Elden Ring on the PS5 is an epic open world action fantasy video game
Developer FromSoftware is renowned for making some of the toughest and most amazing fantasy video games.
And Elden Ring is its first real foray into a massive open-world environment using all the skills it has developed over hit titles like Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series.
Here bosses have drafted in Game of Thrones writing legend George R. R. Martin to help them craft an epic tale of wizards, knights and all manner of other-worldly monsters as your chosen hero embarks on becoming the ultimate Elden Lord.
The story is drip-fed to you via cutscenes but also through intense exploration and a lot of talking with those you come across in this sprawling world, at least those few who don’t want to kill you.
Your hero is a ‘tarnished’ descendent from a band of heroes who were once banished from the Lands Between. And now you’re on a quest to basically become a god among monsters.
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The game is epic in size and lore, there’s so much to discover and so many different creatures and horrors to battle it feels almost never ending.
First, there’s the overworld – a huge open map where you can wander and take in some stunning visuals while coming regularly across mini, and sometimes mega, boss battles at every turn.
Within minutes of opening up into the world you’ll feel in awe of what’s been created here – a huge and distant land, packed full of items to discover and monsters to fight.
But then there’s also a huge hidden world to explore too, with many dungeons beneath the surface, each offering themed journeys deep under the ground, culminating in the discovery of a terrifying creature to battle. If you’re successful, you’ll be richly rewarded with items that can help upgrade your hero’s status and make them powerful enough to take on bigger foes.
Now, as with Dark Souls, be prepared to die a lot in this game.
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You’ll be constantly tempted to take on a bigger enemy than you’re currently built to tackle. And the results are brutal.
Death is always a learning experience however and Elden Ring is quite generous compared to previous FromSoftware games with its Site of Grace save points.
They’re regular campfire type areas where you can replenish your health and fast travel vast distances around the world when it's too far on foot or via your trusty spectral horse, Torrent.
There’s nothing quite like taking down a massive bearded giant with overlong arms and legs for the first time after slowly learning its attack methods and, therefore, weaknesses via a series of deaths-in-battle.
The rush you get as you see the last ebbs of their health bar fade and the monster falling to the ground is immense.
Combat is fluid and as you’d expect in this game.
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You can choose different weapons for each hand, or a sword in one and shield in the other, and as you progress, levelling up along the way, you’ll soon be shooting long-range arrows and eventually wielding magic to deal damage from afar.
You can even learn to summon Spirit Ashes, fallen heroes to fight alongside you as ghosts.
Item crafting, rune (in-game money) collecting and the levelling-up of your skills is vital in this game if you want to progress.
The visuals are stunning, truly next-gen on the PS5 version we played, and despite this being a dark fantasy realm there’s a real vibrancy and colour to Elden Ring and its various lands.
Sound too is ominous and compliments the grim vistas well although some of the voice acting is a little ropey and shrouded in riddles.
Once you crack the gameplay and learn to really control your hero’s run, jump, defend and fight mechanics, you will find there’s little time given to all-out attack as this game is a masterclass in trial-and-error tactics, enemy study and slow but steady boss fight takedowns.
Fight, die, learn, repeat – until you crack it and move on to the next, even harder battle.
It’s lore always feels epic, but is ultimately hardcore fantasy nonsense and what’s going to keep you in Elden Ring for the long run is the amount to discover and the versatility and challenge at every turn.
It has been equal parts a pleasure and hell to play Elden Ring.
Because this is an amazing game and the developers have built a mind-boggling but nightmarish world to live and fight in.
But it’s also one incredibly tough cookie from the off, and – casual gamers beware – you’ll have a lot of frustrating setbacks as you slowly progress as a warrior.
Another wonderful video game for 2022. It’s already becoming a top year for consoles.
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