Elden Ring is the highly anticipated game created by FromSoftware Inc. and published by Bandi Namco Entertainment. This title has the gaming world in a frenzy right now. Most fans who have seen the trailer or read about the upcoming game are drawing comparisons between Elden Ring and the Dark Souls series.
All I will say is that when I started this game, I also was wondering if the comparisons were correct. And my answer is, OMFG YES! They took Dark Souls and made it into an Open-World setting. This is by far the best game FromSoftware has ever made from the lore to the actual gameplay and even with the audio and design perspective.
Elden Ring has been my most anticipated game since its initial announcement back at E3 2019. Finally, at long last, the newest game from game director Hidetaka Miyazaki is here and with a narrative crafted with the help of Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin. I can’t think of a video game world I’d want to explore more.
I am about 50 hours in and only beat the first 2 bosses and this amazing game is huge. I have so far only discovered 4 continents and the map is so large that if I wanted to walk from one end to the other end in the game, it would take at least a couple of hours. That is not counting the multiple unbelievable monsters that want to do more than just get in my way. Even with the mount, the length of time would still be about an hour and a half. And yet, I still have more of the map to uncover.
With that out of the way, you begin like any other game by choosing your avatar and adjusting the character to your mold. You play as a descendent of the Tarnished, a group of heroes banished from The Lands Between. When the Elden Ring shattered, the shards were scattered among the descendants of Queen Marika. So, led by long-lost Grace, you set off on a journey to face the former heroes of this world to become the next Elden Lord.
Right from the start, you are faced with the most intricate character creator ever to exist in the Souls game, and the option to choose between one of ten starter classes. It’s nice seeing a variety of builds that accommodate various play styles. Deep character customization is offered, from beard style and facial tattoos to stat allocation and visual fashion. Want to be a ranged mage with the face of Shrek that focuses on sorceries and incantations, or perhaps a great hammer-wielding tank that has purple skin? The possibilities are endless here.
I chose the samurai since I am a huge fanatic of the fighting style and history of these great warriors. I decided to make a male samurai and wow, I was not disappointed. The surroundings and the audio is transcending, the character design and the monsters are without a doubt some unbelievable designs that would make some of the best tattoos. Elden Ring gives you the same feeling of all the other Dark Souls games, that this could easily be considered the next chapter going forward, and I am more than ok with that.
The one issue I will say is as a keyboard and mouse player, I had to get a controller to play the game with. It was a new experience for me, however, I do know why a controller is needed for this game. The movement and actions of the character are so difficult to pull off on the keyboard and mouse. With my Samurai, I had to switch from my shield and sword to do close-range attacks and then do a dodge, that put me at the perfect range attack for me to switch to my bow and attack with a fire arrow, then had to dodge again and switch back to my sword and shield to attack the monster behind me. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time playing this amazing cinematic fight scene.
Elden Ring also excels at cinematics as well. Multiple times I felt I was watching a movie when it switched to a cinematic and then it pulled me in to take the role of the hero. Now when it came to combat, the game allows you to explore any zone you come across and the creatures there are very willing to let you know if you should be there. With no potions and barely any health, you are then dropped into an arena with a gigantic crab-like boss. Much like the Vanguard Demon and Genichiro in other games, you are meant to die here. Following an optional combat tutorial, The Lands Between is now your home.
The world can be daunting and overwhelming at first, but map shards and the Grace guide you in the general direction you need to go. The game does an excellent job at nudging you just the right amount without blatantly telling you what you need to do. This is also evident in the game’s storytelling, as the narrative is sparsely sprinkled with cutscenes, with the majority of the lore left for you to piece together through environmental clues and item descriptions. Being open world, you can explore anywhere at your own risk. I was level 10 when I came into a new area and this lizard-like creature came out of nowhere and hit me just one time and boom instant death. I was like, thank you, sir, I know where I am not wanted, let me just be on my way. Then I ran like a scalded dog, away from the big bad lizard.
I must admit though, I am still an explorer and I can not help myself in looking for new things. The world of exploration never became repetitive because it was driven by curiosity and a little bit of hope to find the secret treasures. Exploration is heavily rewarded with runes and legendary equipment. The opening area of Limgrave represents only a tiny portion of The Lands Between, and there are tons of secrets tucked away that I have yet to discover. The world is beaming with various factions and creatures that you are but a mere visitor in something way bigger than yourself. I love running for my life just to hope I find something helpful and new, and knowing death can be found around every tree.
When it came to previous FromSoftware games, it was very painful to have to backtrack to turn in quests but thanks to Stakes of Marika, which are checkpoints near boss encounters at which you can choose to spawn, makes this so much easier.
Fast travel has also been implemented in the game so that you can also port between Sites of Grace, the bonfires of this game. The Lands Between is huge, and while you have your trusty steed Torrent with you, traveling from one end of the map to the other would otherwise take a long time.
When it comes to the aesthetics of Elden Ring, this is the most beautiful FromSoftware title to date. Excellent visuals and artistic direction and the color spectrum compared to Dark Souls, featuring warmer and brighter hues, are all in the right direction. The game exhibits a day and night cycle, with glowing Erdtrees illuminating the skies during twilight. And for those wanting a bit of Bloodborne, there are plenty of environments that scream cosmic horror and gothic architecture. For a truly open-world game, there is an exceptional amount of detail everywhere you go, from the hinges on a soldier’s sword to the ridges on a decrepit church. Inhabitants of the world can also directly interact with elements of the environment, such as a dragon burning down trees or titans smashing statues with their gigantic weapons.
Although challenging and grand, Elden Ring brilliantly immerses players in its fantasy world. The game rewards every type of player, from the curious explorer to the action-hungry warrior; you’ll find something to love about this game. Even after 30 hours, there are still many adventures that await me in The Lands Between. This is an evolution of every Soulslike game that came before, and although brutally challenging, I couldn’t put it down for a second. Elden ring is out tomorrow on Steam for $59.99 or the Deluxe Edition for $79.99. Please don’t hesitate on this amazing piece of work, pre-order it now and start the pre-download. This is by far the best game of 2022 as of right now. Don’t miss out on this fantastic world.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Elden Ring for PC provided by FromSoftware Inc. and Bandai Namco Entertainment.