FromSoftware, the studio you probably know from the (notoriously difficult) Souls series, recently released a new title: Elden Ring. Legendary game director Hidetaka Miyazaki and writer George R.R. Martin (GoT) joined forces for a new, challenging action RPG, so what could go wrong? Did this collaboration result in another excruciatingly difficult game like earlier FromSoftware games? Let’s find out!
Elden Ring is an action-RPG that bears many similarities to its predecessors, such as Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, but also Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The gameplay is mainly dominated by intense combat and discovering the vast open world. In Elden Ring you will explore Lands Between, an impressive world that consists of six areas with plenty of castles, catacombs and other interesting places to visit. All six areas in Lands Between are heavily populated by NPCs and countless enemies are lurking around every corner. And don’t even get us started about the bosses you’ll have to beat!
So, do we have to grind our way through Elden Ring first, before we can even think about scratching the armor of our enemies? Or can we play the story fairly relaxed without dying a hundred thousand times first?
Guess what? The game is very doable - even for the less experienced Souls-survivor. Elden Ring might come across as a bit intimidating at first. And not just because it’s from the FromSoftware collection. The collaboration with George R.R. Martin almost feels like a death sentence for your character as well. We all know that he’d send any of your favorite characters to the afterlife in a heartbeat (RIP Hodor!) Right in the feels, George…
Now don’t expect that you can just set the game to Easy Mode and hobble your way through Lands Between on your lil’ horsey. You’ll definitely have to put in some time, effort and elbow grease to defeat your enemies!
However, it is possible to play the game in more than one way, and thus determine how difficult you make it for yourself. Of course, you're not really playing a relaxing game when anything can kill you anytime by simply looking in your general direction. And once dead, you get to start all over again. “But that’s no fun!” you’d yell out in frustration. And you’d probably be right.
So, to prevent you from needing a support group after an afternoon of Elden Ring, fortunately a number of 'adjustments' have been made that make the game a little more forgiving than its ruthless Souls sisters.
Elden Ring allows you to respawn closer to where you died, especially in the more challenging or dangerous locations in the game. This means you no longer have to backtrack to the point where you died.
In addition, you can now avoid some battles - if necessary - and skip them for the time being. But you can always revisit that certain place later, once you are a higher level or have developed certain skills to battle that opponent.
Speaking of skills, in Elden Ring you get a lot of freedom in developing your character and combat style that complements your preferred gameplay. If you choose to develop your magic and spells, you will play a completely different game than if you focus on sword fighting and brute force.
Both have their pros and cons, but the game perfectly matches your style nonetheless. Magic may seem a bit OP at first, but your enemies can already seriously hit you from miles away and your spells take a pretty long time to cast. Also, in some areas your magic attacks are super powerful, but in some places it does nothing at all. This way, Elden Ring compensates very well, making it challenging enough for every playing style. Not too easy, but not too difficult either, depending on the way you develop your character.
A lot of attention has also been paid to the so-called “stealth routes” for those who really want to enjoy the story and explore the beautiful areas, instead of constantly confronting enemies. Of course, there are really some spicy fights in between and the boss fights can be called challenging to say the least. But if you can explore the world at your leisure and level up in your way and pace, that's no problem. It is precisely then that you experience all the beauty this game has to offer, without having to grind to progress.
Producer Yasuhiro Kitao indicated that Elden Ring wants to give players the opportunity to find their way through the game organically, without constantly feeling that they are doing it 'wrong'. The game does this very subtly by guiding you in the general direction of the ‘main’ story - without any obligation. You constantly remain free to go your own way and explore the open world as you please.
Now that doesn’t mean you can just avoid every challenge. Bosses are meant to be defeated after all! Luckily, in Elden Ring there’s a possibility to choose a path that’s in between 'Highway To Hell' and ‘Easy Street', which is nice. It may not be an Easy Mode, but it does make the game a lot more accessible and less intimidating! (Especially when you’ve already been exposed to Dark Souls trauma in the past.)
Oh and for the hardcore Souls veterans among us: you can make it as difficult for yourself as you like! But for those who prefer to play it safe, get Elden Ring here for Xbox or PC, because as an official partner we are the reliable source for all your digital gaming and entertainment codes! Looking for Elden Ring on PlayStation? With our PlayStation Store Cards you can immediately get the right amount of credit on your console. And did you know that you can now upgrade Elden Ring to your PS5 or Xbox Series X|S console for free?
Start, select and play the main character in your very own GoT-like adventure now, with Elden Ring!