The Closed Network test for Elden Ring has demonstrated how the game’s combat functions as well as the many trials and challenges that players will face as the Tarnished. There is still a lot of familiarity and despite its differences, Elden Ring still looks very much like a Souls game in the way that the combat behaves.
Classes In the Elden Ring Network Test
The network test opens with you choosing your class. The game gives you the choice between 5. Each has its own stat distribution, beginning weaponry, and a new magic-based ability called Ashes of War. The Full launch of the game will see a total of 10 classes, that may vary in name and starting equipment from the ones available during pre-release.
Enchanted Knight is a Sorcery-using Class with the strongest Shield and the ability to take down opponents from range with Spells.
Prophet has one of the most powerful Spells in Beast Claw, making it one of the easiest Classes to play if you space yourself well.
Bloody Wolf is an excellent Class for individuals who are familiar with Souls games and enjoy using large weapons.
Champion is very effective due to the Dragonfire Incantation, which has an Area of Effect that can be used to take down large groups of opponents at once.
Warrior is a Dexterity-based Class that can be difficult to utilise, but is an excellent choice for Archers.
These classes may be likely to change in the full game however, as well as the addition of more to choose from.
Combat Mechanics in Elden Ring
From Software enthusiasts should be familiar with the fundamental combat components of the Closed Network Test, and probably Elden Ring as a whole. R1 oversees the faster light strike, while R2 is in charge of the slower but more devastating heavy attack. Most weapons also have a charged heavy attack for when the situation calls for it, but landing one is no simple task.
Players will have access to somewhat diverse playstyles depending on their weapon and class. They may either wait out opponent strikes and go for heavy damage with slow-moving weapons, or they can go in fast with lighter weapons before darting back out of danger. Precision and timing are still vital in Elden Ring, and any mistake can be punished with an untimely end.
Stance Breaking, Stealth and Jump Attacks
You can break an enemy’s stance in this game, similar to the way you would in Sekiro – Shadows Die Twice. You do this through jump attacks, or with charged heavy attacks.
Another similarity to Sekiro is the game’s stealth mechanic. You can now crouch to sneak around and avoid enemies or get the jump on them. This looks a lot more natural than trying to creep past enemies in Dark Souls games. There are also incredibly powerful arrows that put enemies to sleep, allowing you to sneak up on them and perform a finishing blow.
A new mechanic added to the game is the Guard Counter system. Essentially, this is a well timed heavy attack after blocking an opponent’s strike that makes it easy to break an enemy’s stance. This new feature allows for more defensive playstyles.
One of the biggest additions to Elden Ring is combat from horseback. The controls sound simple and effective, with L1 an R1 controlling light attacks left and right respectively and L2 and R2 controlling the heavy swings. The heavy swings on horseback act as 2-part attacks. You can cast magic and shoot arrows from horseback and it all looks very smooth. Be careful not to get knocked from horseback however, as this leaves you extremely vulnerable.
Although its still early to say, and the game is still being tested, at this point in time the Ashes of War abilities seem incredibly powerful when utilised correctly. They are essentially the weapon art mechanic from Dark Souls 3.
Ashes of War operate as special attacks each with their own unique ability. They have an accompanying FP (Focus Points) cost. As they beat opponents in the game, players will get additional Ashes of War, which may then be mounted on a certain weapon type. This means you can customise the Ash of War assigned to a weapon, which will lead to lots of diversity in combat styles. They also affect the type of scaling associated with the weapon.
Spells, Miracles and Summoning
Magic functions pretty like how it did in Dark Souls 3. You have Spells and Miracles, which scale with Intelligence and Faith respectively. You can charge magic by holding the cast button for the same FP cost, and some can be cast multiple times in a row to fire them quickly. Elden Ring seems to provide more offensive options than ever when it comes to Faith too, as miracles have usually been quite restrictive in the past.
The Spirit Summon mechanic is also controlled by magic. Ashes, which can be acquired from merchants, allow you to summon wolves, sword-wielding skeletons, and undead magic users to aid you in combat.
These summons can only be called upon when you are close to a Rebirth Monument. An icon will appear that on screen notifies you that you can summon. Conveniently these monuments are usually placed by big groups of enemies, so you can use them to draw aggro and take the pressure off.
While much of it seems very similar, Elden Ring’s combat looks like a perfect mix of the best parts from all entries into the Soulsborne series. FromSoftware have taken fan-favourite mechanics from the past and refined them as well as adding new features too. They have done this and created what looks to be one of the smoothest Souls combat experiences to date.
Elden Ring is available to pre-order from our store now and will release on the 25th of February 2022.
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