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Elden Ring Review

Elden Ring

Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X (Reviewed), PC
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $109.95 AUD – Available Here


Few could have imagined that a development team best known for their mecha based series Armored Core would eventually become one of the top action RPG developers in recent years. After starting with Demon’s Souls back in 2009 and refining their formula across the Dark Souls series and other games, FromSoftware has already established itself as a powerhouse in game development. As such when it was revealed that the team would be putting out their most ambitious game yet in the form of Elden Ring, many wondered just how a game with Dark Souls’ style of combat would transition into an open world format and thankfully it has turned into something that must be experienced by any fan of the genre.


Fans of FromSoftware’s games have likely grown accustomed to the fact that the main plot of most of their stories is told through atmosphere, item descriptions, and even objects located while exploring while actual cutscenes and explanations are kept fairly limited. It must be said that while that is still at least partially true for Elden Ring, there is a bit more structure this time around. To avoid potential spoilers we will avoid going into detail about the few key story elements here. Players will still encounter vast areas where very little information will actually be revealed to them but through exploration of both the overworld, including occasional surviving landmarks that feature recorded history from before the “shattering,” delving into dungeons or taking on foes in an arena and obtaining their treasures will lore describing a place or past event be unveiled. Be it lore similar to mythologies from our own world or original elements, the gilded world of Elden Ring is as twisted as one would come to expect from FromSoftware as the golden shine hides the dark and depressing nature of the world players must venture through on their journey to the Erdtree.

Along these same lines players will find that there are far more NPCs to interact with than in previous entries, though actually keeping an eye on their quest lines can often feel like a matter of luck more often than not. These NPCs, including important ones that can play a vital role in the core plot, can have missed dialogue prompts should the player either bypass a location or progress to far into certain lands and while most of the time these issues only result in a loss of a bit of lore, there are times that they will entirely glitch an NPCs quest line entirely. While this does mean that players are encouraged to play through multiple times to try or see different things in Elden Ring’s massive open world, missing an entire questline due to a glitch isn’t the best result.

That being said, when things do work well the NPCs and the story progression feels like it is at its best yet. While players are still able to freely explore the Lands Between to a certain extent, there are generally hard locks in place where players will need to face down monstrous bosses that are given special focus or interrupted by an allied NPC who will describe what they may need to do next. It is also nice to note that many of these friendly NPCs will have not only satisfactory storylines, at least when it comes to the darker world of Elden Ring, but will progress throughout large portions of the game, though as mentioned before some elements can be a bit finicky.

Of course, following these routes isn’t entirely necessary because there are numerous ways to trigger progression in certain locations, meaning that one player’s journey through Elden Ring may be entirely different from another’s even if both dive into the story and explore as much as possible. By employing such a unique world with so much to discover, players will be able to explore and find new elements in the world as they dig into Elden Ring’s twisted lore for hours on end all while fearing that they may have went a bit too far at times at the risk of both breaking a quest line or missing something neat that was just out of view.


In many ways those who have played a Dark Souls game will be partially familiar with the way Elden Ring handles things as many core aspects of the game have been kept the same only with a variety of improvements in quality of life, polish, and variability as well as finally putting in the ability to jump. Players will still find that they can build their character generally how they wish to by using the new level up currency “Runes” dropped enemies and located in the world and whether players choose to play a swift character, magic user, shielded knight, dual-wielding greatsword user, or any combination of these there are more ways than ever to build a powerful enough character to make these builds viable.

Magic still requires the use of FP to cast as well as an equipped catalyst or staff depending on the spell being used but spell slots are no longer linked to a stat. Instead players can locate items scattered around the world that will increase the amount of spells that can be memorized at any given time. Along these same lines weapon affinities are more manageable than ever. While players will need to progress and obtain various “Ashes of War ” that serve as swappable weapon skills or whetstones, various attributes can then be applied to a weapon should the player choose. Facing down enemies weak to fire? Apply a flaming slash Ash of War and set the weapon affinity to fire. Focusing on building up status ailments instead? Apply additional Bleed, Poison, or Poison Rot build-up instead and aim for massive amounts of DoT.

All of these various improvements to character building provides players with the tools they need to tackle the massive open world that FromSoftware has prepared for them. While there are still “legacy dungeons” that see the player travel through tighter locations and fighting room to room while dodging traps and instant kill falls, the majority of the time spent in Elden Ring will be in the “Lands Between.” While things may appear daunting and a bit aimless at times, players can make use of limited waypoints to mark locations of interest and even place markers down where dangerous threats or friendly NPCs might be for later use. As players explore the open world they will come across everything from roaming groups of soldiers or wolves, to massive world bosses that become a grand challenge of their own, to countless mini-dungeons that generally have useful rewards at the end. All while riding their faithful steed Torrent who works both as an ally that can tank some damage from enemies as well as the fasted way to get around new locations or climb up previously unreachable ledges.

