Elden Ring

Elden Ring

$59.99
9.5

Core Gameplay (Combat, Action, etc)

10.0/10

Story & Characters

9.0/10

Game World/Environments

10.0/10

Music

9.0/10

Graphics

9.5/10

Pros

  • The combat system has incredible depth, with tons of weapon movesets, paths for improvement, and skills available. Battles are infamously difficult, but you still feel like you can overcome challenges with strategy, experience, and skill (for the most part)
  • Although the game's difficulty level ranges from "wow this is hard" all the way to "this is literally impossible", it's a huge benefit that the open world allows you to just go somewhere else if you get frustrated
  • Incredible attention to detail everywhere you look. The game world, environment, weapons and gear, creatures, mechanics.
  • There is a tremendous amount of content. It's truly a massive game that's filled with interesting content. Some large games feel hollow at times; this is not one of them.
  • The in-game interface is heavily stripped down compared to most games. No mini-map or guideposts at all, not even a quest log. Some may not like this, but I found it kept distractions to a minimum and really put the focus on exploring an incredible game world.

Cons

  • The story is similar to other From Software titles, in that it's esoteric and fairly confusing. You hear about new characters, but only passing mentions as to who they are or why they're important. It's interesting, but hard to follow.
  • The music is decent enough, mostly fitting with the mood. But it's not especially memorable like some games (Elder Scrolls series, Persona series, many Square Enix games, etc)
  • Bugs have been prevelant early in its release. Stuttering and enemies disappearing and reappearing (not by design) are the biggest.

I’ll start this review for Elden Ring with some comparisons. The first From Software (Elden Ring’s developer) game I played was Dark Souls. I am not especially skilled when it comes to games, so I died quite a lot. I also became frustrated enough to stop playing fairly often. Strangely though, I grew to love the game; it was memorable due to the difficulty, sense of accomplishment I had when finally overcoming something, and its uniquely beautiful but melancholy in-game world. Elden Ring is a natural evolution from Dark Souls; the world has a similar feeling, and the enemies are similarly punishing (with generally fair/consistent mechanics). But a huge difference exists – Elden Ring is open world! It really changes the dynamic and improves my frustration tolerance to be able to just go somewhere else if something is too much for me.

As of this review, I’m about 60 hours into Elden Ring. As with many open world games like Skyrim and The Witcher 3, I’ve become consumed by side-quests and exploring and haven’t progressed far in the main quest. That’s naturally a good sign to be in the same conversation as those two games, as they are some of my favorite and most played all-time. The fact is, I’ve binged playing Elden Ring like no game since Kenshi…or maybe Skyrim itself. I can tell this one will have my attention for quite a while.

Many games nowadays are open world adventures, but Elden Ring does a few things to set it apart from the crowd. I’ve already mentioned the unforgiving difficulty (expect death to be part of the game). It also strips away many of the crutches that have proliferated in modern games. There is no mini-map, quest log, helper text pop up; all of these crutches have been stripped away. It makes for a refreshing experience that makes it easier to become engrossed in exploration rather than just watching a mini-map in the corner of the screen. It’s also amazing to see a game that is sold as a complete package with no micro-transactions. Stonesword keys, which unlock special areas throughout the game, seem like exactly the sort of thing other companies would try to sell separately.

There are a number of other great things to say about this game. I also have to mention the incredible attention to detail in Elden Ring; it seems like every time I play, I marvel at some small enemy behavior, world detail, or the vast array of weapons, skills, and mechanics. There are balance issues of course (hello bleeds and frost), but by and large, the vast array of character and playstyle choices all fit pretty well together. I also really enjoy the unique in-game messaging/hint system; it’s often very useful, sometimes funny, and occasionally deceitful.

Elden Ring isn’t without technical issues though, particularly during the week following its release. My biggest issue had to do with occasionally disappearing enemies, which I couldn’t see, but could still attack me. One graphics card update I installed also caused a ton of stuttering; rolling back those drivers seemed to mostly help. But it hasn’t been too bad compared to some other releases.

