Elden Ring – Review In Progress
Elden Ring is the latest title brought to us by FromSoftware, the company behind many of the games in what has become affectionately known as the ‘Souls-like’ genre. This, of course, refers to the Dark Souls franchise which introduced a type of game that had really never been seen before. This is a hardcore, third-person fantasy adventure game with a difficulty like no other. Elden Ring looks to carry this genre to the next generation with its increased depth of gameplay and RPG elements. Will this be a harmonious fusion or will it trip itself up trying to be too many things at once? Let’s take a look and find out!
Elden Ring, in a word, is glorious. From its high attention to detail and larger-than-life fantasy environments, it provides unparalleled levels of immersion. While overwhelming at first, the world is also inviting, as there are plenty of open spaces that you can feel slightly freer to explore compared to the dark, dangerous dungeons and ruins that pre-occupy much of other worlds. This well-struck balance provides players at the more casual end of the spectrum a bit of leniency and relaxing gameplay to offset the brutal challenges ahead.
As you would expect from any Souls-like title, Elden Ring also features very smooth combat with intuitive controls. Also true to form, the combat style is methodical and devastatingly punishing to those who are impatient or unwilling to adjust their tactics to the task at hand. Every choice is crucial and every enemy can be deadly. This makes the decision to enter combat actually hold some weight, whereas other games simply afford you the luxury of charging headlong into danger with little to no consequence. While this genre is not for everyone, it certainly has an appeal to the hardcore brand of gamer and can be a refreshing experience to many.
Speaking of combat, the depth of systems for weapon customizations in Elden Ring came as a welcome surprise. There are numerous ways to adjust your character and your weapons to find the build you want that scales off of the stats you have been building. This fits in quite well with the open-world indicative of this and other Souls-like games, as you feel truly free to craft a character of your own desires, not simply filling in the spaces of a generic build.
I’m sure this goes without saying, but this game is hard. Like, even for a Dark Souls descendant. This game defies all who came before it to even dare use the word ‘hard’ when describing them. So, you have been warned. Get ready to die, or at the very least get ready for a slow and lengthy slog through the many dangers that Elden Ring has to offer. Luckily, there are many areas to venture and NPC side quests to discover that can help distract you and provide new gear and experience to help boost your stats so that you can keep breaking through those walls!
At the end of the day, Elden Ring is a shining example of how a brutally-difficult Souls-like experience can still appeal to the masses with its enhanced RPG elements, stunning environments and captivating storyline. While certainly not for the faint of heart, this is certainly not a game to skip – assuming you are up for the challenge, that is!
NOTE: I would be remiss not to mention the current performance issues on PC as of the writing of this article. There are presently performance challenges causing lags and stutters across all range of PCs, even modern, high-end gaming rigs. Bandai Namco has already made announcements in this regard and we hope to be able to finalize our review and provide an accurate score once these issues are resolved.