Elden Ring: Cautiously Optimistic
As someone who has always worshipped Souls games from afar, I must say, I am truly looking forward to immersing myself within Elden Ring. In the past, I have always found my reaction time and patience levels not up to the daunting task of completing a Souls game. But that never stopped me from appreciating the deep lore and intelligent design of the games vicariously through YouTube videos and Twitch streamers. I am not alone in saying that FromSoftware and Hidetaka Miyazaki are unparalleled in their ability to create games of deep, layered, philosophical meaning veined in rich and abundant lore experienced through challenging and gratifying gameplay.
By all accounts Elden Ring seems to be along the same path to delivering something truly special. The pre-launch condition of the game is as close to flawless as you could hope to get in the beta stage, showcasing a decade and more of applied learning that has been neatly gift-wrapped into this long awaited, open-world Souls game. Something FromSoftware fans have always wanted.
The Closed Network Test, provided by FromSoftware to a handful of lucky content creators, shows us a game true to the spirit of Souls games with authentic, genuine and often terrifying encounters. It has retained its signature difficulty while offering many new forms of combat and avenues for creativity. Who knows? Maybe one of these creative paths will help an old, washed up gamer like me finally complete his first ever Souls play-through.
Elden Ring really does look like a breath of fresh air in the fetid morass that is my current library of games. It appears to have an addictive quality in its moments of discovery, excitement and combat interspersed in relaxing exploration that is a much-needed reprieve from the unforgiving hostilities.
I watched a well-known YouTuber by the name of VaatiVidya as he delved pitch-black mines, battle dragons in the shattered remains of a castle, snuck passed giant trolls and hordes of demi-humans and narrowly defeat a “mini-boss” the size of a building. Everything I saw really elevated my already towering expectations for this game and I can’t imagine it doing anything but delivering on its promises as a game for both loyal, Souls game veterans and neophytes to the genre.
I, for one, am looking forward to the struggle.