ELDEN RING PlayStation 5 Review

ELDEN RING is the game every fan of the exploration aspect in video games has been waiting for, and also the game crafted for players in need of a real challenge.

By RON, Posted 27 Feb 2022

The wait is finally over. For the longest time, gamers from all over the spectrum have been longing eagerly for the release of ELDEN RING, a game that promised to change the landscape of the industry and deliver on the promise of a massive, unique, beautiful yet dreadful, and compelling world, with all the DNA of a FromSoftware title embedded in a fully explorable open world. And deliver they did. ELDEN RING stands upon the shoulders of giants and makes an actual effort to push boundaries and move the genre of the open-world action-adventure game. Not only that but it manages to create a new benchmark for what an open-world should be if it wants to be relevant, interesting, and be worth our while.
 

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If Dark Souls was the game upon which we started measuring difficulty, ELDEN RING will be the game on which we will measure how well-crafted an open world is. A soulslike game combined with an open-world experience sounded like an almost impossible feat but here we are, it is 2022 and we have ELDEN RING. Shadow of the Colossus started something; The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild ran with it, and now ELDEN RING took that and refined it to a point that seems almost too good to be true. Is this game worth the 80+ hours you will probably be spending on it? Yes, it does, and we will tell you while.

For the soulslike veterans, you probably are playing ELDEN RING right now, so we will be talking to the uninitiated, those who need a crash course on the soulslike genre, on where these games come from, and how it is actually to play a title like this. Beyond the memes, beyond the countless deaths, and the steep learning curb, beyond the “git gud” attitude, there is a real reward on playing a FromSoftware game, and ELDEN RING might just be the perfect game for newcomers. We will see why in just a moment.  A soulslike or soulsborne game can be identified for the following features: it is tough as nails; challenging yet rewarding. It presents a dark fantasy world in which albeit with its lack of obvious plot development, the world is fleshed out.

The story is not fed to you through cutscenes, but it depends heavily on contextual storytelling and is served as a reward for curiosity and exploration. And these games have some of the most grotesque, horrendous, demanding, memorable, disproportionate, enormous, intimidating, and exuberant enemy designs in the history of gaming. Sometimes, all of those adjectives apply to the same enemy, usually a boss. Most soulslike games are linear third-person action-adventure RPGs; however, ELDEN RING is far from linear. It is an open world in which you can always turn around and try to find another route, try to go back and do something else to get better and stronger before you return to the boss you are stuck on.
 

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Unlike lineal soulslike games, you will never find a roadblock that will force you to either overcome your frustration and get good after the 1000th try or quit the game forever. You will also never have to repeat a 30 min section of the game just to have another chance at facing a boss, which can be discouraging to some players, although most veterans will tell you that is part of the experience and tension-building within it. In this sense, ELDEN RING is welcoming to the new players who want you to explore and experience the world as it is. There is not a wrong or right way to play the game, just your game of doing so.

Now for the plot, not that it matters a lot in these types of games, but George R.R. Martin was involved in the earliest stages of story development. The ruler of the land, Marika, was the sole possessor of the ELDEN RING. However, the ring was shattered, Marika disappeared, and the world fell into disarray. The fragments of the rings were claimed by some of the most powerful beings in the world, and now it is your task, a simple Tarnished, to reclaim all the fragments, and become the new Elden Lord. What that means and how you do it depends entirely on you and your trusted mount, a goat-like creature able to jump and gallop across the land. Ah, yes, the proverbial jump, one of the finest additions to the game. ELDEN RING allows your character to jump, which may not sound like a lot, but it can be game-changing depending on your play style. This also adds a lot of verticality to the exploration within the game, because having an open world without the ability to jump just seems wrong.

The game itself is gorgeous, perhaps one of the most beautiful games ever rendered. It feels like a truly next-generation game, able to immerse you fully in a dark fantasy ambiance like no other title. The world is massive and has zero loading screens. Your exploration is seamless and follows the rule that if you can see something, you can go to that something just moving forward. That just adds a sense of scale that few games have achieved. Also, ELDEN RING puts a lot of previous open-world titles to shame, because, albeit its massive scope, it does not feel empty. Quite the contrary, the world feels dense, heavily packed with creatures, organic encounters, hidden secrets, rewards for exploration, and just jaw-dropping instances that will move you in a lot of ways.


