It is only three months into 2022 and the gaming community has already been gifted with a few massive titles. Elden Ring is the latest in that list of big names. The game was highly anticipated since its teaser announcement and the community enraptured. Elden Ring toppled Horizon Forbidden West within its first week since release in the open world genre. As of now, the game is charting overwhelmingly well on metacritic and rave reviews are still piling on.
Elden Ring is one game in a storied lineage that was ostensibly the birth of a new action sub-genre. The foundation of this kind of game was laid by Dark Souls and Bloodborne. The foundations of these two would later create a whole new genre of Souls games, defined by their difficulty and finesse of gameplay.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice was the crown prince of this genre, snatching the game of the year award in 2019. From the looks of it though, it is quite possible that Elden Ring may just dethrone all previous records and take the top place.
This new successor of FromSoftware's Souls series, is the best version among all, even though in essence the game feels a lot like Dark Souls. Aside from the signature rigorous boss fights, the open world is certainly very much like Dark Souls. The similarities can be a bit distracting with many of the elements and themes being identical. At first glance this robs the identical features of their significance. However, Elden Ring makes all these come together quite well.
Elden Ring feels more like a reiteration of the past. It's like playing a remixed and revamped version of a souls game and all of it works just perfectly despite harboring a few issues which more or less every Souls game has. Elden Ring absolutely soars when it reaches for something greater. Perhaps that is one of the best things about this game compared to the others.
A beginner may feel that the controls of the game are pretty much like that of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Putting in a few more hours however, is bound to change that perception. Just like other games, FromSoftware made the controls and movement of Elden Ring just as brutal. The game requires precise timing and demands patience from the players. One bad move is able to shatter someone's momentum completely.
While it is possible to circumvent some of the open world features, which are otherwise equally harsh in similar games; the game is still hard for a casual or hardcore player. Perhaps, this game is one of the toughest from its publisher.
Elden Ring has the same methodical combat system that has been standard in these sorts of games, but here it has been thoroughly perfected. The player swings his sword, the opponent also swings or attacks, and you may both intercept each other's assaults with pinpoint accuracy.
Similar to the other games, Elden Ring requires the player to study the opponent's movements and execute their own attacks. It almost feels like a turn based game but the bosses are more erratic and it takes time to get a hold of each of the opponents pros and cons. In these scenarios it feels like the bosses are still on par with the player even if the player is in the beginning phases.
Speaking of which, Elden Ring echoes some of the series' best fights, with gigantic bosses and groups of adversaries that forces the player to make quick decisions on which objective to prioritize, but it also echoes some of its worst features, with late-game enemies and bosses having so much health that defeating them can be tedious rather than troublesome. Be that as it may, even the toughest opponents can be overcome with fun by summoning another player in real time, which essentially is just a co-op mode.
Elden Ring has attracted a massive audience within a short time. The game's creative director Hidetaka Miyazaki was a huge influence in the making of what he called an ideal world in gaming. Needless to say, he came pretty close to perfection with that. Miyazaki's vision combined with a lore written by the creator of Game of Thrones, George R.R Martin, is absolutely brilliant. The collaboration was blissful and the outcome is nothing short of a grand journey for anyone playing the game. The lore itself is captivating enough thanks to the magic of Martin. The terrors that lurk across its desolate plains contrast beautifully with its vast vastness and sense of freedom.