Elden Ring is only days away now, and we are all anxiously waiting since the drop of the closed network test. The map alone is massive, filled with many challenges ahead, between deadly bosses and treacherous terrain. However, do you know if you’re ready for the challenge? Software is notorious for eating their players alive, literally. I mean, have you seen those mimics? Other Developers have also started to take up the mantle like Team Ninja. Here are five games you should play before taking on the challenge of Elden Ring.
Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls 3 is the best starting game for all new souls players. While stat-wise, it isn’t the most balanced, it is well play tested and gives you a good balance between real difficulty and jankiness. Veteran souls players all know the jank received from Dark Souls 1, and the second game just doesn’t compare to what Miyazaki has created. The game features a great story, great combat, and well-designed boss fights. While it is slower in comparison to Elden Ring and other souls games like Bloodborne and Nioh, it does teach you the mechanics and movement of the game between dodging, attacking, blocking, and magic.
For new players, the story of Dark Souls 3 takes place during the first flame and the cycle of fire and dark. You play as an unkindled whose goal is to relink the flame by replacing the five lords on their throne. You must defeat many bosses to reach these five lords, and then defeat them to obtain their souls and ashes.
Bloodborne is an excellent game to play along with Dark Souls 3 because it gives you the opposite combat. While the fundamentals are the same, the combat is very fast, and rather than blocking to parry with a shield, you use a gun. Oh yeah, a gun of all weapons, yet it is the coolest animation to watch and feels oh-so-good landing that crisply times parry. In addition to the very fun and difficult combat, you get to explore a steampunk-like world based on Lovecraft’s works. Some of the beasts and bosses in this game prove to be some of the most difficult in souls history, but they are also extremely cool in design. Elden Ring feels right in the middle between the pacing of both of these games.
For the new guys down the souls’ block, this game follows your character who plays as a hunter. You find yourself on a mission to explore the gothic victorian based Yharnam to find out the source of the plague that’s infecting all of the monsters and inhabitants. You fight horrors unimaginable, such as the Cleric Beast and Blood Starved Beast. This game is filled with amazing content and is one of the best souls games to release.
Sekiro is the best souls game to learn patience and parrying. The game is all timing and has a higher skill cap compared to the other souls’ games. It is visually stunning, taking place in Japan, features fast-action combat with satisfying combos, and exhilarating samurai ninja-based combat. You also get to use a rope grappling hook to propel yourself around Ashina and even large enemies to land aerial attacks. The other difficult yet fun bonus to Boss and Area fights is the fact you have to deal anywhere from 1 to 3 lethal blows. You can do this by staggering the enemy or depleting a bar of health to trigger the stagger, which makes it fun to mix and match your tools to find the best method to induce a stagger.
The tale of Wolf is a solemn one, for you follow his quest through Ashina Japan during the Sengoku period as he finds his revenge on a samurai clan. He fights tool and nail to rescue his lord from the enemies’ clutches that want to use his Dragon Heritage to create an immortal army. This story proved to be an emotional journey but also exciting as you traversed the depths of Ashina or even got lost on the grounds of Senpou Temple.
While this is not a From Software title, it might as well be since Team Ninja went all out for this masterpiece. Nioh feels like Dark Souls and Ninja Gaiden had a baby. It is one of the most gratifying souls-like games in existence. The gameplay is not so fast as it is all movement that feels like NinjaGaiden in nature. You get a huge selection to choose from in terms of fighting style, such as dual-wielding one-handed swords or using a lance, and each player will get a choice between 4 different stances to change on the fly depending on the fight. The game is a big skill check like Sekiro but leaves room for more mobility, making running and dodging less of a chore. Note that I recommend the first game for story purposes.
This tale features a protagonist, William Adams, who became the first Western Samurai during the Sengoku Period. He finds himself in Japan during a massive war in search of an enemy. Queen Elizabeth 1 has sent him on a mission to obtain Amarita. The death toll has risen so far that Yokai has appeared and started to wreak havoc over the vast lands of Japan. William finds allies to help stop the blight and kill the same enemy.
This might seem out of the left-field, but many players are in for a huge open-world commitment they were not expecting. When I said Elden Ring is massive, that description does not even do it justice. At the very least, this recommendation will help you prepare for the exploration and side content so you aren’t overwhelmed when you trek through the Lands Between. In addition, Witcher 3 combat is similar since both of them are action RPGs.
Witcher 3 follows Geralt as he searches for Ciri and prepares for an unexpected enemy due to the prophecies of the Child of Destiny. The Wild Hunt has come and has started its search for Ciri in hopes of bringing havoc to the world. Geralt fights them head-on to protect his destined law of surprise child, who basically might as well be his daughter.
Don’t Go Tarnished on Me
Hopefully, these recommendations serve as preparation for those unfamiliar with souls’ games or massive, open world games in general. Elden Ring promises to be a great experience and a huge one, and given the map, I foresee months of commitment. Good luck, my fellow sun bros!
Veteran gamer, tech nerd, comic addict, anime lover, and just your average introverted weeb.