Elden Ring combat includes surprisingly in-depth stealth as well as pinpoint finishers straight out of FromSoftware's previous game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
In a breakdown of a new gameplay demo, Eurogamer (opens in new tab) touched on how these approaches add variety to the open-world RPG's combat. At multiple points in this demo, the player used sleep arrows to knock out enemies, either to slink past them or even perform an instant kill once they're unconscious. And in co-op, two players were shown hiding in shadows and tall grass to elude towering baddies patrolling a forest.
As we noted in our Elden Ring gameplay breakdown after the official reveal trailer, FromSoftware previously implied that players can use stealth to bypass some fights entirely, but the sneaky approach was always minimized in earlier footage. However, this demo makes stealth sound like a much more flexible and powerful tool for your arsenal, especially with magic and jump-aided traversal behind it.
The Sekiro similarities don't end there, either. A brief snippet from the June reveal trailer suggested that players would be able to stagger enemies and finish them with critical hits similar to the deathblows in Sekiro, and it seems that's exactly the case. Eurogamer mentions a glaive weapon with heavy jump attacks used to break enemy guards and leave them vulnerable to "brutal" insta-kill finisher attacks.
Together, these two approaches seem to frame the extremes of Elden Ring combat: stealthy kills at one end and aggressive finishers at the other. According to From Software's Yasuhiro Kitao, a wide variety of options are also found between these two, from long-range archery and magical assaults to weapon skills and spirit summons.
FromSoftware says Elden Ring was made for "all sorts of players" not just hardcore series veterans.