Elden Ring and Bloodborne are masterpieces in their own right. Both these games stay true to the From Software formula while having distinct personalities that separate them from feeling the same ol’ Soulsborne with a fresh coat of paint. Since both these games are good entry points to this genre, let us compare them.
The major differences between Elden Ring and Bloodborne lie in their overall setting. The play style of both games is quite different in terms of combat. The weapon design and functionality are miles apart. The Elden Ring’s open-world structure is unlike Bloodborne’s rather linear approach.
Bloodborne is set in the gothic city of Yharnam, a fictional Victorian-inspired city where the player must uncover the secrets of a mysterious blood-borne disease. The game’s world is a dark and twisted place, filled with grotesque monsters and Lovecraftian horror.
Bloodborne oozes a constant sense of dread in a world that is plunged into occult worship of cosmic monstrosities. These cosmic horrors have a strange influence on people, transforming them into weird things.
The game’s setting is heavily influenced by Gothic horror and Lovecraftian themes, with a focus on cosmic horror and the unknown. The city’s architecture and environment reflect this with its twisted structures, eerie atmosphere, and strange inhabitants.
Elden Ring is set in a high-fantasy world called the Lands Between, a vast open world with mythical creatures and ancient ruins. The game’s world is a beautiful and enchanting place, filled with lush forests, glorious palaces, and awe-inspiring landscapes.
Just like Bloodborne, there are extraterrestrial entities in Elden Ring that are governing the land, but they are nowhere near as terrifying. It is more about the struggle of a broken kingdom corrupted heavily by these godlike beings. You are there to restore the land to its glory or make things even worse.
The game’s setting is heavily influenced by high fantasy and mythology, with a focus on exploration and discovery. The world’s environment and architecture reflect this with its intricate designs, beautiful landscapes, and magical creatures.
8. Level Design
This is the biggest difference between the two games.
Bloodborne has the time-honored From Software’s intricately designed linear level structure. Bloodborne’s level design is centered around the city of Yharnam. The levels are tightly organized, with narrow streets and alleys that create a claustrophobic and eerie atmosphere.
There are only forks in the road that can lead to a handful of places, nothing too drastic as compared to Elden Ring. The levels are also designed with shortcuts that allow players to move quickly through previously explored areas.
Elden Ring on the other hand is an insanely open-world game. You can go anywhere anytime from the get-go (just be careful of stronger enemies though). If you are curious then you will have a field day roaming around in the Lands Between.
Elden Ring features a vast open world with a complex level design that rewards exploration. The world is divided into six regions, each with its own unique environmental design and architectural style. The level design in Elden Ring also has a lot of verticalities owing to your steed’s jumping mechanic.
The world of Elden Ring is densely populated with enemies, creatures, and bosses, which makes exploration a challenging but rewarding experience. There is very little that restricts your movement here and no hand-holding at all, which could be a good or bad thing, depending on what you like.
Bloodborne has one of the best melee weapon design out of most games. They are known as Trick Weapons since they can transform into totally different ones on the fly. The best example of this is the Kirkhammer which is a standard sword for quick slashes. Just by the press of a button, it transforms into a giant hammer ready to squish anything in sight.
The game also ditches the shield for Firearms in your other hand. This weapon is strictly for parrying purposes. Firearms are used to stagger enemies and interrupt their attacks, giving the player an opening for a counterattack.
Firearms include the Hunter Pistol, which fires a single bullet with high accuracy, and the Blunderbuss, which fires multiple pellets with a wider spread. And there is a cannon too that you can carry on your arm.
Elden Ring has the traditional Dark Souls-type weapon choices. There is no shortage of weapons, and there are various types of them as well. Weapons also range from basic swords to downright crazy things like projectile shooting katanas and more. Even some shields in here can act as weapons themselves.
Whereas Bloodborne’s firearms were more defensive tools, Elden Ring’s ranged weapons and their playstyle are totally separate and viable options to bring to the battle. You can equip bows to shoot different types of arrows or use a staff to cast devastating spells.
Elden Ring has a broad range of weapons and styles that all comes down to your preference.
Elden Ring’s combat system builds upon the mechanics of previous FromSoftware games, with a focus on strategic decision-making. Players can choose from a wide range of weapons, spells, and skills to customize their playstyle and approach to combat.
The game has FP or Focus Point that allows you to pull off unique weapons skills, cast spells, etc. The combat style you opt for can differ from player to player quite drastically. The whole game is designed to experiment with different builds.
There is also mounted combat in Elden Ring. You can fight enemies while riding your trusted steed, Torrent. It is totally up to you if you want to be a caster or a melee maniac or even a hybrid. I opted to be a Dex Sorcerer, wielding a katana in one hand and a staff to fire magic in the other.
In contrast, Bloodborne’s combat is strictly in-your-face melee-focused. Although there are different types of weapons, as mentioned before, they are either faster or slower and heavy-hitting versions of melee weapons.
