Elden Ring: a genre-defining open-world release

A DARK FANTASY: Elden Ring is fraught with dangerous enemies around every corner. Bandai Namco Entertainment

Lucas Rapeepat | Head Editor

March 13, 2022

A title that has been hyped up for years, Elden Ring avoids succumbing to the high expectations that killed games like Cyberpunk 2077 while surpassing them in every way. A portion of this unprecedented global success can be attributed to the gradual development of an identity of difficult but incredible releases that From Software, the developers, have achieved. 

The care and concepts funneled into Elden Ring separate it from the rest of the pack as it solidifies itself as one of the greatest games of all time.

“This unique experience came out at the perfect time,” senior Chase Geyer said. “There was a long drought of really good games for years, so everyone jumped at the chance to play something high quality.”

In an open-world action game where you play as a Tarnished who must journey through the massive “Lands Between”—a mesmerizingly mystical and dark landscape—the end goal is simple and direct: become the Elden Lord. Besides those directions and a slideshow of epic concept art, the game does not hold your hand whatsoever. In fact, freedom is the perfect word to describe the gameplay. If you want, you can spend hours completing everything in the starting region Limgrave, killing every boss, clearing every dungeon, and discovering every side character. Or, you could follow the light of grace that serves as an indicator of the direction you should head to progress the main narrative and bypass all of the side content completely.

“This ability to see something off in the distance and just go explore it is so satisfying,” Geyer added. “I love how it lets you discover things on your own, really making it feel like it is your personal adventure.” There is not much of a main story. Elden Ring allows the player to uncover information about the lore through item descriptions, interactions with characters, and plain discovery.

CHART TOPPER: Elden Ring is currently the most played game in the world on PC and sits at top five all-time in peak concurrent players. SteamCharts

The vast varieties of approaching combat add to this sense of openness. Though players begin with a choice between ten classes, they can build their character in a way that matches their ideal play-style. Players can get up close and personal with a melee-only build as a hulking warrior or dexterous samurai or shoot spells from a distance as a mage. A huge arsenal of discoverable weapons, spells, and armor, each with their own special skills, makes building the perfect character easy.

The enemies in this game make finding the optimal play-style essential. These bosses are hard. Dark Souls, From Software’s most famous series, has long stood as a baseline for the most difficult challenges in video games, and Elden Ring is no outlier. The first story boss took me two hours and over 30 attempts to beat. This game expects players to die. The process of slowly learning and prevailing through adversity is one of its director’s main goals for his audience. 

“Even though it’s hard, you can always run back and do something else to get stronger for a really hard fight,” senior Hudson Poling advised. “There is no wall that cannot be bypassed.” However, if you do not have the time or patience to struggle through difficult battles, the game might not be for you. 

“There is so much to do, find, and defeat,” Poling added. “Any type of player can find something cool here, and it is hard to run out of stuff to do.” The overwhelming amount of enemies, gear, and locations make this tough for newer players to sink their teeth into, but those ready for a long challenge will be hard-pressed to find a better game.

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