter. The further you go into a particular area, the further you are from safety. There is no turning back, only forward into the darker and thicker darkness. Then, like when you’re drowning in a swamp at the bottom of Blight Town or lost in a labyrinthine fortress, you’ll stumble upon a campfire, showing you you’re on the right path and rekindling your hope. These campfires are really important in Dark Souls. They’re a little comfort in a dangerous adventure, you can’t just get out of it.
The adventurous feel of Dark Souls elevates the importance of Firelink Shrine – your only sanctuary in Dark Souls. It’s a tangible place in the world that you always leave and eventually weave your way back in, enhancing its simplicity. Elden Ring’s equivalent, Roundtable Hold, definitely has an atmosphere with fiery flames and the rhythmic clang of a blacksmith at work, but the fact that you can only access it from the map screen (and you can do that almost anytime) ) to separate it from your journey and make it less precious.
After all, it’s hard to long for a place when you can always come back for a cup of tea and have a couple of gigantic spectators with broken fingers. In Dark Souls, you might sometimes spend hours without the comfort of the home of Firelink and its world-weary inhabitants, and when you finally get back, man is a relief. Navigating the dungeons of the Elden Ring almost always feels like a choice, an act of curiosity and exploration. In Dark Souls, this is a necessary question, which gives it a lot of gravitas.
The contrasting worlds of these games inevitably have a lot of knock-on effects, like boss designs. The Elden Ring’s end bosses often have significant difficulty spikes, forcing you to give up, leave, level up, and then return when you get stronger, whereas most Dark Souls bosses are designed to fight when you reach them . There’s hardly any hassle, giving the game an elegant flow and rhythm, and with around 50 hours of gameplay, it never feels like it surpasses its popularity.
As a side note: Dark Souls PC servers have been down for months after a major security breach, but after the endless hustle and bustle of Elden Ring, the loneliness of offline gaming still has something to say — the red spirits of other players Funny jumping off cliffs on horseback, deceptive “hidden paths” and bland “Fortnite” messages. I can’t speak for Dark Souls on console at the moment, but imagine the smaller online community out there is less chaotic and meme-driven than Elden Ring (which feels a little crowded).
Your Ring-Souls transition should be a relatively smooth one, but don’t get complacent. It’s not power travel, getting hit by poison in the bowels of Blighttown, or getting shot 20 times by that archer on a ledge in Anor Londo is enough to make the toughest of souls feel hollow. But all the lessons you learned in Elden Ring about caution, patience, and timing are in your favor against Lordran.
The same goes for Dark Souls’ sequel and Bloodborne to a certain extent, all of which are worth checking out. But the original Dark Souls has an unparalleled magic that makes it a different take from Elden Ring that makes it perfect for ex-tarnishers looking for something new.