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Game review: Elden Ring (Xbox Series X)
Thu, 10th Mar 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Developer FromSoftware inadvertently created a new gaming genre when it released Demon's Souls on PS3 over a decade ago.

The game created a tough challenge for action RPG fans by giving them cool boss fights and difficult gameplay.

Since the release of Demon's Souls, FromSoftware has released other games in the genre like Dark Souls, Bloodborne and now Elden Ring. Elden Ring is the newest FromSoftware game, although it still shares the same style of gameplay as other Souls-style games.

Before you begin the game, you are greeted with a brief intro cutscene. After watching the cutscene, you are prompted to make the all-important decision to choose your preferred class type. There are 10 classes in the game, and they include the following: Hero, Bandit, Astrologer, Warrior, Prisoner, Confessor, Wretch, Vagabond, Prophet and Samurai.

Choosing the right class is important because you can struggle with the combat if you choose the wrong one. For example, I remember my friend recommending that I pick the Samurai class because it was good with melee combat.

Unfortunately, I realised I wasn't good with the Samurai early on because I'd get killed easily by enemies. Thankfully, I restarted the game as an Astrologer, and this was better because this class type can attack from afar using magic spells.

There is an easy-to-miss combat tutorial section as you start the game that teaches you some of Elden Ring's basic mechanics. The combat is similar to the Souls series as you have to dodge, roll, or block enemy attacks to avoid getting killed. However, the combat is much slower paced compared to the likes of Nioh or Sekiro.

While you can sprint for a long time, the stamina bar decreases when you enter combat. This is because you cannot spam the attack button all of the time, or else your character will get tired. You will also need to think about when you want to dodge roll since you cannot spam that button either.

From my experience, melee attack builds like the Samurai made the game harder to play. This is because you need to go up front to enemies, and you're always open to their attacks. Long-ranged combat is easier as you can cheaply attack enemies without taking too many hits. That being said, ranged combat reaches a limit since you may run out of magic or ammo.

You also get a shield for some class types where you can block or counter-attack enemies. The counter-attack is awesome because you can hit enemies with one hit if you are able to execute it.

Gamers playing Elden Ring will have to collect Runes throughout the game if they want to level up their character. Runes are only collected if you are able to kill lots of enemies and if you can get to a save point without dying.

If you die in Elden Ring, you will lose all of your Runes. You will have to collect the Runes you lost if you are able to visit your dead body's location. If you don't get to your dead body, the Runes you have collected are gone forever!

Collecting Runes is important because you can increase your stats and improve your skills. You will need to level up significantly in this game because you will die a lot from bosses if you are unskilled. Levelling up is highly recommended because staying strong allows you to beat bosses easily.

In terms of game design, Elden Ring is a unique and wonderful-looking video game. The boss and creature design is excellent as they look unorthodox, and no two boss battles are the same. There is even a boss in the game that can kill you by mimicking a meteor strike!

The game is open-world, and there is no hand-holding in terms of guiding the player to the next area. The whole game is pretty much open from the start, so you can explore anywhere you like. There are tons of bosses and mini-bosses that may block a path, but they open up once you are able to defeat them.

To make exploration much less tedious, Elden Ring allows you to call on a mount. The horse mount isn't just for travelling afar because you can also beat bosses and enemies using a mount too. There was one dragon boss where I stayed on my horse and it made the fight more bearable.

While Elden Ring is a fun and challenging video game, not everyone will like it. Elden Ring feels similar to Dark Souls and Demon's Souls, and the game doesn't offer too many new features. If you don't like Souls games, you're not going to like this game either.

The game also lacks any difficulty levels, so beginners may want to avoid this game too. The game's default difficulty is hard, and there is no way to make things easier. Not to mention the game doesn't tell you where you need to go, so you may need to watch a guide on YouTube to know what to do next.

Graphically, Elden Ring looks decent on Xbox Series X, and the framerate was stable most of the time. That being said, the game doesn't look as next-gen as other titles such as Forza Horizon 5 or the recently released Gran Turismo 7.

Overall, Elden Ring is still a great action RPG with an enjoyable combat system and tons of awesome boss fights. The only people that might hate this game are casual gamers and people that aren't good at the Souls genre.

Verdict:  9.0/10

A code was given to us for review purposes.