Elden Ring Review - Is It Worth It?

Elden Ring Review
One of the best games of this generation


Elden Ring is a marvel of a game that a multitude of fans has been waiting for, even more so after the success of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Dark Souls III pushed FROMSOFT into the forefront of mainstream attention. It’s a game that builds upon a perfected formula by Hidetaka Miyazaki and his team at FromSoftware and is something that would appease the appetite of many gamers seeking a worthy challenge. This review is meant to look at the game from a critical point of view, both illustrating the good and bad points of the game. 

About Elden Ring

Elden Ring is a massive open-world RPG that follows a similar gameplay loop to that of the Dark Souls series. Instead of just being Dark Souls 4, however, Elden Ring adds new elements that spice up the game, while refining older ones to make them more enjoyable. It was released on 25th February 2022 by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco. 

I remember when the game was initially leaked by renowned leaker Omnipotent (back then it was known as Great Rune), and it had the entire community speculating in wonder about the countless possibilities that would arise from a game like this. This was mostly because FromSoftware worked with George R. R. Martin, of A Song of Ice and Fire (Or Game of Thrones) fame. 

Even as the year comes to a close, Elden Ring’s popularity refuses to die down, especially considering the recent leak about Elden Ring receiving a DLC. By July 2022, the game had sold over 16 million copies, exceeding the expectations of its sales.

 

Elden Ring Story

Elden Ring has you play as the Tarnished who comes to the Lands Between as the grace guides him there. Being a FromSoftware game, the story is…incredibly convoluted, suffice to say. Their games are infamous for having cryptic stories that leave breadcrumbs for the players to follow and theorize over, which led to various channels such as VaatiVidya gaining popularity over explaining the lore to many people. 

The game has a unique way of presenting its story that’s uncommon in other mainstream media. Most item descriptions carry a bit of lore that helps piece together some things, but there is great detail put into environmental storytelling as well. This idea of presenting the story like this was inspired by Miyazaki’s childhood when he would read books he wouldn’t understand properly and try to piece together things, and it works wonderfully in the case of Elden Ring as it presents a yet another rich story full of amazing secrets for the players to discover and talk about.

Elden Ring - Radahn vs Malenia

The opening cutscene describes how the events of Elden Ring came to be

 

Elden Ring Gameplay

If there’s one thing FromSoftware is known for, it’s the gameplay. It has become their trademark now to make a brutal, unforgiving experience that the players can tackle through various means. At the start, being an RPG, it gives you the freedom of creating your character. The character creator can either lead to a mesmerizing beauty or an abomination from the pits of Hell itself. 

Then you’re free to choose from a bunch of classes. Unlike other FromSoftware games, picking a class actually matters (at least in the early game) because you’ll be alone and lacking equipment for the most part. I started the game as a Wretch thinking I’ll find items quickly and played most of Limgrave naked as a consequence of my actions and bad RNG not dropping enemy armor.

Immediately from the start, you’re treated to a huge open world, filled to the brim with secrets. Unlike other games, Elden Ring has no proper compass or quest markers, instead, it features a light of Grace that guides you to your destination. That being said, I recommend simply looking at something interesting in the distance and then making your way there. Being lost in this game is a charm of its own. 

Early on, the map only reveals Limgrave, but as you collect more and more map pieces, the game map expands into this huge sprawling juggernaut full of interesting areas. This is where FromSoftware’s talent for prioritizing art direction over graphical quality shines. Each area is unique and beautiful in its own right, with Raya Lucaria Academy captivating me for quite a while - at least until the mages started blasting my face.

This freedom is something FromSoftware hasn’t tackled since Dark Souls 1 which is known for its legendary world design. Elden Ring, similarly, allows you to go to any chosen path and gives you various shortcuts to navigate anywhere. In fact, you can rush to endgame areas just by finding secret paths, it’s ridiculous how much care and polish has gone into making the world actually fun to explore. 

Of course, being an open world brings its own share of problems - namely: repetition. And unfortunately, Elden Ring, too, suffers from that blight, as there are a lot of dungeons that repeat the same common mob as a boss at the end. I understand the need to populate the huge area but it doesn’t make it less frustrating when the 4th Erdtree Burial Watchdog (This time with the little imps!) shows up. Fortunately, most of this is left optional, so most players can choose to ignore it if they choose to.

