Elden Ring is without a doubt in my mind, a masterpiece. There hasn’t been a game in a very long time that has hooked me in this hard and for this long. Although the game hasn’t been out very long, I can’t find myself going back to any other game. This is the culmination of more than a decade of FromSoftware’s masterful game development put on full blast with not a single cut corner. I can’t think of any other AAA game development company that puts as much love and care for their work other than FromSoftware. I think everyone should play it through at least once.
FromSoftware is known for making breathtaking sights, locations, landscapes, and views but in Elden Ring, they took it to an all-new level. The way it feels to ride your horse around the huge map is really something to behold. There’s been a handful of times when playing a game when I must stop for a few moments to just stop and look before going back to playing, but in this case, I must put my controller down to just take in what is on my screen. Like a painting coming to life is the only way that I can express how amazing it is.
So, if every inch of this world is beautiful, it must be empty right? Absolutely not! The game’s overworld is covered with so much to do and explore and that’s excluding dungeons, catacombs, caves, crypts, and bosses all over the place. Most of the time when wandering around on the surface, I kept finding myself going to one place only to right after going to a huge carriage being pulled by giants then right after finding myself talking to an NPC or fighting a boss. It’s a common occurrence in open world games for them to be either empty with nothing to do or filled to the brim with meaningless repeated content scattered throughout but Elden Ring doesn’t have any of that. Everything in the world is handcrafted to be in every spot in the map and it feels incredible to finally have a truly open world game.
Now I mentioned dungeons, caves, catacombs, and other things like that, those must be where it’s all repeated and reused right? Wrong! Each of these underworld locations serve such an amazing level of depth and complexity when exploring them with incredible atmosphere and impressive sights below the surface, they also occasionally serve as incredible story beats for an NPC you’ll have encountered. There’s never been another open world that rewards exploration and taking your time, other games would have spots where even briefly that you’d think “there’s nothing there” but in Elden Ring, there’s always something hidden away for someone to find, even in plain sight. 10/10
Combat – this is the real meat of the game and what you’ll be doing almost all the time in Elden Ring. Before I get into detail with this combat, I want to make it very clear, this has Dark Souls 3 combat’s look and style, but it is in no way a copy. Dark Souls 3 suffered for the combat being lacking in the way that it is way too easy to rely on only light attacks, but Elden Ring evolves it to such a level that it is so valuable and worth it to use absolutely every move available to each weapon class. And long-range attacks and magic have never been more amazing to use. In Dark Souls 3, magic and long range was very situational, and melee was for the most part viable, but this time around, it is very useful to have a mix of both as well as the ability to go for both melee and ranged attacks. Horseback combat is also amazing, there hasn’t been another game out there where I felt comfortable taking my noble steed into combat. Combat in Elden Ring is masterclass. 10/10
While the story of Elden Ring is complex and hasn’t been shown or explained to the player other than clues, context from NPC’s and written notes found scattered around, it’s hard to tell exactly what/why your character fights to become “Elden Lord” other than the opening saying that we’ve been brought back from the dead to become Elden Lord. For those who are familiar to FromSoftware story telling, this isn’t anything new but for those who dive deep into notes, context and brief lines of dialogue are enriched with one of the best story and world building out there with never a second of lore dumping or being directly told. The story is up to the player to decipher, and it is truly amazing. I am keeping it spoiler free but the story and the way it’s told is. 10/10
FromSoftware is well known for their character designs and concepts, Elden Ring is no different. The designs of each friend or foe are amazing as their designs hold huge story beats as well as allow the player to predict how to go up against them or in the case of allies, how to best help them. It is always a treat to look at every design of a character and admire the amount of detail in something as small as armor wear and tear to symbolize how strong the ally is or how shiny and undamaged armor to symbolize the freshness of combat or even the ability to tear through enemies unscathed even in armor. Every enemy design fits their surroundings like no other, making them look like they truly belong in this hostile world. From roving caravan guards to noble scholars is incredible and always a treat to get to wear their armor for yourself. It’s impossible to argue against the amazing designs of characters. 10/10
Elden Ring is without a doubt a timeless masterpiece that FromSoftware has masterfully created with flawless execution and there’s no other game like it. FromSoftware continues to demonstrate the idea of making something to be proud of in their creations without any compromise. They take their time in making games worth selling and as well as the player’s time. Elden Ring and other FromSoftware titles have always been works of talented developers that take pride in their work. Elden Ring is already a timeless masterpiece and I see no other way to rate it other than 12/10
Written by Margot Simard, Lethbridge College
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