Elden Ring may just have broke into my top 5 favorite games ever made. Which felt like an impossible task with the games we’ve been getting over the past 5 years, but man does this one deliver.
I could ramble on for hours about this game, about how I put in 20 hours in 2 days, how I played only for 3 sessions during those 20 hours, or how I stood in awe for about 3 of those hours ogling the glorious world they’ve created. Simply put, this game is an easy perfect score.
The World of Elden Ring
With EVERY single game seeming to head the open world route these days, it wasn’t really a surprise when Elden Ring was confirmed to be in a massive open world itself. Now, that’s sometimes a dangerous decision, as games that haven’t experimented much in the past with open worlds (to this degree) can oftentimes create WAY too large maps with WAY too little to do, they destroy the feeling of exploration. However, Fromsoftware did not fail.
The open world of Elden Ring could very well be one of the most beautifully crafted worlds I’ve ever explored. While keeping the sense of loneliness and dread, but filling the space with plenty of enemies and constant peril, this doesn’t just look like a classic souls game, it feels the part. One of the things I loved about their previous titles, especially Sekiro, was how JAM PACKED the map was with detail. Not a stone unturned. Elden Ring doesn’t just look better graphically, but backs it up with some of the most well detailed areas and architecture I’ve ever seen in a game. It optimized the world so well that you can clearly see detail in ancient ruins or castles even while miles away. Elden Ring isn’t just about running around trying to complete a task, Elden Ring is ABOUT the world.
Most of my time spent in the game, so far, has just been exploring, fighting the odd boss who DOESN’T lock me in an arena to whoop on me for 10 minutes (though, I have killed three of those thus far). Even after exploring an area multiple times, there’s STILL more to do, still more to find. You don’t just forget about those areas, because they are filled to the brim with enemies and loot. You’ll pass by heaps of dangerous locales that you don’t dare take on yet, forget about them, and then find them way later on down the road. This game has pulled a perfect world out on it’s very first attempt at fully open world, and man is it impressive and fun to run around.
The gameplay of Elden Ring
When I first sat down with Sekiro, I was blown away at how much they drastically could change the gameplay of one of their titles, but do it so well you don’t miss the originals gameplay. Elden Ring isn’t quite as fast paced as Sekiro, much more on par with Bloodbourne or Demon Souls, but it works so well. The gameplay is better than ever, still a couple bosses that have the cheesiest moves you’ve ever seen, but all of them learnable. There are heaps weapons to choose from, each drastically changing how combat plays out, and honestly… everything feels really good. You can modify weapons and gear to your liking, create tons of potions, craft gear, and just genuinely shake up each fight as you see fit.
The horse combat, however, is fantastic. I found myself constantly charging into fights while riding on horseback just because there is something so satisfying about smacking a guy 10 feet in the air with a massive claymore. On top of horse combat being good, the horse riding in general is really smooth and well done. A couple moments for sure when I cut the corner on a cliff to sharp and hurled myself over the side, but for the most part it compliments the rest of the gameplay really well.
The Enemy Variety
If there’s one thing Fromsoftware always does amazingly well, it’s the design of their enemies and bosses. Around the world there is just an metric ton of enemies waiting to ambush you, each looking, acting, and fighting in drastically different ways, forcing you to learn and understand each one before thinking you know how to fight them. As you travel across the massive open world of Elden Ring, you’ll find that the enemy variety changes, with very few re-occurring enemies showing up. There are massive enemies, tiny ones, and then the enemies that make you wonder… are they ACTUALLY enemies? usually they are.
Then you have the bosses, each typically massive in scale and horrifying in look. This is probably where you’ll spend the most amount of money, in real life, from breaking controllers. They have designed each boss fight to a perfect standard, so once you get to understand them, it’s a lot easier, but you need to be willing to learn. If you just keep throwing yourself into the ring, you’ll never beat the thing. But let me tell you, there is nothing quite as rewarding as finally beating one of those absolutely brutally bosses after an hour of attempts. I get that a lot of people are frustrated at the difficulty of the game, but knowing that everyone fights the same bosses with the same level of difficulty is incredibly satisfying. You feel accomplished, like you actually get it…
until you fight the next boss…
Elden Ring is everything dark souls and more
I like to keep reviews relatively short, try to avoid spoilers, all the good stuff, but this time, I’m cutting things EXTRA short because I don’t want to dive too much into the specifics, because this game is worth experiencing yourself. The sheer scale of the world, the intensity of the combat, the incredible color of green I could make my character, it’s all perfect. The more I think about the game, the more I want to play, there’s so much to do, so much I’ve left undone, and is easily one of the greatest games I’ve ever experienced. Can’t recommend it enough.