“Elden Ring” has only been out since February, but it has already shifted the gaming industry and landscape by smashing sales records and quickly becoming one of the most popular games of all time. The game’s sprawling, expansive open-world demands hours upon hours of investment. And for those able to commit, the rewards are aplenty.
But, alas, all great games must come to an end. For those who have logged hundreds of hours in Miyazaki’s masterpiece, but are still looking for open-world, fantasy role-play games (RPGs) that deliver the same difficulty and satisfaction as “Elden Ring,” here’s a list of games to add to your to-do list.
“Dark Souls III” & “Bloodborne”
Many of the biggest fans of “Elden Ring” have likely already conquered “Dark Souls III” and “Bloodborne,” but for those who are unfamiliar, these two games are most definitely the best place to start. As products from the developer of “Elden Ring,” FromSoftware, and their director, Hideaki Miyazaki, these two games have much of the same DNA of what makes “Elden Ring” great — namely, a third-person action role-playing format that tasks players with picking up an assortment of deadly weapons to do battle with enormous, horrific and mighty beasts. Sound familiar?
Like “Elden Ring,” both “Dark Souls III” and “Bloodborne” are pretty tough. They’re both games that test, reward dedication, refuse to handhold and encourage aggressive changes in style to conquer a challenge. While both “Dark Souls III” and “Bloodborne” don’t feature the vast open world of “Elden Ring,” their interconnected-but-linear world design creates delightful challenges of its own.
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“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild”
Looking to emerge from the dark shadows of “Elden Ring” and try something a bit more lighthearted? “Breath of the Wild” is just the ticket. With vibrant colors, clever puzzles, sweeping score and engaging combat, “Breath of the Wild” is another expansive open-world game worth sinking into. Released in 2017, Nintendo’s most recent installment of their Zelda series redefined what an open-world game could be. And with “The Master Trials,” “The Champions’ Ballad DLC” and a sequel soon on the way, there’s plenty to explore in the land of Hyrule.
If you enjoyed the challenge of the complex combat controls in “Elden Ring,” the “Nioh” series from Team Ninja and Kou Shibusawa is for you. Set in 1600, “Nioh” follows an Irish sailor who becomes a Western samurai and journeys across Japan during the Warring States period. The merging of Japanese history with ancient myths gives the game a magical, imaginative setting, similar to “Elden Ring.” And the fast-paced combat, rapid weapon switching and demanding bosses make “Nioh” a real challenge. All the more reason to spend time in the dojo training and refining those samurai skills.
“The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”
One of the OG RPGs, and most certainly a strong influence on “Elden Ring” (and, well, all the games on this list, really), “The Witcher 3” is an absolute classic — and for good reason. Based on Andrzej Sapkowski’s fantasy novel series, this third installment finds the monster slayer for hire, Geralt of Rivia, searching for his daughter. With a combat system very similar to “Elden Ring,” and a vast open-world begging to be explored, more than 10 years after its release, “The Witcher 3” remains a must-have for any RPG fan.
“Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order”
Those looking to shed the ancient, mythic fantasy world of “Elden Ring” and take their newfound skills to a galaxy far, far away can fire up “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” With puzzles and checkpoint challenges directly influenced by the Dark Souls series, “Fallen Order” is quite unlike the Star Wars games of old. The main campaign takes about 18 hours to complete, making “Fallen Order” more approachable than many of the games on this list while still scratching that “Elden Ring” itch.
After investing hundreds of hours into “Elden Ring,” it can be bittersweet when those final credits start to roll. But, thankfully, there are always new, challenging games on the horizon. So pick up one of these excellent fantasy RPGs and start a new adventure today.
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