Godrick the Golden

Monstrous designs and grueling bosses await the Tarnished

 

Elden Ring Combat

Ah yes, the harsh, visceral combat that made FromSoftware games popular, to begin with. Elden Ring, as aforementioned, is built on the foundation of other Dark Souls games, but like Bloodborne, it has its own things that set it apart. The combat is relatively simple once you understand the basic mechanics of it, but it’s still common for new players to get frustrated with it easily. 

The game offers a wide array of weapons and various ways to shape your gameplay. Do you want to go with heavy swords? Go for strength. If are you more of a dextrous warrior then Dexterity is your friend. Or perhaps you’d like to try out magic (which you should, Elden Ring’s magic is really amazing!), then Intelligence and Faith got you covered there. There are a LOT of weapons in this game, with different movesets and various approaches to them. 

Previously there was always an issue with balance - an issue common in any game with a lot of weapons, but with the recent patch 1.07, they separated the PvP balance from the PvE balance which is HUGE. Now weapons can shine in their own respective element without harming the other. 

 

Elden Ring Quests

Elden Ring, like other Dark Souls games, is very cryptic about quests. While this has always been an issue with new players, it’s incredibly annoying in Elden Ring where finding NPCs can be a chore in the open world. Fortunately, one of the early patches rectified this issue by placing tokens on the map, showing where the NPCs are. 

Most NPC quests are, without a doubt, depressing and nihilistic. Something FromSoftware has always tackled is side quests that are never black and white, there’s always a third element to them. And Elden Ring carries that torch by introducing you to a wide array of lovely NPC companions, and slowly torturing them (At least the Dung Eater deserves it, but so do you if you choose to progress his quest). Most NPC quests lead to a special and unique reward so it’s always worth pursuing them.

 

Elden Ring Graphics

Elden Ring is a game that relies massively on its incredible art direction. FromSoftware has always tackled meeting modern standards for graphics, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What it achieves with its art direction alone, puts most graphically beautiful games to shame. Elden Ring remains a beautiful world nonetheless and has plenty of areas that serve as eye candy. 

That being said, where it suffers is poor performance. It’s no secret that FromSoftware struggles with good optimization and this was incredibly infuriating for PC players especially those who’d suffer from frame stutters even on high-end PCs. Fortunately, most of these issues have been solved with later patches, but it’s still worth nothing.

Elden Ring - Liurnia

See that mountain over there? You can climb it

 

Elden Ring Developers

Elden Ring was developed by FromSoftware under Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creator of the famous Dark Souls trilogy. FromSoftware is, perhaps, one of the most soulful (pun intended) developers of the industry, as they clearly show how much passion they pour into their games. 

While the game does suffer from bad optimization from time to time, patches have been quite consistent in attempting to fix them. It appears the developers also listen to player feedback a lot as patches constantly rebalance weapons all around. My favorite patch was the buff to Strength weapons. They always suffered under Dexterity, but later buffs have made them much better.

 

Elden Ring Price

Elden Ring is available for 60$, but the price is known to dip during sales so if you’re considering buying the game, I would recommend waiting for Christmas or Black Friday sales. It’s available on Xbox One, Xbox One S, PS4, PS5, and PC. One thing that I can always respect about FromSoftware games is that they refuse to fall for malicious modern game developer tactics of including pay-to-win elements such as loot boxes. This makes Elden Ring a complete package, excluding any potential DLC, that’s the same for anyone who purchases it.

 

Final Verdict

Very few games come and are instantly recognized as classics for the generations to come, however, Elden Ring appears to be one such game. It’s a behemoth of a game that remains steadfast in being enjoyable and fun. I respect developers that stay true to their passion and ideals, and FromSoftware has yet to disappoint me in that manner. I’m looking forward to their next project.

Score: 10/10 - It’s the closest to a true masterpiece we’ll ever receive.

Pros:

  • An open-world full of content that never gets boring
  • Perfected combat utilizing the best of previous games
  • Mesmerizing and striking art direction
  • Intense, amazing OST complementing the terrifying roster of bosses

Cons:

  • Endgame areas appear to be terribly balanced
  • Not for everyone
  • Bosses can’t be fought again without accessing NG+

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An avid fan of video games for countless generations, possessing arcane knowledge far surpassing mortal comprehension and ascending far beyond centipede standards
Gamer Since: 2001
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Yakuza Kiwami 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:Dark Souls 3 , Baldur's Gate, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth


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