Gamers favorite games: Elden Ring

What is Elden Ring?

“Elden Ring” is an action role-playing video game developed by FromSoftware and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game was first announced at E3 2019, and it has been highly anticipated due to the collaboration between Hidetaka Miyazaki, the creator of the “Dark Souls” series, and George R.R. Martin, the author of “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, which inspired the “Game of Thrones” television series.

In “Elden Ring”, players traverse through a large, interconnected open world with various dungeons and enemies. The game maintains many of the gameplay mechanics from the “Dark Souls” series, known for their challenging difficulty and intricate world design. The narrative of “Elden Ring” is presented in a similarly cryptic manner, with lore and story details often found in item descriptions and environmental storytelling.

“Elden Ring” follows a narrative structure similar to the Soulsborne series (comprising “Demon’s Souls,” the “Dark Souls” trilogy, and “Bloodborne”). Rather than a linear storyline, the game offers a loosely defined narrative, encouraging players to stitch together scattered pieces of information as they methodically progress through each phase of the game.

The game’s action unfolds in a region called “The Lands Between,” fragmented into six distinct kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms is governed by a demigod, who the player must vanquish to retrieve segments of the Elden Ring. The shattering of this enigmatic artifact triggered an apocalyptic event, pushing The Lands Between to the edge of ruin. The protagonist, a member of the Tarnished, has been summoned back from exile to his homeland with the aim of reclaiming the once squandered grace of the Erdtree. The ultimate goal is to establish their worth and ascend as the new Elden Lord.

The world and story of “Elden Ring” were crafted with the assistance of George R.R. Martin, the esteemed author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, which inspired the popular “Game of Thrones” television series. While Martin’s work was adapted and evolved by the game’s authors, the result is a rich, intricate, and foreboding fantasy universe.

Elden Ring won The Game of the Year award during The Game Awards ceremony in December 2022.

What is From Software?

FromSoftware, Inc. is a Japanese video game development company founded in November 1986. The company is best known for creating some of the most critically acclaimed and influential video games in the action role-playing genre.

One of their earliest successes was the “Armored Core” series, a mech-based combat game that started in 1997. However, FromSoftware truly rose to international prominence with the release of “Demon’s Souls” in 2009, which introduced a new style of challenging, strategic action gameplay combined with a deep, immersive world.

This success was followed by the “Dark Souls” series, which expanded and refined the concepts introduced in “Demon’s Souls” to even greater acclaim. “Dark Souls” is known for its high difficulty level, intricate world design, and cryptic storytelling.

In addition to these series, FromSoftware also developed “Bloodborne,” a PlayStation 4 exclusive title that shares many gameplay and thematic elements with the “Souls” games, but with a unique gothic horror setting.

Another notable title from FromSoftware is “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.” This game, set in a fantastical version of Sengoku-era Japan, also shares similarities with the “Souls” series but features a heavier focus on precision and timing in its combat system.

What are soulslike games?

“Soulslike” is a term often used to describe a subgenre of action role-playing video games that emulate the gameplay style of FromSoftware’s “Souls” series, which includes “Demon’s Souls,” the “Dark Souls” trilogy, and by extension games like “Bloodborne”, “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” and the latest one “Elden Ring”.

“Soulslike” games typically feature the following characteristics:

  1. Challenging Difficulty: These games are known for their high level of difficulty. Enemies are typically tough, and players must learn their attack patterns to succeed. Death is frequent and forms a part of the learning process.
  2. Punishing Death Mechanics: Upon dying, players typically lose all of their unspent experience points or currency, usually retrievable if they can reach the place they died without dying again.
  3. Stamina-Based Combat: Combat is methodical, with players needing to manage their stamina for attacks, dodges, and blocks.
  4. Sparse Checkpoints: Checkpoints are few and far between, often only appearing before boss encounters.
  5. Cryptic Storytelling: The plot and lore are typically hidden in item descriptions, environmental details, or vague NPC dialogues rather than explicitly told to the player.
  6. Non-Linear Exploration: These games typically feature interconnected worlds that encourage exploration and allow players to tackle challenges in a non-linear order.

