From Software and Bandai Namco have treated us to a new Elden Ring gameplay trailer, which showed off 15 glorious minutes of exploration. All I wanted was one laugh and I got it, from a rotund POT-BOY at that. Plus, it was narrated by a guy who sounded suspiciously like SoulsTuber VaatiVidya as the Tarnished trotted and fought and summoned and stealthed. Undoubtedly a showstopper of a trailer, but the higlight for me was how good the action sounded. And boy, it sounded good didn't it?
Or should I say, Elden Ring sounded "familiar", because yes, it smacks of Souls. Within those opening minutes of gameplay, we see a dragon clatter into a horde of shambling undead before it swoops into land. And what do we hear? That schiiink noise from previous Souls games as those undead keel over and die.
Again and again, these Souls noises make an appearance. When the Tarnished lands on a hard surface and we hear the pad of his feet hit the floor. When they open their inventory, start flicking between crafting materials, and you hear those hollow dings. When you're chatting to an NPC and you hear that rumbling undercurrent of violin. I like that Elden Ring is the latest, grandest evolution of Souls, but they've kept the band on. I'm fond of the idea that no matter how expansive Souls gets, it will never let these noises go silent.
Of course, other things caught my attention too. Magical combat has never been a Souls strong suit, but it looks to be far improved, or at the very least, more visually striking than its predecessors. There's a fight with Havel The Rock's posh cousin, where we see the player call down an intergalactic acid rain cloud to rip through their armour. Later, we see a player hit them with a massive laser beam. Being a sorcerer finally looks like it has oomph.
This magic goodness clearly extends to melee combat. One attack sees the player hoist a two-handed axe into the sky, which conjures a trio of spooky skeletons, who then cleave an enemy to shreds in one orchestrated slam. Simply exquisite.
The jump! Cor, the jump. Just the ability to hop over ledges and into windows looks as if it'll open up so many different opportunities for backstabs or secrets. Hey, there's even a bit of light platforming, which means the inevitable journey into a poison-infested town, only with added air time.
There is so much, too much. But I'll let you go with one last observation. Right at the end, with the boss fight, they summon in a knight with a pumpkin helmet on. Pumpkin Knight confirmed. I wonder if they're as sleepy as their old, multi-layered friend?
Elden Ring launches on February 25th, 2022, so not too long to wait now.