Elden Ring Review


Photo courtesy of GameByte

Our lives are driven by challenge and ambition. As there is no ultimate goal in life, we need to set objectives and goals for ourselves to strive for. This also provides yourself with a benchmark for success. This need for challenge carries over into every aspect of our lives: work, sports, games and others. Many people choose to spend their spare time playing video games and ultimately, most people curious about video games ask, “What is the hardest game?” 2022 has presented a new competitor.

The question of the hardest video game is not an easy one to answer. Everyone experiences games differently, but for a long time, the Dark Souls series, action role-playing games which are focused on exploration and combat, was widely accepted as the hardest game series. All three Dark Souls games and their spiritual siblings “Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” are famed for their difficulty and how they do not hold players’ hands. In all of these games, you play as a lone character against a hostile world, fighting your way to greater means through the use of a variety of weapons, spells and items. In the end, you defy the odds and take your place by extending the age of fire, becoming the king of a fallen civilization or something equally impactful. The new game “Elden Ring” is no different.

“Elden Ring” is a spiritual successor to the Dark Souls series: it has the same combat, the same style and even the same game engine, with the base physics and world design being roughly the same as the Souls games. Where it differs, however, is how it handles exploration. Instead of a relatively restricted world and progression, “Elden Ring” is a very open-world game that definitely has an intended path; but almost all bosses and main objectives are either optional, or can be fought much earlier or later than initially intended. This freedom allows for you to forge your own path through the Lands Between, the setting of “Elden Ring.” If you are stuck on a boss or area, “Elden Ring” usually lets you come back later when you are stronger; something that almost all of the Dark Souls games do not really let you do.

But just because you can save the hardest bosses for last does not mean the game is easy. Many of the last bosses such as Malenia and Radagon are incredibly challenging at any level; waiting for later will only get you so far. At some point, the player has no other option but to improve. And this is why this game is so challenging: at some point, knowledge of items and areas does not matter anymore. You will have to rise to the ultimate challenges the game has to offer, and you will have to get good.

The first main challenge that you will encounter early in the game is Margit, the Fell Omen. This boss takes full advantage of the dodge-and-hit combat system that is omnipresent in all of the Souls games, with a variety of attacks to keep you on your toes. Margit wields a massive wooden stake and conjures a small dagger in his off-hand for follow up attacks. Some of his highest damage attacks also have the best timing; if he slams his stake in the ground, it will almost assuredly kill you, but dodging at the right time gives you an amazing opening. It is hard to express how fast and oppressive Margit can be; often he will swipe at you, then he follows it up with some dagger swipes to hit you right as your dodge ends, after which he jumps away. “Elden Ring” teaches you to respect its combat and the enemies it throws at you, and simply running in and hoping to kill everything before it kills you will not work.

“Elden Ring” is better suited for a much wider audience than all of the Dark Souls games, as its difficulty can be alleviated. Simultaneously, it is the hardest game that FromSoftware, the creators of the Dark Souls series, have ever created. With the massive variety of areas, bosses and character item setups, there is something in “Elden Ring” for everyone with moderate experience with video games. If you are considering buying the game, its price tag is certainly worth the 300 hours of gameplay contained within.