FromSoftware's art direction is always a high point for their titles, and Elden Ring arguably has the best-looking environmental design in their entire catalog. There are countless times when you stumble into a new area to have your jaw drop to the floor at the sheer beauty of the world present in the game.
Just when you think you've seen all the surprises Elden Ring offers, you will round a corner, take a lift down, or get teleported into a wondrous landscape that takes your breath away. Monstrous and grotesque creatures aside, FromSoftware is amongst the best when it comes to crafting unbelievably stunning environments.
Academy of Raya Lucaria
After spending hours upon hours exploring the lush green fields of Limgrave, you will eventually find yourself in the Academy of Ray Lucaria, one of Elden Ring's many Legacy Dungeons. The moment you arrive, you will get greeted with blue ambient lighting, crystals, and distinctive interior design within the academy.
Due to the Academy of Raya Lucaria being a Legacy Dungeon, it's an extensive area and contains many fascinating things to see and do. Being one of the earliest areas in the game, Raya Lucaria is overflowing with eye candy and will keep you stunned in awe with each new area you gain access to.
One of the most gorgeous areas in the game is the Moonlight Altar, which is accessed by following Ranni's questline. This plateau has lunar rays as far as the eye can see, an enormous moon towering above in the night sky, and the Erdtree helping the moon illuminate the ground below.
Ignoring the brutally annoying enemies found in this region, the Moonlight Altar is easily one of Elden Ring's best from a visual and aesthetic point of view. Furthermore, this is where Ranni's questline nears its conclusion, and anything that involves her is phenomenal by default. We don't make the rules.
The Roundtable Hold serves as Elden Ring's hub world, allowing you to upgrade your weapons, talk to various NPCs, and turn Boss Rememberances into unique weapons and spells. The Roundtable Hold's lighting, music, and general atmosphere are genuinely special and one of the game's best offerings.
Is it better than Dark Souls' Firelink Shrine? Who's to say? But, what we do know is that the Roundtable Hold feels like home every time you visit it, which not many other places in the game can do. Even after some of the late-game events, something about this haven provides comfort and solitude, making us appreciate it even more.
The First Step
Shortly after getting obliterated by the opening boss, you will find yourself exiting the Fringefolk Hero's Grave and out into the sprawling region of Limgrave filled with lush green and orange trees. Not only is this moment absolutely breathtaking, but it also marks the true beginning of your journey and is unforgettable as a result.
From the First Step Site of Grace, you can see where you get annihilated by the Grafted Scion, the first Legacy Dungeon, the roaming Tree Sentinel, and the church with the friendly Santa Merchant. Limgrave is an excellent starting point. How FromSoftware meticulously laid out several landmarks that immediately grab your attention and beckon you towards them is what makes them so special and genuinely one of a kind.
Leyndell, Royal Capital
Leyndell, Royal Capital, is an enormous golden city -and Legacy Dungeon- with the Great Ancient Dragon, Gransax, towering over it with the Bolt of Gransax piercing through it, keeping it in place for eternity. The first time you make your way into Leyndell is an unmatchable experience and one that will remain with you forever.
While this area contains some of the most brutal encounters in the game, there's no denying the sheer beauty and scale of the city. If there's one thing FromSoftware does flawlessly every time, it's design capitals, kingdoms, and castles with unreal attention to detail. Leyndell, Royal Capital keeps their record perfect.
Nokron, Eternal City
Nokron, Eternal City takes the starry dreamscape of the Siofra River Well and runs with it, turning something already unforgettable into something of imagination and wonder. With thousands of stars placed throughout the sky in front of a neverending blue and pink galaxy is the most beautiful pieces of scenery in FromSoftware's entire catalog of games.
Whether you see the unreal vista for the first time in the Siofra River Well or the Eternal City of Nokron, both will leave you stunned and in complete awe. And we didn't even touch on the wildlife that roams through the dense fields that genuinely add tons of depth and life to an already lively region. Not only is Nokron one of Elden Ring's best areas, but it's also one of FromSoftware's finest achievements.
Crumbling Farum Azula
Insanely tall tornados, enormous dragons, and captivating structures and buildings lying in ruins all come together to create one of Elden Ring's most unique areas in Crumbling Farum Azula. Even with this area being the smallest Legacy Dungeon in terms of scale, it is dense and packed full of insane secrets, cool sites, and one of the best boss encounters in the game.
Looking out into the empty space and seeing swirling tornados and dragons flying around is maybe one of the most badass sights to behold in a video game in quite some time. There's genuinely nothing like Crumbling Farum Azula, and our jaws were on the floor when we stepped out and saw the chaos brewing before our eyes, and we're sure many others felt the same way.
Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree
Everything leading up to Elphael, Brace of the Haligtree, is extraordinary and will blow everyone away as they descend Miquella's Haligtree and into the vast castle that awaits them at the bottom. This hidden-away Legacy Dungeon is an absolute treat, paying off the effort needed to reach it almost instantly.
This winding, seemingly neverending castle that's overgrown by the roots of the Haligtree is frankly magnificent and almost unbelievable. The size and scope of Elphael are just as impressive as its visual prowess, and exploring it constantly reveals fascinating and beautiful pieces of architecture. Every single piece of this castle was artfully crafted, even the boss waiting for you deep within the walls.
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