Elden Ring: Perspective from a Souls Veteran

With the recent release of “Elden Ring,” the long awaited game from the legendary studio, FromSoftware Inc., many were excited for the new take on the tough, brutal combat that the studio is known for.

FromSoftwares iconic titles such as “Dark Souls” and “Bloodborne” have inspired a cult-like devotion to the studio, with a zealous and demanding fanbase that accepts nothing less than the best. It goes to show how talented the studio is when even its fans are left impressed beyond their wildest dreams.

Elden Ring has brought all the elements that made the other FromSoftware games so great and added new flavors to it, making it a fantastic experience.

Before I continue, I should probably say I’ve only been able to dip my toes into “Elden Ring,” and as such have only played around 10 hours of it. However, from the little I have played, I can confirm it is an excellent game. I feel it’s a game anybody can pick up, regardless if they’ve played a “Dark Souls” game before. While it might make it easier to be familiar with the series, it’s not a requirement. All you need to know going in is, A. There’s no shame in looking tutorials up, and B. Check your ego at the door, because you’re going to get continuously kicked senseless up and down.

You play as a Tarnished, an exiled warrior sent to a place the Lands Between to seek the title of Elden Lord by killing several bosses and obtaining their Great Runes. The main game is spent traveling across the lands, exploring to find new places, going in and killing the bosses, and repeating until the credits roll. While “Dark Souls” games are traditionally linear, built like mazes that loop back on each other, Elden Ring does the exact opposite, dumping you into a massive open world, giving you a horse, and telling you to find your own way.

While this sense of freedom is quite liberating, it was also a bit confusing as I had no idea where to go at times and got pretty frustrated. But once you get used to it, the open world really enhances the feeling of an epic Tolkien-esque adventure. Sometimes it’s a bit too open ended, as there were several times I wandered into an enemy territory that had multiple, fast moving enemies that could kill me in one hit. 

Elden Ring has the typical RPG setup, multiple different classes, spells, and weapons, where you pump money into your stats and gear to level up and kill stronger enemies. It’s a very flexible RPG where you can start off as a knight, and then slowly transition into a mage if you want, so you’re never locked into one playstyle.

Through traveling you can pick up a few new toys, the most prominent being spirits, summonable allies that you can call upon at various points in the maps, and ranging from hordes of knights to flying jellyfish that spit acid at their enemies. 

There also exists a new stealth element that mixes with the new day and night cycle well. This feature is a bit wonky, and causes the enemies in the game some issues. Sometimes you can kill one of their friends right in front of them, and they’ll just ignore it, while other times you can poke your head out from behind a wall and they’ll spot you instantly.

Overall, despite the new mechanics, Elden RIng is still a “Dark Souls” game, and it’s a hard game to recommend for or against because it all depends on the person. If you liked the other Souls games, then it’s a solid recommendation. Even if you didn’t, the game does enough different things to have another look a few months down the line.

Written By: Caleb Leasure