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Elden Ring Review – A Song of Runes & Severed Limbs

  • The good thing about Dark Souls –or one of the Soulsborne games, for that matter– isn’t the bosses. It’s the sense of dread and trepidation you have when you’re going through the unknown. That fear follows the ball player each time they round most because you just don’t determine if there’s an ambush expecting you, and also the pressure that accompanies losing your hard-earned Soul could be a lot to address. All of that stress is worth it, though, as you’re eventually rewarded with having an overwhelming sense of relief if you discover a shortcut or even a new bonfire, so you know you’re safe… at the very least for the time being. That feeling is amplified much over in Elden Ring Runes. The fear of the unknown is more than ever before, but the same goes with the relief, there’s hardly anything else quite like it.

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    Elden Ring may be the product of any dream team collaboration between FromSoftware and fantasy author George R.R. Martin. The Souls games (and Bloodborne) have invariably been lauded for the way their storytelling was handled: never spoon-fed through cutscenes, only discernible over the observation of environmental clues and cryptic item descriptions.

    FromSoftware and Hidetaka Miyazaki’s type of storytelling fit just about perfectly using the lore-writing and world-building chops of Martin, who’s well known for writing A Song of Ice and Fire. Narrative points and story beat aside, both ASoIaF and Game of Thrones succeeded in presenting an immensely rich world with complex histories and events which might be intertwined jointly. Martin understands how to create a world that feels lived in and realistic, through having him write the overarching mythos to buy elden ring runes, FromSoftware has the ability to combine his writing with their design of “show, not tell” storytelling, and dispense that information from the environment itself.

    The result? The Lands Between. A large open world that’s clearly been devastated by some kind of calamity or catastrophic event. True to usual FromSoft fare, the sport opens that has a lengthy cutscene being a wizened narrator bemoaning the tragedy that’s fallen upon the land. Players manage an unnamed Tarnished, who hopes to locate the guidance of your Maiden and tackle the mantle of the Elden Lord.

    The ambiance is on a point straight from the get-go, as Elden Ring feels just as creepy and foreboding as FromSoft’s previous games. There’s plenty of eerie severed arm imagery within this one, and numerous circular shapes in the action’s iconography, or rings I should say.

    I’ll admit I had my reservations about Elden Ring being a massive open-world game. After all, Dark Souls thrived on being placed in a tightly designed, interconnected world. It didn’t have to literally be massive to feel massive; that's its biggest strength.

    With Elden Ring with a huge overworld to discover, I was worried that the action would endure subpar level design being a tradeoff for a larger sandbox. While, yes, the main areas aren’t exactly connected through ingenious level design such as Dark Souls or Bloodborne, the average-person areas are still fantastic.

    For instance, Stormveil Castle would be the first major location you’ll visit in the overall game, and it’s a veritable deathtrap of the fortress, brimming with small side paths and little corners to check on. The glow with the various item pickups will tempt you into walking into an ambush, high are surprises at each turn, forcing the ball player to seriously consider whether or not they want to push on or backtrack and reset their progress with one Sacred Flask left.