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Elden Ring, a minority masterpiece |  Review

Elden Ring, a minority masterpiece | Review

wild expanse

written by Marcel Frogrich in

The Elden Ring is Dark Souls 4. The Elden Ring is a variant of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The Elden Ring is more accessible than ever. I’ve heard these three sayings many times in recent months, sometimes from my own mouth. It’s all true to an extent, but above all else, Elden Ring is Elden Ring in particular, a game that drew me so deeply into its world that I’d curl up in bed at night.

Let me start with a confession: I haven’t finished Elden Ring (yet). For the past few days I’ve been playing almost non-stop. Playing faster, longer and harder, just to see an end one of these days, will mainly be at the expense of myself and my enjoyment of the game. I don’t feel anything for it and it wouldn’t do you much good. See this review as buying advice for seniors and newcomers alike. It’s not a consideration for all that Elden Ring has to offer. The person who basically followed the main line to get to the end can’t do that to you either. Much of what makes Elden Ring so different from FromSoftware’s previous work happens off the beaten path. In short, we know that they are masters of amazing boss fights and level design within the tracks.

See this review as buying advice for seniors and newcomers alike.

Turning to the “bad” news: Elden Ring isn’t quite the time to dive into FromSoftware for the first time. FromSoftware has done its best with a straightforward tutorial and quite a few hints, but for newcomers it still feels like the game is set to a foreign language. Elden Ring contains a great deal of jargon and almost nothing has a regular name. Compared to previous games from the developer, many systems, items, and other things have also been added to monitor. Think about the possibility to customize special abilities for weapons, craft your own items and let the ghosts of defeated enemies fight for you. All these additional options make the Elden Ring more accessible and easier in theory, but the threshold for mastering these mechanisms is still very high. You can, of course, walk or drive in a completely different direction if you do not want to float somewhere, but you will likely encounter similar struggles very quickly there.

Then the good news: Comparing the Elden Ring to Breath of the Wild is fully justified. If there’s one game that can match the feeling of freedom on Nintendo’s first attempt in an open world, it’s this one. You won’t find a single question mark on the map in the Elden Ring, there’s no list of missions and aside from the choppy push in the right direction, you won’t have to rely on routing. At least not of a mandatory nature. As a player you are left almost entirely to your own adventure. Even in the so-called classic Legacy Dungeons, where Elden Ring relies a bit more on the traditional Dark Souls game design.

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The DNA of this franchise is still very much present in the Elden Ring, sometimes unabashedly. From the animations to the weapons and even some monsters, it looks like a lot of it is taken straight from Dark Souls 3, like some kind of remix made by fans. It’s totally justified if you suspect that he’s not much of the same now. But in fact, it is best to ask why they are reusing so much of this previously laid foundation. Instead of reinventing the wheel, they’ve made an additional 3 billion wheels since the last DLC for Dark Souls came out.

Elden Ring is filled to the brim with unique events, special enemies, and automatic boss fights. It’s clear that they at FromSoftware have worked hard over the past few years to expand this solid foundation, and then spread their proven formula across a massive gaming world. That’s what Breath of the Wild did well: almost all the items come back from the previous installments (dungeons included), but it’s like trying everything for the first time. The context is different and you will have to learn the rules again.

The seeds grow so that you can unlock more healing items on the little golden trees that you can spot from afar. A much more logical solution than the apparent randomness with which these elements are scattered throughout the game worlds of Souls games. To earn more slots for spells, you’ll first need to make your way through towers coded with magic – yes, even this game has towers. For example, FromSoftware knows how to sell old game mechanics as brand new. That touch of unfamiliarity makes you fall in love instantly. Therefore, there is no problem that the content is not all on the same level. Less inspiring presidents also have a place in the world. Just don’t expect them to be on the same level as “real” bosses.

Breath of the Wild does this well too: almost all the items from the previous parts (including dungeons) come back, but it’s like trying everything for the first time.

These are largely reserved for the aforementioned dungeons. They feel like giant cherries on a really big cake. FromSoftware shows that the almost claustrophobic art of game design is unforgettable. In these dungeons (or castles), you fight for every meter as usual, until you finally reach the next checkpoint. The big difference is that you can go anywhere, anytime. Left through a door, right through the elevator, down through a hatch, through the window, above the roof: you can find out for yourself. Secrets loom all over and your curiosity is always rewarded or punished, usually both. Fortunately, fears that Elden Ring, with its open design, would do away with the oppressive atmosphere of those tightly directed moments, turned out to be unfounded. It’s both / and, not either / or.

