Having spent 120 hours in the game, I am ready to say that Elden Ring is the magnum opus of Miyazaki and the FromSoftware team, a prime example of when more gameplay is always better. This article is a compilation of all the game’s exciting developments over the past 13 years. At its core, Elden Ring is addicting no matter where you go, and the next wave of content is just around the corner!
The game takes place in the Interearth, a country once ruled by Queen Marika the Eternal, a preacher of the Greater Will and the Golden Order. The promise of the order was the Ring of Elden, from which grows the huge Erdtree, whose branches can be seen from anywhere in the country.
However, the Ring of Elden was broken, and the Golden Order became distraught: The fragments of the ring were taken apart by the demigods, the children of Marika, but the power soon corrupted them, initiating a civil war. You are the tarnished, an exile whose memories of Erdtree have faded. In difficult times, this mysterious energy returns to the souls of the tarnished, but that heavy burden will fall on your shoulders to decide the fate of the Interearth.
Unlike Dark Souls and Bloodborne, the plot of Elden Ring is actually well-structured instead of the lore being scattered. Moreover, if the game mentions any character, in 9 out of 10 cases, you will see them. With rare exceptions, there are no more entities whose presence in the game is limited to just vague hints.
The narrative is still presented through descriptions of numerous items, which I strongly advise you to read, in order to understand what kind of mess Marika, her husbands, descendants, and so on have orchestrated. In general, the story of The One Ring raises dozens of questions, but fortunately, with due diligence and perseverance, they can be answered by clearing the bosses.
Elden Ring is a typical third-person FromSoftware game: A hardcore action-adventure with lots of bosses, a wide variety of opponents, and the ability to create builds through leveling and gear selection.
For the first time, the studio has decided to implement open-world exploration into their game–Elden Ring is no longer limited to tight, confusing corridors. Now, the Interearth is made up of many vast levels, from the grim ruins of The Graveyard to the city torn apart by colossal tornadoes.
Traveling through the open world, you will find characters giving quests with very specific conditions for completion, optional bosses, and without exaggeration, dozens of ruins and dungeons that send the player on a modest but very dangerous journey.
Each dungeon in Elden Ring is unique in its own way: At the most basic level, you need to find the lever that opens a door to the loot boss. Sometimes, this task stops being a walk in the park because the lever can be hidden, not only behind a bunch of opponents, but also as a spatial puzzle. By being in the right place at night, the player can encounter a boss that wasn’t there during the day.
Similar to previous titles, you collect souls, which are called “grace” here, and download your character’s parameters onto them. The further you get, the more grace you need to level up. Everything plays out according to the classics.
Equipment like weapons, armor, magic, and miracles, are still scattered all over the world, which means finding a powerful item can take a while. Sometimes, you can purchase a very good weapon, like the Bastard Sword, from a merchant.
One of the biggest innovations was mounting battles in the combat system. Quite often, a fight with a boss or even ordinary opponents will involve you riding on horseback. But there is no mechanical depth to the ride; you can just hit left and right to control your character.
But sometimes, it creates truly epic battles where you can pretend to be a knight from European fairy tales fighting a big, evil, fire-breathing dragon. Another new feature is phantoms that differ in their numbers and abilities; these range from a pack of wolves or a minotaur archer to your own copy.
Personally, I think that a powerful phantom can replace the player and make the passage too easy, so use it only when you need it. You can call them only once in a lifetime, but not on every location. (Pay attention to the blue arch icon on the left.) In addition, they can be improved as weapons, but for this, you need to find special lilies of the valley.
Like I said, Elden Ring is without a doubt, the magnum opus of Miyazaki and the entire FromSoftware team. With its extensive arsenal of weapons, plus a convenient system for upgrading and changing the Ashes of War, the game will allow you to create many builds, so that each passage can be different from the last.
Slowly but surely, you will find more and more new dungeons, items, and characters that you might’ve missed from not paying attention.
I think that the most important advantage Elden Ring has, is the game not being afraid to break the rules and limits set by previous games of the genre. You may be confused, frustrated, or stuck with a particularly difficult boss, but you will never, ever get bored of playing it.
In general, I highly recommend the game to all lovers of the Soulsborne series and hardcore players alike. This is a real masterpiece, created by talented people who love their work, and the gameplay really shows that.