Elden Ring – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, RPG
Developer: FromSoftware
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: PS5

Elden Ring – Preview

Good: Open world concept, Fluid
Bad: A bit too soon to determine the game's weaknesses
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Even though our modern gaming landscape is flooded with ‘Souls-like’ games, it has already been since 2016 since we last had a (new) installment in the Dark Souls franchise. FromSoftware has worked on remakes and remasters, but other than that, we have not seen a new release in the series. Then came along the announcement of Elden Ring, which was clearly a spiritual successor, supposedly with more story value and a few new mechanics thrown in the mix. We were lucky enough to play a Closed Network Test of this already-coveted title and we were quite impressed. As the beta only offered us a glimpse of what this game might become, we will keep things fairly short.

Truth be told, mere moments into the game, it’s clear that this is basically just the next installment of Dark Souls, albeit with a few extra fantasy elements added to the mix. The world feels a bit greener and lusher, and this is a great look for this game. The fantasy theme works well, and we really loved the overall atmosphere. That being said, the game never truly gave us that ‘next-gen’ feel, but the gameplay is key for these games, and the general quality was still very good. In terms of story, we didn’t really get to experience anything, safe for a short cutscene for one of the characters that will aid you on your journey. The sound design is top-notch, with good voice acting (the few lines we got to hear) and the cinematic backdrop.

When we first started exploring the world, we noticed that this new release is a lot less linear than older games by FromSoftware. We get to go basically anywhere we want, and we also soon found ourselves dying plenty of times when exploring new areas of the relatively small map for this Closed Network Test. Seeing ‘You Died’ pop up on the screen was a bit of a bittersweet feeling, as this truly confirmed this was just the next installment of Dark Souls. That being said, this game incorporates the aforementioned open-world feeling, but we also get to ride a valiant steed that helps us traverse the world quicker. The latter is actually quite useful if you want to bypass some grunts you have defeated a dozen times, and it even allows you to tackle a few other foes easier by circling around them while attacking. As a whole, this is a good implementation to traverse the map quicker, which is something well-appreciated if you die an awful lot.

Other than that, the same mechanics somewhat remain. You collect currency from defeating enemies, which you can use to level up. Dying will make you lose the currency you collected; if you cannot recover your body on the first try after you respawn. We then still have healing flasks, and the available classes have small differences, as some may have better weapon proficiencies, while others are better at casting spells. The general mechanics have remained basically the same as in other Dark Souls entries, and Elden Ring, while it doesn’t carry the Dark Souls name, is basically following the foundation of said games. This means that button bashing will get you nowhere, as spamming the attack button may cause you to die very quickly. If you press the attack button three times, your character will perform said attack three times, making dodging or other actions nearly impossible. Even though this was a network test to try out the servers and possible multiplayer options, we somewhat kept to ourselves. This was both due to the very awkward timings of the test sessions and us trying to explore the world to the fullest. Because of this, we didn’t really get to experience a lot of the multiplayer content. We did get a lot of people leaving random messages behind, which often didn’t contribute much.

Conclusion

Elden Ring treats us to a very authentic Souls-like experience and we were sad that we weren’t able to explore the game a bit further. The game offers the same trusty mechanics as we have come to know and love (or hate) from the Dark Souls series, albeit more polished and more fluid. The new additions, such as the open-world formula, and a trusty steed to traverse the lands, are a welcome change of pace and may actually offer a lot more depth than the fairly linear experience of the older games. Even though we would have loved a slightly bigger graphical upgrade for next-gen players, we see this one becoming a massive hit.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Elden Ring - Preview, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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