Games: Elden Ring | Difficult? Yes… But is it Fun? Absolutely

On the 25th of February 2022, FromSoftware’s Elden Ring was released to the world and the success was beyond what Bandai-Namco had hoped, receiving Universal Critical acclaim and selling 12 million digital and physical copies in 17 days, which for context, Dark souls III sold 10 million units since its release in 2016. So after weeks of exploring and finally completing the game today. This is my review of ELDEN RING.

The Story: The story is fantastic but not immediately obvious, as is the case in most games, your purpose as a tarnished is to repair the Elden ring and become Elden lord on your journey, you meet a stranger called Melina who gives you the ability to level up and ride a horse, how you go about getting to your final destination, that is up to you, there are several potential quests and fascinating NPC’s to talk to and more than one ending to this game, see if you can find them all.

The Game Map: The game map is incredible and unique in that you have the ability to pick up map fragments and eventually see the whole of the game world, but… with only a few exceptions (Mainly through some NPC questlines) there are no quest or objective markers anywhere in the game world. I completed my game and I know that I still missed stuff which I will have to find in New Game Plus. Here’s the Key, Elden Ring doesn’t care if you fail to find something.

The Gameplay: If you are used to playing like a Dark Souls or Sekiro player, there are a couple of provisos; 1; You can dual equip weapons but you can’t just press Triangle or Y on your controller, you have to hold the button then press either the left or right shoulder buttons to dual wield either the main or off-hand weapon and 2; ER has a dedicated jump button, but no, you can’t do fancy kicks mid-air, but you can do attacks. The rest of the gameplay is standard souls like formula, timed attacks and dodges, now with added mounted horse, which in some instances is an incredibly helpful thing to fight some of the field bosses out in the game, like the Dragons (Yes, Plural, as in more than one.) it also does a fantastic job incorporating Ashes of War (Formerly called weapon arts in Souls games), Especially when you get the chance to change the weapon arts, later on, allowing you to change up your straight swords standard ash for something more unique like fire ash of war, when you meet a certain NPC.

Difficulty: The game is Hard, the first thing you likely see in Limgrave is a Large golden Knight on a Horse, your first thought probably is “I can take Him.” only to be converted to be steam-rolled in one-two blows, it teaches you that, you shouldn’t go straight after the biggest guy in the field, not straight away anyway it is fair (mostly, we’ll get to that), after grabbing your Horse, if you do some backtracking another character will give you an item allowing you to summon spirits to assist you, also using a certain item can enable players to be summoned to assist you with particularly difficult bosses, but you shouldn’t need to as The Mimic tear, despite it’s nerf with patch 1.03 still can carry its weight in facing several of the bosses. Which is needed for some of the bosses.

Boss Quality: The Quality of some of the bosses is excellent, and some are pretty cool but are recycled and up-levelled for later areas in the game, standouts for me are Mohg, Melania and the first major Boss of the game Morgot the Fell Omen, also theirs a specific dragon that is arguably one of the best dragon bosses fights in Souls-like history. Some bosses are inevitably recycled, but some of the recycled bosses do add some variations to their move-set to still make them fresh, so you can’t coast all the way to the top, now there is an issue in the fact that the Bosses are very fast and aggressive, which can make it incredibly difficult for you to solo without the use of spirit ashes. Though it’s possible, it’s just much harder.

Graphics: Ok, this one might be difficult for me to rate as it depends on the Console. I played on an Xbox Series S with the preference sent to performance for the entirety of my playthrough, in this setting the game still looked beautiful to me, however, there were some shadows that looked very fuzzy, I imagine that playing on a high-end PC, PS5 or Xbox Series X will have very different and improved graphical fidelity, but on my game, I loved the way it looked.

Overall: For a souls-like game, the Lore, the gameplay, is all there, it is more difficult than the original trilogy, but this can be called, no doubt a classic, has set the trend for future FromSoft games and raised the bar for other open-world designers to try and catch up. Buy this game if you’re a fan of souls games. Buy this game if you want to play a game with a challenge. I look forward to seeing what they do in the future, whether it be free DLC or free content updates.

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