Elden Ring has a world that is truly something to behold. Though Dark Souls and Bloodborne may have gotten us used to worlds that feel somewhat grounded in reality with just a touch of the fantastical, Elden Ring has relished in its fantasy world. Its sky is painted with unreal colors, and the deep valley and sheer cliffs and Liurnia.
But for how much of Elden Ring is new and exciting, it contains plentiful references to older games, from characters and weapons to the many areas of the game. Some, like the Roundtable Hold, share themes with things like the Hunter's Dream. But many others harken back to entire areas, some never fully realized until now.
8 Stormveil Castle – Boletarian Palace
From the moment you first set foot in Limgrave, Elden Ring is open to you, beckoning you in every direction. Go forward and face the Tree Sentinel, go to the left to the beach below the cliff, or run to the church in the distance. But towering over it all, wrapped in storms and turmoil, is Stormveil Castle.
Stormveil highlights some of the best aspects of the game. Tight level design, secrets, and great use of multiple paths. But it also bears a striking similarity to the Boletarian Palace of Demon's Souls. From a locked gate that shoots spears at you, to walking around the keep and not just the castle, Boletaria feels like the blueprint for Stormveil.
7 Deeproot Depths – The Great Hollow
Dark Souls is home to many beloved locations, from the spirals of Anor Londo to the simple quiet of Firelink Shrine. But of the many areas in the game, The Great Hollow has something of a tainted reputation. It looks beautiful, twisted roots giving you paths down a hollowed-out tree to a great lake. But a jump button wouldn't have gone amiss.
Elden Ring, of course, does have a jump button. And a great tree! So the Deeproot Depths feel like a natural companion to The Great Hollow. Deeproot Depths doesn't have that same claustrophobic feeling, but it still has plenty of enemies who can curse you to death, plenty of roots to climb, and even connects to an ethereal body of water.
6 Mountaintop Of The Giants – The Missing Archstone
Talked about throughout the game, the Mountaintop of the Giants is the penultimate location of Elden Ring. The home of the last Fire Giant, cursed to be the final watcher over the great flame of the fell god, the one power that can burn the Erdtree. It's a desolate place, and dramatically different to explore from anywhere else.
But way back in Demon's Souls, there's a broken Archstone, never realized. But through cut content, it was discovered to be a snowy valley of giants, oft mentioned in the lore but never seen. Little of the area remains in the game, but it's hard to deny that the Mountaintop of the Giants is FromSoftware finally fulfilling an old promise.
5 Volcano Manor And Dominula – Iron Keep And Earthen Peak
Dark Souls 2 fits in a funny place for the series. It was an odd sequel, focussing more on difficulty, though also presents more original ideas than the third game would. But an area that it undeniably failed in was the connection between Earthen Peak and Iron Keep. You're inside a windmill and suddenly, you're at the bottom of a volcano.
Elden Ring has a volcano of its own in Mt. Gelmir, and even has a large manor built into it. Of course, people love volcanos. But then there's Dominula, Windmill Village. Mt. Gelmir is always visible in the distance, and the village does lead towards it. It's a lighter touch, but one that humorously rights a wrong.
4 Leyndell, Royal Capital – The Ringed City, Central Yharnam
Souls games have always struggled to give a sense of scale to their cities. Dark Souls has had sections with Irithyll or Anor Londo, but they've felt like single segments, and Bloodborne has a whole game built around its city. But oft-spoken of in Elden Ring is Leyndell, Royal Capital of The Lands Between.
Leyndell is an incredible achievement, a legacy dungeon disguised as a town complete with streets, elevation, and density. It's impossible to ignore the similarities to the Ringed City of Dark Souls 3, walls and all. But Leyndell even has an intricate sewer system, calling back to the same of Bloodborne's Yharnam.
3 Consecrated Snowfield – Frigid Outskirts
Lest it needs to be stated again, Dark Souls 2 is the outcast of the family. And though it could be argued that Eleum Loyce may well be the inspiration for Irithyll in Dark Souls 3, Elden Ring takes inspiration from another unique idea Dark Souls 2 failed to execute quite right, and that's the Frigid Outskirts.
Quite simply, the Frigid Outskirts had a ceaseless snowstorm that you had to navigate through, stopping at beacons and avoiding reindeer. But Elden Ring is an open world where navigation is key. And so the Frigid Outskirts are given a second lease on life through the Consecrated Snowfield. It's hell still, but in a way that embraces what's best about Elden Ring: the mysteries hidden in the storm.
2 Farum Azula – Dragon Eyrie, Archdrgon Peak
Early on in Limgrave, you can come across a cave containing a Farum Azula beastman boss, a people not mentioned again in the lore for quite some time. They're an oddity, but then so is Farum Azula, a fractured land packed with fossils trapped in a storm outside of time, dragons circling the whole thing.
Farum Azula is striking, quite unlike anything else in Elden Ring. But there are two likely sources for its inspiration. First off, Dark Souls 2's Dragon Eyrie. The towering heights and the gleaming sun, challenging jumps, and of course the copious amount of dragons. Then there's the Archdrgaon Peak of Dark Souls 3, another area hidden away filled with dragon followers, and its bleached-white stone.
1 Raya Lucaria – Duke's Archives, Irithyll
Outside of Liurnia of the Lakes already being one of the most spectacular areas of the game, it also houses one of the most wonderful legacy dungeons too. Raya Lucaria may not have the same depth of exploration or unique gameplay as others, but what it has an endless amount of is atmosphere.
Of course, magical academies are no oddity in gaming so there are plenty of sources to pull from, but a bunch of scholars studying magic crystals? That's just the Duke's Archives. But then that ethereal miasma that hangs about the place, making it seem otherwordly? Irithyll has a similar feel, of a land that exists outside of its physical location.
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