THE RING IS GONE… NO NOT HALO!!
From the studio that brought you, Dark Souls and Bloodborne come a new title Elden Ring, a fantasy RPG by FromSoftware. You are introduced to the lore of the game with an explanation of what happened to the Elden Ring, which left the lands in tatters and different factions trying to take advantage of the current climate. This inevitably leads you to fight almost everything you see like beasts and BOSSES (this is in caps because it’s an understatement on the BOSSES).
If you are going to attempt this game with the expectations that is the same as previous games that FromSoftware have produced, you are horribly mistaken. Elden Ring and the Devs have gone all out on the open-world spectrum with amazing, beautiful and unique results.
TITLE: Elden Ring
GENRE: Role-Playing, Action RPG
DEVELOPER: From Software
PUBLISHER: Namco Bandai Games
PLATFORMS: PlayStation 4, 5 Xbox Series X, S and One, Microsoft Windows
RELEASED: 25 Feb, 2022
COST: R 1100.00
“It is by far the most frustrating game to learn and master but I can’t stop playing it!!!”
PLAY, DIE, RESPAWN, REPEAT
Looking at how Elden Ring has been received it would not be a far stretch to put it in the running for GotY, which would infuriate those gamers who don’t get the hype of getting your digital backside handed to you in boss fights like when you face Lord Massive, Master of the Biggest Swords, or in my case a flower…. A Giant Poison Flower!!!!! This means that either you’re into being stabbed, slammed or stepped on (basically trial by combat) or you’re not. Even though the Devs update tutorials, they are more like guidelines than actual rules to beat the game (basically you are the Titanic and Elden Ring is the Ice Berg…Good Luck!!!)
For the loves of the Souls games, Elden Ring takes all you love from combat and puts it on a continent, which will seem like a feast and can lead to one being overwhelmed by the sheer size of what and where you can go. This map seems to continue of ever even after grinding for hours. While traversing the never-ending lands, you will come across many NPC questlines places to find loot, like in caves and travelling caravans (if you can kill mounted Kaiden Mercenary, the Noble Sorcerer, mop up the Wandering Nobles and the Trolls that lead it).
From previous titles, FormSoftware is known for its difficulty and feeling of being tortured (but you like it). You know what I mean, like that boss you can’t beat or that flower you can’t wack!!! Now, what the open world offers is the ability to take a break from the struggles and make progress elsewhere and come back stronger… To show that dame flower who is boss!!
If you are a lover of fantasy lands this game will give you your fix in the first 5 minutes of wondering about the colourful and beautiful lands. While in Dark Souls and Bloodborne you are wandering the streets and sewers like four brothers I know (who love pizza), Elder Ring has you running over hills and through green bushes all under the glow of a giant sky-scraping, glowing tree. This is where you find out you’re a tarnished (a forgotten warrior) tasked with becoming an Elder Lord, repairing the Elden Ring and maybe restoring the world to its former glory. While on your journey you find out what is really going on and the existence of other paths to choose.
We have heard that the game does run into performance issues like frame drops and freezing, while playing on Xbox I am happy to say that I did not experience any issues… except me dying in the very first 60 seconds of play! (Stupid Tree Sentinel…) Publisher Bandai Namco and FromSoftware have released performance patches to resolve issues that have been found.
I NEED A BIGGER SWORD!!!
Fans of FromSoftware tend to find their feet quickly in Elden Ring as the combat fundamentals are as prominent as ever. Managing your stamina, and picking key moments to strike and dodge are key to your success in the game, where you can be reduced to dust in just a few short strikes. Making sure you are ready to block an attack or roll out of the path is your best friend.
Within Elden Ring, you will find a wealth of options for specializing and improving your character, with weapons and spells to suit your play style. Summonable monsters to your battles give Elder Ring a Yu-Gi-Ho and Pokémon feel. This made me put my cap on, turn it around and shout out weird things like “I choose you!”.
There is little in this open-world game that makes you feel like it’s a chore, which it has done well over other open-world games. Almost all of the game feels like it’s meant to be there, even if some points feel less engaging than others. While in Dark Souls and Bloodborne the worlds feel like they slot together like a well-oiled machine, furthering your understanding of the lore and world. Elder Ring seems to have all of that down but does not offer the same coherent whole. Like when exploring a castle and having the time of your life doing so, it does not always offer any insight into the lore of the game.
Understandably not all of the gameplay needs to stick to the plot of the game, like the side quests. The level of attention in Elden Ring puts it a whole new class, and we are happy that the amount of extra stuff to do in-game does not overshadow the whole reason for it… to fix the Elden Ring!!! With this step FromSoftware has made into this vast game, it has placed Elden Ring on a pedestal for other Devs to strive for.
During gameplay, you will find the repetition of similar bosses populating optional dungeons that fill the world. This repetition is common in open-world games which we have come to tolerate, but the fact that these small let-downs don’t affect our view of the game places it in a league of its own.
The Elden Ring-world is massive, as we have said before, and feels like a FromSoftware crammed more than one game into this title. Elden Ring is helped and hindered by its multiplayer function. While you are able to summon players (friend or random) to your aid, regardless of their progress, with bosses. The hindrance experienced (on my part) is the messages left by players in the world, where they used to assist you by giving you a heads-up, now they just contain nonsense instead of guidance.
ELDEN LORDS HAVE SPOKEN!
Art is subjective, and let’s face it games today can be considered art and if so, we must remember: A work of art isn’t always meant for everyone.
Elden Ring is a love letter that someone is beating you with, this game is equally frustrating as it is fun to play and I loved every hateful encounter with death I had (sitting at easy 100). This latest FromSoftware expects players to put up with endless frustration, but the reward of finally ending a boss is exhilarating and leaves you with a feeling of fulfilment that can be lacking in other games. While running around the lands between the game seems to love giving you something new and weird just as much as it loves the sound of its own voice. A necrophiliac named Dung Eater? Seriously FromSoftware!
Elden Ring is one of those games that you can play over and over, as it does have multiple endings, and in today’s gaming world it’s a refreshing take to find a game that has no easy mode and totally dependent on learning how to play and use the game mechanics.
A Special Thanks to Prima Interactive for giving us the opportunity to play and review this amazing game.
Now the year is still long and I’m off to die a few more thousand times before I get to the end of this game, but before that, I have to kill a flower.. as it’s the manly thing to do (REVENGE!!!).
Entertainment – 3.5/5
Action – 4/5
Extra – 5/5
EAX score 4/5