While many games have been influenced by the “Souls” series, not all games that feature one or two of these mechanics are considered “Soulslike.” The term is typically reserved for games that encompass most, if not all, of these elements in a cohesive package. Examples of games outside of FromSoftware’s portfolio that are often described as “Soulslike” include “Nioh,” “The Surge,” and “Hollow Knight.”

What are the differences between the Elden Ring and Dark Souls series?

There are several key differences between “Elden Ring” and the “Dark Souls” series:

  1. Open World: “Elden Ring” is set in a fully explorable, vast open world called The Lands Between, which is a significant departure from the more linear, albeit interconnected, worlds of the “Dark Souls” series. This world includes a day-night cycle and dynamic weather.
  2. World Design: While “Dark Souls” features largely self-contained levels connected in intricate ways, “Elden Ring” boasts six major areas, each serving as the domain of a demigod character. Players can explore these areas in a non-linear fashion.
  3. Combat and Mechanics: “Elden Ring” incorporates combat mechanics familiar to “Dark Souls” players but expands on these with additional options, such as horseback combat, which is a new feature.
  4. Mounted combat and exploration: “Elden Ring” introduces a long awaited option to traverse land using a horse-like mount called Torrent which greatly increases the quality of life of exploration. In addition, fights in the open world are also available from horseback which is a new feature for From Software games.
  5. Storytelling: Both games feature cryptic storytelling, but “Elden Ring” involves collaboration with George R. R. Martin, known for “A Song of Ice and Fire,” bringing a different narrative style to the game’s lore and world-building.
  6. Stealth Elements: “Elden Ring” introduces more pronounced stealth elements, allowing players to bypass tough enemies or gain a strategic advantage.
  7. Cooperative Multiplayer: While both games feature cooperative multiplayer, “Elden Ring” is designed to be more cooperative-friendly, allowing players to explore and fight together more freely.

What is Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree?

“Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree” is the inaugural narrative expansion to the 2022 action RPG, “Elden Ring.” This DLC was crafted by the renowned Japanese developer FromSoftware, the creators of the original game. Hidetaka Miyazaki, the mastermind behind the Souls series and the broader soulslike subgenre, once again helmed the project.

The expansion is set within the same fantastical realm of the Lands Between as “Elden Ring.” However, it unlocks entirely new regions for exploration and weaves an untold story for players to unravel. “Shadow of the Erdtree” enhances the game with new formidable bosses, equipment, and weaponry.

It is speculated that “Elden Ring: Shadow of the Erdtree” will delve into events alluded to in the original game’s lore. If this speculation holds true, players might get to journey through the tale of Godwyn the Golden and Miquella, the sibling of Malenia, one of the key characters from the base game.

What editions of the Elden Ring are available to buy?

Elden Ring is available in two main editions:

  1. Elden Ring Standard Edition – containing game itself
  2. Elden Ring Deluxe Edition – also providing access to the game, but also offering digital artbook and digital soundtrack.

Elden Ring was sold with special pre-order bonuses available to buy separately:

  1. Special bonus gestures: The Ring
  2. Pre-order bundle containing special bonus gesture: The Ring and additional digital adventure guide.

What platforms is the Elden Ring available on?

“Elden Ring” was announced and released for the following platforms:

