How significant Dark Souls has been to the gaming industry over the last decade cannot be overstated. Everything about it seems deliberate and under control, from the storylines to the design philosophy to the multiplayer. It started off as an obscure game, but it has since become one of the most pivotal in recent history. So far as my experience with the game goes, Elden Ring seems to be designed in the same way.
Elden Ring strikes the ideal balance between a technically impressive system and the effect it has on my pleasure of the game, which is something I often have to do in other games.
The moment I realize how beautifully something operates, I’m carried away into something else. The game constantly throwing you curveballs, and by the time you realize it, you’ve forgotten most of them. This is mostly because of Elden Ring’s attitude to its free-roaming environment.
Many people probably had some concerns about how an open world would function. As a game, Dark Souls is lauded for its excellent pace and meticulously crafted universe. You may change the way you experience the world by setting off from one location, going somewhere else for a few hours, and then descending by a previously hidden stairway. Because of the vertical perspective it provided on level design, the whole environment seemed much more compact than it really was, like a diorama through which the player might make their way.
Similar ideas underpin Elden Ring’s expansive worldview. Off the usual road, you may discover a small cave that opens up into a hidden region, where you may confront a boss that has a backstory that will keep you occupied for hours. On several occasions, my companion and I pointed out an oddity in our surroundings, just to have it clarified in a section later on, entirely altering my perspective.
As a result of reading Elden Ring, I felt as if I were continually being startled, which is something I haven’t felt in a while. For someone who has grown tired with the current state of open-world games, Elden Ring serves as both a breath of fresh air and a template for what lies ahead.
The exceptional narrative by From Software further enhances this outlook on the world. Traveling the Lands Between, a realm formerly ruled by the Elden Ring, is what you do in Elden Ring. Years later, its pieces were scattered throughout the landscape. Gather the great runes and reconnect it if you want to become the Elden Lord and restore it. The similarities to Gwyn, Lord of Cinder, are striking.
As you go through life, you seek rationales for the choices you make, but you don’t always find them. The core of Elden Ring is the narrative you create for yourself. It’s up to you to put together the puzzle using things, adversaries, and the environment itself, and then fill in the gaps anyway you choose.
There have been some fantastic “watercooler” moments in the online community that harken back to the days before the internet. People are making educated guesses and attempting everything to learn all the mysteries it possesses. On several times, I have gone on a fruitless hunt through caverns, dialogue, and other such things in an attempt to recreate a plot, only to solve the problem on my own later. It’s great when you’re not given the answers right away in a game.
I can understand how Elden Ring’s openness and imagination will draw comparisons to Breath of the Wild in the years to come, but the most apparent parallel is the game’s approach to exploring. In a way, Elden Ring is like exposure treatment for the open worlds of today. You will get lost in your notes if you try to record every single location and objective. Getting out and seeing the world requires you to sometimes let go of your worries. Choosing a new path might help you feel liberated.
Because to Elden Ring’s summonable horse, Torrent, this travel is much facilitated. Like The Doll in Bloodborne or the Maiden in Black in Demon Souls, you encounter a character called Melina early on who wants to reach many of the same objectives as you. In addition to helping you progress in the world, she also serves as a firm foundation.
Moreover, she provides you with the game’s best traversal tool—a horse. I believe From Software gets a bad rap for creating grim, serious environments or prioritizing design theory above lightheartedness, but Torrent proves that assumption wrong. It’s a blast to travel the globe with him and he makes a number of challenges a breeze. It provides a vast landscape to explore and the ideal instrument for doing so.
Even though it may not seem like it at first, Elden Ring is an experience built from many various kinds of connections. You run across other Tarnished who are also on a mission to succeed. Individuals who are just trying to get by, people who are searching for redemption, and folks who are looking for suffering are all mixed in with the everyday people. Elden Ring, like the town it depicts, is a tale recounted by its inhabitants. It takes a massive environment and makes it seem intimate and relatable.
The most despicable characters in the game all have actual motivations and paths they’ve followed. Everyone else is walking the same road; some are simply a lot farther down it.
This is neatly shown by the Roundtable Hold. As the story’s center, Melina leads you here to interact with the majority of the important persons you’ll meet. Here, you’ll have plenty of time to relax, plenty of interesting topics to discuss, and even someone to consult for guidance on your next move. When you put on an Elden Ring, the intention is not to remain stagnant but rather to evolve, expand, and discover.
