4 tips for Elden Ring players starting the Dark Souls games
Mar 30, 2022
Have you become the Elden Lord only to find yourself wanting more FromSoftware gameplay? The entire Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro are all there for you, but what tips should Elden Ring players know before jumping into any of these games?
The Soulsborne franchise is 13 years old now, and things have changed in many ways over those 13 years. On top of that, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has many ties to Soulsborne games but exists separately in terms of both narrative structure and general gameplay.
Given the fact that Elden Ring shares many similarities with past FromSoftware titles, it might be tough to figure out the best way to approach the developer’s previous games. Here are a few important tips Elden Ring players need to know before getting into Dark Souls, Sekiro, or Bloodborne.
Dark Souls doesn’t have a jump button like Elden Ring
Though there are several key differences between Elden Ring and Dark Souls, the biggest and most obvious is the lack of a proper jump button. Soulsborne games do have jumping, but platforming elements outside of Elden Ring are more about accurately falling than precision jumping.
The level design is different to accommodate for this, with the games having fewer props to trip up players and different methods for hiding secrets. The complete lack of a dedicated jump button will still be jarring for some players who are just starting their Soulsborne journey with Elden Ring.
Dark Souls 3 is the best starting place for new players
While there’s a long and contentious debate to be had about which Dark Souls game is the best of the original trilogy, something that isn’t up for debate is that much of the Soulsborne series hasn’t aged well from a quality of life perspective.
Dark Souls 1 doesn’t offer fast traveling to every bonfire. Bloodborne forces all fast traveling to move through the game’s hub area. Neither game allows players to re-spec their characters. Dark Souls 2 solves many of the issues with these other games, but is widely regarded as the weakest in the series from a gameplay perspective.
Dark Souls 3 offers the most modern experience among the Soulsborne games from both gameplay and quality of life perspectives. A compelling case can be made that either Dark Souls 1 or Bloodborne is the greatest Soulsborne title. But the best overall experience for a newcomer to the series in 2022 is Dark Souls 3.
Elden Ring players shouldn’t play Demon’s Souls first
Though it’s technically the most recent Soulsborne release, Elden Ring players shouldn’t rush out to pick up Demon’s Souls as their first entry into the series.
Elden Ring is easier than Dark Souls in some ways and harder in others, most of which boils down to the level design and open-world nature of the game. Demon’s Souls is a separate matter entirely.
Though the PlayStation 3 original is an absolute classic, it’s generally unfriendly to new players. While this applies to almost all recent FromSoftware games, Demon’s Souls in particular has level design that sometimes feels like it’s out to troll you. Alongside enemies that are specifically made to shove players off cliffs or fall from the ceiling when the player grabs an item, there are plenty of bottomless pits waiting to swallow up unsuspecting heroes.
It’s absolutely worth playing Demon’s Souls at some point, but players ought to look for a layover in Dark Souls before going directly into Demon’s Souls.
Sekiro is its own game and isn’t part of the Soulsborne series
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is arguably one of the best games of its generation, but players looking for something adjacent to Elden Ring ought to look elsewhere. While it was seemingly made using the same game engine as Elden Ring, it’s a radically different experience to the point that players shouldn’t look to it if they’re craving something similar to Elden Ring.
Sekiro has tight and intense combat that is more akin to that of a traditional action game. It lacks the RPG elements of Soulsborne games and Elden Ring, with players having fewer combat options available. There is still room for creativity, but it’s not at all similar to what players have to work with in other FromSoftware games.
The Sekiro experience is a great one and the game is highly replayable. But anyone looking to replicate the experience of Elden Ring may be disappointed.
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