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Elden Ring Review | Game of the Year Material?

Updated: May 25, 2022


 

Title: Elden Ring

Development Studio: FromSoftware Inc.

Genre: RPG, Fantasy, Single-player, Multiplayer PvP/Co-op, Open World, Adventure.

Game of the Year Contender: A cut above in the AAA industry.


Fighting over Elden Ring’s status as top dog has exploded over the past few months, as loyal fans clash with newcomers over just how good Elden Ring really is. I’ll admit I have some bias, I’ve played all the Dark Souls games near to completion and enjoyed my time with each. As for Elden Ring, I really do think it has the makings of Game of The Year.


Summary

After 100+ hours of gameplay, I can say that the content that “Fromsoftware” has put into this game is pretty crazy. There are very few single player games I have seen where I drop 100 hours into it and come out thinking I didn’t play through the bulk of the game yet. Each new area in Elden Ring is completely different from the next and is absolutely packed with secret caves and quest plot lines. Despite the trope that many modern AAA games have been released unfinished, Elden Ring doesn’t suffer from the same content drought.


Story

I have personally seen many arguments that Elden Ring’s story is confusing and poorly executed, but I would like to dispel those beliefs as misled. The story in Elden Ring has a very unique story-telling experience, similar to other Fromsoftware developed titles. This type of worldbuilding involves the player knowing very little about the world when starting, which can only be pieced together by interactions in the open world such as NPC encounters, scripted events, and item descriptions. These encounters are usually solely based on where the player decides to go, meaning every player is going to have a completely different story narrative the first time they play through the game. For example, a player will never meet several of the NPCs, which will drastically change quest lines leading up to the end of the game. Some of those NPCs have long and complex quests that actually create an entirely different ending for the game.


Gameplay

Elden Ring mixes up the formula that Fromsoftware had in their previous games like Bloodborne, Sekiro, and Dark Souls. All those previous titles had mainly linear story progression with an emphasis on multiple bosses locking progression through different areas. Those games did have optional bosses, secret zones, and alternate endings, but not quite to the level that Elden Ring does. Elden Ring has over 200 bosses, compared to 19 in Dark Souls 3, many of which a person will never encounter on their first and second play through. The Lands Between (Elden Ring’s new world) is also massive in scale, comparable to the likes of Skyrim and GTA V while being packed with mobs and loot. Continuing the discussion on unlockables, Elden Ring has a huge selection of spells, weapons, talismans, and armor to really feel like you can create your own play style. I have seen a huge variety in the builds that people are going for, anything from sorcerer’s shooting beams at people to clerics raining down lightning.

This isn’t just single player stuff either, multiplayer co-op and combat has made its way into Elden Ring in a similar way to Dark Souls 3. You can summon up to two of your friends to help you go through the world, with progression only being done by the summoner. So your friends still have to play the game in their own world as well. Invasions also make a return, where PvP-oriented players seek to show up in the world of a person with summons for a fight(Single player invasions only occur with a taunter’s tongue active). This is where player build variety shines through, and I had a blast fighting invaders with friends in the Liurnia section of the map.


Graphics

The graphics are very similar to Dark Souls 3, with a graphical step up and an open world revamp. However, all these new additions make Elden Ring a very demanding game in terms of gaming setup. Many lower spec gaming rigs just weren’t cut out to play Elden Ring even on low settings, which is unfortunate as the more accessible a game is, the better. 12GB of RAM or more seems to be the minimum as well as a GTX 1060/RX 580. However, I did manage to play it on medium graphics with 16GB RAM and a GTX 1050. The game is certainly beautiful, incorporating picturesque environments and flashy graphics on spells/weapon effects.


Is It Fun?

Elden Ring has a huge amount of content that is sure to bring enjoyment to almost any type of player. The challenge of Fromsoftware Games is still present, and I have certainly gotten destroyed by certain bosses. However, the amount of exploration and variety in unlockables that has been added allows for much more situational encounters. If the Tree Sentinel is too hard, come back when you have the mount unlocked and better equipment.

This goes for most bosses and areas in the game, if something is getting you stuck, the developers have given multiple ways to farm for better gear or levels that make the fights easier. In my mind, this is an excellent way to keep player engagement and creativity high while maintaining enjoyability. Overall, an incredibly fun and memorable gaming experience.


Should You Buy It?

Fromsoftware Games are often heavily influenced by the community that plays them. At the beginning of this player cycle is the rush to see what builds are good against bosses and in PvP. I would heavily suggest getting in on this while everything is new, as it is quite a cool thing to see the community build itself up from the beginning. If you enjoy a challenge, vast exploration, and cryptic world-building, then I can think of no better game than Elden Ring.


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