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ELDEN RING will feel very familiar to those who have played any FromSoftware previous titles. A combat system divided by classes, 10 in fact, but one in which all follow the simple rules of attacking, dodging, and parrying. Regardless of which class you choose, either one based on melee, ranged magic combat, or stealth, you need to control your stamina, and be very surgical in the way you measure your timing, your attacks, and your defense. The game introduces war ashes, which can be added to your weapons and unlock upgrades or skills, and it also allows you to summon creatures to aid you in combat more effectively and simply than previous titles. There is also the fine addition of a stealthier approach to combat and other situations, which allow you to sneak past some enemies, stab them from behind, or simply secure a better position to start the fight on your terms.

The ten classes vary the way you play and receive different values and your attributes. Let's understand attributes first then. Vigor increases your character’s HP, while Mind: Increases your character’s Focus Points, FP, represented by the blue bar. The Endurance increases your character’s Stamina, represented by the green bar, as well as their maximum Equip Load. Strength on the other hand is the damage modifier and usage requirement for Strength-based weapons. Dexterity is the main damage modifier and usage requirement for Dexterity-based melee weapons and some ranged weapons. It’s also the secondary damage modifier and requirement for most other weapons, and slightly increases the speed at which you can cast Sorceries and Incantations. Intelligence is the damage modifier and usage requirement for Sorceries, and also a few Incantations. Faith is the damage modifier and usage requirement for Incantations, and also a few Sorceries, and finally Arcane is the damage modifier and usage requirement for some Sorceries and Incantations. Also boosts the rate at which you discover items.


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The ten classes are Vagabond, Warrior, Hero, Bandit, Astrologer, Prophet, Samurai, Prisoner, Confessor, and Wretch. Vagabond has high vigor, strength, and dexterity. It starts with a sword, a shield, and a halberd. The warrior has high dexterity and medium physical stats. It starts with two scimitars and a light shield. Hero aims for strength and vigor, and some arcane, and stars with an axe and a shield. Bandit has high arcane and dexterity, and has a dagger, parrying shield, bow, and arrows. Astrologer has high intelligence and mind, and some dexterity. It starts with a staff, a sword, and a small shield. Prophet has high faith and mind, some arcane and strength, and starts with a spear, a finger seal, and a small shield. Samurai starts with high dexterity, medium strength, determination, vigor, and mins. It starts with a great sword (katana), bow and arrows (also flaming arrows), and a shield. The prisoner has high intelligence and dexterity, medium physical stats, and it starts with a great sword, pole, and shield. The confessor has high faith, medium physical stats, and it starts with a broadsword, a kit shield, and a finger seal. Wretch has 10 on all stats but it starts at level 1 and has only a club for a weapon. It is comparable to the deprived in previous games.

The world feels alive. There is verisimilitude in its construction. You feel like someone roaming these lands and being part of them. And that is just for the open parts of the world. There are of course a tad more claustrophobic beats for soulslike veterans that prefer a more linear approach. Mini-dungeons filled with enemies, traps, and secrets, massive castles that form part of the main questline, and legacy dungeons that, if tied together outside of the ELDEN RING open world could very well serve as a Dark Souls 4. There is absolutely something for everyone remotely interested in testing their skills and their luck in this game.

Additionally, the music for this game is composed by the talented Yuka Kitamura, who previously created the soundtrack for Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Bloodborne. And you get exactly what is expected for this somber epic, a beautiful marriage between sound and visual. Now for the graphics department, albeit some minor hiccups in the PlayStation 5 version, and some adjustments still needed for the PC version, the graphics are stunning, a true feast for the eyes which adds to the immersion in glorious 4K. Sometimes you will feel as if the world you are visiting intermingles with the real world just by how amazing graphics are.



 

ELDEN RING is definitively a game worth your dime and your time. A game so massive yet so impressive and densely packed with things to do that will redefine the way developers approach creating an open world. There is no story fed to you directly, there are no markers on the map that will overwhelm you and remind you of everything you left unfinished, there is no place you cannot go, there is no time wasted exploring. This is the game every fan of the exploration aspect in video games has been waiting for, and also the game crafted for players in need of a real challenge, one that will ask everything you have got to get good.
 

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
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General Information

ELDEN RING

100/100

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO, Namco Bandai Games America Inc.
Developer(s): FromSoftware Inc.
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Dark Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Soulslike
Release Date: 2022-02-22

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