There was so much to take away from the new Elden Ring gameplay preview showcase that it's likely you missed some important, obscured details about the 2022-bound game heading to PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. We certainly did on our first watch.
However, the good news is that we’ve done the work for you, trawling through the 15 minutes of footage a few more times in order to pick up on some of the finer details that even we were oblivious to on our initial viewing.
There’s a lot more to learn about Elden Ring via the extended gameplay preview, which went live on November 4, 2021. It comes after months of radio silence since Elden Ring’s big reveal trailer at Gamescom 2021’s Opening Night Live presentation. Now we have a better understanding of the game’s fundamentals, from combat and exploration to crafting and NPCs.
So without further delay, let’s get right into five things that you might have missed in the Elden Ring gameplay preview – all things you can expect to play a big part in your experience with the game when it launches on February 25, 2022.
Character stats: Some familiar faces
During the section of the Elden Ring gameplay preview that gave us a look at crafting (more on that later), eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed the player character’s stats off to the right of the menu. Seasoned Soulsborne fans should already have a decent idea at what each stat entails, but here’s a breakdown of each main stat and our best guesses as to what they could represent:
- Vigor: The player’s maximum health
- Mind: Potentially the amount of magic the player can cast
- Endurance: Like previous Souls games, this is likely tied to equipment load and stamina gauge
- Strength: attack power with weapons like swords, clubs and axes
- Dexterity: attack power with lighter weapons like daggers and spears
- Intelligence: the player’s aptitude for sorceries
- Faith: the player’s aptitude for miracles, or light-based magic and healing skills
- Arcane: another magic type that we’ll detail later
Another stat featured on the menu was “FP.” In Dark Souls 3, FP stood for “Focus Points,” and was tied to the size of your magic gauge. The bigger the gauge, the more magic and weapon arts one could cast. In Elden Ring, we imagine FP will be tied to Mind, growing as more points are put into the stat.
Crafting: No wiki needed?
While crafting got a fairly robust demonstration during the Elden Ring gameplay preview, there were some interesting elements on the crafting UI that we noticed on repeat watches. Thankfully, it seems you might not need a wiki to figure out where to find the crafting items you need, as a brief hint is attached to each item indicating how you can best find them.
For example, a crafting item required to make Bone Knives is Thin Animal Bone, which is “found by hunting beasts” according to the item description. This should remove a lot of the guesswork and external research needed to find the items you need to make your preferred suite of items.
Some rarer items look to require elusive crafting items to make. One such item is known as Trina’s Lily in the gameplay preview. The hint for this item is much more vague, simply stating it is “exceedingly rare to find,” indicating that it could drop from stronger enemies, bosses or be found in specific dungeons.
Alexander the Iron Fist: A curious parallel?
One of the highlights of the gameplay preview had to be this delightfully potty NPC by the name of Alexander, the self-proclaimed Iron Fist. Literally a giant pot with arms and legs, we’re first introduced to Alexander when the player rescues him from being stuck in a hole in the ground.
Alexander’s affable cadence and jolly laugh seem quite similar to that of the Onion Knights of Catarina, fan-favorite Dark Souls NPCs that feature game-spanning quest lines. In Dark Souls 1 and 3, the Onion Knights often find themselves greeted by an insurmountable obstacle such as a locked gate or brigade of tough enemies that the player can choose to help them surpass.
Alexander’s initial predicament bears a resemblance to this, and his friendly nature could indicate that he’ll be a staunch ally for the player character. In fact, he’s not even the only one of his kind. We saw other… erm… pot people, before during the Gamescom 2021 reveal trailer, indicating that there could be an entire race of them in Elden Ring.
Treasure chests: Are Mimics returning?
While not featured in the Elden Ring gameplay preview, we saw evidence to suggest that Mimic chests are going to make a return in the upcoming From Software title. If you’re not aware, Mimics were gangly creatures featured in all three Dark Souls games. They hid in treasure chests, waiting for some unlucky soul to open them up without a second thought.
Yes, that sounds grossly unfair, but there were several methods of identifying and outing a Mimic before committing to opening the chest. For one, you could see a row of teeth in the chest if you looked close enough. Not only that, but attacking the chest will instantly cause the Mimic to reveal itself. Finally, and the point we’re focusing on for Elden Ring, is that a Mimic could easily be spotted by identifying which direction a chain attached to the chest was pointing. No, we’re not joking.
In Dark Souls, a chain pointing towards the player signalled that a Mimic was waiting in the chest. If the chain was turned away from them, then it was safe to open. For a brief moment, that same style of chain features on a chest in the Elden Ring gameplay preview, and we wouldn’t at all be surprised if this is an indication of Mimics returning to the game after being absent in Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Arcane: Is this mysterious stat tied to blood?
At certain points in the Elden Ring gameplay preview, it’s possible to see the player character wounding themselves with their weapon in order to activate spells. This resulted in a shower of blood, followed by an ability such as a weapon buff we see against the boss featured in the preview. We think these macabre abilities are tied to Elden Ring’s mysterious Arcane stat.
In Bloodborne, the Arcane stat bolstered the power of magic spells and elemental items, and the game had overt themes of blood and the power of it. Now, we’re not saying Elden Ring will be directly linked to Bloodborne in any way (though we’d love to be surprised there), but the use of the player character’s blood and/or life essence to power Arcane skills would serve as a subtle nod to the 2015 PS4 masterpiece.
While the 15 minutes of gameplay we received of Elden Ring went by in a flash, the presentation’s narrator made sure to let us know that we’ll be getting more news on the game between now and release in February, 2022. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you up to date on all the news and gameplay updates coming to Elden Ring.
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Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.