Elden Ring Makes Me Wish Every Souls Game Had A Jump Button but in reality…

Tran Hanh
June 07, 2024

I’m currently replaying Bloodborne, and as I sliced through hostile villagers and bloodthirsty wolves across the rain-drenched streets of Yharnam, something occurred to me – you can’t jump in this game. With the exception of Elden Ring and Sekiro, you can’t jump in any From game from the past decade and change. The combat encounters in the Dark Souls trilogy or Bloodborne are built around incredibly specific attack animations, so much so that the ability to jump could make things much easier, way harder, or just mess up exactly how you’re able to navigate their individual worlds.

Sekiro has you playing as an agile warrior with the ability to grapple onto buildings and sprint across rooftops, while combat against multiple enemies at once and screen-filling foes make the ability to jump a central part of the experience. It wouldn’t feel the same without it, and I’d wager the game would be a lot worse if The Wolf was permanently on the ground. But Elden Ring is a different beast, and in many ways, is a relatively traditional Souls game. You have similar movement options to Dark Souls, where select armour and weapons will weigh you down significantly, to the point where failing to spec properly can lead to a swift death.

Hunters of The Old Blood Can’t Jump

Characters battling a beast in Bloodborne.

Bloodborne is a different beast, however, with its combat emphasising fast and unpredictable movement. It pushes you to constantly be aggressive as you’re thrust into situations where in any other FromSoftware game you’d run for the hills. Deal damage quickly enough after taking it, and you will gain most of that health back, essentially substituting the use of a precious blood vial because you were courageous enough to approach a giant monster and tear it a new one.

Bravery was often encouraged in Dark Souls 1 & 2, but Bloodborne makes it a core gameplay mechanic. Yet you remain stuck on the ground no matter how fast your character is able to move around the environment, and nine years later, that feels like a bizarre oversight.

I wouldn’t be surprised if passionate fans modded a jumping mechanic into Bloodborne, because it would certainly have a home in From’s gothic masterpiece. But it could also risk breaking many of the behaviours and designs of its enemies, especially if players are suddenly given the ability to jump alongside their incredibly swift dodging.

But The Tarnished Can

Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree - fighting a giant bird

It made me think about what Dark Souls or Bloodborne would have been like if jumping was there from the beginning, and no, I don’t mean the awkward hop made possible by holding one of the face buttons and sprinting at the exact right time. That’s no jump, it’s basically a glorified skip that frequently sends me to my ill-advised oblivion.

I’m talking about a regular jump you’d see in a traditional platformer or action-adventure game like Uncharted, where a single press of the face button sends you floating into the air. It can be used to navigate the environment, dodge enemy attacks, or explore in ways that maybe weren’t always intended.

Combine this with the addition of a mount like Torrent, and you’ve got an open world taking into account verticality more than most in recent memory, and it’s consistently wonderful.

Elden Ring: Shadow Of The Erdtree Preview

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The first time I played Elden Ring it was kind of embarrassing how much such a simple thing uprooted my internal thought process surrounding Soulsborne games. I could now jump free from enemy attacks, or use my newfound agility to get the drop on them naturally.

It made all dungeon designs and the open world topography far more inspiring too, no longer restricted to wide open plains or winding labyrinths where getting around on foot was essential. Elden Ring allows you to pursue countless different playstyles, and jumping can play as big a part in them as you so desire. It’s just a jump button, but it’s also a willingness on From’s part to uproot a core part of its gameplay loop, and willing to alter how we approach everything this game has to offer as a consequence.

Bloodborne: The Old Hunters gatling gun

During a boss battle in Shadow of the Erdtree, the final sequence of a boss battle saw them execute an attack which sent shockwaves across the ground, but it took me multiple attempts to realise, like a fool, that I could just jump in rhythm to save my bacon. Once that was nailed, everything changed, and then I went back into the world to realise that I wasn’t jumping nearly enough. So off I hopped, literally.

Jumping in video games has been around since the medium’s inception, but it’s still so cool to me that it can be introduced in a game like Elden Ring and blow me away all over again. It shouldn’t, but in the context of a series where movement and combat is so vital, it changes everything.

Review : 4.7/10
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