Elden Ring is arguably one of the greatest games I have ever played. It stands right alongside BloodBorne for my favorite Souls Title released so far and this is coming from someone who cannot stand playing open world games. With clever blends of Breath of Wild exploration and the titular Dark Souls aesthetic and gameplay, Elden Ring is an easy contender for Game of the Year. However, there are some things missing in Elden Ring that could have been taken from previous titles in the franchise.
1 – Bloodborne Rally Mechanic
BloodBorne introduced a mechanic where for a short period of time after the player takes damage, they have a window to gain some of that lost HP back by hitting an enemy. This helped to reinforce the aggressive, fast paced gameplay that could have been a huge welcomed return in Elden Ring, especially for the revamped PvP system.
2 – Tail Weapons from Bosses
Something I have been begging for ever since getting the Drake Sword back in Dark Souls 1; tail weapons from bosses. All the way back in Dark Souls 1, a handful of bosses had hidden weapons you could only obtain by cutting their tail off. This mechanic has never resurfaced in any other titles and I would love for newer players to the franchise to get that feeling of cutting a tail off just to find out they just got a new weapon.
3 – Dedicated Covenants
Covenants played a large role in Demon Souls all the way up to Bloodborne creating new ways players can explore the world, fight secret bosses, acquire alternate endings, score exclusive gear, and even set up for PvP. Unfortunately Elden Ring didn’t bring covenants back in any meaningful way. Yes there are certain questlines that guide players to alternate endings etc, but none of the same caliber as covenants in previous titles. Bring back the Sun Bros and let us praise that fucking sun.
4 – Weapon Durability
This may be controversial, but weapon/armor durability could have made for a smaller variation in how most players explored the Lands Between. In previous titles your weapon and armor durability was a very minor worry for the most part. Some attacks reduced the durability more than others, but there was never a more “oh shit” feeling than when you hit a boss once and your weapon breaks. You were forced to repair every so often or at least come prepared with a backup. It seems as though Elden Ring has had a high focus on best in slots for many builds, durability could have at least introduced some ways to make players pick up another weapon or two.
5 – Reflections of Strength
Reflections of Strength were a mechanic in Sekiro that allowed for players to go back and fight bosses all over again after already defeating them. This could allow for a section of the community like speedrunners for example to just practice boss fights instead of having to keep dedicated save files. This may be a bit more difficult since attribute and weapon leveling would differ upon subsequent boss revisits, but there could also be some way to just adjust (nerf) your stats to a lower state closer to where you’d be expected to fight that boss.
BONUS – Trick Weapons
One of the coolest and most unique mechanics in Bloodborne was the introduction of Trick weapons where about a dozen or so weapons could be transformed into an alternate state adding another layer of variation to combat. You can start with the saw cleaver that pops open and extends out to give more range and new combos. You can turn a regular short sword into a massive two hand hammer with the Kirkhammer. This would ultimately end up competing with the dozens of Ash of Wars, but it would be interesting to see a few trick weapons get added in some later DLC maybe.