Overall though, this is a game that has completely captured my interest and attention. As I mentioned at the time, it feels like it’s been a long time since I’ve had this sort of experience. I am thoroughly enjoying Elden Ring, and definitely recommend it to any fan of open world RPGs or games with an “old school” level of challenge.

From the Developer:

About this game

THE NEW FANTASY ACTION RPG.
Rise, Tarnished, and be guided by grace to brandish the power of the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord in the Lands Between.

• A Vast World Full of Excitement
A vast world where open fields with a variety of situations and huge dungeons with complex and three-dimensional designs are seamlessly connected. As you explore, the joy of discovering unknown and overwhelming threats await you, leading to a high sense of accomplishment.

• Create your Own Character
In addition to customizing the appearance of your character, you can freely combine the weapons, armor, and magic that you equip. You can develop your character according to your play style, such as increasing your muscle strength to become a strong warrior, or mastering magic.

• An Epic Drama Born from a Myth
A multilayered story told in fragments. An epic drama in which the various thoughts of the characters intersect in the Lands Between.

• Unique Online Play that Loosely Connects You to Others
In addition to multiplayer, where you can directly connect with other players and travel together, the game supports a unique asynchronous online element that allows you to feel the presence of others.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

  • MINIMUM:
  • OS: Windows 10
  • Processor: INTEL CORE I5-8400 or AMD RYZEN 3 3300X
  • Memory: 12 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1060 3 GB or AMD RADEON RX 580 4 GB
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 60 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Windows Compatible Audio Device
  • Additional Notes:
  • RECOMMENDED:
  • OS: Windows 10/11
  • Processor: INTEL CORE I7-8700K or AMD RYZEN 5 3600X
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1070 8 GB or AMD RADEON RX VEGA 56 8 GB
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 60 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Windows Compatible Audio Device
  • Additional Notes:

ELDEN RING™ & ©BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. / ©2022 FromSoftware, Inc.

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3 Thoughts to “Elden Ring”

  1. Something I neglected to go into detail on – despite the fact that the game is incredibly difficult and removes some common action RPG tools like the mini-map, it actually has some incredibly great quality of life features.

    One is that you can gather resources while on your easy-to-summon horse. That is such a relief! No gathering animation to slow you down, no dismounting. Just gallop to where you want to go and grab materials as you ride.

    Another huge one is that there is no inventory weight. I get why some games limit inventory, either using weight or slots. But the inventory management mini-game really isn’t fun. I’m really happy From Software decided to largely ignore that (aside from consumables like arrows) and let you collect weapons and armor as you wish. It helps encouraging trying new things, which is great when there are so many weapon types, movesets, and specials.

    1. Also, if you’re hungry for more Elden Ring content, I have a couple posts about it over on my art-focused site Amdall Gallery.

      Here’s the first post where I talk about the game and it’s place in my “all time greats” list: https://jonamdall.com/2022/03/13/elden-ring-art-tarnished-maiden-and-grace/

      And then another about Spirit Ash summons: https://jonamdall.com/2022/03/25/elden-ring-spirit-ash-drawing/

  2. Let me also share some resources for this game, if that helps anyone. At times, I have definitely had to lean on other players’ experience to get through certain challenges. I’m all for trying to overcome a difficult boss…but there have been a couple that I really needed advice on. The top one who comes to mind is Radahn.

    r/EldenRing (Reddit) is what I use the most: https://www.reddit.com/r/Eldenring/. Tons of discussion on bosses, strategies, people asking questions, etc. There’s even a tab to filter out memes if you just want to get to on topic things.

    Elden Ring Wiki: https://eldenring.wiki.fextralife.com/Elden+Ring+Wiki. Good background information on characters. Pretty useful to get context if you missed who a character is or what’s happening in the story.

    For specific visual guides, definitely search in YouTube. Especially if you want to actually see how someone has tackled a boss; I’ve definitely leaned on this.

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