It seems that Elden Ring does actually have a pause button.
One of those things, for better or worse, is not being able to pause. While Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice did have a standard pause button, it remains the outlier.
Except now with Elden Ring. You can pause the game, by entering the “Menu Explanation” screen. You get to this by entering your menu, then into your equipment menu, pressing the “Help” button, and selecting Menu Explanation.
You can see Twitter user IronPineapple_ showcasing the pause button with a group of enemies here:
It’s not the easiest way to pause the game, and exiting that screen still requires you to exit out of the menu before returning to proper gameplay. So it’s not really the most advisable thing if you’re in the middle of say a boss fight.
But at least now if you want to leave your character for a minute while you take a lavatory break or get some water, you know you can.
At least until FromSoftware patch it out, if they’re so inclined.