Among other aspects of FromSoftware games that have garnered praise, fans will often point out that the environmental and visual design is a particular highlight. Rightly so, games ranging from the original dark souls until bloodborne have some of the most recognizable and iconic locations in games. By Demon Souls furthermore, FromSoftware RPGs have a clear Metroidvania design framework that is intelligently structured and interconnected. Exploring each world has evolved over time, especially as Soulsborne games have expanded further dark souls and experimented with the formula. Elden Ring in particular, experimented the most with environmental design.
While the exploratory elements of previous Soulsborne games come close, Elden Ring is the first game in the subgenre to go truly open world. Design of world and dungeon in Elden Ring is still rife with its interconnected and clever design, but all the open and explorative aspects of the sub-genre fuse with FromSoftware’s environmental design to create a truly unique open world. That’s because, among the non-linear aspects of the game’s world, are the “legacy dungeons,” otherwise known as the regions that cater to the level design players expect from FromSoftware. The best example of these ancient dungeons is undoubtedly Leyndell, the royal capital.
Leyndell, the best old dungeon of Elden Ring
While Raya Lucaria’s introductory Stormveil Castle and rogue Academy are fantastic examples of great dungeon design, the Leyndell Capital acts as a kind of “greatest hits” of FromSoftware’s environmental design. Elden Ring‘s Leyndell Capital encompasses the labyrinthine nature of bloodbornethe awe-inspiring vistas of dark souls and other Soulsborne games, all intertwined with the nonlinear exploration that pervades everywhere Elden Ring† At this point, players are well aware that they must reach the Erdtree to become Elden Lord, and there is a certain golden path players can follow if they want to rush strictly to Godfrey and Morgott.
That said, Leyndell’s actual exploration and completion is completely nonlinear and largely optional. As long as players eventually reach Erdtree Sanctuary and face Godfrey’s ghost, it doesn’t matter which routes players take in between. They can explore the main streets of the city and fight against the Erdtree Avatar, or they can take the backstreets and take on the various Leyndell Knights scouring the corners of the dilapidated city. A solid booty from Elden Ring can also be found in Leyndell, among other interesting secrets such as the Leyndell Catacombs and the original Roundtable Hold, which encourage players to continue exploring the mysterious city.
The Importance of the Capital in Elden Ring
Aside from the gameplay benefits, Leyndell is also one of the most beautiful and impressive locations in Elden Ring also. FromSoftware implements a lot of expansive vistas and “step-out” moments similar to Bethesda’s open-world design, and Elden Ring is no different. When Tarnished steps over the rampart and enters the Leyndell Capital, it is one of the most enticing and exciting vistas for the player to see. The expanse of the city is eye-catching, but what players will come to realize over time is that almost everything on display is crossable. All buildings and geometry seen in that view can be visited by players, beyond exploring irrelevant and arbitrary structures.
The story of Leyndell, both before and during the events of Elden Ring, is also very interesting. Prior to and during the Shattering, the Leyndell Capital was the subject of siege from nearly every corner of the Lands Between. Many wanted the titular Elden Ring, be it the many demigods, the mysterious Gloam-Eyed Queen, Marika and/or Radagon, among the many others seeking the title of Elden Lord. When the Tarnished reach Leyndell, the capital is much less chaotic than it used to be. However, when Melina sets the Erdtree ablaze, players become the impetus for the city’s eventual destruction, turning it into the Ashen Capital.
Admittedly, the changes aren’t super significant, other than blanketing the entire capital in ash mountains, but from a narrative and atmospheric perspective, it’s incredibly impressive. It’s the last region players see before venturing into the Erdtree to end the game, and it’s the final destruction to result from the Shattering before the Tarnished takes on the role of Elden Lord, alongside the ending of the game. the player’s choice. Leyndell plays a vital role in the environmental stories of Elden Ringwhich combines the elegance of what was before the Shattering and the desolate and apocalyptic FromSoftware atmosphere that fans have come to love.
Elden Ring is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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