Video Game Review: Elden Ring
Elden Ring is an action role-playing game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. It is played in a third-person perspective with players freely roaming its interactive open world, and with gameplay focusing on combat and exploration. It features elements similar to those found in other games from the same developer, such as the Souls series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Elden Ring takes place in the Lands Between, sometime after the destruction of the titular Elden Ring and the scattering of its shards, the Great Runes. Once graced by the Ring and the Erdtree which symbolizes its presence, the realm is now ruled over by the demigod offspring of Queen Marika the Eternal, each possessing a shard of the Ring that corrupts and taints them with power. As Tarnished — exiles from the Lands Between who lost the Ring's grace and are summoned back after the Shattering — players must traverse the realm to ultimately find all the Great Runes, restore the Elden Ring, and become the Elden Lord
The Tarnished is one of many exiles called back to the Lands Between in hopes of repairing the Elden Ring and becoming the next Elden Lord. Early on in their journey, the Tarnished encounters a young woman named Melina, who offers to stand in as their maiden to help them on their journey, under the condition that the Tarnished bring her to the base of the Erdtree where she can fulfill her purpose. The Tarnished then proceeds to journey into the Lands Between, investigating its various locales and defeating each demigod one by one until they recover enough Great Runes that the Two Fingers feels they are ready to journey to the Erdtree to confront Morgott, the final obstacle to the tree.
Upon his defeat, Morgott claims that the Erdtree will not allow anybody, especially a Tarnished, to enter it before passing away. The Tarnished confirms this when they approach the Erdtree and find their way blocked by a wall of thorns. Melina then arrives and advises that they journey to find the Flame of Ruin, which they can use to set the Erdtree on fire and burn away the thorns. Upon obtaining the Flame of Ruin, the Tarnished then proceeds to the Erdtree, where they battle the fellow Tarnished warrior Gideon Ofnir the All Knowing, as well as the First Elden Lord Godfrey to gain access to the interior of the Erdtree. Inside, they fight the reanimated remains of Queen Marika's consort, Radagon, as well as the godlike Elden Beast. Upon vanquishing both foes, the Tarnished finally gains access to Queen Marika's shattered corpse, which contains the remains of the Elden Ring.
The Gameplay of Elden Ring Can be compared to other FromSoftware games, such as Dark Souls, Bloodbourne, and Sekiro. It is played through a third-person perspective, with players freely roaming its interactive open world. It has melee-based combat with the use of skills, magic abilities, as well as blocking and dodging mechanics. Elden Ring introduces mounted combat and a stealth system, the latter being a core gameplay element from Sekiro; these features are expected to encourage players in strategizing their combat approach with each unique enemy they encounter. The game makes use of a player character stamina bar after being absent from Sekiro, although its overall influence over combat was reduced compared to previous FromSoftware games that utilized it. Unlike in Sekiro, resurrection mechanics after in-game death are not available; however, some elements were added to ensure players' progression within the game.
FromSoftware is primarily famous for two things. The first is crafting beautiful fantasy worlds filled with rich lore and breathtaking scenery. The second is filling them with disgusting monsters and bloodthirsty warriors that frustrate even the most seasoned gamers.
On a gameplay level, Elden Ring is as challenging as the Dark Souls series, but FromSoftware has incorporated several quality of life improvements. There are more checkpoints (or “sites of grace,” as they’re known) in each world area, so you rarely have to spend several minutes traipsing back to where you died. There are bigger level-jumps between main bosses so it will require a lot more grinding for level-ups between areas.
The difficulty spikes increase more noticeably from one main boss to the next, often requiring hours of grinding level-ups to stand a chance. None of the other Souls games required farming this much to survive more than 1 hit. For example, between the first region and the second region, enemies have about twice the health and twice the damage.
It also depends a bit on how you set it up. On the other hand, due to the game being more open world oriented you can go to other regions right away to collect flask upgrades and get better gear to make it easier. If you set it up the right way and explore first and spend a few hours grinding to Level 100+ it’s not too difficult, at least until you reach the endgame bosses.
Final score: 9/10