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Review: Elden Ring: Unanimous Masterpiece

As I was riding my horse at full speed, high up on Altus Plain, under a buttery yellow sky, I noticed a group peasant ladies dancing. As if they were dancing on scorching ground, they hopped between their feet and danced in unison under the sails of a neglected windmill. This is a stunning scene, one of many you’ll see while exploring Elden Ring’s fantasy world, The Lands Between. But its rustic appeal should not be trusted. This lesson was taught to me by the wind, as I heard the melody of a melancholic song. I rode towards the sound in hopes of meeting someone who could support me on my journey. However, the singer was not a friendly merchant or cooperative knight. She was a horrifying siren with leather wings that beat and claws that were feet long. The song was a scam, and I was the prey.

Since 2009’s Demon’s Souls, the dangers presented by Hidetaka Mikaziki’s games are well-known. These are difficult works filled with eldritch beasts where even apparent allies cannot be trusted. All dangers must be faced eventually. Elden Ring is vastly different from previous rings in that every hillcrest offers a new opportunity. You can ride in another direction if one path seems too dark, too scary, or too frightening. These rhythms of struggle and setback, perseverance, perseverance, and finally triumph are all present in Miyazaki’s work. They are exquisitely refined. The frustrations are now lessened. There is always another path weaving into the horizon. Another cave entrance hidden among the bushes. A mine shaft down to a subterranean city.

This is an ancient land. Old battles left scars in the earth, including toppled statues and rotting fortifications. The ground is still green. George RR Martin, the creator of Game of Thrones, provided Elden Ring’s story. This narrative foundation is what Miyazaki (and his team) have carefully constructed. House Lannister-style intrigue is not what you can expect. You won’t have to watch tedious cinematics. You will only get fragments of information from any character who is willing to speak, and not fight, about the world or your purpose in it. It is obvious that Elden Ring wants to banish you or kill you, so you will need to find all the resources and alliances possible to avert extinction.

Elden Ring is more accessible than previous games, and newcomers will find much to do. There are many weapons you can find and forge. However, your character’s basic arsenal will still work for dozens of hours after being improved by the blacksmith. If you have wooed them right, you can summon other players or friendly characters to help during difficult battles against the game’s evil monstrosities. Additionally, it is now possible to summon a variety spectral warriors as an additional support. You are not alone in Elden Ring, just like in Miyazaki’s other games. As you explore its world, the ghostly silhouettes of other players may occasionally appear on-screen. Later, hostile players might enter your world to hunt you. Others can be summoned to defend your position.

Elden Ring combat is unlike any other. It has a feeling of heft that rivals no other game and rewards patience and learning. You can either fight on the ground, or on horseback. The horses will galloper around your foes before you retreat to safety. Your steed, Torrent is a thrilling introduction. He climbs up sheer rockfaces like a mountain goat, allowing for exciting getaways thanks to his speed and agility. You can gallop across a misty lake, draw a dragon from its mouth, then get on horseback to loot the treasure and make your escape.

Miyazaki and his team are proud to have the ability to share their secrets. You feel a sense of wonder and excitement when you find a cave mouth along a remote shoreline. This leads to a treasure trove of trinkets. Ghostly graffiti left by other players is also helpful to point out these points of interest. Miyazaki’s worlds feel like sophisticated contraptions. There are secret passages and tasty shortcuts that lead to “ah-ha” moments when the architectural logic is revealed. This sense of watchmaker vision is only amplified by Elden Ring’s larger scale and minute details (the tiny skeletons that, once they have been reformed from a pile bones, tap their heads into place). Elden Ring delights at every angle.

A game need not be huge or complex to be successful. One algorithm could theoretically create a virtual universe and another one could do the same thing. Scale is not a way to measure value or enrichment. Elden Ring’s mountains, valleys and mountaintop settlements as well as underground palaces provide something rarer: texture, variety and long-term intrigue. It is an enormous world that has been rendered in a stunning way (the sun and moon wheels in the sky cast each scene in a new light) and seems limitless in its creativity. It’s a feat of design and creativity that is unsurpassed. Elden Ring is Miyazaki’s realization of a vision that he and his team have been working on for over a decade. Their wild imaginations have finally been realized by technology.

There are many types of video games, and they can represent all sorts of artistic goals. However, most share one goal: To create a compelling fictional world filled with captivating mysteries and enchanting secrets and rich opportunities to collaborate and compete. The goal is to create a minimal space where a player can repair what is broken and order what is chaotic. Elden Ring, by this definition, is probably the best video game ever made. Its last gift is the assurance, that no matter what monsters may lurk in a world that has been broken, perseverance and cooperation can overcome them – without losing the wonder and mystery that make our existence fascinating, frustrating, and beguiling.

Elden Ring review: Verdict

Elden Ring isn’t the perfect Dark Souls game many fans hoped it would. Although there are some cool moments in the series’ formula, open-world features can also make the game more difficult. Dark Souls may be a well-oiled grandfather clock. Elden Ring, on the other hand, is more like an electronic smartwatch. It is full of features but lacks polish.

Elden Ring accomplishes most of its goals. Although Dark Souls and open-world design don’t always go together, From does a good job of combining them. It provides an interesting world to explore, and lots of fun creatures to fight. Enjoy the large dungeons while you can; once you return to the open field, you’ll find a lot more space between you (and the next) than before.

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