Throughout our lives, there are always things that mark us. In the case of video games, many times we are not fully aware of it, not at least during the first contact, but there is an exceptional sensation that is difficult to describe, a “something” that, without our knowing it, tells us that we are playing something unique that little by little is about to leave an indelible mark on us.
Often, we mentally fight against that feeling, “it can’t be that good. I’m sure it’s only like that at the beginning,” we say to ourselves. Still, the hours go by and what at first seemed like a great game is soaking in, settling inside of us and leaving a residue that will never go away. Of course, in this process, there is also room for surprise and disbelief at not being able to assimilate how a group of people has managed to create something that touches us in such a way, which usually translates into constant and spontaneous expressions of amazement during the game with each new twist, idea, mechanic or situation that comes our way. By the time we want to realize it, we will already be so immersed in the work that it will be difficult for us not to think about it when we turn off the console or the computer during the first weeks, and in the future, when we talk about video games with someone, the name of that title will be one of the first things that will appear in our thoughts.
In the end, these experiences are the ones that end up defining us as players and even as people, the ones that give meaning to this hobby that provides us with so much joy and that is always there to comfort us from the harshness we have to deal with in our daily lives—day in the real world. Sometimes, we play to have fun and have a good time. Still, deep down, we are always waiting for that game to arrive that will make us experience all this torrent of sensations again, and that reminds us why video games are much more than just a simple medium of entertainment. Elden Ring is “that game.”
The Tragedy of the Midlands
What’s new from FromSoftware is the ultimate adventure, a work we’ve always dreamed of but, paradoxically, never managed to conceive in our heads. Fortunately for humanity, Hidetaka Miyazaki, the father of jewels such as Dark Souls, Bloodborne or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, has materialized that dream through an overwhelming journey through the Middle Lands, a gigantic world of dark medieval fantasy in which each step equals a new surprise.
Its plot premise is simple: look for some demigods to kill them and obtain the great runes they possess, some artifacts that will allow us to rebuild the Elden Circle and gain their power. As you can guess, under this vague description that we have given you hides a very complex universe with an exciting background full of unforgettable and twisted stories that we will have to discover for ourselves, something for which we will have to read the descriptions of the objects that we find out. We find, pay close attention to what the characters with whom we interact tell us and pay attention to each of the details of the scenarios.
This time the puzzle is not as difficult to put back together as in previous studio projects and, at least, everything related to the primary mission is explained in a much more straightforward way so that we know why we do what we do and who are the great enemies that we have to take down. The inhabitants of the Middle Lands do not usually beat around the bush and tell many things when we insist, which helps to situate the player to enjoy this world without searching beyond the account.
Of course, keep in mind that the narrative has several layers of depth and that in this way, you will only stay on the surface. Not in vain, as soon as you scratch, you will find an enormous amount of mysteries and unknowns that will help you to have a better understanding of what happens in this world, of its scale and of the titanic work that has been invested in its creation, not to mention talk about what their charismatic characters will gain in your eyes and the twisted relationships they have between them.
The perfection of the gameplay mechanics
Focusing on the purely playable, what Elden Ring offers us could be summed up in an open world Dark Souls. That is to say, and we will enjoy an action RPG with many elements that will be highly familiar to us, such as a combat system based on a resistance bar to limit our actions, the possibility of developing our character as we want by choosing which attributes to improve with each rising level, lots of weapons, armour and spells with which to define our style of play, etc. Of course, the classic checkpoints (called Places of Grace) in which to rest and recharge our potions in exchange for the defeated enemies reappearing or that penalty for dying consisting of losing all the experience points that we had above. We would not have spent if we did not get back in one piece to the place where they annihilated us.
It is a game that at the controls is highly familiar to anyone used to FromSoftware’s soulslike since it maintains a similar control scheme and the character moves similarly, so it won’t be long before we get to grips with their animations or the time of battles. Now, there are very noticeable improvements in details, such as how polished the hitboxes are or the extra point of agility that has been given to the characters. In addition, tremendously interesting new features have been added, such as the possibility of jumping with a dedicated button or summoning a mount to fight on its back., as well as a great skill system that will allow us to customize our weapons by imbuing them with the ashes of a war that we find to alter their properties and endow them with unique techniques that, of course, consume magic points.
Thanks to all this, we have a work with a playable base that practically cannot be faulted. That demonstrates the experience of the studio with the formula, perfected to unsuspected limits, which guarantees us endless possibilities when it comes to customizing our avatar and developing our tactics. At the same time, we enjoy some confrontations as hard as satisfying.
A world of infinite secrets
But what makes the difference and makes Elden Ring one of the best experiences we’ve ever had with a video game is its open world. No matter how hard we try, we feel entirely unable to do it justice with words alone. We could tell you that everything is designed by hand and in a very traditional way that makes even the placement of the smallest stone have its meaning and its reason for being, which gives us total freedom always to go where we want from the very beginning without barely guiding us or using icons or that every inch of the stage is full of secrets, surprises and unique situations. All of that would be nothing more than euphemisms compared to what it offers us.
If there is something that we are very clear about, we have never played anything like this. The map is colossal, even overwhelming, and never stops expanding in all directions, taking advantage of a verticality unusual in the genre to create all kinds of complex paths, but what leaves us speechless is that something of this scale is has managed to constantly bombard us with something new, unique and surprising, continually playing with our expectations to break them later entirely and that the impact is even more significant.
We’ve spent over 70 hours exploring the Midlands, and it continues to surprise us like in the first few minutes with every step we take, whether it’s discovering new types of enemies, bosses, puzzles, dungeons, and even entire areas we end up in. coming in the most unexpected ways. It is a torrent of ideas that do not seem to have an end and that somehow manages so that after having explored a place more than 20 times, in the end, we end up finding something new that had previously escaped us.
And all this with that design philosophy so characteristic of FromSoftware, where there is no shortage of very cryptic puzzles, mysteries that will baffle us and make us rack our brains trying to solve them, very elaborate secondary missions to which we will have to pay close attention to progress in them and take the correct decisions, hidden places with a lot of ingenuity that will force us to take advantage of the entire scenario to find a way to access them, and so on.
It is a game that never gives us rest, and that makes every minute that we invest in it count and reserves some adventure for us to live. In addition, all of this is always justified in some way by its plot background, which will help us discover more about its exciting universe. And if that wasn’t enough, the rewards and discoveries we’ll make rarely disappoint. With all this, Miyazaki and his team have put together a work capable of awakening our adventurous spirit. We always want to go out and explore every corner, if only for the simple and pure fun that it will bring us new challenges. Forehead.
It is a title designed with so much taste and has so many ideas that it seems impossible for us to experience the word boredom with it. All its pieces fit together with the precision of a clock, and the naturalness with which our comings and goings through its beautiful landscapes are practically unmatched.
As we said before, there are no guides of any kind here beyond a faint light emitted by some Places of Grace that vaguely indicate the direction in which we have to travel to find a large dungeon nearby, for what are the scenarios themselves that are in charge of directing our attention so that we want to investigate anything minimally striking that we see. It’s incredible how regardless of where we are and where we look, there is always something capable of arousing our curiosity and justifying it, making the adventure work perfectly whether we set goals or decide to wander into the unknown.
Dungeons and Dragons
The best thing is that this commitment to unlimited freedom and the open world does not prevent us from enjoying a more classic and concentrated experience that emulates what has been seen in previous studio productions. So much so that the title is full of great dungeons that offer us just what we would expect from a good Souls: massive labyrinths of rooms and corridors in which a multitude of deadly enemies await us, dangerous traps and, of course, fantastic treasures if we explore conscientiously.
The number of dungeons there is very high, and it is surprising how big most of them are, with secrets hidden in ways that we have had a hard time believing. But even more surprising is how tremendously different they are from each other, offering us unique and varied designs in which we will have to face very different challenges while visiting all kinds of places and locations. In general terms, we are talking about some of the best levels that FromSoftware has ever designed in its entire history, wasting with them an unlimited imagination and many good ideas when creating mechanics and obstacles with which to catch us off guard.
In addition, sometimes they even dare to merge the open world with what we would expect to find in a dungeon, giving rise to regions of the map in which the advance becomes somewhat more corseted or that we have to go in and out of jail to search for the stage new access points that allow us to reach places in the interior that we could not get otherwise. Add to that that they also allow themselves the luxury of taking advantage of our jumping ability to increase verticality and create very “platforming” sections. You will find here some of the best moments of the entire adventure.
We also don’t want to forget to mention that on our journey, we will come across ancient shrines, tombs, caves, and mines that offer us a series of small-scale dungeons that players can complete in just 15-20 minutes. The first ones are straightforward and basic, but as soon as we move away from the initial plain, we will see how they get complicated and add their puzzles, secrets, traps, enemies and situations. Each of these mini-dungeons is something unique that we will remember for different reasons. That will force us to adapt to the challenges it poses, thus becoming another incentive for an adventure that seems to have no limits and does not give stitch without thread.
A challenge up to
Probably, at this point, you are wondering about its difficulty, and if we can tell you something, it is that we have died more than in any other game of the studio. To begin with, there have been tons of new ways to kill us and make us look real naive, and the enemies are unexpectedly aggressive and often outnumber us, harshly punishing our mistakes and taking vast amounts of life with each impact…
In addition, the bestiary is gigantic. They are always putting before us new types of rivals or combinations of them that we have to learn to deal with, a process that usually involves more than one and two deaths. And suppose we add that certain monsters are callous in themselves and that fighting in specific scenarios leaves us at a disadvantage. In that case, we have the perfect cocktail so that death is a constant throughout the entire game.
We don’t want anyone to be fooled: you’re going to die a lot. It is a challenging game that, like a strict teacher, punishes us by showing us our mistakes to learn from them and not repeat them. Yes, that the challenge is high does not mean that it is unfair since we have never found anything that has seemed unfeasible or whose difficulty is artificial. You can overcome everything with skill, skill and a good strategy, so you will always have options to survive if you play well.
Fortunately, it is also the most accessible title in the studio, mainly due to its enormous freedom and the summons. Unlike its predecessors, where the path was more or less fixed, here we will always have plenty of places to explore, which will allow us to get experience, materials to improve our weapons and new equipment. What does this translate to? In that, if they destroy us in one place, we will always have the option of going elsewhere to continue enjoying their proposal and return when we are more prepared. It may not seem like it, but it will make things much less frustrating for many players by not dealing with a boss that can choke them and prevent them from seeing new things.
It is a new mechanic through which we can call a series of spirits to help us in a battle about invocations. There are all kinds, from a legion of skeletons to ancient heroes of the past, and at the very least, they will serve to distract the bosses long enough to heal calmly or attack from a safe position.
Although this might make things extremely easy, the truth is that many bosses are designed with them in mind, and no matter how much we invoke, they usually kill us in one or two hits, so death can always come at any time. Of course, using them won’t be free either, as they consume valuable magic points, forcing us to divert the charges from our vial to the magic recovery vial and even forcing us to raise the mind attribute to be able to use the most powerful ones.
The very design of the title makes everything readjust and balance so that we can’t have it all and have to make sacrifices that limit or prevent us from reaching other equally valuable things. In addition, there are many spirits to find and many different properties, so if we want to benefit from them, we will first have to find their location, giving us another reason to want to explore.
In our opinion, we don’t think they are game-breaking and depending on which one we use, their level of improvement (which in turn will require us to invest the experience points we get in them) and the combat we fight, their usefulness can be somewhat limited. They help, that is undeniable, and in battles with more than one boss or with several enemies in the room, they are a blessing, but they are not going to give you victories, and you will have to play well anyway. If all this fails, we can always use its multiplayer mode to bring other players into our world and help us against that enemy that resists us.
Since we have mentioned the multiplayer, we take the opportunity to comment that it returns with all its usual functions, such as seeing messages from other users, the pools of blood with which to contemplate their deaths and, how it could be otherwise the invasions and competitive duels. Of course, this time, it is much better organized so that the summoning marks appear in specific places and unless we use some cooperation function (which is again limited to the invited player helping to defeat the boss of the area before returning upon his departure) no one will be able to assault us.
