Elden Ring’s open world is an expert in isolation
Lots of open world games – or at least, those that I’ve played – steer you through their maps methodically. Jim, Dave, and Sally all have their map markers in Vice City for a portion of the game, then they’ll shift over to Tilted Towers after a few hours. Perhaps the bridge to Shrek’s Swamp won’t open unless you rescue the princess from Bowser’s Castle later down the line.
And there’s nothing wrong with an open world that gently steers you in the right direction. Elden Ring does this with its checkpoints that blow the equivalent of directional arrows in the breeze, helping you feel in control of your progress. But I’d argue it’s even better at the opposite: wresting that control away in a split-second.