Elden Ring kills players over and over, with fun!


My character “Sinbriyo”, a fantasy-spelling of a Spanish term meaning “Tarnished”

SEÑOR’S NOTE: The following Spoiler-free review is based on a partial playthrough, as of the time of writing I am about 35 hours in, and about 25% through the main quest line, I think.

“YOU DIED”. Two very powerful, very familiar words to any fan of Japanese developer FromSoftware’s games and a message any player looking to take on their latest challenge, Elden Ring, will no doubt experience over and over.

Since their more character-action-focused game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, From has returned to form with a classic Souls game in Elden Ring, now this time set in an open-world. Now, what is a Souls game exactly? Well, it refers to a sub-genre of challenging game (usually a third person action RPG) where death is not only common, but often very punishing. The most common example being the player character dropping all their currently held experience/currency upon death and getting one opportunity to get it back before losing all of it forever. Others include incredibly challenging boss fights, resource management and an importance on character builds.

Resting at a point of grace serves as a checkpoint, a way to level up, swap out spells among many other options that slowly open up to the player.

Now when I heard that Elden Ring was going to be open-world, I was very nervous. Most open-world games boil down to boring to-do lists of icons filled with near-identical camps, filled with near-identical enemies to receive near-identical rewards. Elden Ring takes all of that and smashes it with an appropriately sized greatsword.

In Elden Ring, after a lengthy and extensive character creator, you play as a player-made “Tarnished,” a member of an order of humans who dedicate themselves to the restoration of the Elden Ring (hey! That’s the name of the game!) by killing the five demigods that roam the enigmatic “Lands Between” and collect their great runes. Along the

way you will meet all types of monsters, vendors, NPCs, and bosses, who range from things like “giant lobster” to “giant jar with arms and legs that is alive” or even “spider made of other people’s limbs”.

Elden Ring plays primarily as a 3rd person action RPG. Depending on the type of character you decide to play, you could be a zippy dexterity-based assassin, or perhaps a dual-wielder of greatswords as a strength-based knight if that is more your speed. Or my go-to in these games, a hybrid of magic and long weapons like halberds or spears, the ol’ staff and stab. Basically, you can tailor your own experience to your own playstyle, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses, both of which you better learn quickly because this game does not pull any punches.

Now the game does have a set “correct” path that one can take, but here’s where that previously mentioned open world comes in. You can choose to ignore it completely and go about and do your own thing. At one point, I even stumbled upon a route that allowed me to circumvent the entire first dungeon. I still went back and completed it, but it was cool that I was even allowed to do that!

It’s with this open world mechanic that makes Elden Ring FromSoftware’s most accessible game yet. The world is filled with ruins, caves, catacombs, bosses, and even smaller optional dungeons. And every single one of them was worth my time and effort. If you ever get stuck on any particular section or feel like you may have stumbled upon an area that your character isn’t quite ready to handle yet (and trust me, the game will happily make that abundantly clear to you) you can just warp out of there and come back later.

I want to continue discussion on the game’s accessibility rather than its difficulty. The game is hard. You could be expertly taking down a dragon one minute only to get mobbed by a pack of dogs the next. Nothing, regardless of your character’s stats, items, or gear, is a guarantee for success. However, unlike other games, I feel like Elden Ring gives players way more tools than ever before.

Beyond your typical weapons and magic, the game also introduces item crafting, great to make helpful support items like firebombs or special greases that temporarily give your weapon a special elemental buff. There’s also the introduction of ash summons, spirit NPCs to call to your aid in certain areas, which are also upgradeable.

All these tools essentially boil down to a unique adventure that, although a lot of players will hit the same story beats, the details of the journey will make each build and playthrough a joy to experience. Even if you have never played one of their games before, Elden Ring would be an incredible introduction to this style/genre of gaming. If you ever get overwhelmed, you can always summon another player and take on the current area in co-op, which is always a good time.


While I cannot recommend this game enough, it is far from perfect. My biggest complaint of the game is how incredibly obtuse it can be at times to explain things. What’s the difference between a smithing stone and a somber smithing stone? Why don’t the collectible rune items just tell me how many runes they’re worth? Why can’t I compare the armor I’m currently wearing to the armor this vendor is trying to sell me?! How do I two-hand a weapon?!

While I appreciate the game’s expectation that I am a somewhat intelligent p

Combat on horseback can feel clunky at first, but becomes an integral tool into your arsenal as you progress.

erson, I feel like they’re some obvious things that could have been explained. All that being said, these are ultimately nit-picks, small blemishes on an otherwise incredible piece of video game history.


I give Elden Ring my highest recommendation and leave you with a few words of wisdom from the game itself.

“Age only affects appearance and has no bearing on ability. Gender has no bearing on ability. Everyone has imperfections. Prejudice births malcontents. Time for crab.

*Elden Ring is rated M for Mature and is available for PC, Xbox One, Xbox X, PS4 and PS5. Reviewed on PS5.