Elden Ring is here and it has blown our mind. Read here in our review why this game is not just better than any Dark Souls game, but one of the best games of all time.
We have been waiting for a long time, and finally it's here: Elden Ring, the new game by From Software, developers of Dark Souls, Bloodborne and Sekiro. The hype was huge and rightfully earned, because those are some of the best games in modern gaming, they have taken their tried-and-true formula into an open world and the man, the myth, the legend George R.R. Martin did some of the writing for this game. But can Elden Ring live up to the high expectations? Yes. I think it is actually even better than we had hoped for.
Elden Ring Review: It's Easier... Sort Of
In Elden Ring, you start out just like you did in Dark Souls: as an insignificant worm of a character, trying to conquer the world. You are hunting a number of special characters, who all have a piece of the shattered Elden Ring, so that you become Elden Lord in the end. Yes, the lore is once again very creative and fantastical and absolutely refuses to properly convey itself to you. Similar to FromSoft's classic, you start out as a weak nobody and after many, many nail-bitingly hard fights, you become the biggest boss of them all. And yes... it's goddamn hard again. Elden Ring is a challenging game, just like Dark Souls. But don't worry, because From Software heard those of us who got tired of "git gud"-culture and smoothed over a lot of the kinks that made the predecessors so notoriously hard. While the game and its combat, on the surface at least, look a lot like Dark Souls, there are many small changes that make Elden Ring feel a lot more approachable.
You feel a lot faster, animations aren't as clunky and additions like jumping and crouching give players a lot more mobility and additional combat options, like new types of attacks and even stealth. This variety of gameplay options also extend to the RPG systems. Whether you want to tank everything away, be a sneaky bandit or whoosh away your enemies with magic, you can do all of those things and so much more. The system works almost the same as in Souls, but re-specing options and a wider variety of items expand this part of the game. Summoning other players has never been easier, as well, with the game completely getting rid of any pre-requestion to play co-op or competitive multiplayer. The best new addition however, especially for players who struggle with the difficulty of the game, are the Spirits though. They are not just extremely cool, but super helpful NPC allies that you can summon in almost any fight. But yes... the game is still hard. However, that is also less of a problem for players now, as you can now freely choose what to do, thanks to the amazing new open world.
Elden Ring Review: The Greatest Open-World Ever?
Elden Ring is set in a world called "The Lands Between" and let me tell you... it's a big boy. I can't emphasize enough how huge, how full of content this game is. I played for around 30 hours and I have only seen a sliver of the seemingly endless map (yes, this game has an actual map now as well). The world is not just huge, it is truly open. While certain in-game mechanics and NPCs might guide you towards specific areas, you can really go anywhere you want to. This is another aspect that makes the game more approachable: You're stuck on a particularly tough boss? Just go somewhere else! There is so much to discover and to do, exploring this weird, wild world is truly a joy. The Lands Between are absolutely gorgeous, while also being terrifying, mysterious and exciting. Having it be so open to exploration makes every discovery feel riveting and rewarding, more so than having a glorified checklist of a world like in most modern open world games.
Let's say the quiet part out loud: Elden Ring reminds us a lot of Breath of the Wild. The world here is even more exciting, though, since it is not just huge and open, but also massively dense. Everywhere you look and every corner you explore will have something exciting, new and unique for you to discover. The world is filled with dungeons of various sizes, landmarks and NPCs, who again have sidequests and storylines for you or just want to sell you some items. Exploring it is an absolute blast. At this point, I also want to celebrate our new companion in Elden Ring: Torrent. Yes, you also get a horse in this game and yes, he is best boy. Torrent can double jump, that's all I need to say.
Elden Ring Review: Verdict
This game is huge, complex and yes, very challenging. It is, like Dark Souls, not a walk in the park. But like Dark Souls, getting over those hurdles feels unbelievably rewarding. From Software have completely knocked it out of the park with the creation and balancing of this world. Yes, the game is still difficult but if you don't want to try to beat Margit the Fell Omen (that dude is such a pain in the... you know where) for six hours straight then... you don't have to. You can go explore the wonderful world, level up, engage with some of the many RPG systems, get a hug from Fia (play the game, and you will understand) and come back later. Another example of the game being a bit more forgiving: Respawning and getting your lost runes back is a lot easier than in the past, with new checkpoints called "Stakes of Marika". Gone are the days of five minute runs to the boss, where you most like will either die or get whacked real good. And even though I love Souls and I love the challenge of it, I really don't miss this part. Everything feels much faster and more responsive in Elden Ring.
What might sound like concessions to "casual gamers" are actually very smart ways, in which their trodden formula was expanded upon and further developed. Elden Ring operates on a scale never before seen in a From Software game, and they passed that challenge with flying colors. The fights feel better than ever, the world is one of the best I have ever seen, it is absolutely gorgeous, and the systems are complex and fun to engage with. Everything I have seen in this game is of such a high level of quality and creativity, that it is hard to believe it's actually real. I love Elden Ring and yes, I think it is one of the best games of all time.
- Rating: 10/10
- Release Date: February 25, 2022
- Developer: From Software
- Genre: Third-Person Action RPG
- Players: Single Player & Multiplayer (Competitive & Co-op)
- Time to beat: Up to 100 Hours
- Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC