Elden Ring Scored

Elden Ring Review: ‘An M-Rated Breath of the Wild’

Elden Ring is one of the most anticipated games of all time. Since the reveal trailer was first shown at E3 2019, every little morsel of info about the game has made headlines. George R.R. Martin’s worldbuilding and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s writing and direction seemed like a match made in heaven, and fans have been on pins and needles to see if the end product can live up to their lofty expectations.

It does.

Elden Ring takes all the experience FromSoftware gained from creating the Souls series and adds to it to make one of the best open-world games ever made.

Review PC Specs 2022

CPU:Intel Core i9-12900KF
Motherboard:MSI MPG Z690 Force Wi-Fi ATX Motherboard
RAM:Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 32 GB (2x16GB) DDR5 C38 Memory
GPU:NVIDIA 3080 Ti Founders Edition
Install Drive:Samsung 980 Pro PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD

Shattered, by someone, or something

Elden Ring Review4

Like past FromSoftware games, the lore in Elden Ring is complex and veiled. However, I will say the plot here is less opaque than it was in previous games, but you still have to do some digging to get at the full story. I’ll give a (very loose) rundown, but since part of it is gleaned from reading between the lines and piecing together snippets of conversations, I’m not even sure I have the whole picture.

Long ago, the Lands Between was ruled by Queen Marika and her King Consort, the Elden Lord Godwyn the Golden. They commanded the power of the Elden Ring, and through it and the blessing of the great Erdtree, they forged a kingdom and ruled it in peace. For a time, things were idyllic (or at least not terrible), but dark forces conspired to upset the balance by stealing the Death Rune from the Elden Ring. As a result, the Elden Ring split into six Great Runes and came into the possession of the six leaders who ruled the six realms of the Lands Between.

With the Elden Ring split, things get a bit wonky. The six Great Runes are incredibly powerful but corrupt those who use them. So, the six leaders became Demigods, but also became demented, and thus started the Shattering. The Demigods warned against one another, tearing the Lands Between asunder. However, none won a decisive victory and remain locked in a stalemate. Unfortunately, the crazed leaders killed almost all of the citizenry in the conflict, but with the Death Rune no longer in place, they are born again into miserable servitude to their twisted lords.

You play as a Tarnished, a person (or descendant of one) who “lost the grace of the Erdtree” and was exiled at some point in the past. Grace (the name for the power that stems from the Erdtree) has called the Tarnished home in the hopes that one of them can gather the Great Runes, reforge the Elden Ring, and restore order as the new Elden Lord.

All in all, it’s a sorrowful story since most of the participants didn’t choose their lot in life. The Lands Between is full of fallen heroes and victims of perpetual war. The remaining living humans are shellshocked and often half-crazed. It’s a depressing atmosphere, but there is hope, and not every story here ends in tragedy.

I doubt you could even imagine it

Elden Ring Review3

The world of Elden Ring is an absolute marvel. This is one of the rare cases where a studio has really undersold both the scope and the quality of an open world. When I got the first piece of the map showing Limgrave and Stormveil Castle, I thought it must have been around 1/4 to 1/3 of the explorable territory. After all, Hidetaka Miyazaki himself estimated it would take approximately 30 hours to complete the game. I had only beaten the first of six Demigods at the 30-hour mark.

The world map is huge, but it’s far from empty space. It’s packed with dungeons, mines, barrows, ruins, castles, camps, villages, forests, chasms, and all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore. In addition, there are quite a few “legacy dungeons” to explore that follow the traditional Souls format. These range in size from medium (places that hold a valuable item) to large (areas that usually contain a Demigod) and should sate any fan of the genre.

If I had to compare the Lands Between to any other open world, it would be Breath of the Wild’s. There’s so much to do and see here, and few games capture the raw feeling of exploration like Elden Ring does. I’m still far from experiencing everything the game has to offer, and I estimate you could put well over 120 hours into it and still not have discovered everything.

The important thing about the open-world in Elden Ring is how relevant it is for players to explore. This is a challenging game, and each optional place you visit gives you more items, gear, and Runes, which increases your survivability. There’s no list to check off here or baubles to collect, just ammunition against the overwhelming odds you have to face.

Giving life its fullest brilliance

Elden Ring Review2

The conversation about difficulty is a hallmark of Souls games, and people are chomping at the bit on all sides for the game to release to critique how easy or hard it is. I thought the game was easier than previous FromSoftware titles, but it’s not because it has been toned down in any way. It’s no less challenging; it’s just that you have more options available when confronting a situation.

A lot of the frustration that people have with the Dark Souls series is that they’re relatively linear and that if you get stuck, you often have to keep throwing yourself against a situation until you manage to overcome it. Sure, you can go farm for XP or items or try another path, but you’re very limited in your options.

In Elden Ring, whenever I ran into a boss I just couldn’t take down after the first few tries, I left and explored. Typically, I’d clear a few areas, find some upgrade materials and a new item or two, and then head back and take the boss out. Since every Site of Grace (bonfire) acts as a fast travel point, you can quickly dip out and take a breather if you start getting frustrated.

Some FromSoftware fans will feel like Elden Ring goes too far to help the player out. However, I think this design is what might finally make this genre mainstream. It gives players a chance to take a step back, improve their character, get some more combat under their belt, and attempt a fight again renewed.

Oh, Elden Ring!

Elden Ring Review6

I played Elden Ring on PC, and it’s a gorgeous game in 4K. However, I imagine mid-range PCs will struggle with it. Even with my hardware, I would get microstutter every once in a while. The odd thing is, it didn’t matter if I stayed at 4K or dropped down to 1440p; they still happened. Turning Resizable Bar on seemed to help a bit, but that might have been a placebo.

My (admittedly amateur) take is that the game seems to aggressively pre-load each area. As a result, there was zero noticeable pop-in, but even with a PCI-e 4.0 SSD, things seem to get bogged down. I’m fine with the microstutter because this is one of the first games I’ve played where you can see clear across the map without any fog or programming tricks. It was a great feeling to see some far-away place and then later in the game realize you were there. It gives a sense of scale that you don’t often see in the medium.

Unfortunately, there’s no DLSS, RTX, or FidelityFX here. I’d love to see DLSS added at some point since it would likely help with texture streaming and maybe cut some of the microstutter.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to check out the console version of the game, so I can’t speak to performance there. I can’t imagine it would run great on a base PS4 or Xbox One, so I suggest anyone reading this check out some console footage before purchasing it.

Elden Ring Review: The final verdict

Elden Ring Review7

Elden Ring is a tour de force and is maybe the only example of a studio underselling a title. It’s an M-rated Breath of the Wild, full of secrets, intrigue, and an enthralling world to explore. It’s a game that makes me excited about gaming, and it’s fantastic to see a highly anticipated title like this turn out so well.

Games like Elden Ring only come once or twice in a generation and raise the bar on what the medium can offer. It’s challenging and unfair at times, but it also gives you the tools to overcome any of its obstacles, and those who persevere will get one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming.

  • Amazing world design.
  • Addictive exploration.
  • Same great Souls gameplay with some new twists.
  • Excellent story.
  • All side content feels relevant to your main goal.

10

Upcoming Releases
Amazing world design. Addictive exploration. Same great Souls gameplay with some new twists. Excellent story. All side content feels relevant to your main goal.
Amazing world design. Addictive exploration. Same great Souls gameplay with some new twists. Excellent story. All side content feels relevant to your main goal.
Amazing world design. Addictive exploration. Same great Souls gameplay with some new twists. Excellent story. All side content feels relevant to your main goal.
Amazing world design. Addictive exploration. Same great Souls gameplay with some new twists. Excellent story. All side content feels relevant to your main goal.

Reviews

9 Insta360 Ace Pro Review
The Insta360 Ace Pro is the company’s latest flagship that hits hard at the competition. Top-tier specs leave little room…
X
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news