Now I already know I’ve heard the comments "it’s the easiest Souls Game" "I beat it in a day" and so on. Allow someone to be new, this was my first souls game. I thought I had done the research and was ready for "The Lands Between". Oh Boy was I wrong. If I were to sum up my Elden Ring adventure in a few choice words they would be "LOST" "Confused" and yet "Beautiful". To begin my critique the game is absolutely beautiful, the world is so clean, certainly terrifying and you can feel the menace around every corner, but it all looks so good. A world designed to make you fear stepping out of your front door and they certainly captured it, from the monstrous roaming boss, to the random cluster of "casual" enemies, everything can and wants to kill you. Hell, even the mosquitoes are aggressive . My biggest issue with this world is there’s no limit to where you can go, if you can reach it you can fight it. This allowed me to have many "Well I shouldn't be here" moments.
Let’s start from the many beginnings I had. Like most RPG games, knowing the direction you want your build to go early is essential so I grabbed my bow and quiver like I typically do and threw my "Bandit" into a very unforgiving world. I'm not one to influence choices but I will say that was a terrible decision after realizing I will forever be a "one hit" build I hung up my bow and grabbed my Staff, ready to plunder this world. Much better decision, after a small tutorial I made my way out into the massive open world, and almost immediately got lost. There is a main quest line about your need to recover the one "Elden Ring" of power... Tolkien got ripped off here, and many side quests offering high experience or "runes" as well as exclusive gear weapons and summons or "ashes". Did I mention the game is confusing. I wasn’t referring to the gameplay but more so the story, after rewatching the cutscene several times and making a character exclusively for the story I still found myself lost, so I did what any great adventurer does. I killed things. After approximately 40 hours across 3 different characters I still feel like I have learned nothing about the main storyline, and I’m trapped in Tim Burton’s version of a horror movie yet I don’t want to leave.
Prior Souls games have given you nothing but the pride of a job well done and the ability to say "I beat it" and this one is no different. I never understood why people want that until now. So after dying many times and thinking I finally learned a bosses attack pattern only to have him switch it up, I need to win. Understanding how to build your character can be confusing considering the class is only a template and you can learn and improve anything, some brave people start off with the "blank slate" class and choose as they go. Leveling is a massive grind unless you can find some good "rune farms" or easy enemies with high results. The co-op allows for you and a friend to attack some of the games hardest bosses together but on the other side of that coin you can be "invaded" and another player can enter your game with evil intent. This can grant you a lot of fun moments or like most of this game early on it can frustrate you to no end as you try to progress. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed this game and plan on continuing to play it, but it is a game you have to really want to play and pay attention to as you do. There is so much to do and it is way too easy to get side tracked, but it is a blast when you do. If you are new to Souls games this is a great place to start as it will open many doors. If you’re a vet to this cruel series don’t laugh at me. The designers wanted to give you guys a break, HaHaHa. I don't recommend this to the casual gamer but to the hardcore "Title Crushers" this is your challenge.
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