May 28, 2022

Elden ring The latest game in the legendary tradition of punishing mystery games from developer From Software, following on from cult hits like the Dark Souls and Bloodborne series. I’ve wanted to love these games for a long time. I followed the releases, followed the exact tempo and read the lyrics about their complex level design. But nothing clicked.

It wasn’t that I didn’t try that I was put off by the combination of dark aesthetics, dull elitist community (enjoying a popular video game franchise is not a personality!) I was hoping Elden Ring would be different, that its unique combination of wanderlust and alluring esotericism finally get my attention.

So far it has been delivered and then something.

Note: Potential minor spoilers follow for the first two or three areas of the game.

Since the launch of Elden Ring a few weeks ago, I’ve been slowly making my way through rolling hills and haunted swamps, giving momentum here and there to the story. Without worrying about what I was going to play for the first few hours, I unusually went through the character builder, instead spending hours deciding which class to pick, agreeing to a confession. A sort of serious nun with a penchant for pyromance.

As forty hours pass, I alternately resist my neurotic urge to explore the dark mysteries of the Old Ring and enjoy a long, slow gaming journey. This is an explosion.

Multiple ways to play

As an experienced JRPG and MMO player, my favorite games often feature large and colorful environments. Life is still pretty dull, and I usually hesitate to spend too much time in a dark, colorless world. Elden doesn’t break the visual style of other Ring From games, but the world is more beautiful, vast, and grander than oppressive. The game is littered with medieval dungeons and cramped mines, but you can return to the world at any time and watch the sunset. The juxtaposition between the vast, often evocative open world and the game’s intense inner parts makes the latter delightful for someone like me when I spend too much time in games (twice indoors – not so). !).

If you’ve been thinking about playing Elden Ring but have doubts, or the game’s reputation scares you, know that there are several ways to downplay the challenge. At first, you can just grind, kill smaller enemies, and level up to make the next dragon hand monster more manageable. If you hit a wall, you can change your playstyle by throwing magical beams from afar, instead of slashing up close with some massive, rusty tool of destruction. Stealth, archery, agility-focused builds, weapons that trigger status effects, and faith are a parallel path to traditional magic that unlocks things like dragon spells, healing spells, and a ton of cool utility options. If all else fails, you can go old school, grab a big sword and shield, and make them work.

Despite my initial not-so-great build (dexterity/faith/mistakes), it’s a lot of fun to come up with a play style, even if you get stumped, speared, and killed many, many times in the game. process. The combat system is so deep and varied that I keep experimenting with new weapons instead of getting better. The process itself is a game.

Alden Ring with WAN Software

image credit: Bandai Namco / WAN Software

I started the game with a one-handed sword, faith-based magic, and lazy, habit-like armor. A few hours later, I found myself playing like a typical religiously-fierce version of the X-Men’s Wolverine, blazing with terrifying claws. Along the way, I picked up a katana, an option that I recommend to everyone, and an ice ax that allows me to free everyone around me from ice crystals. Just like Monster Hunter, a game I’ve really fallen in love with over the past year, switching between any of these weapons completely changes the gameplay – it’s so much fun! Elden Ring is really a lot of games in one, and it’s a boon for anyone who’s hesitant to dive into their first software game. You don’t have to be a die-hard fan of this game’s developer and its proverbial click-to-fight, especially if you’re willing to experiment.

I personally don’t have enough time to play Okay. I like good enough Life is short and I have many other interests! Luckily, Elden Ring provides a complete set of tools for inexperienced players like me to turn on easy mode if we don’t care. This ranges from obscure shortcuts for leveling, to killing a cold-blooded dragon (thank you, YouTube! Sorry, dragon!) to summoning AI-powered ghost friends to save you, or relying on magical ranged attacks instead of facial actions. bump. If all else fails, you can turn to another human player and hope they don’t enter your game to teach you a hard lesson in self-sufficiency. Of course, no matter how easily you turn on the difficulty settings, it’s still a difficult game and will be time consuming to play, which many casual players simply can’t handle. It’s good!

Alden Ring with WAN Software

Credit: Bandai Namco / WAN Software

very open world

If you haven’t played it yet, Elden Ring is a huge game that has everything you need for the next Skyrim, it’s an epic experience so vast that people have kept diving into it for a decade. As you might expect, Elden Ring is open to play, but that alone isn’t enough to make it special. Once a novelty, open-world games are now commercialized, allowing companies like Ubisoft to launch one giant standard game after another. To me, as a longtime Assassin’s Creed player, these games feel like sweatpants – goofy, never really hard, but with fun, laid-back combat and just enough exploration to keep it interesting. Elden Ring is a completely different experience and both types of games have their place.

By law, every conversation about open-world games must dedicate at least one paragraph to Breath of the Wild, the 2017 Zelda mega-hit that raised the bar for detailed, thoughtfully designed worlds. And by law, every gamer has to spend over 100 hours learning Hyrule and enjoying every minute as hard as I do. As incredible as it was, Breath of the Wild’s siren song faltered a bit as I traveled to the far end of the map and found that there were no exciting secrets at the top of each giant peak (more often than not, it was just another korok seed).

Alden Ring with WAN Software

image credit: Bandai Namco / WAN Software

As big, interactive, and delightful as this game is, exploring the haunted landscapes of the Elden Ring is on a whole other level. Vans Software makes exploration amazingly rewarding, with plenty of quirky interactions, hidden treasures, secret areas, power-ups, and completely optional explorer boss battles just enough to keep the explorer moving. The human touch of the software is on full display here, and each little mystery is revealed as a human figure that accurately engineered the moment, rather than just drawing waypoints on a T-shirt map. Shirt Gun, a la Ubisoft.

Over forty hours later, Elden Ring begins to reveal its true size. The map is expanding, but I keep missing out on weird little secrets I want to explore and areas I want to infiltrate, so the more I go further, the more I go back. Because the game is so open and loyalty points are so generous, you can easily spend hours in Elden Ring doing whatever you want, whether it’s taking down impossible bosses or searching for secrets in the farthest corners of the map.

Or I’ll just ride my ghost horse across the plains and watch the sun slide over the horizon and the clouds roll in like such a beautiful, ominous sherbet. I might be trampled to dust by a mechanical giant with a fire sword the size of a school bus, but that’s okay. I can just come to my senses and do it again or do something else.

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