  1. PlayStation 4 (PS4): Released by Sony Interactive Entertainment in November 2013, the PS4 is a home video game console that boasts a wide library of games, including exclusives and multi-platform titles. It supports high-definition graphics, online multiplayer, and has features like streaming gameplay and share play.
  2. PlayStation 5 (PS5): The successor to the PS4, the PS5 was launched in November 2020. It represents a significant leap in performance, supporting 4K resolution, higher frame rates, and ray tracing for more realistic lighting effects. It also introduces the DualSense controller with advanced haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
  3. Xbox One: This is Microsoft’s home video game console released in November 2013. It supports a broad range of games, live television, streaming services, and the ability to use voice commands for control via its Kinect device.
  4. Xbox Series X/S: Released in November 2020, the Xbox Series X and Series S are Microsoft’s latest consoles. The Series X, the more powerful of the two, supports up to 8K resolution and 120 frames per second, while the Series S is a more affordable, digital-only console with slightly lower performance.
  5. PC (via Steam): PCs, or personal computers, are versatile platforms that can be used for gaming among other tasks. Steam, developed by Valve Corporation, is one of the largest digital distribution platforms for PC gaming. The platform offers thousands of games in various genres, along with social networking services, streaming, and cloud saves. The performance of games on PC can vary greatly based on the specifications of the individual machine.

What are the advantages of the Elden Ring?

“Elden Ring” have several notable advantages:

  1. Open World Exploration: “Elden Ring” offers a vast, fully explorable open world, a first for FromSoftware in this genre. This open-world design allows for a high degree of freedom in exploration, with various paths to take and secrets to discover.
  2. Rich Lore and World Building: With George R. R. Martin involved in the creation of the game’s lore, the game is expected to feature an intricate and engaging story, deepening the rich atmosphere and cryptic storytelling that FromSoftware is known for.
  3. Challenging Gameplay: Like previous FromSoftware games, “Elden Ring” is expected to offer challenging, strategic combat that rewards player skill and patience.
  4. Diverse Combat Options: Players will have a wide array of weapons, magic, and skills at their disposal, allowing for diverse combat strategies. The game also introduces mounted combat, a new feature for FromSoftware’s action RPGs.
  5. Complex Boss Battles: FromSoftware games are known for their memorable and challenging boss battles, and “Elden Ring” is expected to continue this tradition.
  6. Multiplayer Elements: “Elden Ring” includes multiplayer elements, allowing players to cooperate in tackling the game’s challenges.

What are the downsides of the Elden Ring?

Considering the list of pros of Elden Ring, potential challenges or downsides players might experience could include:

  1. High Difficulty Level: FromSoftware’s games, including the Souls series, are known for their steep difficulty curves. While many players enjoy this challenge, others might find it frustrating or inaccessible.
  2. Cryptic Storytelling: The storytelling style in FromSoftware’s games can be quite obscure, with much of the lore hidden in item descriptions or implied through environmental details. Some players enjoy piecing together these details, while others might find this storytelling style confusing or unsatisfying.
  3. Punishing Death Mechanics: The potential loss of unspent experience or currency upon death, a common feature in FromSoftware games, can be stressful for some players.
  4. Limited Accessibility Options: Some players have criticized FromSoftware’s games for not including enough accessibility options to accommodate players with different needs and abilities.

Why do gamers like From Software games?

FromSoftware’s games, such as the Dark Souls series, Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and Elden Ring, have garnered a passionate fan base for several reasons:

  1. Challenging Gameplay: FromSoftware games are renowned for their high difficulty level. Many gamers appreciate the challenge these games provide, as it offers a sense of accomplishment and rewards skill, patience, and strategic thinking.
  2. Intricate World Design: FromSoftware’s titles often feature interconnected world design, with secrets and shortcuts that reward exploration. This can give players a greater sense of immersion and discovery.
  3. Deep Lore and Storytelling: FromSoftware games regularly tell their stories in indirect, cryptic ways. This encourages players to explore and piece together the lore themselves, which can be a rewarding experience.
  4. Unique Artistic Style: The games typically have a unique, often dark, atmospheric aesthetic that sets them apart from many other games. This distinctive style, combined with high-quality graphics, contributes to their appeal.
  5. Memorable Boss Battles: The games feature unforgettable and challenging boss fights, which are typically highlights of the gaming experience. These bosses require strategy and skill to defeat, providing a satisfying challenge.
  6. Replayability: With multiple pathways, secret areas, various character builds, and New Game+ modes, these games typically offer high replay value.

While the high difficulty and obscure storytelling may not appeal to all players, those who enjoy these aspects often become dedicated fans of FromSoftware’s games.

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