Developer: FromSoftware

Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (Reviewed)|S 

Gene(s): Action, RPG

Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment

 

Elden Ring is the long-awaited latest release from FromSoftware. FromSoftware is most notable for their Dark Souls game which is brutally tough and unforgiving. Elden Ring follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, but the game provides an open-world experience with this action RPG title. It’s not a total departure from the Souls franchise but the next evolution in the gaming series.

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It must be noted that the gaming experience in terms of graphic fidelity and glitches may vary from system to system. On the Xbox Series X, I have had no game-breaking bugs in my playthrough, I have put approximately fifty hours into the game, and I haven’t finished it yet. The visuals and the game, in general, is stunning; and I experienced a very little; slowdown during the majority of my playthrough. During my playthrough, I did notice some popup of and the odd elements of slowdown; but this was minor in the grand scheme of things and didn’t detract from the game. The Xbox Series X supports two graphical modes: quality mode, which supports 4K native with a frame rate of 40-45 FPS, and performance mode, which targets 50-60 FPS at a lower resolution.

Elden Ring comprises the classic elements of an RPG – talk to NPCs, level up, kill enemies and progress on to big huge boss fights. A huge open world is your backdrop. I have to say the open world of Elden Ring is amazing; there are tons of quests to do and lots of items to find strewn all over the world. The graphical fidelity is superb, and the variety in different areas gives you a sense of awe. Some of the scenery is jaw-dropping, and the use of lighting effects is fantastic. I love the initial surprise and change in scenery in each distinct section of the map.

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Gameplay and play style is dictated by the character build: strength builds, magic build or stealth build. There are numerous ways to play the game, but your first run-through of the game will give you only a taste. The choice of build and what you level up does affect your gameplay directly as knights will go for head-on combat, whereas mages and magicians will cast at a distance. The feel of the game is reminiscent of Souls, melee; combat requires skill to understand enemy attacks, avoid them and attack the right point.This ability to understand your enemy applies even more to the amazing boss battles. Bosses in Elden Ring are unmatched by any other game; they are huge and difficult. The bosses are extremely rewarding when you do defeat them. It must be noted; you must prepare to die over and over again and to run away too! This game is a tough slog for new players and will require persistence. Your playstyle will be affected by the trinkets and NPCs you encounter. Depending on what items you pick and NPCs you talk to, you will get different items. The items, weapons and armour will directly affect your skills and attributes; weapons will require certain stats to wield them. The game has numerous combinations and permutations. It’s a learning experience with lots of trial and error.

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Elden Ring is a tough game, but the open-world nature allows for players to explore and gather more items when they become stuck. I found the Souls games much tougher as there was less variety when you became stuck. Elden Ring’s open world allows you to find new areas, bosses and dungeons to explore before coming back to the main game. Fifty hours in, and I have only got through maybe half of the game; the game is huge in scale and endeavour.

The cinematics, art, sound, music score and voice acting is amazing. George R. R. Martin helped with the story and the general mythology of the world. There are elements around the world that have George’s stamp on them for sure.

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The FromSoftware game is known for its rich community features. Elden Ring supports a whole host of online options that you will unlock as you play through the game. You can play co-op with friends or invade other people’s games, or be invaded. The co-op modes and invasion modes add another layer to this stunning game. All these options can be turned off as well if you prefer a pure solo run. The ability to leave notes, helpful or not, is still available, which is novel at first but gets tiresome fairly quick.

Elden Ring is a wonderful open-world game that; is a breath of fresh air to the genre. Its lack of a narrative-led story where you are spoon-fed every element is quite a change. Everything is stripped to enhance the game and the gameplay. The emphasis throughout the game is one of discovery, dying and exploring this beautiful world. It’s extremely tough that requires persistence and understanding various combat and item mechanics. I loved this game, it’s amazing, and I still have lots to play!

Overall: 9.5/10