It's True. Elden Ring Is a Masterpiece.
I am 50 hours into Elden Ring. While I was writing this review, all I wanted to do was play more Elden Ring. By now, you’ve already heard that FromSoftware's ultra-anticipated, open-world fantasy epic—with a story by Game of Thrones scribe George R. R. Martin, no less—is a masterpiece.
And it is. Mark my words: Elden Ring will join games such as Smash Bros., Breath of the Wild, Grand Theft Auto, and Dark Souls as points of comparison for every one of its imitators over the next decade. But you wont understand just how stunning Elden Ring is until you play it. So if you’re still reading this (instead of going to play the game by whatever means necessary), read on for a spoiler-free review of Elden Ring. Just know every moment you waste reading my silly little review is a moment you could be memorizing spells, or finding treasure, or getting your ass handed to you by one of the most horrific monstrosities you'll ever see.
In Elden Ring, you play as a “tarnished” (AKA a hero/warrior adventurer type, from what I could glean) who slays menacing foes in search of the Elden Ring, venturing through a strange world called the Lands Between. About that world? It's massive. While huge playgrounds are all the rage in the post-Breath of the Wild gaming sphere, nothing has felt as expansive as this one. It's full to the brim with lore, secrets, and so much more. I spent over 18 hours in the starting area. (Seriously.) Still, when returning to the location later in the game, I found caves, mini bosses, treasure, and even entire underground cities. Words can't put into perspective how full and elusive this land is. It's truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in gaming.
Besides being absolutely gorgeous, Elden Ring offers one open world offers one massive change to FromSoftware's Dark Souls games. Nonlinear progression. This may not seem like a big deal, but for a FromSoftware game? It is. Nonlinear progression makes the Souls-esque like difficulty far more bearable. Can't beat a boss, or a section, or a dungeon? Don't worry. Leave a marker and come back. Sure, games have been doing that for ages now. But with the unforgiving level of difficulty FromSoftware's games offer, it's a crucial step to making its titles far more accessible for gamers of any level. Elden Ring is fully capable of dialing up that controller-breaking difficulty, though. You just wait.
Now, with fantasy genre all-star George R. R. Martin on board, Elden Ring's story was always going to take center stage. And it does. But what FromSoftware and Martin have accomplished is equivalent to a full box set of novels. Every damn abandoned shack is packed with lore. Beyond that, you'll notice that new visitors will visit and add an eerie mood in your supposed safe haven. Other times, there are Thrones-level twists that will have you questioning whether you screwed up or not. You get as much out of the story as you put in. Usually, there's some sweet loot to reward your inquisitive mind. So talk to anyone and everyone you see. Because Martin really lets loose here. I've already met some of the most charming, weirdest, and downright fucked-up characters you could imagine. One of my favorites is Alexander. He's a giant and a fighting champion, but looks like a clay pot and speaks with a British accent. He’s actually just my favorite. There's no need to go on. There's the nightmare-inducing enemies, too, including a cross between a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz and the barfing kid from The Exorcist.
As for Elden Ring's gameplay and combat features, the sheer amount of tools at your disposal will have everyone playing this game in their own specific way. Truly. I'm 50 hours in—not even close to half way through the game—and the amount of tools, new weapons, and spells I'm discovering is insane. Hell, stand on a cliff, or even covered in a barrack, and shoot arrows. Cash spells. Run in swinging an axe or a sword. Or get on your horse and take that shit-bird down, Shadow of the Colossus style. You can make this game into the best version of any action RPG you love.
Elden Ring - PlayStation 5
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
Elden Ring fulfills a gaming dream I've had since the days of Runescape. A completely full, explorable, and customizable high fantasy world. No one has done it better. At the present moment, I don't see how anyone will. Until Elden Ring tries to beat itself with DLC or a sequel. While Elden Ring is going to be nearly impossible to beat, it's already my—and by the looks of it, everyone else's—game of the year. So far, it's even my game of the decade. Truthfully. I have never sat and enjoyed a new experience in gaming, one that didn't have any nostalgia at play, as much as I enjoy Elden Ring.
If you're still reading, this is the end. Go get a copy of Elden Ring. Play it. Hit me up if you need a co-op partner to summon. I'll shield up and die right there with you, tarnished one.
From: Esquire US