Some unforgettable battles
We also didn’t want to miss the opportunity to take the opportunity to highlight the incredible boss battles that await us, among which are the most original, inventive, surprising and spectacular that the studio has ever designed. Everything in them is meticulous, from their staging to their overwhelming patterns. They won’t stop harassing us with constant attacks that occupy a large part of the stage and have a range we can never trust.
They are a real wonder that has not stopped surprising us until the very final confrontation of the adventure, although we already warned you that the toughest are in optional areas. One in a large secret region of the last section choked us for almost 4 hours and reminded us how much we suffered against Isshin in Sekiro because its mechanics are a test in which we must show that we know how to play really.
Here we must also applaud the enormous number of bosses that there are. Although in such a big game, some of them inevitably end up being reused from time to time, whenever they repeat, they manage to introduce new twists to the battle, some technique unexpected or changes in the scenario itself that will force us to adapt our strategies, which helps always to keep things fresh. And be careful with this, since there are also opponents of this type outside the dungeons, in the open world, who, due to their size, will make us fight on our mount to have the option of avoiding techniques that we could not escape from otherwise. and being able to chase them as they move quickly to reposition themselves away from us is a welcome change of pace.
Dozens of hours of unique, premium content
Changing the third a bit to talk about its approximate duration means we can entirely not calculate it since there is so much to do. The level of skill affects our rate of progress so much that we are not able to give you a concrete figure. . What we can tell you is that in our case, it has taken us more than 70 hours to complete it, although we reached the point of no return in about 50 (we prefer to continue exploring to find all the demigods before entering the final stretch). And yes, we still have innumerable things to see, mysteries to solve, and places to discover, so we are talking about a game that will perfectly go over 100 hours as soon as you want to take advantage of it.
The spectacular art of FromSoftware
Finally, we come to its graphic section, which is far from exploiting the power of the new consoles. Do not expect great textures, extremely detailed modelling or high-quality effects since it is a product that is limited to complying technically and that suffers from a wildly exaggerated popping that makes the grass suddenly appear under our feet. However, all this is overshadowed by its overwhelming art direction., simply overwhelming and capable of giving us some prints with which we will be completely stunned. Add to it a design of creatures and characters that have rarely been seen in the industry, a wide variety of scenarios, great use of colour and a first-rate staging, and you will understand the gift for the eyes of seeing it in motion.
Additionally, you can play it at 60 images per second with its Performance Mode on new generation consoles, which we recommend at all costs. It hardly loses graphic detail, preventing us from having an unstable rate of images per second. And best of all: the level of polish it has is exceptional. In those 70 hours that we have played, we can say that we have not come across a single bug or programming error (not even unexpected closures), which has enormous merit, especially when dealing with such a colossal scale.
The sound does not disappoint either. It gives us a soundtrack throughout the game, including the moments of exploration, where some fantastic environmental compositions that behave dynamically when engaging in combat will accompany us on our adventures. Of course, the best themes are reserved for the bosses, where the choirs, the orchestra, and the epic take center stage to enhance the intensity of these battles. The effects are very recognizable, varied and of high quality.
Elden Ring is the best game FromSoftware has made one of the best video games of all time. It is a colossal and unthinkable work that does not stop giving us new surprises at every step we take, and that has come to become an instant classic, forever changing the paradigm of what it means to live a tremendous open-world adventure. A title is so ambitious, exquisitely designed and unfathomable that the more than 4000 words we have dedicated to it in this text have fallen short compared to everything we would like to tell you about it.
But if there is something that we do not want to take away from you, it is the opportunity for you to discover what it hides for yourself, from the most inoffensive detail to its most memorable situations. After all, much of the experience lies precisely in its ability to surprise us, to play with our expectations and, in general, to make us live one of the most extraordinary adventures of our lives, entering an unknown, hostile and fascinating universe that has fallen in love There are many good games, a multitude of jewels that have made us enjoy enormously and that have left us fully satisfied. Still, at the level of Elden Ring, we can count them on the fingers of one hand. All an essential that no one should miss.
We prepare this review with a download code for the PS5 version of the title provided by Bandai Namco.