The mechanics are a great match for this ethos. Elden Ring, in contrast to past games from From Software, is not about the end goal so much as it is about the adventure getting there. Even while your superiors keep score, the sights of a particularly gruesome new continent or the beauty of a more heavenly battleground may do wonders for your sense of self-worth.
An individual’s very decision to go on a trip might be seen as a declaration of purpose. No hollowing out is allowed. You can’t expect a straight line to be your guide.
You can have a lot of fun simply bashing things with a hefty halberd. By the conclusion of the game, I had hacked my way through every monster, reducing their little HP to nothing with my fully upgraded Golden Halberd. Having said that, I never completely lost motivation. I deserved the peace of mind that came with finishing the novel, and it was lovely to feel like I had achieved so much.
The capacity for comprehensive observation is a key factor in this success. The more stylized regions of Elden Ring are among of the game’s most impressive visuals. Elden Ring shines brightest after the sun has set and the night has begun to close in. The game’s visual style is a delicate balancing act, avoiding either total blackness or dazzling whiteness.
The multiplayer mode does a great job of emphasizing this contrast. There are messages that will send you tumbling to your death, and others that will alert you to a particularly hazardous adversary or a secret trove. You may send a companion out to explore the world with you, or a powerful magician can assault your home. Friends may be both a wonderful help and a major hindrance in Elden Ring. Invasions are now entirely voluntary, since you may choose whether or not to participate. This is a brilliant approach that gives you the freedom to choose the most enjoyable option.
The end-tempo game’s and recurrence of bosses are two further points of contention among gamers, alongside the game’s performance. There are a bunch of optional early-game bosses that reappear in the late game. Although I appreciated the acknowledgement of my efforts over the intervening 50 hours, I can understand how this may annoy other players.
Moreover, my game’s relative ease in the latter stages may irritate players who are seeking for a challenge that will take them a week to overcome. The good news is that you may play Elden Ring at your own speed. Find a way around it if you don’t like it. If you feel weak, it may be time to upgrade your equipment. Every design decision made by Elden Ring hints to the existence of other paths.
Elden Ring ran very well throughout my time with it on a Ryzen 7 PC with an RTX 3070 graphics card. In my post-launch experience, I had a few bugs on PC but otherwise enjoyed the game. For over a hundred hours of play, there were zero crashes. Even still, it’s clear from the feedback that PCs aren’t living up to expectations in the local area. It’s a fantastic game, however PC players may need some assistance with it.
There are two primary categories to consider before getting started: friendliness and convenience. By a wide margin, Elden Ring is From Software’s most accessible game to date. If you’re having trouble fighting a boss, you can always go get some better gear and wipe out the rest of the game in a matter of bullets. To my surprise, I never hit a snag when playing Elden Ring. The ease of use, however, may be enhanced. While volume controls and subtitles are there, they might be more flexible. Having the ability to change the font size and color of the menu selections would be a huge help.
RULING OF THE ELDEN RING
As a human embodiment of a perfect game, Elden Ring exemplifies the flaws of a perfect score. Despite its flaws, there is so much to like in this game that it’s hard to focus on them. The game would expand after every few hours, and I’d always be eager to keep looking, exploring, and taking over. After more than a hundred hours and two complete playthroughs, all I want is to see what more Elden Ring has in store. I would be surprised if this didn’t send shockwaves through the whole games industry, since it is not just one of the finest From Software games but also one of the best games I’ve ever played.
THE BEST MOMENT OF THE GAME
Totality of it. Each hour brought me a new favorite memory, whether it be a cherished tidbit of information or a nostalgic flashback or one of those heartbreaking little-known anecdotes. Go out into the world and discover them for yourself.
For the record, I rate Elden ring as a perfect 10.
Starting as a freelancer in 2017 while speed running Demon Souls, Greg eventually took a full-time position at Good2Game in 2021, where he serves as Associate Editor. He got his start in the industry making games, and he’s always been interested in the inner workings of games through the modding and speedrunning communities. He enjoys lengthy JRPGs, action survival games, and cooperative sandbox games.