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However, it’s the vast plains that catch the eye the most, and that’s just because you don’t expect it from FromSoftware. If they create a large, open area, you are used to making sure it is filled with poisonous dung. Those times are over and they have given way to a diverse and logical spectacle. A river flows into the sea, and there is likely to be a ravine or valley between the mountains, and if something brick appears in the distance, you will undoubtedly find a fortress there. There is always something to discover, but the rewards vary widely. From animal bones to making arrows to a whole new area where you can get lost in another ten hours. I wondered out loud how big this game is.

In the more than fifty hours I spent in the game, I had moved several miles from my planned destination, and each time I saw something different that caught my eye. Combine that with the inherent appeal of the game worlds that FromSoftware creates and you won’t get bored easily. Elden Ring certainly isn’t the prettiest game on the new generation of consoles, it’s not even the prettiest game of the previous generation, but in its “ugliness” – unfortunately also with a lot of details suddenly appearing – it’s beautiful.

The world-loving design overshadowed the lack of pure graphic power. You probably never get tired of pushing the camera up on the ride and seeing the giant glowing golden Erdtree back. The lands in between are enormously degraded, but by no means all their glory has vanished. After the fairly safe, stormy Limgrave – if you at least go that way – you end up in the breathtaking Liurna of lakes, a kind of lake with a magical castle on a floating rock in the middle. Go in a different direction and the smell of rotting corpses and burning corpses almost meet you, photographed aptly.

Huge Elden ring. This is also part of the game’s predicament. Seasoned gamers of FromSoftware’s previous games likely won’t be able to get enough of it, but you really need to know the ropes so you don’t get hopelessly overwhelmed. With so many sides to unlock, so many equipment to collect, so many landmarks to check out, and so many bosses to defeat, it’s likely that you won’t find the right resources for your playstyle right away. Or you already found them, but lost them somewhere in your inventory. It is recommended to periodically search your collection, otherwise you will lose the overview at some point.

In that regard, a little more organization would have been welcome, or at least a variety of weapons, spells and other basic items evenly distributed with the merchants you meet along the way, so you can always find something nearby that suits your playstyle . On the other hand, it is precisely the impulse that pushes you deep into the earth in the dungeon over and over again. What if there was one thing that proves invaluable to your personality? Fortunately, Elden Ring offers more than ever the option to combine playstyles. As a magician, you can also be dangerous with a weapon without having to invest twenty points in strength first. As a swordsman, you can cast some magic spells from your sword just as easily. You have to do it, because there is a lot to find at Elden Ring and chances are it is exactly what you are looking for.

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However, this is a gamble you are very happy to take. This is when the game’s crafting system kicks in. Exploration is never without risk in a game like spirits, where you can always lose your hard-earned items or coins. That is why it is useful to make up a stock of useful tools in advance. Think about foods that temporarily increase your attack power, or better protect you from fire attacks. In previous games, these types of items were so rare that you didn’t use them quickly, because what if you need them more later? In Elden Ring, you have the knowledge that you can only make new materials, as long as you remember where the raw materials or components are. Furthermore, for this reason, you don’t always encounter the demonic dilemma between your hard-earned runes (Equivalent to Souls) An additional level for your character or buy some arrows or explosives.

Elden Ring is also packed with ways that prevent you from returning to the center of the game often. When you defeat a group of enemies, you get one of your healing vials for free. The industry also encourages you to keep going, rather than sticking around for the first win. This is necessary, because the game world is too large to comb an inch by an inch. So it is good that your Torrent magic horse is very agile. From now on, all horses in the games may be equipped with a double jump that allows you to change direction in the air. This makes exploring the world surprisingly easy, and above all fun. As much as Elden Ring Dark Souls is, it really is a different game. That pesky dragon on the bridge or that damn swamp? You can now zoom in with Torrent to find greener grass.

Elden Ring will be released on February 25, 2022 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, S, Xbox One, and PC. The PS5 version has been tested for this review.