Video game ‘Elden Ring’ provides challenging gameplay, beautiful graphics



The video game ‘Elden Ring’ by FromSoftware Inc. set the player in an open, interactive world, but the game’s difficulty can be frustrating at times. The game contains a mix of picturesque green fields and grim, bleak dungeons.

Erich Raumann, Reporter

Having cleared out and plundered the ruins of an old cathedral, the player rides on horseback through the swamp to investigate a small fire that they can see in a clearing. Seeing a few minor enemies, they dismount, thinking they’ll be able to clean them up quickly and maybe find a new item. As they approach the ground shakes. They hear a roar and, toppling trees, torching the camp, a colossal dragon lets out a roar in challenge. All of this happens five minutes away from the tutorial area.
Casual gamers or students swamped with work might be turned off by “Elden Ring” as part of a genre famous for its unforgiving, sometimes unfair, difficulty. While the game can be difficult to the point of frustrating at times, its beauty, freedom and flexibility make it well worth purchasing.
What sets “Elden Ring” apart from FromSoftware’s library of infamously hard games like “Dark Souls” or “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” are the huge amount of flexibility given to the player and myriad items and abilities to use along a vast open world. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge, players have a suite of tools at their disposal: they can summon friends or friendly AI, hang back and use magic or ranged attacks, sneak past a tough group of enemies, or cook food for temporary buffs. When all else fails, the player almost always has the option to explore the surrounding area, level up and become more experienced before returning to the strong foe ahead.
The open world is one of the game’s biggest selling points. It’s robust and fun to explore. The player is heavily rewarded by taking time to stop and smell the roses, so while the way forward is always clear, dungeons, bosses and loot lie behind every diversion. However, don’t be totally fooled by the green fields and picturesque ruins at the beginning of the game. Despite the freedom, “Elden Ring” still is a FromSoftware game and quickly becomes grisly, hostile and unforgiving. It still manages to maintain a sense of awe and tantalizing adventure throughout even the most desolate, impossible areas, but you won’t be paragliding off mountains or collecting mushrooms in forests like you might in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
Writer George R.R. Martin, whose books were adapted into the “Game of Thrones” TV series, worked with FromSoftware to create the world in which “Elden Ring” takes place, and it shows. Unlike other games in its genre, “Elden Ring” has a simple, understandable story on the surface, a perfect pairing to the game’s awesome aesthetic and backstory. While you’ll be fighting your fair share of cookie-cutter dragons and knights, there is an equal share of totally unique wonders: nobles cloaked in the skin of gods, a great-tusked behemoth who rules the stars, or a temple floating above an unending storm.
Difficulty isn’t the only thing that could turn a player off. The game has fairly intensive graphics, and while a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One will be able to run the game satisfactorily, a disproportionately good PC is required to play with passable graphical settings. Additionally, while the game does have fairly developed multiplayer mechanics, it’s more of a secondary feature. Players who want competitive multiplayer might be able to find it in “Elden Ring” if they work hard enough, but they would be best off looking elsewhere.