Since the beginning, fans of Dark Souls have been eagerly anticipating the release of “Elden Ring.” A collaboration between Hidetaka Miyazaki and George R. R. Martin, this game promised to craft a new fantasy world for players to traverse and explore.
Before the final release date announcement, fans were craving any snippet of information. After the initial delay from January 21, 2022, to the eventual release date of February 25, 2022, anticipation grew, especially after the closed network test, finally giving fans the awaited glimpse.
The Elden Ring has shattered, and the descendants of Marika and demigods possess the fragments. This fracture is a result of their madness for the newly acquired powers, compelling them to forsake a greater will.
As a Tarnished, you are summoned to the “Lands Between,” where a tree named the Edel Tree serves as a source of some form of energy. By acquiring your grace and exploring the world of Lengrave, you must collect the shards of the Elden Ring and become the Lord of Elden. Much of the information in Elden Ring feels reminiscent of Souls games, leaving much to the player’s interpretation.
George R. R. Martin, renowned for “Game of Thrones,” assisted in creating some more mythical creatures and a background distinct from traditional Souls games. When you first step into the world of Elden Ring, things feel different due to the slightly brighter tones on the world map, making your journey seem arduous due to this monumental task. A world emphasizing roots and seeds, the story and its many subtle hints immerse players in a realm of fantasy.
Despite some ambiguity, the story remains astonishing, with excellent voice acting and improved character models. The narrative in Souls games has always been mysterious, and besides its basic premises, it is enough to give players a good sense of understanding. Items like armor and weapons carry background knowledge related to their existence or another form.
Through previous FromSoftware titles, you might have experienced a similar process, but during the Elden Ring review, we discovered a shift. It’s a more open-world experience, making horseback travel around the map enjoyable. This open yet perilous world still feels familiar and menacing. Most of the time, apart from a few NPCs located in relatively secluded spots, nothing is safe.
In combat, your meter decreases as usual, but while roaming (out of combat), you have infinite stamina. Apart from many new items you can find scattered throughout the world, you will also stumble upon some scripted events, potentially pushing you into boss battles before you realize. Everything is discoverable, and to a large extent, you can traverse anywhere in creative ways.
Picking up runes, you can use them at various scattered vendors to acquire weapons and items. Spending the same runes elsewhere can grant you spells, learning different effects to enhance weapons. The process of growing stronger involves more than just swinging a weapon. Approaching enemies stealthily puts you in an advantageous position, given its stealth elements, adding more strategic depth to adapting various styles.
Crafting items during your journey may prove useful; picking up items from bushes and killing small creatures will drop most components. Most defeated enemies will drop weapons consistent with either themselves or the weapons they use; this standard also applies to NPCs if you defeat them. Drawing inspiration from enriching gameplay mechanics seen in games like “The Witcher,” you can see throughout Elden Ring.
Throughout the Elden Ring review process, we found heightened character animations and details everywhere, and they are exceptional. Whether it’s dungeons, castles, caves, or even the overworld, you can feel at home in the intricate details of spider webs, well-lit candles, and grassy patches. The world is vast yet locations feel distant yet so close. The scenic views showcasing the expansive open world are breathtaking, even in underground areas with some stunning cosmic effects.
Consoles like PS5 and Xbox Series X can switch between framerate mode or quality mode to ensure they run the way they want. Both consoles target framerate mode, but seldom manage to maintain that level in the version we used. Quality mode hovers around 45FPS and might drop lower; on the flip side, even at 1080p, PC performance stutters in certain areas and even in some boss battles.
These performance issues should get resolved at launch, so you might never notice them. Besides the expected issues in early versions, your experience will be better, possibly looking better as well. Most veteran players tend to lower graphics or use framerate mode for optimal combat actions, so it all depends on personal preference.
In the Elden Ring review:
Adopting a “don’t fix what ain’t broke” approach, bloodstains and footsteps are reused. In some combat sections, audio cues indeed help in landing immediate hits after successful parries, and enemies emit their distinctive cries. Most of what you hear from the sound department aligns with the content in the previous article, with nothing to complain about.
However, the music, oh, the music is incredibly moving and exhilarating. Some shadowy and dark caverns add more than you might believe. Yuka Kitamura, the composer from previous FromSoft games, returns to Elden Ring, providing more for fans of the game they love so much. Even the orchestral pieces in title screens and opening animations are epic, not just to excite you but to solidify the game’s themes effortlessly.
For anyone looking to delve into Souls games and ride the wave, this time, entering Elden Ring can be relatively easy. The effort put in by the FromSoftware team for Elden Ring is unparalleled, and although you might notice a slight dip in performance, everything is perfect. There are other games I’ve nitpicked even given higher scores than might be deserved. Elden Ring is an outstanding game even from a beginner’s perspective, offering an open-world experience you need to experience.