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Elden Ring Review

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Check out what we thought of FromSoftware’s latest game, in our Elden Ring Review.

FromSoftware’s history of tough-but-loved games has been a niche of sorts for many gamers. While the Dark Souls franchise found a lot of fame online through streamer reactions, memes, and the like, it never held a candle to big mainstream franchises such as Call of Duty. It seems that Elden Ring has now broken this curse, becoming one of the biggest launches of a non-franchise game in years.

Despite this, Elden Ring still holds the very core that FromSoftware had been honing for many outings. From the surface, Elden Ring looks like a very different game than that of the Souls games, trading linear paths to an open-world that rivals many titles. In the opening moments and throughout, though, that Dark Souls nature still holds throughout the runtime, for both good and bad.

Key Features:

Elden Ring – Full Review

A Beautiful, Dark Twisted Fantasy

While it’s huge open-world and, at first, simple combat may be reminiscent of games like Breath of the Wild, don’t be fooled. Elden Ring is as brutal as its predecessors. The Dark Souls franchise, and its namesake of the Soulslike genre, is a harsh reminder of your mortality. It’s easy to pick up a game and crush everything on your path, but Elden Ring consistently puts up those wrecking balls to stop you in your tracks.

Elden Ring Character stares out over Lands Between
FromSoftware

As frustrating as it may sound, Elden Ring’s very design is a welcoming change to those aware and unaware of the genre. It may not offer an easy mode, but FromSoftware has designed every element of the experience with the huge world in mind. No longer is a boss the be-all and end-all of a level, but a next step in the journey should you want to take it. While there are required bosses throughout, the offer of “hey, leave and come back” is always there waiting for you to take it.

Read More: Our Destiny 2: The Witch Queen Review

And so you should. Elden Ring is at its best when it tells you to go away from that difficult challenge and find other means to reach your goal. Leaving that main road and heading off the beaten track to lands you have yet to discover creates one of the most adventurous experiences I’ve had in all of my gaming years. The Open-World genre has become filled with these quest markers and hundreds of collectables, and yet, FromSoftware understood this. They took the fundamentals and foundations and simply, left it alone. No exclamation marks, no big arrows in neon lights telling you to meet this NPC.

Having this freedom after years of open-world locations giving me consistent updates on quests can feel daunting at first. I found myself looking online for help and places to go for my first few hours. However, after a short while, I just divulged what FromSoftware wanted me to experience. The Lands Between has so much variety from enemy design, to the different areas and everything in between, it’s much more preferable to allow yourself to discover this.

I do understand that this could be difficult for some. Elden Ring’s long run-time and open-ended nature can be too much for some. If you’re struggling, I don’t blame you for booting up hundreds of tabs on each element of the game. In honesty, I still needed that help. But let yourself get lost in that world, even for a little while, just to take in everything on offer.

Elden Ring Launch

You Died. Again?

Dying is the very nature of Elden Ring’s mechanics. Dying means you lose your runes (your currency and XP), and if you meet your demise again, well, those runes are gone. And it doesn’t help that pretty much any enemy in the game can kill you with a few hits, especially if you aren’t careful. But that’s all a part of the learning, no matter how frustrating it may be.

It seems that FromSoftware have made improvements in the Quality of Life in Elden Ring though. Sites of Grace, the game’s equivalent to checkpoints and the Souls Bonfire, seem to exist in higher numbers. Not only this, but they are frequently found before bosses making the game more approachable than ever. Bosses will still ruin your day, don’t fret, but it’s easier knowing that I don’t have to parade through swarms of enemies to get back my runes.

Combat, in general, also feels much better in Elden Ring than any FromSoftware title to date. Magic is incredibly fun to mess around with. Using Ashes of War and seeing the different effects is exciting, and finally, finally killing that boss or enemy who consistently ended your fun is as prideful and refreshing as it has ever been.

Elden Ring Loot
FromSoftware

And it feels like building your character and their stats has never been easier. I’m not one for keeping an eye on my character’s statistics, as it felt pedantic to me compared to just playing the game. But Elden Ring had me constantly checking over my equipment and attributes to see if I was creating a good build. It seemed that everything and every element of Elden Ring hooked me. And in all honesty, it still does.

Unfortunately, I had run into various performance issues. Nothing major that had taint my overall time with the game, but it’s good to be made aware of them. PC players seem to have it the worst, and it’s a shame to see. However, at least on console, Elden Ring is still one of the better games I’ve played in over half a decade. And I don’t say that lightly.

Elden Ring Review
Conclusion
Elden Ring's very nature is a conflict of beauty and brutality. If you can face the nightmares that FromSoftware has conjured up, you'll find an engaging and riveting experience from the start to the end.
PROS
A gorgeous and expansive open-world
Incredible combat and gameplay
QoL improvements which are welcome
CONS
Some performance issues, especially on PC
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