So as I walked up to that yellow wall, The gate way that I had become so familiar with, I knew in my every fiber of my being that I was probably about to die. How did I know this? Because I’ve walked through that door before. Tons of times actually and every single time I’ve died. It’s like I’m stuck in this loop. Over and over again I walk through that gate and death meets me on the other side. I’ve probably gone through this exact moment fifty times.
And you know what the crazy thing about is I love every second of it. That is the magic of Elden Ring.
I’ll be honest…I’ve never gotten why people are in love with the Soulsborne games. I didn’t see the appeal of a genre of games that takes pride in being hard for the sake of being hard. That is until I played FromSoftware’s Elden Ring. Many people in the gaming industry are calling this game one of the best game in the last decade. As a result I had to check the game out and see if it lives up to all the hype. So did it?
Let’s dive into it.
What is Elden Ring:
For those of you know don’t know what Elden Rings, it a dark fantasy action adventure RPG, made by From Software Studio. The same creators as the popular Dark Souls series and the cult classic, Bloodborne. The difference between Elden Ring and the games that I mentioned before is that Elden Ring isn’t the linear mostly straight forward adventure that it predecessors were. No, this game is a massive open world full of rich lore that was created by Hideataka Miyazaki and The creator of Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin.
You play as the Tarnished. A label that you quickly find discovers is a very bad thing. The Tarnished are a class of people who were brought to this land and given the task of rising up the rankings to the role of Elden Lord and restore peace and order to the world. It is a tall task because you start out on the bottom of the food chain.
In Elden Ring you have to hunt for the game’s story as opposed to other games that have the traditional cinematic or straight forward method of storytelling. Many will argue that the way you play the game and how you interact with the world is the game’s form of storytelling as well. I can understand that point of view, but as a fan of the traditional way that gamers experience narrative in games, I found this method to be of putting. As a person who loves games with strong focused narratives, it was harder to get invested into anything that was going on story-wise.
If you’ve played and enjoyed the previous FromSoftware games then you’ll be right at home with Elden Ring. If you’re new to these types of games or like me rage quit on a previous one (Bloodborne), then just know that you’re in for some punishment. A lot of punishment.
In Elden Ring you can strike and attack in a number of different ways. For example you can use archery, magic, swords, spears, and even summon monsters to help you vanquish your foes. That is just scratching the surface. There are tons of ways you can build and design your character to fight. Even more important you can also dodge, block and parry attacks. In this game, being good on defense is a must.
Overall the gameplay is really tight and fun. Depending on how you play, the action can be fast and fluid or slower more methodical fights. Like I hinted at before the game is difficult, especially to new comers. However, even when I die I always feel like it was on me as opposed to the game feeling cheap. This feels like the most accessible FromSoftware game that we’ve gotten thus far.
I really want to shout out how refreshing it is that this game is the whole experience that you paid for. It’s not trying to selling you more with microtransactions or use that toxic gaming trend to try to squeeze more money from you. This is the full game.
The Boss Fights:
One aspect that Elden Ring excel at is its boss fights. The bosses in the game are layered and have lots of depth. For example, just when I thought I had a boss figured out in the middle of a fight they added a couple of new moves to their move set and it completely changed the rhythm and feel of the fight. What is even more incredible about this aspect is that this happens in every boss fight. It’s the little details like this that keeps the action fun and engaging without any boss fight feeling repetitive
The Open World:
One of the things that makes this game special is truly astounding map. What is impressive about the map isn’t just how large it is. No it’s also impressive because of how dense the open world is. Around every corner there seems to be something else to discover. It could be a new piece of lore or it could be a dungeon with its own boss for you to defeat. In a lot of ways it is just like Zelda Breath of the Wild. The game’s biggest achievement is the freedom of exploration and discovery. Instead of tons of map markers that we see in other games, Elden Rings leaves it up to you to find what the world has in store for you.
One of my biggest flaws of the game is the way that Elden Ring tells its story. This feels like a game were you have to hunt down the story as opposed to the traditional way of storytelling. It feels like a huge miss that this game has this detailed fantasy story that feels difficult to consume. Imagine if this story was told in a similar way to games like Horizon Forbidden West, The Last of Us and Ghost of Tsushima. The immersion would be on another level.
Another flaw is that the game’s systems are a bit cumbersome to learn. Once you get them it becomes second nature, however the game introduces a lot of information to the player at the beginning and could have done a better job explaining the game play mechanics.
Overall/Should You Play Elden Ring:
Overall despite this game flaws I get why a lot of people consider this game one of the best video games in the last decade. It has so much for you to do and explore. It’s rich in lore, enemy variety, and customization. The boss fights are frustratingly challenging, but it is so fulfilling win you over come them. Elden Ring isn’t going to be for everyone. If you don’t like those hard challenging bosses then this isn’t for you. If you’re not an open world gamer, then this isn’t for you. If you don’t want a game that will probably take you 80 hours or more to beat then this game isn’t for you. For everyone else, you should definitely try Elden Ring. Elden Ring is a single player experience that gamers will be talking about until the end of time.
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