Many of these mini-dungeons tend to feel quite unique at the start but it is worth noting that, depending on how much players explore, they may begin to feel a bit similar to one another after a bit as there are only so many different types and they almost always feature the same type of threats as well, with only the biggest variety coming near the end of the actual game. Along those same lines, it is also worth noting that the aforementioned world bosses may often come across as welcome challenges and can be rather awe inspiring at times, the scale of some fights and the locations they take place in can either glitch a fight out to the point an enemy will forcibly reset or, in at least a few occasions, become stuck in the level geometry requiring a reset at a “Site of Grace.”

These Sites of Grace work as the new bonfire system where players can level up, refill their health and flasks at the risk of respawning most enemies, and assign their spells. In interesting fashion, alongside the Graces there are now Stakes of Marika located near most bosses that work as something of a checkpoint system where players can choose to respawn and tackle the boss or occasionally swarm of enemies without having to make a long run every time. This is a minor change but a welcome one. It is also nice to note that Sites of Grace are also how players make use of a game’s fast travel system. Every Grace touched by the player can be traveled to at nearly any time as long as the player can open up their map with the exception being within an incomplete mini-dungeon. The ability to fast travel to locations to either farm, complete a quest that may have been previously overlooked, or discover something new is a must have in a game like Elden Ring that features such a large open world that spans far beyond what players may initially think.

Alongside these mechanics players will also find a few adjustments made to make things a bit simpler in some cases. Players can now make use of a crafting kit and recipes learned from journals scattered throughout the world to make items ranging from firebombs to weapon grease and even those that heal status effects. This mechanic isn’t required by any means but it is a nice option. Another new option is Spirit Ashes. These are summonable computer controlled allies that can be used to fight bosses and larger scale battles against standard foes. Ashes can be upgraded the same way a weapon can, though it is worth noting that players cannot use Ashes more than once per battle and if a friend is summoned in to fight alongside the player, Ashes cannot be used in this instance as well.

Between the various spells, weapon types, Ashes, and more provided to players, Elden Ring provides just a near endless amount of variety and there is even a way to make sure that even the worst built character may have a chance as long as they can defeat a certain boss first. Doing so unlocks the ability to use a limited item to completely reset a character’s level, giving them the chance to redistribute stat points that either may have been poorly spent or instead focused around a new weapon or spell the player has located in their journey. 

All that being said, Elden Ring may be a more approachable game that can cater to a variety of styles, but it is far from an easy game. Even characters built like tanks will find themselves at the mercy of being one-shot by larger foes or stricken with elements that they may not be equipped for while even smaller scale foes still can prove to be a threat in greater numbers. As mentioned before, there are ways around specific boss fights to navigate to various locations in Elden Ring that would otherwise be gated off but the story itself is still locked behind certain bosses that must be defeated to continue. Thankfully FromSoftware has continued to hone their art with crafting fantastic boss battles as nearly every core storyline boss and hidden boss features a grand battle that focuses heavily on timing, learning an enemy’s attack patterns, and of course trying not to die a hundred times. As mentioned before, some mini-dungeons do recycle a bit too much and this is also true when it comes to boss enemies as many will appear numerous times throughout the game at this scale.

Visuals & Audio

It can easily be said that Elden Ring is one of the best looking games that FromSoftware has put out. While it may not be quite up to some open world games, the sheer level of density of detail located in various areas and scattered across the massive open world is stunning. There has long been a joke about “seeing a mountain and being able to climb it eventually” and in Elden Ring that is the truth, nearly every location seen and even some unseen can be traveled to and will feature some form of visual storytelling at the same time. The level of artistic detail and expression present is truly superb and something players will find joy with every new area they travel through. The characters and bosses do feature a variety of unique horrific designs as well though it is worth noting that many basic enemies do get reused far too often with little variety through most of the game.

While it may feature only a few speaking NPCs, the voice work is handled exceptionally well, especially during boss battles while the atmospheric sounds are handled quite well. The musical tracks are also handled nicely with a great sense of dread mixed into most boss themes.


Elden Ring may have broadened its scope and made things a bit more approachable through sheer variety of options, but FromSoftware haven’t lost their edge. Challenging difficulty to keep players on their toes mixed into a massive open world filled with everything from random NPCs that have map spanning questlines to plenty of world bosses that almost always feel amazing to battle against all with a signature storyline expected of FromSoftware, Elden Ring may still not be for everyone but it is certainly a game that must be played by fans of the genre and anyone willing to give it a shot.

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More options than ever before in an immense open world make Elden Ring the type of game nearly everyone should give a shot, even if its difficulty remains as tough as ever.
Travis Bruno
Travis Bruno
After playing games since a young age and getting into anime a bit later on its been time to write about a little bit of everything.
More options than ever before in an immense open world make <i>Elden Ring</i> the type of game nearly everyone should give a shot, even if its difficulty remains as tough as ever.Elden Ring Review