Community Review: Tell Me Your Best Elden Ring Stories, Please

Community Review: Tell Me Your Best Elden Ring Stories, Please

Alright folks, now that we’ve all had a couple of weeks to dive in, it’s finally time for the Elden Ring community review.

First, let’s quickly assess the reviews situation: Elden Ring is almost universally adored. It’s pulled in a 96 critic rating on Metacritic, with most reviews calling it an immediate Game of the Year front runner. The user score sits lower at 7.9, though the overwhelming majority of reviews are positive. A quick browse of the negative reviews reveals a crowd of people looking to be contrarian for the sake of it. Over on Steam, the game is pulling a Very Positive rating from over 182,000 reviews.

Between numerous life events over the last couple of weeks, I’ve not been able to put as much time into Elden Ring as I would like. The time I have had with it, however, has been pretty magical.

Very early in the game, I came across a ruined town under heavy guard. The problem was the guard captain, who carried a huge horn. If alerted, he would blow the horn and call for reinforcements. After several attempts at darting in and out to pick off enemies with backstabs, I tripped over myself, alerting Horatio Hornblower to my presence with an errant roll into the open. He grabbed the horn and gave it a good blow, which was my cue to leave. As the atonal wail from his stupid trumpet echoed around me, enemies came from all around. I don’t know if the game spawned them in or if I’d missed them in the ruins. I’d come from a heavily wooded area to find the town, so I pelted back that way hoping to lose the guards in the treeline. No such luck — more enemies, alerted by the clarion call, were emerging from the forest and running down to meet me.

One of those classic FromSoft moments where you connect another systemic dot and file it away for later. “Ok, the horn can be heard from REALLY far away.”

This is the kind of thing I love to see in an open-world game. It didn’t feel beholden to some strange twist of “video game logic”, like enemies that give up the chase after breaking line-of-sight. It felt sensible and consequential. The horn blows > everyone within 500 metres can hear it > they will hunt for you until satisfied you are gone. I know people are already tired of the comparison, but Breath of the Wild did this very well — rather than a set of clear rules, the world is built with connected systems in mind. If you understand these systems, you can combine them, or force them to collide, in ways other games aren’t built to accommodate.

Even Ruby installed Elden Ring, such is its compelling power. Ruby. The one who, by her own admission, is bad at video games. Miyazaki wins again.

But, hey, this is Community Review. We want to hear from you! Do you love Elden Ring? Hate it? Tell us why! While you’re here, please tell us about your craziest Elden Ring adventures. Have you bent the world to your will or has it found ways to bend you instead? Spin us a yarn in the comments below.

Comments

  • I am enjoying my time with it as much as a full grown adult with a career can while juggling sleep / partner and social commitments.

    I have finished my first playthrough as a mostly pure caster (Azur Coment + Unlimited Mana Flask + Mimic Tear = stupidly easy mode) and now am working my way through as a dual wielding blood type with the self imposed rule of no ash summons (as the ash summons made it WAY too easy).

    Don’t ask me how I’ve squeezed in 97 hours in 13 days though. I am finding these vids of people at level 999 and NG 7+ who are bragging they’re legit and didn’t cheat amusing though. Especially the 90 hour playthroughs that managed to get all 3 endings in one playthrough….

    All in all. Is the game of the year, maybe decade. And look forward to getting more into it as time goes by.

  • First up, I’m enjoying it. An easy one for me, I loved all the Souls games. Portalling around the map makes it never a dull moment.
    But – I am staggered by how identical it is to the Souls games. Boss tactics, look and feel, the UI, sound design, invasion mechanics, the fonts and icons ffs … I mean, really. I get that the same brains are behind it (I see zero evidence of the influence of George RR), but where’s the new ideas? Open world is not an innovation.
    Enjoying it but, and I’ll play it all year.

    • George only was involved in the backstory prior to the game starting. He helped create that, and then the Souls team got to work on doing their thing.

      Also if it ain’t broke, why fix it. More Souls is never a bad thing.

      • Perhaps the plot is a massively slow-burn. Certainly room in the world for further stories. I would love that.

        • I can see a little Martin in there, mostly in the scope of the world and less in everything else.
          I suspected a while ago after his comments that it wasn’t the usual who, what where and how and mostly just the where and it seems to be the case.
          Maybe I’m imagining it but it definitely feels like there more factions or unique interests in the world than past games but From is clearly steering the ship.

  • G

    Oh boy, what a game!

    I’m gonna get the criticism out of the way first because it’s short and fleeting.
    Mushrooms…..well, technically it’s item distribution but mushrooms seem to be the chief culprit.
    I don’t know if it reallocating items from the demo, trolling or just From hitting one of the oldest open world problems but it’s odd how many secret or hard to find loot locations end up being something weird like mushrooms.
    Nobody is expecting legendary items and gear every time but it’s odd none the less.
    (I know I’m a not alone in this due to the countless “Why is it always mushrooms?” messages.)

    Now that we’ve covered that, holy crap…it’s good, it’s really good.
    Not the second coming for me like some folks seem to think but if your a huge souls fan then I’m definitely not gonna argue against it because it’s a huge step for the series and I can see why folks might lean that direction.

    I used to hate getting stuck on a boss/area and having to step away for a while or farming the areas you’ve already mastered just to level up but now it’s a matter of heading off somewhere else for a bit of cheeky exploration and that’s huge deal for me.
    When Margit spanked me a few too many times I wondered off to the east.
    When Stormveil frustrated me I opened the south.
    No matter the situation you’re spoilt for adventure, exploration and surprises.

    The thing that’s really blown me away though is how From Software can still subvert expectations so devilishly, I’ve been constantly shocked, amazed, amused and confused at almost every turn.
    Big hulking slowpokes that suddenly become lightning fast doom monsters, massive giants and machines that you throw everything at only to end up being the easiest fights you’ll come across.
    None of this is new but it still gets you and you know you should know better by now.
    I jumped in to a group of shrivelled desiccated husk miners because obviously they were the usual undead souls fodder you cut down like wheat in every game but my confidence was short lived as I was destroyed by these stone skinned demons who hit like a truck and can’t be stopped or staggered.
    Maybe the clue was the solid metal warhammers they used as picks or the huge bags of ore the effortlessly carried on their backs, either way, it’s a special kind of fun to get your arse handed to you on a bed of hubris.
    It’s the little stuff too, finding a secret, following a beautiful singing voice, coming across one of the many animals for the first time or that bizarre moment when you try to kill your first goat, leaving you standing there like John Travolta in the Pulp Fiction meme.

    In the grand scheme I’ve only really beaten the first main dungeon and about half of the second and yet I’ve sunk a ton of hours in to it, seen so many things and yet I can still stumble across new things in the starting areas, it’s impressive for a developer who’s only ever done linear worlds before.

    Gonna leave it there or I could write a book about it.
    If you don’t like souls games, it might be the one that brings you over.
    If you love souls games and aren’t playing it yet, what the hell are you doing?!

  • I’m enjoying it. Am I enjoying it anymore than Dark Souls or Bloodborne, no not really. It’s much the same game to me, and that is a OK.

    Do I think the game is innovative enough with the open world aspects and other minor tweaks? No.

    My most memorable moment? Going to bed after grinding away for the first 6 hours, and realising that I’m wasting my time on another souls game, expecting to be surprised with different results or more rewarding outcomes – that just don’t come.

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