From the beginning, Dark Souls fans have been waiting with anticipation for Elden Ring ever since the first trailer was shown. Elden Ring was announced via a CGI trailer and limited details, and now we’re doing our Elden Ring review! Hidetaka Miyazaki teamed up with George R.R. Martin to create a new fantasy world to roam around and learn.
Fans were starved for any information leading up to the eventual announcement of a release date. After it’s announcement, there was a delay from it’s initial January 21, 2022 to it’s final release date of February 25, 2022. After the closed network test, the wait was on for the remaining months. Now the time is upon us. We learned a lot from the game’s rich storytelling and familiar gameplay; here’s our Elden Ring review!
This is a review coupled with a supplemental video review. You can watch the video review or read the full review of the game below.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S|X, Microsoft Windows (Reviewed)
Release Date: February 25, 2022
As our Elden Ring review will avoid spoilers, I can give you the quickest and most basic information about the story. The Elden Ring has been shattered and Marika’s offspring and demigods all have shards. The Shattering, a war caused by their insanity of newfound power, forced the abandonment by the Greater Will.
As a Tarnished, you are called to The Lands Between that is home to the Erdtree that serves as an energy source of kinds. Gaining your Grace and exploring the world of Limgrave, you must gather the shards of the Elden Ring and become the Elden Lord. Plenty of information that is in Elden Ring feels very similar to Souls games where it’s left up to interpretation.
George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame has helped create some more mythological creatures and the setting which differs from traditional Souls games in some way. When you first step into the world of Elden Ring, things feel different with a little more brightness to it overworld and your journey seems arduous because of the monumental task. A world with the emphasis on Roots and Seeds, the story and it’s many subtle hints are immersive and fantastical.
The story, even with some vagueness, is still amazing with excellent voice acting and better character models. Storytelling in Souls games have always been seeped in mystery and this, outside of it’s basic premise, still is enough to gather a good sense of it. Items (armor, weapons, etc.) have some lore attached to them to expand how they came to exist in one way or another.
You’ve been through the same song and dance with previous entries from FromSoftware, but when doing our Elden Ring review we found there is a bit of a twist here. This is a more open world experience and makes for traveling to certain areas around the map fun while on horseback. The open and dangerous world still feels equally familiar and scary. Most times, nothing is safe with the exception of some NPCs that are in somewhat secluded locations.
During combat, your gauges deplete like normal, however, during roaming (outside of combat), you have unlimited stamina. In addition to a lot of the newer items you can pick up throughout the world, you will stumble upon scripted events that may launch you into boss fights before you know it. Everything is discoverable and for the most part, you can traverse anywhere with some creativity.
Picking up Runes you can use at the different vendors scattered everywhere will net you weapons and items. Spending those same Runes in other locations can also give you incantations to learn with varying effects to add to weapons. Progressing and becoming stronger from farming is most certainly a strategy but sometimes it takes more than just flailing around your weapon. Sneaking up on enemies will give you an advantage given it’s stealth element; it adds more strategy to accommodate as many styles as it can.
Crafting items can also be useful in your journey; picking up items from bushes and slaying small creatures will drop most ingredients. Most Felled Enemies will drop weapons that coincide with their themselves or the weapon they were using; this same standard applies to NPC should you defeat them. Gameplay that is enriched by it’s predecessors and takes inspiration from games like The Witcher can be seen through all of the Lands Between.
While progressing through our Elden Ring review, we found the improved character animations and detail can be seen everywhere and they are great. Wherever there are dungeons, castles, caves, or even the overworld, you can feel right at home with fine details of cobwebs, decent lighting from candles, and grassy patches. The world is vast with locations that feel far yet so close. Vistas that show the open world at large are breathtaking and even in underground areas, there are some amazing galaxy-looking effects that are awe-inspiring.
Consoles such as PS5 and Xbox Series X can toggle between a frame-rate mode or a quality mode to ensure they play how they want. Both consoles target 60 FPS with the frame-rate mode but rarely stay at that level from the build we used. Quality modes hover around 45 FPS and can dip lower; on that same coin, on PC, even at just 1080p, performance hitched and stuttered in certain areas and even during some boss fights.
These performance issues should be ironed out with a Day One patch, so you may never notice them. Outside of the expected issues from the early review build, your experience will be better, and possibly look better. Most veteran players will turn down graphics or use the frame-rate modes to get the best movements in combat, so it all depends on the person.
Blood splatter and footsteps are reused for the purpose of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. Audio cues do help in parts of combat when you parry successfully and can strike right afterwards, besides the enemies doing their own shouting. Most of the things you hear from the sound effects portion are the same as they were in the last entries, which is fine, no complaints.
The music however, the music is very emotional and thrilling. Some creepiness to the lurking shadows and dark caves adds more than you could possibly believe. Yuka Kitamura, the composer from previous FromSoft games, returns in Elden Ring to give more to fans of the game they love so much. Epic orchestral songs even on the title screen and opening cutscene do more than get you hype, they make the theme of the game known and solidifies it with ease.
Anyone looking to get into the Souls games and ride the wave of hype can do so fairly easily this time around with Elden Ring. The work and effort put into Elden Ring by the FromSoftware team is unmatched and everything is perfect for any experience despite the slight dips in performance that you may notice. There are other games that I have scrutinized in the past or even given a higher score than what may be deserved. Elden Ring, even from a beginner standpoint, is simply an excellent game and has an open world experience that you need to see.
Elden Ring was reviewed on Windows PC using a copy provided by Bandai Namco. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. Elden Ring is set to launch on February 25th, 2022 on Windows PC (via Steam), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.