Like much of the video game and fantasy community, I have been completely absorbed in Elden Ring since it’s release. I would describe myself as a Dark Souls aficionado, having completed the first and second games of the series multiple times. While I have yet to fully experience Dark Souls 3 for myself, it is on my to-do list. With this in mind, I jumped into Elden Ring upon release with high expectations. Before we traverse this fog wall of a review, I will warn, Spoilers Ahead.
Let’s start with the basics. Elden Ring looks incredible. Fromsoftware has polished this game up and made full use of current-generation gaming graphics. Like with their previous games, I do recommend putting the darkness slider up to 10, the max brightness, but this is more to help at nighttime in-game and in the darker caves. The enemies and other NPCs look fantastic and animate very well to telegraph their attacks. The open-world environment fits very well into the Dark Souls combat and game design, with dungeons scattered about the map to seamlessly blend back to the linear, claustrophobic feel of some of the best areas of Undead Burg or Anor Londo.
And the boss design. Oh man, the bosses. The first one many players will encounter is the open-world boss, called the Forest Knight. They roam around the sparse woods right outside of the first Grace – this game’s bonfire equivalate – and is a mounted enemy. It was not until acquiring my own mount that I was able to face the Forest Knight on even footing. At the time of writing, my favorite boss so far has been Flying Dragon Agheel. Dragon bosses are nothing new to the Soulsborne cannon, but fighting this one from my mount, being chased by his fire breath as I galloped around dodging his attacks felt incredibly cinematic. No offense to the Sinh or Kalameet, but this may be the best dragon fight in the series thus far.
Another praise I have for the game is the Ash of War system. It brings back the Weapon Arts of Dark Souls 3 and Sekiro, but allows for greater customization by letting you switch out a weapon art for others if you have one you favor. While I have only begun to dabble with this system, I am very impressed so far. I have personally been using the halberd the Vagabond starts with, and it has served me well thus far.
Elden Ring has earned every praise and qualm it has received thus far, and it has quickly become a favorite game night activity for various members of the VV Team, particularly due to the multiplayer functions that the open-world provides. I am going to wrap up here because you should really try the game out for yourself without too many spoilers, and honestly, talking about Elden Ring makes me want to go back to playing it myself. Best of luck to the other Tarnished out there, and keep an eye out for my summon sign.