Elden Ring: A Modern Day Masterpiece


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Trevor Eisenbacher, Cub News Writer

Elden Ring: A Modern Day Masterpiece

“Rise, Tarnished, and be guided by grace to brandish the power of the Elden Ring and become an Elden Lord in the Lands Between. In the Lands Between ruled by Queen Marika the Eternal, the Elden Ring, the source of the Erdtree, has been shattered. Marika’s offspring, demigods all, claimed the shards of the Elden Ring known as the Great Runes, and the mad taint of their newfound strength triggered a war: The Shattering. A war that meant abandonment by the Greater Will. And now the guidance of grace will be brought to the Tarnished who were spurned by the grace of gold and exiled from the Lands Between. Ye dead who yet live, your grace being lost, follow the path to the Lands Between beyond the foggy sea to stand before the Elden Ring. And become the Elden Lord.” 

FromSoftware Incorporated, famous for their productions of the Dark Souls Series, Bloodborne, and Sekiro, lovingly called the “Soulsbourne games”, has recently added another game to their lineup: Elden Ring. In my eighty hours (so far!) of exploring, fighting, and conquering the Land Between, I’ve learned many of the intricacies of the game. However, is this game the 10/10 that so many news outlets have framed it to be? Is it worth all of the struggle of seemingly impossible levels? This review will be mostly spoiler-free so that those who wish to play the game may do so without any prior knowledge. 

I’m glad I can say that Elden Ring is the best game I’ve played in a long time and will undoubtedly hold strong as my “Game of the Year” for 2022. As you might have heard by now, Elden Ring is one of the, if not the best-rated games of all time. From the beautiful plains of Limgrave to the plateau of Atlus and the mountain of Gelmir, FromSoftware’s first open world is a thoroughly beautiful, fantastical land that has, at multiple times, forced me to just stop and soak in all of its beauty. Upon loading into the game, you are met by a masterful-conducted opening song that truly sets the mood for the rest of the game. After going through the character creation menu, the opening cinematic explains the basis of the lore George R.R. Martin wrote for Elden Ring. You are a lowly Tarnished in a land you were once ago banished from under mysterious circumstances. The Elden Ring, source of Queen Marika’s power, has been shattered and you are called back to the Land Between to collect the shards leftover from The Shattering – the cataclysmic event that has sent the world into war. Will you succeed in doing so and become an Elden Lord, or will you fail and stay a lowly Tarnished? Afterward being introduced to the basis of the game, you’re finally plunged into the first area of the game: Limgrave.

The gameplay of Elden Ring is very familiar if you’ve delved into the rest of the souls series. Many people have criticized the game for just being big Dark Souls, and at its essence, that’s really what is it. The combat, leveling, and controls are all very reminiscent of the previous games.  However, I don’t see this as a bad thing. A popular quip I hear often is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and I wholeheartedly agree. In previous games, the controls and combat were satisfying and quick.  Elden Ring’s greater focus on poise and stance-breaking, along with the ability to two-hand your left armament, allows for more opportunities to make your way through enemy-heavy areas, of which there are several. I found leveling to be fair, although the number of runes, the game’s main form of currency, that are dropped, have been seemingly greatly reduced in quantity. However, leveling is not the only way to increase your character’s stats. Armaments and spirit ashes can both be upgraded to make you stronger, and other players can even be summoned to help you out with particularly difficult bosses. Even though all of these opportunities to grow stronger are available to the player, I find the enemies in the last quarter of the game to have too much health and can be a bore to fight. 

Unfortunately, despite all of the greatness in Elden Ring, it is utterly plagued by technical issues. We’ve seen this before – a great game tarnished (hilarious, I know) by a slew of bugs and glitches. Frame stuttering and crashes are rampant on PC, making it somewhat unplayable for a large number of people. Interestingly enough, the amount of these issues varies widely. Some players have experienced these difficulties since release and some have never experienced them at all. On console, the frame stuttering is a similar story. Regardless of the fact that I play on PlayStation 5, one of the most powerful gaming systems, the frames frequently drop from 60 fps to somewhere between 40-50 fps. FromSoftware has addressed these technical problems and has released patches to fix them, but these patches have mostly been unsuccessful. It is a shame that such a wonderful game could be hurt because of lackluster programming.

Considering both its pros and cons, I believe Elden Ring is a fantastic game. Its world-building is unmatched and its systems work together to create a memorable gaming experience. I personally rate FromSoftware’s newest title at a 9.5/10. Without the rampant technical issues, Elden Ring would easily be a 10/10. However, I cannot look past drops in frame rate that should have been solved before release. Be sure to check out the first fifteen minutes of gameplay below to gauge whether or not you believe Elden Ring is worth the plunge.