Elden Ring is the Pinnacle of Open-World RPGs
For anyone interested in any of the Souls series of games, namely titles like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you may have had your eye on Elden Ring for a good while by now. With the first gameplay preview being revealed in November, you may regard it as simply “Open world Dark Souls”, but it is so much more than that. Elden Ring, as any veteran player will tell you, is the culmination of everything that FromSoftware has learned over the years of pioneering the action-rpg genre. This game has a lot to offer for veterans of the Souls series as well as players who are more accustomed to open-world RPGs.
Elden Ring is an open-world action RPG that truly acts as a hallmark for the genre. From its gameplay mechanics, the enemy and boss designs, the means to navigate the map and other obstacles and more, the game has arguably perfected all of these things.
Firstly, it truly is open-world. Unlike conventional open-world RPGs where, while there are many areas for players to explore, the game’s balance primarily dictates which ones you visit first. In Elden Ring, the player immediately has access to a massive portion of the whole world, roughly half not including the subterranean areas(Yes, there is more to the world than just the surface-level). There is nothing preventing the player from visiting virtually every region within the game beyond the two main bosses that act as the player’s first progression-check, which strictly prevent access from the other half of the surface-level map, and this isn’t entirely true, as there are certain points that let players teleport directly to a late to end-game region. This means that casual players can explore a sizable portion of the world without being explicitly blocked by an impassable wall that they must overcome to play the game at all, so-to-speak, while veteran players can just blast right through the first gate, and reach the late-game areas effectively at will. Furthermore, as items, equipment and abilities are the most varied in the series to date, there are a multitude of ways for players to explore, fight and progress without being definitively punished for playing in a particular manner(unless that manner is, refusing to use the tools they’re given to progress).
The enemy and boss variations are top-notch too, tying into the game’s progression system.The world mob variations are innumerable and, as far as we know, there are eighty-three bosses in the game, nine of which are mandatory that the player must defeat to beat the game. Which means there are 74 optional bosses, spread throughout the world for players to combat and aid in their progression to the remaining main bosses(of course, half of these are after the first two main bosses that you must beat to reach the other half of the world). A majority of these are unique(a few are world mobs reused as bosses and vice versa), which makes the combat experience extremely varied between main bosses and optional bosses. Not to mention, despite how many bosses there are, they all have various ways to be approached and interacted with, without being unfair in one way or another. Whether the play is on horseback or on foot, If they’re an archer, a warrior, or a caster, the combat and movement is fluid enough for any strategy or build to succeed; rather, no boss explicitly punishes a certain playstyle, and likewise, there’s no explicit build or style that will succeed against each and every boss.
Speaking of playstyles, this game has a lot of ways to play. Regardless of whether you like a strictly melee or ranged build, or perhaps you enjoy a mixture of both. There is so much variety into the tools that the player has to make their build work. Casters have an absurd abundance of spells available. Weapons are not only varied by themselves, but the Ashes of War system allows players to adjust a particular weapon’s special ability to something that works or is more preferable for them. Ashes of War, can provide mobility for builds that prioritize slow but hefty swinging weapons, mixed damage for weapons that deal purely physical damage, the combination and variations that the player can apply with Ashes of War are immense. Beyond weapons and spells, items are a game-changer in Elden Ring. Unlike previous titles, where certain effects and abilities would normally be limited to a particular class of character(like projectile bolts for spellcasters), there are items in the game that function as an alternative. Players who specialize in a primarily physical damage melee build can apply buffs and items to their weapon or themselves that would otherwise be reserved for characters who build in another particular field such as sorcerers. In summary, the build variety is immense, and effectively immeasurable with how many combinations of spells, ashes and weapons you can pair together.
An entire thesis about the game can be written, but to keep it brief, these were only a few reasons as to why you should play it.