Elden Ring seems to have a number of accessibility improvements that haven’t been widely talked about.
The review embargo for the latest From Software game has now been lifted and reviews from major outlets all seem to share the same thoughts: Elden Ring is hard, the open world is vast with lots of high-powered enemies, and combat is punishing — the usual From Soft adorations you expect to hear. However, a Twitter thread from Vanessa / PleasantlyTwstd, has shared a number of elements in Elden Ring that seem to have fallen through the cracks, and Can I Play That? has been talking with them about these.
There are map fragments that can be collected, and the map can be used to place map markers. Estus flasks that can be used to refill health can be replenished through killing enemy groups and oversized Estus bugs. Although, as we saw today on Twitter there appears to be no on-screen quest logs, although Vanessa says that for story missions, there is guidance available in-game.
The horse that players can ride around the world can also double jump, and Vanessa also tells us that the horse sprint only uses a single burst of stamina. Additionaly that stamina then regenerates while the horse continues to sprint. This allows players to use that stamina bar to continue fighting on horseback with a full bar of stamina. It’s also noted that stamina only seems to go down in combat, so open-world travel doesn’t affect that.
Other elements detailed are players being able to “reasonably use magic this time around” where Spirit Summons will fight by their side to assist the player, and there are clear explainations of how the co-op system works in Elden Ring. As for bosses, the story doesn’t seem to force players into scenarios where they’re trapped into fighting back-to-back bosses.
Bonfires are also scattered around the map and allow for fast-travel and save points, but gathering materials to be able to fast-travel at all isn’t required. Just activate and use a bonfire and you’re set. This could be very useful for players wanting to avoid too much of open-world traversal back to previously explored areas.
Apparently tutorials are “OK”, with Vanessa highlighting that they never really existed in previous From Soft games, with players being able to have a chance to read about what they’re being taught. And those tutorials seem to allow space to practise, with a counter tutorial being used as an example, bringing in a boss who’s weakness is the counter strike action.
There’s also a collectable shield that introduces a parry window, and there are rebindable controls available on the PC version of Elden Ring.
It’s certainly a breath of fresh air to see so many elements highlighted here after a day of reading about the punishing gameplay. The Washington Post also reported on how Elden Ring is the “easiest Souls game to get into.” This post highlights how players can leave difficult situations and return later, how Torrent, the horse can be spawned at any point in the overworld. Essentially, it does look like Elden Ring has a good number of improvements useful for accessibility, but most of what we’re seeing in reviews seems to be more focused on approachability.
Elden Ring is to launch on February 25, 2022, and will be available on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X.