But man, the way the weapons transform and the level of variation that comes with it, never makes the combat in this game boring.
Bloodborne’s combat system is fast-paced and aggressive, focusing on dodging, parrying, and visceral attacks. The game features a unique mechanic called “Rally,” which allows players to regain health by attacking enemies after taking damage. This encourages players to play aggressively and rewards skillful play.
Elden Ring features a diverse set of bosses, ranging from knights in shining armor to giant dragons and magical beings. The bosses are scattered throughout the game’s massive open world. You can stumble upon them while exploring in the open or they are part of smaller catacombs or bigger dungeons.
The bosses in Elden Ring are designed to test the player’s skills and abilities, with each boss requiring a unique strategy to defeat. Some bosses can be defeated through brute force, while others require precise timing and skillful dodging.
Bloodborne’s bosses vary, ranging from giant beasts to Lovecraftian horrors. The bosses in Bloodborne are designed to be intimidating and challenging, with each boss requiring a different approach to defeat.
Bosses in Bloodborne require players to stay close and dodge their attacks. Each boss in Bloodborne has its unique moveset and abilities, and defeating them requires the player to learn their attack patterns and exploit their weaknesses.
Unlike other From Software games, Bloodborne doesn’t place so much emphasis on armor and defense. You are here to take out with brute force rather than hide behind your shell. As a result, the armors in Bloodborne are only there to provide certain resistances to status effects like poison, etc and very few are designed to tank physical damage.
The number of armor you can acquire in Bloodborne is minuscule compared to Elden Ring. Armors are generally lightweight in Bloodborne to keep the focus on fast-paced action and this can be seen in their design as well. On top of that, there is no equipment carry limit in this game which only substantiates the lesser armor dependencies.
Elden Ring is filled to the brim with all manners of armor and sets. There is a carry limit here so depending on your Endurance stat; you can only wear armor that stays under this boundary.
There are light, medium, and heavy armor have unique properties in terms of resistance and the physical damage they can absorb. Heavier armor also provides poise which helps you stay more planted when getting hit.
Lighter armor is easier to maneuver in with quick dodge animations but has lesser damage tanking capabilities. Elden Ring has a lot more armor diversity and depending on your playstyle you can pick and choose.
3. Optional Content
Elden Ring offers a vast amount of optional content for players to explore, including hidden areas, optional bosses, and various side quests.
Elden Ring also features tons of questlines with branching outcomes. There are loads of catacombs, open areas, hidden areas, major dungeons, minor dungeons, hidden cities, and so much more to explore. And the funny part is, you can consider all of it optional.
The game only wants you to defeat only a few major bosses to effectively end the game. It all comes down to your sense of exploration and the need to uncover everything the game has to offer. I put in 190 hours in my first playthrough, checking every nook and cranny of the world and engrossing myself in the optional content. I have seen people end the game in 30 hours, also.
Bloodborne has a laid-out path to follow in order to complete the main story. However, there are some areas that are completely optional, like the Nightmare Frontier. There are NPC sidequests too with different consequences.
The most considerable optional content in Bloodborne is the addition of Chalice Dungeons. These are procedurally generated levels with unique loot and design and even bosses that you can essentially keep playing forever.
Just keep in mind, minus the Chalice Dungeon, Bloodborne is a tightly-knit experience with only a handful of optional things to discover compared to Elden Ring.
Elden Ring is a challenging game, similar to previous FromSoftware games. The open-world design of Elden Ring allows players to explore and encounter enemies in a non-linear way, which can increase the difficulty of the game as players can stumble upon more challenging enemies earlier in the game.
On the other hand, this open-world design also somewhat backfires regarding difficulty. Since you can go anywhere and get powerful items early on or even level up making enemies weak sauce in front of you. This happened to me a lot in the game.
By no means does this make this game easy? The challenge is always present but the regular encounters and some weaker bosses do get effortless to deal with. This was my experience and you might have a totally different and much harder one.
Bloodborne can be considered the hardest or the easiest in all of the Soulsborne genre. It all boils down to the player’s ability to let go of the methodical playstyle of Dark Souls and hone their aggressive side.
Each enemy and boss encounter in Bloodborne is designed to keep you on your toes. You have to have quick reflexes and dodge incoming attacks with great precision. If you can understand this playstyle then this game will be a breeze.
On the flip side, for many new players and Souls veterans, the game’s learning curve can be difficult to grasp. It requires players to learn enemy patterns and adapt to the game’s aggressive playstyle.
The game also features a limited number of healing items, which can increase the difficulty of combat as players must carefully manage their health throughout the game.
The sad elephant in the room here is that Bloodborne can only be experienced on the PlayStation platforms i.e. PS4 and PS5. There is no PC version, and the community is clamoring that Sony should release it on PC, considering their newfound love for the platform.
There are rumors always circulating that Sony might take this route soon but it is all hearsay.
Elden Ring is available on everything but the Switch. Compared to Bloodborne’s PlayStation exclusivity, this game can be experienced by a larger audience.