Dungeons & Dragons’ influence on videogames can’t be overstated. However, while many of the best RPGs owe their mechanics to tabletop gaming, digital adventures struggle when it comes to replicating the flair and theatre of a classic DnD adventure. Enter Elden Ring, FromSoftware’s latest Soulsborne game that, judging from a few hours with the network test, feels primed to capture the imaginative dramatics of a dedicated dungeon master.
Sure, RPG staples like Baldur’s Gate, Divinity, and Dragon Age also emulate tabletop storytelling, and they do it well, but Elden Ring’s pacing and atmosphere feel similarly authentic without sticking so rigidly to Wizards of the Coast’s fantasy world; wherever you go you get the sense that your adventure would pair perfectly with the scene-by-scene narration of a dungeon master.
There are plenty of similarities between Hidetaka Miyazaki’s Soulsborne games and pen-and-paper escapades, however, by embracing a completely open world, Elden Ring becomes a treasure chest of decision-making and opportunity where every vista feels like a fork in the road. Do you chat to the friendly looking pot? Explore the ruins over yonder? Pick a fight with the knight on horseback? Or try to sneak past them?