‘Elden Ring’: From Software’s biggest achievement

The new installment to the “Souls” series is extremely pleasing.


Poster for “Elden Ring”.

Dylan Davidson, Staff Writer

In June of 2019, decorated game studio From Software released a trailer for their upcoming game “Elden Ring,” teasing a few short clips from the game and announcing that George R.R Martin, author of the “Game Of Thrones” book series, would be a creative director. Two years later, “Elden Ring” has finally been released, and From Software and Martin have delivered one of the best gaming experiences of the year, even possibly the decade. 

“Elden Ring” is the seventh installment in the “Souls” series, a collection of games that have been notoriously difficult, even going as far as titling the deluxe edition of the first game in the series the “Prepare to Die” edition. And while “Elden Ring” pulls no punches in challenges, it’s combat isn’t necessarily at the forefront of it’s design.

The series has a reputation for having nonlinear gameplay, with little to no sense of direction given to the player, encouraging exploration that is necessary to progress in the game. “Elden Ring” doubles down in this aspect, creating a fully fleshed out open world for the player to traverse on horseback. 

It’s common to travel the game’s open world and be ambushed by a dragon or discover a small cave that leads the player to an ancient dungeon. It’s this aspect of exploration that is one of the reasons the game is so great, as the game simply rewards the player for being curious of their surroundings. 

Another hallmark of the “Souls” games is the bosses or the large and powerful enemies, and “Elden Ring” provides some of the most intricate and strenuous bosses of the series. A great example is the first main story boss of the game, Margit the Fell Omen. When the player first enters the area and gets a glimpse of Margit, they see a massive, seemingly aged ogre-like being with a large wooden staff. He might seem like an easy foe at first, until the end of his cutscene when he unsheathes magic daggers from thin air. This fight marks the first great challenging enemy of the game and sets a precedent for the difficulty of future boss encounters. 

But after the player’s 50th or 80th try fighting Margit, the feeling of finally overcoming a boss is next to none and gives players motivation to keep playing the game. However, if they end up finding an unbeatable enemy, they can instead explore the world to grow stronger, finding new weapons, spells and leveling up to make the fight that much easier. 

The graphics and visuals of the game are absolutely stunning. I played the game on the first iteration of the Playstation 4, and even with my outdated hardware the game still ran and looked amazing despite a few frame-drops in a few areas with high density. Sprawling vistas, great castles, huge magic trees, the “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones” influences are obviously implemented into the games aesthetic and provides for some of the most interesting locales in any of the games throughout the series. 

The story of “Elden Ring” is hard to put a finger on entirely and is mainly pieced together from cutscenes and item descriptions. The player is told that they are trying to reclaim the lordship of the Elden Ring, which has the power to unite The Lands Between (where the game’s setting takes place). The story is admittedly a side-panel to the game, something that someone could deeply dive and look into if they wanted, but is secondary to the actual gameplay. 

“Elden Ring’s” release was marked with some very impressive accolades, with it being the most watched game on Twitch for almost two weeks after it’s release and projected to be one of the best selling games of the year. If you own a console or a strong enough PC, “Elden Ring” is an incredible must have experience and sets a precedent for the industry.